Yankee Brew News October/November 2010 : Page 1
illustration by; hans granheim By Paul Kowalski and Amy Blair C ollaboration is a buzzword among brewers these days, with every brewer and their uncle taking working holidays to other breweries for one-off batches of special brews. They get to write off the trip, and fans get a taste of what’s created when brewer meets brewer. Picture Sam Calagione or Rob Todd or Shaun Hill sipping a brew in someone else’s brewhouse and say-ing, “Yeah, throw some of that in. That’s the way it works, right guys?” In that spirit, Yankee Brew The Norwich Inn beckons thirsty travelers in Norwich, Vt. Heartland Brewery in New York City Calendar of Events ........................3 The Alehouse .................................8 Tasting Panel ...............................10 Beer Cooks ...................................12 Homebrew News ..........................18 Guest Tap .....................................20 Maps & Directories .................22-27 Tasteless Panel ............................46 INSIDE News presents a collaboration of city girl and country boy, in which our New York City and Vermont writers explore some “finer and funner” points of city and country breweries in the Yankee Brew News realm. Rather than a true city vs. country or he vs. she face-off, each made recommendations to the other on what to do when they leave their own element. See Little Bit p. 4 State by State E Mass ...........14 Boston ...........16 W Mass ..........28 Maine .............30 N Hampshire .32 Connecticut ...34 Vermont .........36 Rhode Island .38 New York .......40 NYC ................42 By Phil Howell nion Station Brewery is the granddaddy of Rhode Island brew-pubs, being the first in the state when it opened in 1993. But a fresh new chapter has been brewing for the past several years. By introducing different seasonal beers, creating new recipes and offering an abundance of styles without sacrificing the quality and consistency of the longtime favorites, the brewpub has seen steady growth despite the economic recession. Located in downtown Providence, Union Station is named after the train station that opened in 1898 in the beautiful historic brick building that the restaurant now oc-cupies. The dining area still reflects the original construction, showcasing much of the brickwork and the foundation’s impressive granite stone masonry, evoking work-manship of a bygone era. Booths and tables line different areas of the room, including an elevated seating section towards the back, keep-ing the setting cozy and casual. Memorabilia and photos decorate the walls, paying homage to the region’s brewing history. Of course, no brewpub would be complete without an See Union Station p. 6 Top: The attractive facade of the Union Station Brewery in Providence, R.I. Left: Union Station brewer Aaron Crossett and his line-up of beers.
She's A Little Bit Rock And Roll
Collaboration is a buzzword among brewers these days, with every brewer and their uncle taking working holidays to other breweries for one-off batches of special brews.
They get to write off the trip, and fans get a taste of what’s created when brewer meets brewer.
Picture Sam Calagione or Rob Todd or Shaun Hill sipping a brew in someone else’s brewhouse and saying, “Yeah, throw some of that in. That’s the way it works, right guys?” In that spirit, Yankee Brew
The Norwich Inn beckons thirsty travelers in Norwich, V
News presents a collaboration of city girl and country boy, in which our New York City and Vermont writers explore some “finer and funner” points of city and country breweries in the Yankee Brew News realm. Rather than a true city vs. country or he vs. she face off, each made recommendations to the other on what to do when they leave their own element.
When you finally get your just-married self off that couch and out of dreary old Manhattan, you gotta check out these out-of the- way breweries that are turning out some terrific beers. Now remember, tough-to-get-to does not mean primitive, and if it doesn’t take several New York minutes to drink a beer, you’re drinking too fast!
Almost every brewery in my home state of Vermont qualifies for mention, but since I’m sending you out to the country to experience more than the beer, why not set you up with a nice place to stay and a satisfying meal along with your pint? From its prominent location on Main Street in Norwich, Vt., The Norwich Inn has been providing food, drink and shelter to travelers for more than two centuries. In 1993, the Yankee (no, not the New York Yankee) tradition of house-brewing ales to serve to the Inn’s guests was revived, And Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse — named after the Inn’s first owner from 1797 — has been producing small batches of beer for lucky guests and tavern customers ever since. Current brewer Patrick Dakin has chalked up some impressive awards for his beers in recent years.
I’m still trying to get my mind around all the things to do at the Northern Outdoors year-round action resort that is home to Maine’s Kennebec River Brewery. Having gone rafting on the Deerfield River in Western Massachusetts this year (and inadvertently drinking some of said river), I’m now part of the whitewater community, and the Kennebec River is a target in my sights. If I can take on the Kennebec (and the Dead River and the Penobscot, three of the top whitewater rivers in the Northeast) and stay at a nearby place with pool, hot tub and brewpub, I am there. The Northern Outdoors Resort is located in The Forks, a town in western Maine, about four hours from Boston and an hour from nowhere.
Check out the video at raftnbrews.com. It gets my vote for our next Yankee Brew News editorial staff meeting location. Team building and all that.
I’ve vacationed on Cape Cod nearly every summer for more than 40 years, but let’s face it … it’s not Thoreau’s Cape Cod anymore. (Didn’t Gregg, our editor, party with Thoreau and Emerson?) A ferry ride away from Hyannis and several other ports, however, sits an island that does fit this list rather nicely: Nantucket. It’s remote enough, and uncrowded and rural enough, that from the moment your foot hits those cobbled streets, you just say, “Ahh … how soon can we go to Cisco Brewers?” The ‘nice beer if you can get it’ is more widely available than it used to be, but it’s sweetest at the source. They have a great story. They’re in a great spot and share their space with a winery and distillery. It’s clearly not a desert island. Cisco Brewers is open year-round. Go during the value season for great room rates and find out about all the fun that the locals have when the tourists aren’t there. Christmastime is awesome on the island, but you didn’t hear it from me.
Amy, I just love these New England inns and lodges that have reached deep down to the traditions of hospitality and have chosen to wade through the modern red tape to offer their guests a selection of house brewed beers.
The Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery in North Woodstock, N.H., is just such a place.
It’s located only about a mile from I-93, and local ski resorts include Loon and Cannon Mountain. Let’s get down to brass tacks. The beer and the nightlife at the Woodstock Inn are enough reason to go. In recent years the brewery has won awards for its brown and pale ales, and in 2006/2007 the Jim Beam Bourbon Cask Stout won Best Cask Aged Beer in the Northeast at the United States Beer tasting Championship. The nightlife at the Inn is definitely not New York, but it’s a highly regarded ski town nightspot and a tiny walk from there to your guest room.
My brother Jim used to pick me up at my college in Poughkeepsie and take me skiing with him in the Catskill Mountains of New York. One of our favorites was Windham Mountain, which was less crowded and less intimidating than Huntah. Had Cave Mountain Brewing on Main Street near the mountain been in Windham when I was at Marist, I might not have ever made it to Vermont. The quaint storefront gives little indication of the food, fun and brew that are inside. I picked this as an easy one for you, Amy. It truly is in the country, and it’s only about two hours from NYC. The Centennial IPA is a standout. My brother, the rocket scientist who turned me on to skiing, went on to Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is working on the next Mars rovers. I, of course, moved to Vermont, for what has become a truly wonderful life. Amy, you should come visit, and bring that husband of yours.
In response to your suggestion that I spend more time in the country, I’ve put together a short list detailing the finer points of why I will always prefer to drink my beer in civilized locations.
My friend Aileen recently left New York City to take a job as a professor in upstate New York. As I’m always the picture of ladylike sophistication, I immediately questioned her about the status of the beer scene in her new neighborhood. She told me that she recently visited Wegman’s, a large grocery store outside of Syracuse, and claimed that it had “the BIGGEST craft beer selection I’ve ever seen. Not only the standard Central New York microbrews, but also craft beers from all over the country and the world. You don’t have to live in a big city to get good beer anymore.” Aww, isn’t that just adorable?! I sure hope that this ludicrous account made Aileen feel better about her new life in the country, but we all know that for beer drinkers — and by that I mean real beer drinkers — the only place to be is the big city.
Look, no one is arguing that there aren’t excellent breweries in out-of-the-way places or that local grocery stores and beer bars aren’t doing a great service to the beer-drinking bumpkins they serve. But there are several finer points to being a big city beer drinker with which no one (not even you, Paul) can argue.
For one, in big cities we have this mysterious and glorious innovation known as … the bodega. I live in downtown Manhattan, and if I walk out the front door of my apartment building and take approximately 34 steps to the left, a magical convenience store exists wherein an extensive collection of fine beer is available for purchase at all hours of the day or night. Now, I’m 33 years old, so my days of stumbling into a bodega for a six-pack at four in the morning are, for the most part, behind me. However, I take comfort in the knowledge that, should I need it, just downstairs there is a store that I can visit any time of the day or night that sells A great selection of seriously quality beer. My friend Kristen, who lives with her family in a small town in Connecticut, agrees. She told me “I live somewhere where you can’t get beer after 8 pm. Beer in bodegas 24/7 truly IS the essence of life.” And for that reason alone you will have to drag my cold, dead body from the city (after you pry that pint of Sixpoint from my cold, dead hand, obviously).
Besides that, in big cities the beer bars stay open later. Again, even if you don’t take advantage of those 2, 3 or even 4 a.m. last call times, isn’t it comforting to know that they exist should you need them? I recently returned from a decidedly country vacation. My husband and I were road tripping, and after a too long drive in treacherous weather conditions our hearts were set on reaching our destination and relaxing with a delicious adult beverage.
As we approached the end to the long drive, our mouths were watering in anticipation only to discover upon arrival that the town’s only restaurant and tavern had already closed. It was 8:30 p.m. We settled for fast food and a bad movie on television at a deserted motel.
Pastoral charms? Puh-leez.
And if you think that despite the early closing times being able to enjoy a beer in a beautiful rural setting makes country living worthwhile, you are downright wrong.
Because no one appreciates the great outdoors like an urbanite. Where else besides big cities will you find a hundred beer drinkers crowding themselves into a 12’x18’ concrete “beer garden” in order to enjoy the last moments of warm weather before autumn sets in? As a city girl whose bedroom window looks out onto a courtyard that we share with the local methadone clinic, I can truly appreciate the holy heck out of the great outdoors. And enjoy It with a nice, cold beer in a “backyard” alley behind a bar, I shall.
And finally, reason numerouno why being a beer drinker in a big city will always beat the country hands down? No driving home afterwards. If I were a less classy dame, I would stick out my tongue and taunt you, Paul, with “We’ve got cabs and you don’t! We’ve got cabs and you don’t!” But really. We’ve got cabs! Lots of them! Readily available.
And therefore we can enjoy our beers at all hours, whenever we want, and we never have to worry about driving home afterwards. Heck, we don’t even have cars! Top that, country brother.
So, the next time you feel like putting on a pair of real shoes (and not those Birkenstocks with wool socks that you’ve been sporting around in Vermont), check out one of these big city breweries. Afterwards, enjoy the wonder of a taxi ride home on me — I’ll gladly pick up the fare.
First stop, Brooklyn, baby, to take a tour of the Brooklyn Brewery (take the L Train to Bedford Avenue). Free 20-minute tours are every Saturday and Sunday at 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m., and after the tour they provide you with beers to sample (and beers are available for purchase after that). There are picnic tables and eight different Brooklyn beers on tap. After you leave the brewery, explore the hipper-thanthou artsy Williamsburg neighborhood and then head down the street to Brooklyn Bowl where you can catch a rock show, bowl a few frames, eat a gourmet meal and find a selection of Brooklyn, Sixpoint and Kelso on tap at all times. Brooklyn at its finest. Afterwards, hop back on the L train into Manhattan and get off in Union Square where you’ll find the original location of Heartland Brewery. From there, about a 20-minute walk will get you to Chelsea Brewery in time to catch the sunset over the Hudson River.
When in Boston, I’d suggest taking a brewery tour of Sam Adams or Harpoon. Neither has a bar or restaurant, but both offer free tours with samples. Free beer! And both are easily accessible via public transportation.
In Providence: Union Station Brewery or Trinity Brewhouse. In Portland, obviously don’t miss Allagash, Shipyard, Gritty McDuff’s, and Sebago. No trip to Hartford would be complete without a stop at City Steam.
But Paul, most importantly, you’re a Vermonter.
Get yourself to Burlington and don’t leave. Why would you, when you’ve got The Vermont Pub & Brewery AND Zero Gravity Brewing/American Flatbread right there in the city?
Amy, you’re right. About some things.
For 22 years I’ve skied and hiked these Green Mountains, but I grew up 20 minutes from Manhattan. Worked in the Graybar Building on 43rd and Lex for a while and spent many evenings and nights in the city. So I know all about the convenience and immediacy and Instant gratification of city life. And you’re so right about the city never sleeping, at least for 22-year olds. And you’re right: Burlington is awesome. Those who live and work there are truly lucky. We should meet up there some time, and take in those you mentioned, plus Three Needs, Switchback and nearby Magic Hat. And speaking of lucky — city mouse or country mouse — we’re really lucky to have the diversity of beer and breweries that the regions of New York and New England afford us. But, come one, don’t you want to go whitewater rafting? Well, as long as our editor and publishers allow, whatever else happens, we’ll always have Providence.
Read the full article at http://ybnonline.brewingnews.com/article/She%27s+A+Little+Bit+Rock+And+Roll/518901/48546/article.html.
Nion Station Brewery is the granddaddy of Rhode Island brewpubs, being the first in the state when it opened in1993. But a fresh new chapter has been brewing for the past several years. By introducing different seasonal beers, creating new recipes and offering an abundance of styles without sacrificing the quality and consistency of the longtime favorites, the brewpub has seen steady growth despite the economic recession.
Located in downtown Providence, Union Station is named after the train station that opened in 1898 in the beautiful historic brick building that the restaurant now occupies.The dining area still reflects the original construction, showcasing much of the brickwork and the foundation’s impressive granite stone masonry, evoking workmanship of a bygone era. Booths and tables line different areas of the room, including an elevated seating section towards the back, keeping the setting cozy and casual. Memorabilia and photos decorate the walls, paying homage to the region’s brewing history. Of course, no brewpub would be complete without an Excellent view of the brewery from choice seats at the bar.
Although Union Station has been part of the John Harvard’s Brew House family for some time now, the restaurant has retained its original name and identity. Brewer Aaron Crossett also sees that autonomy extended to brewing.
“John Harvard’s gives brewers freedom,” Crossett explained. “Certain beers we have on tap because they’ve always been popular, but people like to try something new when they come in. I think that’s what brewpub beers are all about.”
<b>Making a Difference</b>
It wasn’t always this way. About six years ago, unforeseen circumstances nearly took the creativity and personality out of the brewpub’s beer. Much of the credit for the revival goes to Crossett and his predecessor, Tim Pyne.
“Tim really turned this place around in terms of the beer,” Crossett pointed out.
The turnaround began in 2004, after a period of turmoil for the brewpub during which a revolving door of brewers and assistants kept the beer flowing following an injury to the previous long-time head brewer.
All involved deserve credit for getting the job done in a pinch, but unfortunately there wasn’t any opportunity for experimentation or self-expression under those conditions.
Enter Tim Pyne, an American Brewers Guild graduate with an excellent technical background. Pyne’s three-year tenure brought some much-needed excitement back to the brewpub. No longer did regular patrons find the same old status quo. Not only were Pyne’s beers tastier and more assertive, but he was also training a new assistant — Aaron Crossett — who would eventually take over the head brewing duties when Pyne took a position with Boston Beer Works in late 2007.
Crossett, 28, is originally from Michigan, but settled in Rhode Island after attending college at Johnson & Wales University in Providence. He started homebrewing when he was 20. That’s when Crossett said he “got the bug for brewing.” Soon after, he worked as both a bartender and an assistant brewer at Union Station while training under Pyne.
“You do the dirty work as an assistant.
It’s sort of a hazing,” Crossett joked.
Still, he learned quite a lot.
“The first tripel Tim brewed got me into Belgian beers,” Crossett said. “I was in my early 20s at the time and said, ‘What’s that?’ After that, I started trying Chimay, Kasteel, anything I could find. Belgian beers became some of my favorites. Then after having a Trappistes Rochefort 8 … you taste something like that and it just kind of inspires you. I wanted to brew beer that good, even if the Trappist monks had been brewing for a really, really long time and had quite a head start on me.”
The collective brewing experience of The Trappist monks may be a lot to catch up on, but Crossett is doing just fine. Union Station’s 10-barrel Bohemian brewing system produced 526 barrels in 2009, up from 430 barrels in 2007. Having brewed 26 different styles last year (primarily ales due to brewhouse capacity constraints and the longer required lagering time), Crossett has seen steady growth at the brewpub and greater craft beer sophistication from customers.
<b>Variety, the Spice of Life</b>
Union Station usually has eight beers on tap, including a cask choice. One of the best-selling beers is Summer Blonde (a rye beer). Pale ales and India pale ales are extremely popular, too. The brewpub boasts several medal winners from the Great International Beer Festival in Providence, including Friar Brown Ale and two-time winner Providence Pale Ale. Nearly all the recipes are Crossett’s, although Pyne developed the pale ale recipe and another brewpub favorite, Vanilla Beer Porter, which is often featured on cask.
While the draft selections are all different styles, Crossett also likes to rotate recipes within the same style.
“People like variety,” Crossett noted.
“It’s a good way to keep people interested in the beer.”
This is especially evident with India pale ales. Crossett showcases several throughout the year, varying hop profiles and malt body. For example, Half Day IPA temporarily gave way to J.K. Simcoe IPA this past summer.
“It’s a nice refreshing summer drink with the added fruit notes from the Simcoe hops,” Crossett said. “Later this fall, I’m revamping Rusty Griswald, so Rusty is making a comeback.”
Rusty Griswald is a hoppy, copperbrown IPA, first brewed by Pyne. It has additional malt complexity compared to most lighter-bodied IPAs, so it’s fitting for the cooler weather.
More Belgian styles and higher alcohol brews have appeared at Union Station lately, expanding the choices even further.
“I’m not as crazy as Sean yet,” Crossett said with a smile, referring to Trinity Brewhouse brewer Sean Larkin. “Like the time he used star anise in the Baltic porter. I wasn’t sure, but then I loved it.”
Still, Crossett is willing to experiment.
He recently debuted Trip Hop, an 8.2% ABV Belgian tripel/India Pale Ale hybrid that he is particularly proud of. Other adventurous recipes include Hop Rocket Imperial IPA (9.7%), an imperial version of Vanilla Bean Porter, and a spiced Märzen-style winter warmer.
<b>Beer Meets Food</b>
Crossett appreciates the high alcohol brews mainly in the context of dining.
“The stronger beers have more concentration and complexity of flavor,” Crossett said. “I’ve always liked high gravity beers when you get into food. For example, what kind of beer do you pair with duck confit salad? It’s also a great chance to see what works best.”
Beer and food pair well at Union Station. The dining menu offers numerous choices from salads, pub-style appetizers and gourmet pizzas to full dinner entrees covering all bases, such as classic meatloaf, lobster macaroni and cheese, horseradish salmon and butternut squash ravioli. Suggested beer pairings are always listed with the weekly specials, which is an excellent way for customers to experience how different brewing styles relate to food.
“I like the work and the art,” Crossett said as he expressed how much he enjoys pub brewing.
In many ways, the customer appreciates the same thing. It’s a big part of why people go to a brewpub for a draft beer made inhouse.
It’s not just for a fresh ale or lager, it’s also for the creativity and personality that the brewer conveys through his craft.
Read the full article at http://ybnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Union+Station/518902/48546/article.html.