Yankee Brew News August/September 2011 : Page 1
New England’s Brewers Drive the Local Food Movement Owner/Brewer John Glidden is shown here attempting to hide behind one of his fermenters. Deep inside this big red barn in Holderness, N.H., lies Squam Brewing Company. PHOTOS BY SCOTT KAPLAN By Scott Kaplan Science degree in Environmental Health in Engineering from Tufts University. He was writing air emissions licenses for the state of New Hampshire when he discov-ered ho homebrewing in 2007. Glidden mother, Yvonne, Glidden’s encour encouraged his father, John Sr., w who also brewed a bit while he was in college, to join t their son in the home-brew brewing hobby. “Everyone likes a bot of beer,” she said bottle of the gentlemen’s’ new ho hobby. Pretty soon they w brewing up a were storm. It got so that John Jr. was brewing 10-gallon 10-gallon, all-grain batches ev-ery weekend, and if he missed a session, he See Squam p. 4 T Clockwise from top-Amanda Stanley of Valley Malt with a bushel of barley. Megan Parisi of Cambridge Brewing Co. picking heather. Bill Leahy, Harpoon Fine Dining Specialist and brewer of Island Creek Oyster Stout, adding oysters to the kettle. Bee Balm (plus the bee) from Watch City brewer Aaron Mateychuck’s “beer garden.” Paul Hendler tending his hop vines in Shaftsbury, Vt. ucked away on a country road in the N.H. Lakes Region town of Holderness derness is a big red barn that houses one of the newest nano-breweries in the state, Squam Brewing. John Glidden Jr. owns and runs this one-man opera-tion, which is named after nearby Squam Lake. An Unlikely Beginning Glidden started his professional career with a Bachelor of Th e Region’s Craft Beers Taste Like Home By Elizabeth Keyser W hen Andrea Stanley and her husband Chris-tian planned to start their Hadley, Mass. malt house — the only one to be found east of Wisconsin — they won-dered if they could ﬁ nd enough organically raised barley, wheat and rye. They need not have worried. A year into business and in their second growing season, “Farmers from Maine to New York call us See Local p. 6 INSIDE Event Calendar ............................. 3 Tasting Panel .............................. 10 Beer Cooks ................................. 13 Homebrewing .............................. 18 Guest Tap .................................... 20 Maps & Directories ................ 22-27 Tasteless Panel ........................... 46 State by State News E Massachusetts .......................................14 Boston ........................................................16 W Massachusetts ......................................28 Maine ..........................................................30 New Hampshire .........................................32 Connecticut ................................................34 Vermont ......................................................36 Rhode Island ..............................................38 New York ....................................................40 New York City ............................................42
New England's Brewers Drive The Local Food Movement
The Region’s Craft Beers Taste Like Home
When Andrea Stanley and her husband Christian planned to start their Hadley, Mass. Malt house — the only one to be found east of Wisconsin — they wondered if they could find enough organically raised barley, wheat and rye. They need not have worried. A year into business and in their second growing season, “Farmers from Maine to New York call us every week saying they want to grow for us,” Andrea Stanley said.
Valley Malt processes 200,000 pounds of malt per week and expects to triple its output by the end of summer. What she described as “very high quality and extremely fresh malt,” is getting great support from brewers.
Local ingredients are a hot trend among brewers. Be it an interest in flavor or a belief in sustainable growing, brewing and business practices, brewers large and small are using New England products — barley, wheat, rye, hops, cranberries, blueberries, pumpkins, apples, honey, maple syrup, oysters, herbs, flowers and even spruce tips. Many are organically grown. These high-quality ingredients — picked at their peak, prepared to order, full of flavor — stimulate creative collaborations between farmers, millers, maltsters and brewers that result in great-tasting beer.
The biggest challenge is supply. Local ingredients are seasonal stars, as in Six point Brewery’s Pumpkin Brewster, made with organic Hudson Valley sugar pumpkins the brewers roasted and mashed. But interest in regenerating commercial grain production — major crops in the Northeast until the latter 19th Century — is growing. Barley, grown from September through July, is a good rotation crop that puts nitrogen back into the soil. Though still small, Valley Malt is helping create a market for New England-grown grains.
“Barley is the heart and soul of beer,” Stanley said, whose husband is a homebrewer. “Hops get most of the publicity, but they are a small part.”
About 15 brewers are Valley Malt’s regular customers, including Cambridge Brewing Co. (Cambridge, Mass.), Wormtown Brewery (Worcester, Mass.) And Defiant Brewing (Pearl River, N.Y.) The biggest customer has been Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Del.), which used Valley Malt to brew a saison beer called “Nobel Rot.” Will Myers, the brewmaster at Cambridge Brewing Company (CBC), uses Valley Malt’s organic wheat malt in Hefeweizen, which is available at CBC during the summer. CBC also uses Valley Malt’s barley malt in its Valley Girl session beer series. Myers said that Valley Malt fits in with Cambridge Brewing’s goals because Valley Malt and CBC are both small, family businesses fostering local farming and reducing the carbon footprint.
“Valley Malt is able to custom malt and roast to my specifications,” Myers said, “something the larger industrial maltsters can only do in large lots. “Local ingredients equal flavor-forward ingredients. They haven’t been blended for homogeneity, and they haven’t been shipped all over the continent several times over.”
Meyers also participates in Valley’s “Malt CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.”
“It’s something I’ve dreamed of for years,” Myers said. “We have a contract with a specific farmer to produce a field of barely for us, which will be malted to our specifications.”
Farm-to-table foodies have taken note. The lauded locavore temple, Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, N.Y.), featured a beer made with Valley Malt at its sixth annual beer and sausage dinner last winter.
North Country/Canada Malting, one of the oldest and most established malting companies, used to blend barley grown in Maine with western prairie barley. Two years ago, North Country decided to produce malt only from Maine barley. Today they produce more than 200 metric tons each year of “New England Select” malt, which is malted at Canadian Malting Companies’ Montreal malt house and bagged in Champlain, N.Y., Myers has used New England Select malt in CBC’s Tall Tale Pale Ale.
Brooklyn Brewery used 500 pounds of New York State winter wheat in Brooklyn High Line Elevated Wheat. Forty kegs of the summery, fruity, light Belgian-style beer were brewed exclusively for High Line, a park on a defunct train line on the west side of Manhattan. It was served at the park’s outdoor café, The Lot on Tap.
“The ingredients are about 50 percent all-New York,” said Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn’s brewmaster.
The wheat was grown on upstate family farms bordering Lake Ontario, the Saint Lawrence River and the Adirondack Mountains. It was stone-milled at the two-year-old North Country Farms mill in Water town, N.Y. Oliver added wild flower honey from Tremblay Farms in the Finger Lakes to the boil, but the hops came from the Northwest and the barley from Canada.
“We hope to be able to produce a beer with 100 percent New York State ingredients in the future,” Oliver said.
Though fledgling, hop farming is coming back in the Northeast. It was once a thriving industry; in 1855, three million pounds of hops were produced a year in upstate New York. Since 2001, the Northeast Hops Alliance has been working with farmers. A couple of years ago, the University of Vermont Extension joined the cause to reintroduce commercial hop farming. Brewers often contact the Alliance, asking for sources of local hops.
Paul Hendler started growing hops about five years ago on his Shaftsbury, Vt., property at the urging of his son Jack Hendler, a brewer.
“There’s a real local movement to grow hops, and I think it’s great,” Paul Hendler said.
Paul Hendler is a member of the Northeast Hops Alliance, and Jack Hendler buys all the hops his father grows. He supplements with hops from the 40 rhizomes he planted on his own property in Framingham, Mass., but it’s still not enough to fulfill his needs at his new 20-barrel microbrewery, Jack’s Abbey.
“There’s definitely a demand for local hops,” Jack Hendler said. “Brewers call my father all the time, but we’re not at that level yet.”
There’s no infrastructure for picking hops mechanically, Hendler said, and “picking them off the vine is tedious.” The Northeast Hops Alliance is in the process of getting a grant to purchase a mechanical hop picker that would travel to hop farms.
All over New England, farmers and brewers are planting hops. CBC grew hops with Jon Bloomberg in Vasselboro, Maine, for its Late Harvest I.P.A. In Newcastle Maine, Geoff Masland and Tim Adams of Oxbow Brewing, which will release its first two beers this summer — American IPA and a rustic farmhouse saison — are establishing a hop farm on an 18-acre property. Steve Prouty of Clover Hill Farm in Hardwick, Mass., working with the University of Vermont, just planted an experimental quarter acre of hops on his 300- acre farm.
Herbs, Other Plants & Shellfish
Brewers also grow and harvest herbs and plants. Jack Hendler tends a 1,000-square-foot “brewer’s garden” filled with rhubarb, heather, rosemary, sage, cilantro, yarrow, lemon balm and elderflower. He’ll experiment with the herbs in summer seasonal beers. CBC harvests heather for Heather Ale. At Watch City Brewing (Waltham, Mass.), brewmaster Aaron Mateychuck, who tries to keep the source of his ingredients within 100 miles, plays with what’s growing in his “huge” garden. During the 2007 hop crisis, Mateychuck was looking for alternatives when he inadvertently mowed over some bee balm his wife was growing in a 20’ x 5’ bed.
“The fragrance reminded me of hops,” Mateychuck said.
He brewed an experimental 15-gallon batch of bee balm beer. His taste-tasters, who didn’t know it was hop-less, described it as “really hoppy.” Bee balm has citrusy, piney, floral notes with some bitterness, Mateychuck said. Thus was born Watch City’s Beejeezus Botanical Pale Ale, which he likened to “a really fragrant saison.” Mateychuck brews this beer in mid-July, and it will be on tap the first week of August, at Watch City’s brewpub.
“We’re exploring bottling it,” Mateychuck said.
Bejeezus also pairs well many kinds of food.
“It has so much flavor, it goes well with spicy food, anything an IPA would go well with — Mexican, Italian,” Mateychuck said.
Next, Mateychuck plans to experiment with growing shitake and pearl mushrooms.
“I’m thinking of a nut brown ale, caramelizing the mushrooms,” Mateychuck said.
Fruits are popular local ingredients. Last summer Six point Brewery (Brooklyn, N.Y.) teamed up with Red Jacket Orchards in the Finger Lakes to brew a high-alcohol plum beer, and they’re doing it again this summer.
Big breweries get in on the local ingredient scene with limited runs and specialty beers. The Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams), which brews over 30 beers, uses Well fleet Oysters in Oyster Stout and Vermont Maple Syrup in its Utopias.
“We continually search for the best ingredients for all our beer,” said Katie Piepiora of Boston Beer Co.
Long Trail Brewing purchases 1,000 pounds of Golden Russet Farms organic pumpkin every year for their Wolaver’s Pumpkin Ale, and 2,000 pounds of organic wildflower honey from Northwoods Apiaries for Wildflower Wheat beer.
“We love New England, and we’re a key player, and when we can use local ingredients, we do,” said Merrill Maloney of Harpoon Brewery in Boston.
Master Brewer Todd Charbonneaux admitted that while using local ingredients is “… earth friendly and puts a shot in the arm of the local economy, it’s also a great story. Marketing plays a huge role. The customer eats up the idea.”
Most recently, Harpoon used Island Creek Oysters from Duxbury, Mass., in the 100 Barrel Series Island Creek Oyster Stout. About a couple hundred bodies and their liquor were used per 120-barrel batch.
“There’s a rich history of using oyster shells as a clarifying agent,” Charbonneaux said. “Oyster Stout has the classic dry, roasted stout character, a complexity, with some saline notes,” noting that the power of suggestion plays a role in customers’ response.
Vermont maple syrup is used in Catamount Maple Wheat, a 100 Barrel Series beer that Harpoon brews once a year. Harpoon releases this “warming, sweet beer” in fall to early winter.
“It seemed natural to develop a Northeastern- style amber wheat beer,” Charbonneaux said, which pairs well with smoked meats and “anything with bacon.”
The latest “really cool project” in the 100 Barrel Series is a mild brown ale flavored with Norway spruce tips harvested from the Vermont State Forest. The bright green new growth is picked during a three week window at the end of May into June.
“It’s a traditional ingredient that dates back centuries,” said brewer Tom Graham, “particularly popular in the Northwest and Canada where Sitka Spruce tips are used. It’s novel and fun and creates an intimate relationship with the ingredients.”
Graham described the flavor of the spruce tips as “almost citrusy, herbal and sour, a little piney. He used 100 pounds of spruce tips in each 120-barrel batch.
“We put them in at the end of the boil and also into the whirlpool,” Graham said. “It replaces the finishing hops.”
Graham remains acutely aware of the barriers to Harpoon using more local ingredients.
“I’d love to use local hops,” Graham said, “but we are big enough that it’s hard for anyone to be able to supply us.”
However, not undeterred, in October Harpoon will release Grateful Harvest Cranberry Ale, made with cranberries harvested from local AD Make peace bogs in Wareham, Mass.
Adirondack Brewery (Lake George, N. Y.) believes in local.
“Probably 30 percent of our beers use local ingredients, said Laura Stevens. “We stand for local. We bottle and brew everything in the Lake George area. We supply and support the local economy.”
Adirondack uses raw honey from Balston Lake Apiaries in its Double IPA; cider from Hicks Apple Orchard in Granville, N. Y.; and maple syrup from Haynes Maple Farm in Maple Porter.
In the end, it comes down to what the customer wants. CBC’s Myers said his Cambridge customers “… are happier knowing where their food comes from and where our support lies, and they in turn support us on the basis of our passions and our high standards in food and beer.”
Jack Hendler agreed: “People who understand craft beer want local ingredients,” he said. “It’s more and more important for people to know where their food comes from.”
Elizabeth Keyser is an award-winning writer who has had pieces published in GQ, American Photo, The New York Times, The New York Post, Connecticut Magazine, Edible Nutmeg and newspapers in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Tucked away on a country road in the N.H. Lakes Region town of Holderness is a big red barn that houses one of the newest nanobreweries in the state, Squam Brewing. John Glidden Jr. Owns and runs this one-man operation, which is named after nearby Squam Lake.
An Unlikely Beginning
Glidden started his professional career with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health in Engineering from Tufts University. He was writing air emissions licenses for the state of New Hampshire when he discovered homebrewing in 2007. Glidden’s mother, Yvonne, encouraged his father, John Sr., who also brewed a bit while he was in college, to join their son in the homebrewing hobby.
“Everyone likes a bottle of beer,” she said of the gentlemen’s’ new hobby.
Pretty soon they were brewing up a storm got so that John Jr. Was brewing 10-Gallon, all-grain batches every weekend, and if he missed a session, he doubled up on the following weekend. After about two years as serious homebrewers, John Jr. Got the idea of starting his own nano brewery. Squam Brewing LLC evolved from this enthusiastic homebrewer’s dream.
Back to School
Before starting up the full-time brewing operation, Glidden attended the School of Beer class offered by Kevin Bloom, former brewer and owner of Manchester Brewing in Concord, N.H. This gave Glidden a primer on the registration, licensing, permitting and other legalities of operating a brewery, not to mention hands-on brewing experience on a scale larger than a typical homebrewing system.
As this was the first class ever for the School of Beer and Glidden was literally in a class by himself, Bloom learned a lot about setting up a curriculum while Glidden learned about starting up a brewing business. Making the jump from hobby to business is not easy, “But John was an A student, and then some,” Bloom said of his eager student. “He’s one of the new nano brewery pioneers, and he’s on the cutting edge of the business now.”
Bloom said Glidden designed a peristaltic pumping system that moves both sparge water and wort by squeezing it along the tubing instead of using pumps.
Brewing on a nano scale (about 1.5 barrels per batch in Glidden’s case) gives a brewer flexibility to try different recipes and ingredients without having to worry about ending up with barrels upon barrels of unsatisfactory results.
“Glidden is definitely a craft brewer at the nano level,” Bloom continued. “It’s Beer made by hand, and it’s not going to get any closer to the heart than that. It’s good to see someone turn a hobby into a successful career.”
Glidden, along with Kevin Bloom and numerous other brewers and beer aficionados, helped create the first state-level nano brewery license in the U.S. this spring. New Hampshire House Bill 262 (2011 session) established a nano brewery license for businesses that manufacture up to 2,000 barrels of beer or specialty beer annually. It also established a revised fee structure for nanos that is separate from larger breweries. Governor John Lynch approved the bill on June 6, and it became effective as law on July 1.
Glidden incorporated as an LLC in October 2009, received his federal brewing license on July 1, 2010 and was selling beer by early August. The 234-square-foot brewery, which Glidden leases from his parents, is located in the back of a barn up a long driveway. Even the driveway had to be leased for legal and state inspection purposes. A few pieces of old Glidden Paint memorabilia decorate the barn’s walls, but there’s no connection between the paint company and Glidden himself, other than sharing the same name. What is now the brewery was originally intended to be used as a meat cutting room for the family’s hunting hobby. As the room is mostly below grade due to the topography, it stays at a fairly constant temperature year-round, which makes for excellent fermenting conditions. It even has a pre-built-in floor drain system, which is handy for both meat cutting and brewing operations.
The brewery contains a single electrically heated 55-gallon brew pot, a large, white, food grade plastic mash bucket and five 42-gallon stainless steel cylindro-conical fermenters, plus all the regular brewers’ paraphernalia and bottling equipment. From this, Glidden produces one or two batches of beer a week with grain he still gets from the Fermentation Station homebrew supply shop in Meredith, N.H. All Squam beers are packaged in 22-ounce bottles.
Glidden gets his grains, and a little yeast on occasion, from the same place he did when he started homebrewing with his father — The Fermentation Station in Meredith, N. H. Tod Tilton said Glidden stops in once or twice a week now to pick up his grain bill.
“He’s very laid back and easy going,” Tilton said of Glidden, “and he’s always willing to talk with customers in the shop about his beers or anyone else’s beers for that matter.”
Tilton said his favorite Squam beers are Winter Wheat and Asquam Amber.
What’s In and On The Bottle
Squam has three year-round beers. The flagship is Asquam Amber Ale. Asquam is the Abenaki word for water, and it was one of the earlier names of Squam Lake. The best-selling beer is Golden IPA (8.5% ABV). Halcyon Steamer Stout is an oatmeal stout named for the steamship that ferried mail, people and goods up and down Squam Lake from 1903 to 1920 prior to the wide availability of a local road system. Other seasonal and special beers so far have been Winter Wheat (7.2%), Bobhouse Bitter, No Wake Wheat (a spring seasonal) and Rattlesnake Rye-P.A., which is a rye-based pale ale.
Glidden will also brew custom batches to order. A recent custom batch of Retired Bastard Ale (7.0%) was brewed for a friend of Glidden’s retirement party, and was based on Stone Brewing’s (San Diego, Calif.) Arrogant Bastard Ale. One batch of Bastard went to the lucky retiree, and a second batch was brewed for retail sale.
What are John Sr.’s favorite beers?
“No Wake Wheat is my number one favorite, but the IPA is really delicious, too,” he replied.
Developing Squam’s labels is a true family affair: Glidden’s girlfriend, Keri Brace, comes up with beer names; Brace’s sister, Denali, designed the birch trees and overall layout; and their mother, Debby Samia of DS Design in Center Conway, paints the original watercolor artwork that is featured on each different label. Scenes of Squam Lake are a recurring theme on the labels, and the Winter Wheat label shows another popular N.H. pastime, cross-country skiing around the lake.
Squam’s beers are available at 16 locations in N.H., mostly along the I-93 corridor, in both specialty beer stores and restaurants. Since Glidden produces less than 15,000 barrels per year, the state allows him to selfdistribute his beer, giving him the opportunity to interact directly with the store and restaurant owners.
On the subject of future growth, Glidden said he wants to have at least a year of business under his belt before considering any expansion.
“I love doing the beer thing,” Glidden said, “but if it’s not to be, then at least I tried.”
John Sr. Said it was great to have the opportunity to help his son, or any young person for that matter, to achieve his goal, and of course to help him drink beer. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
What does mom think?
“I’m very proud of my son,” Yvonne said.
Read the full article at http://ybnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Squam+Brewing/798072/77108/article.html.