Yankee Brew News October/November 2011 : Page 1

By Jamie Magee Above: Brewer Aaron Mateychuk in the Watch City brewhouse. Below: Watch City facade. ILLUSTRATION BY; HANS GRANHEIM Clockwise from top -L-R: Dick Zigun, founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, and Jeremy Cowan, founder of Shmaltz Brewing/Coney Island Brewing. (Photo by Gabi Porter, Metromix.com); Night Shift Brewing; Daniel Kramer of Element Brewing; Backacre Beermakers barrels; 508 GastroBrewery system. he neon sign and clock of Watch City Brewing have become a landmark on Waltham’s Moody Street. Students, families, blue-collar work-ers and tech professionals have glimpsed the clock on their way into the “Watch” for over 15 years. Brewer Aaron Mateychuk started at Watch City two months after it opened and became Head Brewer in 1997. “Waltham was noth-ing when we started, now it’s one of the biggest tech towns in the country,” See Watch City p. 4 T INSIDE Event Calendar ............................. 3 Tasting Panel .............................. 10 The Alehouse .............................. 12 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 he term “microbrewery” has be-come less common since the term “craft beer” came into vogue, but there’s another size-based bit of jargon steadily rising in popular-ity: “nanobrewery.” In the metric system, “nano” means one billionth of something. The brewing de fi nition is less precise, but a nanobrewery is generally agreed to be a brewery producing less than 3-4 barrels (93-124 gallons) of beer at a time. Nanobreweries are as diverse as the beer community as a whole. Some were founded by homebrewers with big dreams, others by brewing industry veterans. They See Nano p. 6

Nano-Nano

Jen Muehlbauer

TINY BREWERIES

Clockwise from top - L-R: Dick Zigun, founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, and Jeremy Cowan, founder of Shmaltz Brewing/Coney Island Brewing. (Photo by Gabi Porter, Metromix.com); Night Shift Brewing; Daniel Kramer of Element Brewing; Backacre Beermakers barrels; 508 GastroBrewery system.

The term “microbrewery” has become less common since the term “craft beer” came into vogue, but there’s another size-based bit of jargon steadily rising in popularity: “nanobrewery.” In the metric system, “nano” means one billionth of something.The brewing definition is less precise, but a nanobrewery is generally agreed to be a brewery producing less than 3-4 barrels (93- 124 gallons) of beer at a time.

Nanobreweries are as diverse as the beer community as a whole. Some were founded by homebrewers with big dreams, others by brewing industry veterans. They are on city blocks and in barns. Some want to grow and others are happy with their petite batch sizes. What they all have in common is a desire to brew quality beer.

World’s Smallest Brewery

How low can you go? The world’s smallest brewery is Coney Island Brewing, opened in August 2011 by the people behind Shmaltz Brewing. Each batch is a mere one gallon — about 20 percent the size of an average homebrew. This allows for some pretty wild experimentation.

“We’re trying to stick with things that are Coney Island and New York-themed and as extreme as possible,” said Coney Island rep Jennifer Dickey.

Past experiments have included cotton candy Belgian wit, funnel cake ale and candy apple ale. Some guest brewers even tried to brew a corn dog Kölsch using hot dogs. Each batch yields 12 bottles, which are mostly available in the Coney Island Brewing store. This is one nano that doesn’t want to expand.

“The brewery will never be any bigger than it is now,” Dickey said.

Why mess with a world record?

The Farmer-Brewery Dust-Up

The Massachusetts brewing industry got a scare this summer when Idle Hands Craft Ales (Everett, Mass.) Was denied its farmer-brewery license under new rules from the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC). In Massachusetts, breweries can have a farmer-brewery license (which allows self-distribution and retail sales at the brewery) or a manufacturers’ license (which is more expensive and doesn’t allow self-distribution or on-site retail).

“If everybody had to get the manufacturers’ license, it would really hurt a lot of small breweries in the state,” explained Idle Hands’ co-owner Chris Tkach.

Long story short, the ABCC reversed its ruling and small brewers can proceed as usual. That frees Idle Hands to open its production brewery featuring a 1.5-barrel system that Tkach, who has an engineering background, designed himself. Co-owners Chris and Grace Tkach are working day jobs (she full-time, he at 75 percent) with hopes of making Idle Hands a full-time business without outside financing and scaling up to a 10- to 15-barrel system.

“It’s a great community, and we’re looking forward to being a part of it,” Grace said.

Keeping it Local

Night Shift Brewing (Everett, Mass.)Was founded by — and named after — three young homebrewers with regular jobs.They plan to finish construction on their four-barrel brewery by November, and they’re considering recipes like mango and grapefruit double IPA, a Belgian-style beer with honey and green tea and stout with cocoa nibs from a local chocolate supplier.Using local ingredients when possible is so important to the trio, it’s written into their Business plan, and they hope the “buy local” movement helps them, too.

“The craft beer scene is very receptive to local stuff,” said co-founder Michael Oxton.”

Coincidentally, Night Shift was having trouble finding the right space for its brewery until a spot was discovered in Everett next door to Idle Hands. Rather than seeing each other as competition, the two fledgling nanos look forward to sharing shipping costs and trying to make Everett a beer destination.

“Us doing well is good news for anyone else that’s in craft beer,” Oxton said.

Throwback Brewery (North Hampton,N. H.) Head Brewer Annette Lee was an environmental engineer for almost two decades before completing a brewing course at Siebel, interning at Smuttynose and starting her own brewery. Throwback’s goal is to use ingredients sourced within 200 miles of the brewery, which Lee acknowledges is a challenge due to the New England climate and limited output of local micro-maltsters, but it’s a challenge she’s willing to take.In another nod to using what’s local, the Throwback team built the brewery out of repurposed tanks with the help of a welder rather than purchasing new or used tanks from elsewhere.

Don’t expect to find Lawson’s Finest Liquids far from its home base in Warren, Vt. Other than Acer Quercus (a collaboration with The Bruery, made in California) and occasional cameo appearances at festivals like Belgium Comes To Cooperstown, these beers are only regularly available at a handful of draft accounts and one retail store in the Mad River Valley area. Beers such as Maple Nipple, made with local maple syrup, often sell out the day they arrive.
Owner Sean Lawson founded the brewery in 2008 on a one-barrel system and said, “From day one, I could never make enough beer.” As a member of the local homebrew community for about two decades, Lawson had a built-in customer base, and he also credits the buy-local movement.

“I don’t know if I could have done this 15 years ago,” Lawson said. “Local is cool now.”

So cool, he’s preparing to upgrade his 1. 5-barrel system to seven barrels to better accommodate the demand.

“I decided to start small, because it was a great way to do it part-time and not have to take out a big loan,” Lawson said, “but I’ve been ramping up every year.”

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

One drawback to a small brewery is obvious: capacity. For example, Barrier Brewing (Oceanside, N.Y.) is too maxed out to accept any new accounts.

“That’s definitely the problem to have,” said co-owner Craig Frymark, “but if we don’t do something about it, it’s still a problem.”

Frymark and his partner Evan Klein, who met while working at Sixpoint Craft Ales in Brooklyn, never intended to stay nano-sized. It was just a way to get the brewery started without any financing outside their own savings and help from family. Barrier also thinks big when it comes to its beer line-up, declining to pick a flagship beer and instead offering bars a portfolio of 30-40 beers. To maximize fermenter space, they start brewing at 4 a.m. three days a week and brew four batches per day. Part of their more than 80-hour per week schedule is self-distributing the beer to accounts all over Long Island and New York City, which Barrier intends to keep doing as it grows.

“New York is pretty favorable to the small brewers,” Frymark said. “We can grow 100 times our current size and still deliver all the beer ourselves.”

Barrier’s Long Island neighbor, Blind Bat Brewing (Centerport, N.Y.), is also scrambling to brew beer as fast as one man With a day job and a 3-barrel system can.Brewer Paul Dlugokencky started in 2008 with a 1/3-barrel system and has been making beers like Hellsmoke Porter with grains he smokes himself over alder and apple-wood.He also designs his own graphics and beer labels.

Squam Brewing (Holderness, N.H.) also had trouble keeping up with demand this summer. Owner/Brewer John Glidden has been putting out beer in 22-ounce bottles for the local community since 2010, and he looks forward to squeezing two or three more 42-gallon fermenters into his parents’ barn. Rent-free brewing on his parents’ property allows Glidden to brew full-time, but that doesn’t mean he’s getting rich.

“I’m not making as much money as I did at my other jobs, but I really love it,” Glidden said.

He’d like to find investors and eventually trade up to a 7-barrel system. In the meantime, he gets by with the space he has and a little help from his friends: volunteers help him hand-bottle every Squam beer, and his mother-in-law paints Squam’s popular labels. (See YBN’s August/September cover story for more about Squam.)

If all goes well, Element Brewing (Millers Falls, Mass.) Soon might not qualify as a nano. The bottle-only brewery planned to max out its current location by installing two 15-barrel fermenters, bringing its capacity to 800-1,000 barrels per year. All three Element employees now work there exclusively, but “having such a small capacity means we are still underpaying ourselves and working long hard days to cover all of our expenses,” said Brewer Dan Kramer. They partners will still bottle, cork and paper-wrap their distinctive bottles themselves after the expansion.

Family Tradition

They’re not exactly brewers, but Backacre Beermakers (Weston, Vt.) Are creating some interesting beers that will see the light of day sometime in 2012. Scientists, spouses and award-winning homebrewers Erin and Matthew Baumgart are living in Belgium right now, while Erin’s father John Donovan, watches over multiple tiny batches of wild ale in his barn. Styled after traditional Belgian lambics and gueuzes, Backacre’s beers use wild yeast and bacteria cultured by the Baumgarts. Belgian lambics traditionally use open fermentation, but “we don’t know what’s floating around in the Vermont air,” Donovan joked. The Backacre team buys wort, then ages it in used wine barrels for 18 months to two years, repeating the process every six months or so.
They’ll probably bottle next spring.

“Our plan is not to make a lot of money” on these sour ales, said Donovan.“This is pretty strange beer for the U.S.”

Rising Tide Brewing (Portland, Maine) is co-owned by husband and wife team Nathan and Heather Sanborn, with Nathan handling the brewing and Heather tackling tasks like marketing and legal issues when not at her day job. Rising Tide was founded in 2010 and has been producing interesting beers like Ishmael, a copper ale that recalls a German altbier; Daymark, a pale ale with local rye; and Ursa Minor, a wheat stout.

Nanos as Multi-Taskers

Candia Road Homebrew Supply (Manchester,N. H.) should soon be brewing on its 2-barrel system as Candia Road Brewing.The beers, mostly high-gravity brews, will be available next door at the Candia Road Convenience Store.

Brewpubs are commonplace, but brewpubs with 60-gallon fermenters in a basement, less so. That’s the set-up at 508 GastroBrewery (New York City). Co-Chef and Brewmaster Anderson Sant’anna De Lima and Brewer Nick Panchame were brewing a barrel at a time in the restaurant known as 508 before it got a brewery license in 2011.

“Licensing took forever, like one-anda- half years,” De Lima said, and remodeling the basement involved tasks like building a wall, relocating a door and creating a cold fermentation room. There have been six beers on tap all summer, and De Lima said, “We’re getting ready to brew some beer for the fall weather like doppelbocks, weizenbocks, Mexican imperial stout, pumpkin wheat and imperial rye pale ale.”

Future goals include a production brewery with a bottling line.

Nano No More

Not every production brewery making small batches of beer is a nanobrewery.
Some are contract brewers, sharing equipment with larger breweries. Others have outgrown the nano label and are now officially microbreweries. Here are some small-batch breweries using slightly bigger tanks:

• Backlash Beer (Boston, Mass.) Contract brews on a 20-barrel system.

• Lefty’s Brewery (Greenfi eld, Mass.) Has graduated to a 7-barrel system.

• Maine Beer (Portland, Maine) now brews on a 15-barrel system.

• Mystic Brewery (Chelsea, Mass.) Has a 1/3-barrel pilot system, but brews 15-30 barrels at a time at other breweries, then takes the unfermented wort back to its home base for fermentation. They call it “The Mystic Method.”

• Notch Session Ale (Ipswich, Mass.)Brews 30-barrels once a week at Ipswich Ale Brewery.

• The Prodigal Brewery (Effi ngton, N.H.) is expanding, including upgrading to several new 10-hl (about 8.65 barrels) German lagering tanks.

• Spider Bite Brewing (Holbrook, N.Y.) will contract 10- to 15-barrel batches with a brewery upstate for the next 9-12 months while building its 15-barrel system. It’ll still do 1- to 3-barrel special releases.

• Trillium Brewing (Brookline, Mass.) Is building a 15-barrel brewhouse.

Read the full article at http://ybnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Nano-Nano/862993/83941/article.html.

At Watch City Always Time For A Beer

Jamie Magee

The neon sign and clock of Watch City Brewing have become a landmark on Waltham’s Moody Street. Students, families, blue-collar workers and tech professionals have glimpsed the clock on their way into the “Watch” for over 15 years.

Brewer Aaron Mateychuk started at Watch City two months after it opened and became Head Brewer in 1997.

“Waltham was nothing when we started, now it’s one of the biggest tech towns in the country,”Mateychuk said. “The city has put in a lot of effort amping up the downtown for destination eating — an alternative to downtown Boston.”

Customers who visit Watch City will find the consistent and friendly faces of Watch City’s long time employees behind the bar and waiting the tables. They’ll find homestyle comfort food with a local edge.

“We focus on local farms for produce and local seafood, and we’re doing more with local meat providers,” Mateychuk said.

The walls display local artists, there’s a play area for kids and a family night each week. Jocelyn McLaughlin founded Watch City in 1996. Perhaps it’s been her woman’s touch that has led Watch City to grow like a family both internally and externally.

Mateychuk also attributes a lot of Watch City’s endurance to the fact that it’s oriented to the neighborhood. To that end,Watch City has incorporated the interests of its patrons by hosting art shows, fundraisers and live music. The brewpub even participated in the Steam Punk Festival this spring, Waltham’s citywide event devoted to a return to the maxims of a different era (Steam Punk is on the Internet).

“We like to keep people happy,” Mateychuk said.

While satisfying the culinary, visual and aural desires of its customers, Watch City hasn’t been remiss on the brewing side.Patrons can’t miss Watch City’s 14-barrel Peter Austin system as they walk in the door. It’s visible through the front window and on the left of the entrance. The Austin system is renowned (and reviled) for its ability to brew British ales with Ringwood yeast, but Watch City has eschewed Ringwood yeast since its first year.
Mateychuk brews with a variety of yeasts including two in-house strains as well as Belgian, English and American ale yeasts.The beers are never filtered, so the flavor that yeasts add can shine through.

Watch City introduced its mug club in 1999. Mug clubs can often be a mere discount or reward system, but at Watch City, around 65 percent of the Mug Club members have belonged since the inception of the program including Jerry and Marge — Numbers 1 and 2. As that core group’s palate developed, that’s when Mateychuk began experimenting.

“People weren’t as crazy as they are today, but they wanted stronger beers and lagers,” Mateychuk said. “One of the cool things we could do with our open fermentation was lagers, as all the sulphur would burn out.”

Mateychuk has brewed over 187 beers, and that doesn’t include all the variations on a theme that occur.

“In 2005, we settled on the names for our core beers, but year to year ingredients change,” Mateychuk said.

An explosion of creativity was destined to happen, because Mateychuk is a trained graphic artist with boundless energy. He’s an avid cyclist who bikes from Framingham to Waltham most days of the year, and he designed many of the logos of Watch City’s beers.

Sometimes beers are created to honor local celebrities. An early brew Mateychuk designed was ClavicAle, named after local cyclist Tyler Hamilton, and the injury he suffered in the Tour de France. The beer (and a ClavicAle event) raised thousands of dollars for the Hamilton’s MS Foundation.

Watch City also paired up with the Boston Red Sox’s Curt Shilling for 38 Schilling Wee Lite Scottish Ale (3.8% ABV).

“Our local sports channel, NESN, came down and interviewed us about that one,” Mateychuk said.

The Pitch for a Pint event contributed 25 cents for every pint sold to the ALS foundation.

Mateychuk has even brewed beers in honor of Watch City staff members and for his own wedding, but the constant thread has been the use of ingredients from the kitchen and the garden in the beers that he brews. Mateychuk has not been afraid to experiment and take risks.

“I didn’t get into brewing without my passion for growing things, too,” Mateychuk said. “I grew up around farms appreciating the work it takes in a community to keep things local, sustainable and fresh. I constantly strive to incorporate this some way — farming and brewing — in every beer we brew. And I strive to do it well enough to make a change, a statement at best, for the eclectic styles I’ve brewed.”

Speaking of eclectic, Mateychuk may have created a new style when he introduced his BeeJezus Belgian Botanical Ale.The beer used no hops, just bee balm picked from his garden.

This past spring’s 14 Degrees of Makin’ Bacon — Bacon Rauchbier Casktravaganza featured six different kegs of Cyrus Pork Barrel Rauchbier (from the plain to the oak aged) and 14 different casks with flavors ranging from plain to Thai Curry & Toasted Coconut. There was even a cask brewed with Dr. Gonzo’s Jalapeño Peppermash (not for the faint of heart).

The creative spark has also inspired Watch City’s Assistant Brewer Kelly McKnight, who designed this year’s well received Toasted Ah Ah Pale Ale, brewed with toasted coconut and hibiscus flowers.

Watch City’s flagship beers and regularly occurring seasonals have gained a fame all for themselves: Titan Ale, Moody Street Stout, Shillelagh Irish Red, Clockwork Summer Ale, ‘FNA Imperial IPA, Lunarshine Burleywhine and, especially this time of year, Clocktoberfest and Pie-Eyed Pumpkin Ale.

This year, in honor of Watch City’s anniversary, a Patron Appreciation Beer Series has been introduced, in which longtime patrons can get a chance to brew their favorite recipe with Mateychuk and McKnight.

“This is our giving back for all the beer they bought and enjoyed over the years,” Mateychuk said.

Creativity rules at Watch City, where there’s always time for a beer.

Read the full article at http://ybnonline.brewingnews.com/article/At+Watch+City+Always+Time+For+A+Beer/863005/83941/article.html.

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