Brewery Ommegang Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Photo courtesy Brewery Ommegang

Photo courtesy Brewery Ommegang

Brewery Ommegang is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a 20th Anniverary Ale and a 20th Anniversary Rare Beer variety pack.  The full press release is below!  Cheers to Ommegang!

Inspired beers to celebrate 20 years; Brewery Ommegang’s anniversary beers now available for celebrating milestone

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) Brewery Ommegang is proud to release their 20th Anniversary Ale, a luxurious Belgian-style dark ale aged for more than five months in bourbon barrels. Brewery Ommegang was founded in 1997 on a 140-acre former hop farm with a simple goal in mind – brew beautiful, imaginative Belgian-style ales blended with a touch of American innovation. Twenty years later, that is still the brewery’s goal, and to celebrate two decades of inspired Belgian-style brewing, the brewery took a classic Belgian-style brew and gave it an American twist through aging in Bourbon whiskey barrels.

Brewed with a careful blend of Munich, Special B, Cara-Vienne, and Blackprinz malts with additions of Belgian candi sugar, 20th Anniversary Ale enjoys balanced hopping with Spalter Select, and Styrian Golding hops. Following fermentation, this deep, rich, complex brew inspired by the great Trappist brewing tradition spends several months maturing in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. The result is an ale perfect for sharing, celebrating, and rejoicing.

“Twenty years ago, our founders built Brewery Ommegang with a simple purpose: to use Belgian-inspired brewing to elevate the entire conversation about craft beer in this country,” remarked Brewery President Doug Campbell. “Today, two decades later, with the release of this beer, we honor their legacy while at the very same time we continue to pursue it every day.”

20th Anniversary Ale pours a deep mahogany color with a thick tan head. Aromas of oak and bourbon upfront give way to subtler notes of toffee, caramel, and chocolate. The flavor is mildly sweet, with notes of caramel and molasses mingling with hints of bourbon and oak. A rich mouthfeel, and full body resolves to a sweet finish balanced nicely by a slight drying astringency. Dark roasted meats, rich creamy cheeses, Belgian chocolate are excellent pairing options, or enjoy the beer as a dessert all on its own.

In addition to 20th Anniversary Ale, Ommegang has also released a 20th Anniversary Rare Beer Pack that includes three rare beers and an Ommegang glass. The beers, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Three Philosophers, Ginnepin Saison brewed with juniper berries, and Bourbon Barrel-aged Abbey Ale, are all unique takes on Ommegang favorites.

Both 20th Anniversary Ale and the 20th Anniversary Rare Beer Pack are available now in many Ommegang retailers in the United States. The Ommegang beer finder enables beer fans to search for retailers by zip code.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Seattle’s Fantastic Beer Scene

Pike Place Market

 

[This is a recap of my trip to Seattle last March. Anyone who has been following my posts probably realizes that I’ve written less in 2017. So this is a little dated; but I wanted to get it posted because I’m going back to Seattle soon and this piece would’ve been harder to post after the second trip! Anyway – enjoy!]

Any time I get the opportunity to travel, I try to experience as much of the local beer scene as possible. Earlier this year I had a long weekend in the Seattle-Tacoma area that was pretty amazing, both in the number of breweries I visited and in the quality of beer I tasted.

Part of what made this trip so special was that I had two local tour guides that took me to places that I would’ve normally just said “nope, that’s too far away from my hotel” or “I haven’t seen much about that on social media.” So special thanks to my friends – my mythical companion #jimantush, and Bri, who showed me more about the Seattle – Tacoma region breweries than I would have discovered on my own!

The Yard House – downtown Seattle

After knocking the dust off from the cross country trip with a sample flight of local brew at the Yard House in downtown Seattle, we drove about 45 minutes south and east to get to the small town of Buckley, Washington. I should note that during that drive, I was super stoked to see the imposing, snowcapped mountains on the eastern horizon and signs that said “Yakima – 123 miles.”

Yakima!

The reason for the trip to Buckley was a visit to the local brewery, Elk Head Brewing. I had tried a well-traveled crowler of their beer earlier in the year (brought to Ft. Lauderdale by Bri, then brought to Philly by me, and sampled at my home in the burbs!) and I was excited to see the source! Elk Head is located in a small industrial park, similar to many breweries these days. But three things stood out – the all copper brewing equipment, the distinctly non-hipster clientele at the bar, and the welcoming owner-bartender Al pouring the taps. It was clear as soon as we walked in that this was the local pub; the group of beer drinkers at the bar had obviously just finished work and were there to drink a beer for happy hour – enjoying each other’s company, and giving me sideways looks that seemed to say, “Who’s this guy? He’s not from Buckley.” Most notably, these gentlemen had no handlebar mustaches and were not checking their beers into Untappd.

Elk Head Brewing in Buckley, WA

Once I ordered my beer – a jalapeño infused brown Ale called “Blast Zone” – I asked Al how long they had been open and how much they distribute. To my surprise he said they have been open for 14 years, and they primarily serve on site. I could ramble on about how I believe that Elk Head Brewing is the model (and the future) of the sustainability of the craft beer industry, but there are many more beers to discuss in this article.

As we walked out the door of Elk Head, I was again stunned by the vision of the mountains in the distance, and kept wondering how I could squeeze a trip in to visit the famous hop fields on the other side someday.

The Powerhouse in Puyallup, WA

Our next stop was in the town of Payallup, but before my lips touched any beer, I was required to learn how to pronounce the town name properly – “pew-all-up.” With that out of the way, we went to Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery. Operating in an old power station located next to the regional railroad, the brews were solid, especially the “More Power!” DIPA, with my favorite being the “Up Plum Kriek” sour ale.

Dystopian State, Tacoma, WA

After dinner, we visited Tacoma and a few of the breweries there. Dystopian State Brewing Company is located in a space that previously housed an old car dealership and overlooks Commencement Bay. With a large space for live music and a long bar, I enjoyed their “Everyone’s Crisis” cream Ale as well as their post-apocalyptic branding.

7 Seas Brewing, Tacoma, WA

The next stop was 7 Seas Brewing Company, a modern brewery in an old brewery space. 7 Seas brews in the building formerly occupied by historic brewery Heidelberg Brewing Company, which had its heyday in the mid 1900s. The large space still evokes impressions of a time when lager was king and the country needed lots of it! It holds a large tasting room offering 7 Seas’ year-round brews, seasonals, and a constantly rotating Tap Room Reserve Series. My favorite 7 Seas brew was their “Chinook Single Hop IPA,” but that should not come as a surprise to those who know me because of my affinity for Chinook hops! (Pro tip – I was corrected by the locals that the proper way to say “Chinook” is “shin” not “chin”).

Odd Otter, Tacoma, WA

Our last stop of the evening in Tacoma was Odd Otter Brewing. Prior to arriving, it was recommended to me to try their “Ottermelon Watermelon Ale,” but unfortunately it wasn’t available. Instead, I sampled their Brown Ale which was a very malty, enjoyable beer to drink as we laughed at the late night karaoke devolving in the back room.

Sometimes a massive cinnamon roll and coffee is just what you need to start another beer tour day!

The next day we made our way north from Tacoma into Seattle. Our first stop was in Seattle’s southern district of Georgetown at the aptly named “Georgetown Brewing Company.” Opened in 2002, Georgetown Brewing Company was the largest draft-only beer production company in the country until this summer. For 15 years Georgetown only sold kegs and growlers – according to our server in their large tasting room, Georgetown filled over 100,000 growlers in 2016.

Their flagship beer – “Manny’s Pale Ale” – can be found on many taps in Seattle; they sold over 50,000 barrels of “Manny’s” in 2016. In May of this year, they began canning Manny’s, so their “largest draft only” title is no longer applicable. In the tasting room, 7 or 8 samples are usually available from an extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff, and if you like one of the samples, you can purchase a prepoured growler of it.

Here’s something we don’t see in Pennsylvania!

After Georgetown, we made our way into downtown Seattle to experience Holy Mountain Brewing Company.

Holy Mountain Brewing – a great surprise!

Walking into the unassuming grey warehouse, I expected the interior to be a dark, industrial design with maybe some neon lights, like so many other warehouse breweries today. But similar to entering a shabby tent in the desert and finding it a luxurious palace, as I entered Holy Mountain Brewing, it took me a second to process what I was seeing. White subway tile on the walls was illuminated by significant amounts of sunlight, and high ceilings gave the impression that you had stepped into a beer oasis.

Having never heard of Holy Mountain before this trip, I was surprised again – the first beer on the draft list was “Satan is Real” pilsner, a collaboration with our own local brewery Tired Hands! After I tried the collaboration (and commented in irony, “Really? I come to Seattle and end up drinking a local Philly beer?”), my companions and I split a bottle of Holy Mountain’s “Volume 12” an amazing sour Ale brewed with black raspberries to celebrate the 12th anniversary of craft beer bar “Brouwer’s Cafe” in the Fremont section of Seattle.

The Cornelia Marie

Next, we continued traveling north to the Ballard section of town, and as we crossed the Ballard Bridge, there was another exciting moment – as I surveyed the massive crowd of fishing boats in the harbor and saw the ship the “Cornelia Marie” from Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” fame.

Reuben’s Brews

Once we arrived in Ballard, we visited Reuben’s Brews. I ordered a flight and took a seat at a picnic table in the warm spring sun. After trying a pilsner and a barrel aged breakfast stout, their “Mosaic Crush IPA” had the perfect aroma and flavor to earn its name. As much as I hate the phrase, it truly was “crushable” in the Seattle sunlight.

After Reuben’s Brews, we traveled to the Fremont district and took in the Fremont Troll, a giant troll statute under the Fremont Bridge and a must see if you go to Seattle.

Outlander Brewery & Pub

A Rainier at Woodskys!

While in Fremont, I made a brief visit to Outlander Brewing, which, similar to Forest & Main, operates in a renovated early 1900’s home. I enjoyed a quick brown ale, then made my way next door to “Woodsky’s” bar, where I had Seattle’s own “Rainier Pale Ale”, on the recommendation of a fantastic, handlebar mustache-sporting bartender who told me a great story about his visit to Philadelphia and tailgating before a Union game.

Populuxe Brewing in the Ballard section

My last stop of the trip was Populuxe Brewing, also in the Ballard section of town. At the time, Populuxe was operating out of their original nanobrewery space that consisted of a tap station in the front and a beer garden in the back. In September of 2017 they expanded their space and the main brewery is now located next door. Populuxe was one of the few breweries that I visited in Seattle that not only served a NE style IPA, but nailed it! In fact, one of my tour guides had never heard of the style before, but was so enamored with Populuxe’s version that she now seeks them out and emails me links to the tap releases! Populuxe’s “4th Anniversary IPA” had an amazing tropical fruit and citrus aroma and looked like pulpy grapefruit juice. It was excellent!

Mmmmmm, so good!

To enhance their beer, Populuxe features food trucks, and the one that was there during our visit served Mac and cheese with chorizo and Kim chi, as well as a “Vietnamese style” cheesesteak. All in all, Populuxe was a perfect last stop and is on my list to re-visit when I go back.

In the end, Seattle is known nationally for large brands like Red Hook, Ten Barrel and Elysian. But with a little bit of research – and some tips from locals – you’ll find some exquisite jewels of craft breweries.

Cheers!

The Brewholder
Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

The Day I Interviewed the original “Most Interesting Man In the World”

“Stay Interesting” available now in bookstores and on Amazon. Photo courtesy of Brian Pollack.

Every once and a while an opportunity presents itself that you just need to embrace.  Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor who became famous for portraying Dos Equis’ original “Most Interesting Man in the World.”  His new book, “Stay Interesting:  I Don’t Always Tell Stories About My Life, but When I Do They’re True and Amazing” was released on June 13, so I thought – because of his experience with Dos Equis – he would have some stories to tell about beer.

I had the chance to talk to Goldsmith on a phone interview, to find out a little more about the original “Most Interesting Man in the World.”  I learned that long before he became uber-interesting, Goldsmith began his acting career in Western movies and portrayed many characters in a distinguished list of 1980s television shows including Dallas, MacGyver, The A-Team, Knight Rider, and Magnum P.I. among many other iconic shows of the decade.  He explained that he decided to put the book together after a charity trip to Viet Nam.  “A reporter interviewed me about my career, and when we were done he said, ‘With the stories you have, you should write a book!’  I had already been saving things for my children and grandchildren, but I decided that a book would be a great way to pass along my stories to them.”

Goldsmith told me about his role as a villain in John Wayne’s last movie – The Shootist; his character came to his demise by being shot in the head by The Duke.  The scene needed multiple takes and the blood packets left welts on his face each time.  The producer felt so bad for him that Goldsmith was paid double in the end.  “Stay Interesting” also documents Goldsmith’s audition for Dos Equis in which he was asked to create a story with the last line “…and that’s how I arm-wrestled Fidel Castro.”  Goldsmith explained, “I channelled my friend (and fellow actor) Fernando Lamas, including his accent” and created a story that wow-ed the casting directors and landed him the spot.

The stories in “Stay Interesting” are focused on Goldsmith’s acting career and his interactions with other actors and actresses, including Tina Louise (Ginger from Gilligan’s Island); but the man who was the face of Dos Equis beer for almost a decade admitted that there are no tales in the book that involve beer.  In fact, since leaving Dos Equis, Goldsmith has become associated with Astral Tequila and even makes a brief appearance in a video on the website in which he says, “I told you – I don’t always drink beer.”  Even though “Stay Interesting” does not discuss any interesting beers, it was clear from his stories during the interview that the book will be a fantastic read, especially for anyone who has an appreciation for the Hollywood scene from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Death of the Fox Brewery & Coffeehouse to Open August 14

Death of the Fox Brewing Company to open August 14. Photo courtesy Death of the Fox Brewing Company.

The long awaited Death of the Fox Brewing Company will open to the public on August 14.   Read about this New Jersey brewery on Philly Beer Scene Online Exclusives!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

 

Dogfish Head releases a coconut IPA

Coconut IPA – yes! Photo courtesy Dogfish Head Brewing Company.

I’ve had a few coconut beers in my time, so when I read this release from Dogfish Head, I have to admit I was intrigued!   Looking forward to trying this one for sure:

Dogfish Head Celebrates the Summer with a Tropically Off-Centered Lupu-Luau IPA!
A juicy, coconut-centric IPA brewed with a tropical trifecta of toasted coconut, experimental hops and dehydrated coconut water

Milton, Del., July 7, 2017 – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is excited to welcome its newest off-centered ale to the party, Lupu-Luau IPA, a coconut-centric India Pale Ale brewed with a tropical trifecta of toasted coconut, experimental hops and dehydrated coconut water. Clocking in at 7.3% ABV and 45 IBUs, this unique take on a tropical IPA begins shipping nationally to taps and shelves in early June. Hazy with a white head, Lupu-Luau IPA gets its name from Lupulin, the hop flower gland containing essential oils, and luau, because Lupu-Luau is a tropical party in your mouth!

Lupu Luau IPA gets its unique, tropical fruit, pineapple and citrusy aroma from an experimental hop that throws generous coconut and woodsy notes into the flavor profile of the beer. “We worked hard to secure the majority of the full domestic yield of this experimental hop crop for years to come and Dogfish is currently the only brewery contracted to purchase it,” says Sam Calagione, founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. “We use dehydrated coconut water that contains delicious natural sugars and flaked toasted coconut as centerpieces of the beer – ingredients that pay homage to Coco Loco, a coconut blonde brewpub exclusive we brewed back in 2011 and an early example of tropical fruit IPA innovation from Dogfish.”

India Pale Ale is the highest-volume and fastest growing beer style in America and the largest breakout sub-style is the fruit IPA. In May 2017, the Brewers Association reported that the fruit IPA experienced a 236.67% growth in a rolling 52 week period. Dogfish Head is proud to be a leading pioneer in the evolution of the fruit IPA arena as it is the first American brewery to package and ship fruit IPAs nationally. In 1996, Dogfish released Aprihop, a massively hopped fruit India Pale Ale brewed with apricots, and the brewery has continued to innovate and experiment with all natural culinary ingredients including beautiful fruits, fresh citrus and tropical coconuts. To find and enjoy Lupu-Luau IPA and other off-centered Dogfish Head brews in your area, visit www.dogfish.com/brewery/fishfinder.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Winter is almost here – Ommegang announces next GOTR brew

Photo courtesy Brewery Ommegang.

This week, Cooperstown, NY-based Brewery Ommegang, in conjunction with HBO, announced their next beer in their Game of Thrones inspired series.  “Winter is Here” is a double white beer, named for the impending zombie invasion in the show.   The brew will be released in October, as well as a re-release of their Fire and Blood Ale.

The full press release can be seen here.

In addition, Ommegang recently announced the release a new beer – Fruition.

Fruition from Ommegang. Photo courtesy Brewery Ommegang.

Brewery Ommegang’s Fruition is a new, hazy, tropically-infused year-round beer

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) Brewery Ommegang is proud to announce a brand new year-round offering, Fruition. This refreshing 5.3% ABV dry-hopped wheat ale begins as award-winning Witte as the base beer and is then given a tropical twist with the addition of mango, kiwi, and passion fruit juices. The result is a slightly tart and fruity, hop-forward beer that’s exceptionally drinkable. It’s the perfect beer to pair with summer.
“As with every beer we brew, we strive to make all the elements blend together, and we think we’re succeeded in that quest with Fruition,” says Ommegang’s brewmaster Phil Leinhart. “Fruition is our first foray into the tropical fruit flavors that consumers find so appealing with New World hop varieties, and we look forward to feedback from fans.”
Brewed with malted and unmalted wheat and oat flakes, and spiced with sweet orange peel and coriander, Fruition is fermented with mango, kiwi, and passion fruit juices then dry-hopped with Citra and Cascade hops.
Fruition pours a pale straw color with moderate haziness and a fluffy white head. Tropical fruit and citrus aromas dominate the nose and the flavor follows suit with tart tropical fruit and citrus up front, followed by a smooth mouthfeel with a medium body. The finish is resoundingly dry with nice effervescence. The dryness and acidity of Fruition make it a perfect beer to pair with all manner of cheeses, particularly cheeses with some funk. The effervescence also makes this beer a great pairing with saltier foods – try Fruition with Belgian frites or chicken & waffles.
Fruition is available now in 12 oz. six-packs and on draft in the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, CO, DE, FL, GA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, and Washington D.C. Fans can use the brewery’s beer finder to search for retailers by zip code.
About Brewery Ommegang
Brewery Ommegang opened in 1997 to brew imaginative craft beers across a variety of styles, with particular emphasis and respect for Belgian brewing traditions. Ommegang brews nine ales year-round, as well as an extensive and innovative range of seasonal and specialty ales. The beers have won a national following by connoisseurs of fine beer and are distributed in 46 states and internationally. Ommegang is located on a 136-acre farmstead in Cooperstown, New York and offers free daily tours and inexpensive tastings as well as a 75-seat café, a well-stocked brewery store, and an annual calendar of public events including a summer concert series and a legendary beer festival, Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. Ommegang is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. For more information, contact info@ommegang.com, call 1-607-544-1800, or visit www.ommegang.com. Ommegang is a member of the Duvel family of fine beers. Follow Ommegang on Twitter: @BreweryOmmegang, Facebook.com/Ommegang, and Instagram: @BreweryOmmegang

Sly Fox Releases Hop Project .003 IPA

Sly Fox Hop Project release 003 available now! Photo courtesy Sly Fox Brewing Company.

Another new IPA was released by Sly Fox on July 8 – check it out!

No. 003
India Pale Ale

Robust quantities of Citra, Denali, and Centennial hops were incorporated into the third IPA to emerge from Sly Fox’ ongoing Hop Project series.

Hop Profile
Citra, Denali, Centennial

Find It!
07.08.17
Pottstown Tastin’ Room, Phoenixville Brewpub, and in limited quantities at fine beer purveyors throughout Pennsylvania.

Read more about their Hop Project here.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Iron Hill cans “Crusher” IPA just in time for summer

“Crusher IPA” now in cans. Photo courtesy Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant.

Iron Hill’s popular “Crusher” IPA has been canned and is available for purchase in 4 packs of cans for your enjoyment around your own pool, the beach or the mountains.   See the press release below:

SUMMER CRUSH: IRON HILL TO RELEASE CRUSHER™ IN CANS
The popular brewery’s latest beer release joins their rapidly growing line-up of canned beers, available in four-packs of 16-oz. cans to go while supplies last

On Thursday, June 29, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will release Crusher™ in cans. Since Iron Hill committed to making more of their beers available to fans in cans, they have consistently released some of their most popular and exciting offerings with an eye towards seasonality; Crusher is a summery IPA perfect for the hottest time of year.
· Crusher™ is a hoppy session ale brewed with a blend of Amarillo, Cascade and Mosaic hops for bright aromas of grapefruit, and ripe pineapple
The refreshing IPA will be available in limited quantities, while supplies last, in four-packs of 16-oz. cans
Like several of Iron Hill’s recent can releases, the can itself features a fun refreshed design from Pittsburgh, PA’s Smith Brothers Agency, joining other Iron Hill favorites such as Rising Sun IPA, Vienna Red Lager and Mahalo, Apollo!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Alesmith to release .394 Pale Ale Nationwide!

A press release from Alesmith on July 5 announced that their .394 will be available nationwide!   Here’s the release:

FOR FIRST TIME EVER, ALESMITH HALL OF FAME IMPERIAL SAN DIEGO PALE ALE .394 TO BE AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE

Second Generation Tip-of-the-Cap to Tony Gwynn Keeps Memory of Baseball Legend Alive

SAN DIEGO (JULY 5, 2017) – San Diego’s AleSmith Brewing Co. announces today its Hall of Fame Imperial San Diego Pale Ale .394 will be available in markets nationwide beginning in July.

<image003.jpg>About Hall of Fame Imperial San Diego Pale Ale .394
In 2014, AleSmith released the original San Diego Pale Ale .394, named for the batting average at which the late Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padres great and Hall of Famer, finished the 1994 season. AleSmith and Gwynn collaborated in the development of the beer, which Gwynn described as “light with a kick”.

The following year, after Gwynn’s passing, AleSmith paid homage to the legendary slugger by introducing a limited-edition imperial or double version available only in the San Diego market. The higher-octane interpretation, dubbed Hall of Fame Imperial San Diego Pale Ale .394, weighed in at 9.0% ABV packed into 22 oz. bottles adorned with Gwynn’s Hall of Fame signature.

Now, for the first time, Hall of Fame Imperial San Diego Pale Ale .394 will be available outside California. Like its predecessor, the imperial .394 is bursting with American hops, delivering a well-balanced palate of citrus, tropical fruit and pine notes.

“Tony’s spirit and the friendship we developed while working together has brought the Gwynn and Zien families incredibly close,” said Peter Zien, owner and CEO of AleSmith Brewing Co. “We hold the Tony Gwynn 5.5K run and walk annually with proceeds benefitting the Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation. Hall of Fame Imperial San Diego Pale Ale .394 is just one more way for us to keep the memory of our dear friend alive.”

AleSmith Hall of Fame Imperial San Diego Pale Ale .394, will be available at the AleSmith Brewing Co. tap room and on- and off-premise accounts across the U.S.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Attention to Detail the Key at Keystone Homebrew Supply

Photo courtesy Keystone Homebrew Supply.

When I’m not drinking beer or writing about beer or dreaming about beer, I try brewing beer. But let’s be clear: extract only (One of these days I’ll find the extra time to brew all grain).

At last count I’ve brewed 18 five gallon batches over the past 4 years (I’m not counting the two I brewed sometime in 1995/1996), with only 3 that were pretty much undrinkable – and those 3 failures were the result of simple process mistakes. Not too bad of a ratio for an amateur – but it’s the small mistakes that kill your beer, and paying attention to detail is extremely important.  I have to note – every single one of those Brewing kits have come from Keystone Homebrew Supply in Montgomeryville (even the 2 in 1995 & 1996, when they were located in a tiny little shop on Route 309)!

I was reminded of the importance of attention to detail in brewing the other day when I stopped in to Keystone Homebrew Supply in Montgomeryville to pick up my next kit. Usually I run in, get my prepackaged kit, grab the hops and yeast out of the fridge myself (because I can’t help myself – I usually tinker with the recipes), pay and leave. But the other day was different – I needed help because my favorite kit (called “Emperor Pale Patine”) wasn’t on the shelf.

So one of the Keystone employees named Alan put the kit together for me using the Emperor Pale Patine recipe that they keep in a three ring binder for just this kind of situation. When he brought me up to the counter to check out, he took the time to double check that all the ingredients of the kit were in the box (including my extra hop additions). As Alan went through the box, he scrutinized the recipe, and the first reaction in my head was “Come on man, I gotta go.”

But at each step in the recipe he asked “Do you do this?” Or “How do you do this step?” As Alan asked me these seemingly innocuous questions, he pointed out a few things that I could do (or not do!) to make my beer better. And those few simple things made so much sense that it blew my mind.

I’ve always heard that about Keystone homebrew Supply – in fact, they announce in their email newsletters – “If you have questions, feel free to ask anyone.” But I am usually on the run and don’t ask. So I’m glad Alan took the time to ask ME the questions! I’m stoked to try this next kit and just wanted to thank Alan and the Keystone staff!

And PS – if you are a Forest & Main fan, Keystone sells a kit of their “My Analog Brain,” an English bitter. That’s definitely on my list to brew – maybe it will be my 20th batch!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved