Mid Atlantic Brewing News June/July 2013 : Page 1

Summer Libations: By Alexander D. Mitchell IV & Jim Weber lan l Newman’s career reminds c one o of the line l from The Godfather III: G “Just when I “ thought I was t out, o they pull me back in!” b The founder of Vermont’s Magic Hat Brewing Co. thought he was through with the beer business when his partners, without his assent, sold the company in 2010 to North American Breweries The self-described “serial entrepreneur” considered such ventures as a motorcycle dealership and a bed-and-breakfast, and was about to buy into what he describes as “a Willy Wonka-esque potato chip company” when Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co. made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: run an independently operating, fully funded subsidiary of Boston Beer to explore new business ventures. Since last year, Newman’s Traveler Beer Co. has been trying to make craft beer drinkers conscious of shandy. Shandy is a drink that Newman enjoyed By Greg Kitsock SHANDY LASSES. Fans of Curious Traveler sport the fake mustaches that have become the corporate symbol of the brand. Why a mustache? “It seemed to be fun. All just developed as it evolved,” answered company founder Alan Newman. PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAVELER BEER CO. in England, a cocktail of beer and lemonade. (Remember though that in the European countries where the drink is most popular, “lemonade” is a carbonated soft drink like 7-Up or Sprite , rather than fruit juice.) Newman tried to recreate shandy back in America, “but we could never get it right. It’s ead, the ancient drink made from diluted and fermented honey, is still trying to find its place in the 21st-century market … and in the Mid-Atlantic. Long a favorite of overwrought Renaissance re-enactors and fantasy game geeks, mead has also long been an esoteric detour for craft beer and wine aficionados. Even Charlie Papazian, founder of the American Homebrewers Association and godfather of the homebrewing revival, admits a soft spot for prickly pear cactus mead. ILLUSTRATIONS BY: HANS GRANHEIM Commercially, mead has long struggled. Well-publicized problems of beekeepers – colony collapse disorder, parasitic mites – have depressed harvests, while increased demand for natural sweeteners has sent honey prices soaring. Another factor is taxation: mead is typically considered a wine and gets hit with higher excise taxes, even if it’s low-alcohol to the point of being soda-like. Prices range from $10 to $40 or more a bottle (even for smaller bottles common to dessert wines). See Shandy p. 3 not easy to get the perfect blend.” Alan Newman came The secret was adding a touch of lime. “It out of retirement to took the sweetness off and brought a bite to formulate shandy, a it.” drink Curious he learned to Newman’s flagship brand, enjoy in England. Traveler , actually isn’t a blend. It’s an American wheat beer with lemon and lime puree added in the conditioning tank. The recipe also calls for a little crushed lemon peel to add a slightly bitter note. Shandy has a stylistic cousin, shandygaff, which is typically a mix of beer and a non-alcoholic ginger beer or ginger ale. Newman pays homage with his Tenacious Traveler , flavored with ginger and honey. He recently introduced Time Traveler , which adds strawberry to the base, “to give people a different take on what people think a shandy PHOTO COURTESY OF is.” TRAVELER BEER CO. See Honey p. 6 Inside Book Review.................................. 5 Homebrew ...................................10 Fairy Hopmother ........................12 Matters of Import .......................13 Hop Ed .........................................17 Maps ...................................... 18-21 Event Calendar ............................39 State by State News Virginia ...........14 C. Penn ............22 Philadelphia ...24 E. Penn ............26 Maryland ........27 Baltimore ........30 W. Virginia ......32 D.C. ..................33 New Jersey .....34 Delaware ........36

Summer Libations: A Seductive Taste Of Honey

Mead, the ancient drink made from diluted and fermented honey, is still trying to find its place in the 21st-century market … and in the Mid-Atlantic.

Long a favorite of overwrought Renaissance re-enactors and fantasy game geeks, mead has also long been an esoteric detour for craft beer and wine aficionados. Even Charlie Papazian, founder of the American Homebrewers Association and godfather of the homebrewing revival, admits a soft spot for prickly pear cactus mead.

Commercially, mead has long struggled. Well-publicized problems of beekeepers – colony collapse disorder, parasitic mites – have depressed harvests, while increased demand for natural sweeteners has sent honey prices soaring. Another factor is taxation: mead is typically considered a wine and gets hit with higher excise taxes, even if it’s low-alcohol to the point of being sodalike. Prices range from $10 to $40 or more a bottle (even for smaller bottles common to dessert wines).

Nonetheless, at least two meaderies, Redstone Meadery of Colorado and Moonlight Meadery of New Hampshire, distribute nationally. B. Nektar Meadery of Michigan sells in much of the Eastern Seaboard. A diligent shopper can also find meads from Britain, Austria, South Africa, Denmark, Poland, and Sweden available in these parts.

The Buzz From Maryland

A great many of the 150 or so "meaderies" in the United States are wineries that make primarily grape or fruit wines. One new producer in Maryland is making mead as a sideline to cider. Millstone Cellars occupies an 1840s-vintage water-powered grist mill in Monkton, northern Baltimore County. Owner Curt Sherrer and his son Kyle have lined multiple floors with oak barrels holding varietal ciders and meads. Two meads come in distinctive, clear, flip-top bottles. Ember is a blend of oak-aged clover mead and cider with organic ginger. Hopbrosia is a 12%-abv single-barrel clover honey mead that’s dryhopped with Maryland-grown Chinook hops.

Locavores, take note: The Sherrers use only local apples and honeys (including tulip poplar, blueberry and black locust) sourced "within 150 miles of here," said Kyle. Although the elder Sherrer has invested greatly in the oncecrumbling mill, much work remains to upgrade the facilities beyond a basic cellar tasting room.

There are exceptions to the mixed-production model. One of the most prominent is Orchid Cellar near Middletown, Md. (8546 Pete Wiles Rd., 301-473-3568). Husband and wife Andrzej and Marzanna Wilk, immigrants from Poland, and their son Andrzej Jr. Produce some merlot, but mostly they market meads, ten as of this writing, in 375-ml bottles.

"We couldn't find the Polish-style meads here in the United States, so finally we decided to make them ourselves," said Marjanna of her higher-alcohol (15-18% abv) versions with a liqueur-like sweetness and body. The tasting and selling room is in the family's basement. Products include Blacksmith, with added blackberries, raspberries and blueberries; Lumberjack, with apples; Hunter, with a light touch of chili pepper; and several spiced meads.

Virginia’s Rolling Countryside

Across the Potomac River in the rolling countryside near Purcellville, Va., Colonel (yes, that's his name) Locklear plans to open Stonehouse Meadery (36580 Shoemaker School Rd., 540-338-5283) by mid-summer 2013, offering at least five varieties from the start. Locklear has been converting part of a large garage to a winery and hopes to have a tasting room available soon in the meadery's picturesque namesake stone house. Like many mead aficionados, Locklear is also a beekeeper, and hopes to use all local honey in his products. For now his house is cluttered with test batches, most in the 11-12% range and leaning semi-dry to dry - a departure from the sweeter meads popular elsewhere in the market. Locklear has also been experimenting with different varieties of honey, as well as additions of oak, hops, spices and flowers to add extra flavor.

To the west of Stonehouse, Misty Mountain Meadworks in Winchester, Va. (1531 Pack Horse Rd.) is a "nano-meadery.” It has no public facility, produces but one product (Misty Mountain Wildflower Mead), and distributes only to a few locations locally and to the Virginia Renaissance Faire (held at the Lake Anna Winery near Spotsylvania in May and June). The Copeland family operates the meadery on a 15-acre tract in the mountains bordering the Shenandoah Valley.

Virginia has two other meaderies further afield: White Oak Mountain Meadery near Chatham, just north of the North Carolina border, and Blacksnake Meadery near Dugspur in southwestern Virginia. The latter distributes to retailers throughout Virginia. Besides more traditional meads, it markets Bee Brew with Hops (a sparkling light mead described as having “the bitterness and aroma of a good bitter or pale ale”), and Squashed, a mead made with butternut squash and pumpkin-pie spices.

Keystone Meaderies

Pennsylvania is sprouting its own operations. Stonekeep Meadery (14 Osprey Lane, Birdsboro; 610-743-8693) occupies a basement in a house in a remote development in Berks County. You'll know you've arrived when you see the license plates reading “GOT MEAD” and “LDY MEAD” on the cars outside. Business partners Marc Johnson and Sheree Krasley connected through medieval enactments and opened their business about five years ago. Aside from the tasting room in their home, the two sell their meads at Frecon Farms in Douglass Township, local wine festivals and several area restaurants. Johnson makes about 13 varieties of mead a year, including straight mead, melomel (fermented with fruit) and metheglyn (flavored with flowers or spices). He obtains his honey from several sources, including Wade Fisher in Lewistown, Pa., owner of the Drunk Monkey Brew Works.

Chris Boyd, winemaker at Cardinal Hollow Winery near North Wales, includes four meads among 29 offerings, Out of about 2,500 gallons sold last year, Sweet Whiskey Mead, aged in whiskey barrels for 14 months, was the third biggest seller at his five tasting and sales rooms in Montgomery and Bucks Counties. (Check out cardinalhollowwinery.com for addresses.) His number-one product is a jalapeno wine. Boyd is also considering selling to the Commonwealth-run state liquor stores.

Even though Cardinal is basically a oneman operation, it’s only Boyd’s second job: he works as regional sales manager for a wastewater equipment manufacturer.

Boyd sources honey through the Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association, buying about 1,000 lb at a time. (That works out to 3. 5 to 4 lb per gallon.) He’s passed a few of his wooden barrels to Round Guys Brewing Co., just around the corner from his Lansdale branch, for use in a sour-mash alt.

Read the full article at http://mydigitalpublication.com/article/Summer+Libations%3A+A+Seductive+Taste+Of+Honey+/1421510/162121/article.html.

Shandy: When Life Hands You Lemons

Greg Kitsock

SHANDY LASSES. Fans of Curious Traveler sport the fake mustaches that have become the corporate symbol of the brand. Why a mustache? “It seemed to be fun. All just developed as it evolved,” answered company founder Alan Newman.

Alan Newman’s career reminds one of the line from The Godfather III: “ Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”

The founder of Vermont’s Magic Hat Brewing Co. Thought he was through with the beer business when his partners, without his assent, sold the company in 2010 to North American Breweries

The self-described “serial entrepreneur” considered such ventures as a motorcycle dealership and a bed-and-breakfast, and was about to buy into what he describes as “a Willy Wonka-esque potato chip company” when Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co. Made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: run an independently operating, fully funded subsidiary of Boston Beer to explore new business ventures.

Since last year, Newman’s Traveler Beer Co. Has been trying to make craft beer drinkers conscious of shandy.

Shandy is a drink that Newman enjoyed in England, a cocktail of beer and lemonade. (Remember though that in the European countries where the drink is most popular, “lemonade” is a carbonated soft drink like 7-Up or Sprite, rather than fruit juice.) Newman tried to recreate shandy back in America, “but we could never get it right. It’s Newman’s shandies are available in 18 states along the Eastern Seaboard and in the Midwest. Traveler competes with some much larger players, including Boston Beer Co. Itself.

A Brew Built for Bicycles

The Sam Adams summer variety pack includes Porch Rocker, a Bavarian-style golden lager spiked with a lemon extract. The Germans call such a beverage a Radlermass (literally, “cyclist’s liter”) or Radler. According to the German Beer Institute, the style traces its origin to 1922, to an innkeeper named Franz Xaver Kugler, who tried to boost sales by having a bike trail constructed that led straight to his door. On one balmy Saturday afternoon, “some 13,000 cyclists descended upon Kugler’s inn and demanded beer.” To stretch his stock, the besieged innkeeper mixed lemon soda into his beer in a 50/50 ratio. His alibi: to keep the cyclists sober enough to stay on their bikes for the journey home.

“It’s the same concept, “says Newman, but otherwise offers no opinion on Porch Rocker. “I pay no attention to what they do!” (His job keeps him on the road too much: he’s got another venture, a microbrewery named Angel City Brewing Co. In the underserved Los Angeles market.)

Sweeter and more soda-like is Leinenkugel Summer Shandy from the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. In Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, a subsidiary of MillerCoors. Like Curious Traveler, this brand uses a wheat beer for a base, adding honey and “natural lemonade flavor” (the company declines to be more specific about what that is). Anheuser-Busch has its own entry: Shock Top Lemon Shandy, a Belgian-style witbier with “natural lemonade flavor and a touch of sugar” added to the coriander and citrus peel, according to Jill Vaughn, head brewmaster for Shock Top.

Why make shandy with lemonade flavor rather than lemonade itself? “Juice and beer don’t package well,” she explains. “The juice component starts to denature, producing offflavors.”

An exception is Mike’s Shandy, a blend of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and a proprietary golden lager brewed at the City Brewery in LaCrosse, Wis. Company president Kevin Kotecki says it’s more in line with the original English concept. “After a hot day playing rugby, you don’t want a wheat beer.”

And Matt Brewing Co. In Utica, NY mixes up its own lemonade to make Saranac Shandy, blending it with a golden lager right before bottling.

Shandy as the Ideal Session Beer

One advantage of shandy is the low alcohol content, something even diehard craft drinkers can appreciate. The Traveler beers measure 4. 2% by volume, and most others mentioned here clock in under 5%. “We believe in socialization,” says Newman, “to be able to drink 4-5-6 beers over the course of a night and enjoy your friends and the occasion.

Last summer, Eric McKay of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va. Concocted a lemonade with fresh ginger root and mixed it with his Hardywood Singel (a Belgian-style blonde ale) over the bar in his tasting room. He says he might repeat the experiment this summer.

More recently, Coastal Brewing Co. In Dover, Delaware, brewer of the Dominion and Fordham lines, kegged a one-off called The Real Slim Shandy at April’s R2Hop2 beer and music fest. Brewer Chris Gordon blended his Beach House Pilsner with a storebought lemonade in a 60:40 ratio, according to vice president for sales and marketing Casey Hollingsworth. Coastal also offered a variant with a raspberry-flavored lemonade. The shandies were the first two kegs to kick, said Hollingsworth.

“Maybe a sign of the times,” he muses. “Don't know if we will actually do a general market release, but it was definitely an interesting and successful experiment.”

Read the full article at http://mydigitalpublication.com/article/Shandy%3A+When+Life+Hands+You+Lemons/1421523/162121/article.html.

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