Mid Atlantic Brewing News April/May 2011 : Page 1
Philly’s Farmhouse No Barley, : REVIVAL R EV E EVIVA V I VA V A AL L Gerard Olson enjoys a beer in front of the 1880s Victorian mansion in Ambler, Pa. that will house Forest & Main. PHOTO BY NATHAN ZEENDER By Nathan Zeender No Problem: Recreating Jeﬀ erson’s Beer By Charles Pekow P The Farmers’ Cabinet Fresh Food, Saisons and “Wonderful Microbes ” Philadelphia is poised to become ground zero for the new harvest of farm-house breweries. The city and suburbs, which many already believe to be the greatest in the world for beer, will be further gilded with three new breweries embracing mixed fermentations with wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria, barrel aging and local foods. Think ripe cheese, crusty bread and a spritely glass of saison. Terry Hawbaker gained a reputation at Bull Frog Brewing Co. in Williamsport, Pa. for his oak barrel-aged, mixed fermentation beers and his ”kegs gone wild” series. In the wake of his Beekeeper winning gold in the Wood and Barrel Aged Sour category at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival, Hawbaker’s early bottle releases fell victim to the hoard mentality fueled by the online beer rating sites— much of the prized beer was traded or auctioned away from his local clientele. Hawbaker was approached by the proprietors of Fork & Barrel in East Falls about a new concept “gastro-brewpub,” The Farmers’ Cabinet, in which he would have creative license to brew the mixed fermentation beers that are his passion in a Center City location, supplying four draft lines of artisan beer brewed on a tiny 2 barrel Burton Union system of his own design. He couldn’t See Farmhouse p. 3 N INSIDE CORNMANDER IN CHIEF . You can now enjoy a bottle of Monticello Reserve Ale, based on Thomas Jefferson’s homebrew, at his Charlottesville, Va. estate. PHOTO COURTESY OF MONTICELLO ILLUSTRATIONS BY: HANS GRANHEIM Nearly two centuries after it was last brewed and bottled, Thomas Jefferson’s homebrew has returned to Monticello. And this time, you can down a glass right in Jef-ferson’s own home, or in your own. Ever since Jeffer-son’s Charlottesville, Va. Estate reopened Jefferson’s beer cellar for tours (see MABN, June/July 2009) in 2003, staffers at the estate have been toying with the idea of recreating and sell-ing the beer. “Everybody is very keen on discussing Jefferson and wine,” relates Justin Saraﬁ n, the assistant curator at Monticello who spearheaded the project. “He never made a suc-cessful vintage here. In the Editorial ........................................2 Beer Out of Africa ........................6 Beer Drinker of the Year ..............7 The Beer That Time Forgot .........8 Book Review ..............................10 HomeBrewing ............................14 Hop Ed ........................................16 Events .........................................41 teens [1813-19], he was brewing a couple of hundred gallons of beer a year. That’s kind of the untold story.” Mark Thompson, a Charlottesville native and founder and master brewer of the nearby Starr Hill Brewing Co. in Crozet, Va., took an immediate interest in the idea. “We had a couple of false starts and a couple of years ago we were able to get some momentum behind the project and here we are,” Saraﬁ n says. Jefferson didn’t leave any recipes, so the histori-ans and brewers couldn’t come up with an exact copy of what the nation’s See Jefferson’s pg. 4 State by State News Virginia ................12 C Pennsylvania ...22 Philadelphia ........24 E. Pennsylvania ..26 Baltimore .............28 Maryland ..............30 New Jersey ..........34 W. Virginia ...........36 Delaware ..............38 DC ........................42
Philly’s Farmhouse Revival:
Fresh Food, Saisons and “Wonderful Microbes"
Philadelphia is poised to become ground zero for the new harvest of farmhouse breweries. The city and suburbs, which many already believe to be the greatest in the world for beer, will be further gilded with three new breweries embracing mixed fermentations with wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria, barrel aging and local foods. Think ripe cheese, crusty bread and a spritely glass of saison.
The Farmers’ Cabinet
Terry Hawbaker gained a reputation at Bull Frog Brewing Co. In Williamsport, Pa. for his oak barrel-aged, mixed fermentation beers and his ”kegs gone wild” series. In the wake of his Beekeeper winning gold in the Wood and Barrel Aged Sour category at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival, Hawbaker’s early bottle releases fell victim to the hoard mentality fueled by the online beer rating sites— much of the prized beer was traded or auctioned away from his local clientele.
Hawbaker was approached by the proprietors of Fork & Barrel in East Falls about a new concept “gastrobrewpub,” The Farmers’ Cabinet, in which he would have creative license to brew the mixed fermentation beers that are his passion in a Center City location, supplying four draft lines of artisan beer brewed on a tiny 2 barrel Burton Union system of his own design. He couldn’t refuse the offer. The ambitious space at 1113 Walnut St. will have 22 other draft lines dedicated to rare producers throughout Europe and a farm table menu of housemade charcuterie and artisan bread, cheese, and game dishes. Renovation is in high gear for a spring opening, with Hawbaker’s first beers being ready “later this year”.
Hawbaker’s departure came as a surprise to many, as he had just taken possession of 24 additional oak barrels to work with at Bullfrog. He comments, “The new American renaissance that’s taking place with all the upstarts and gypsies, it’s not really Belgianstyled or Belgian-inspired anymore, it’s just inspired. I liken my new venture to urban farmhouse brewing and I think it’s going to be a blast.”
Forest & Main
Forest & Main is a cross-cultural exchange of sorts: co-founders/brewers Gerard Olson and Daniel Endicott intend to brew in both the farmhouse and the U.K. session tradition. A guiding principle will be coaxing maximum flavor out of a lower-gravity base, whether a traditional saison or a proper mild. “Our saisons could be thought of as grisettes, or perhaps more traditional saisons, in that they’ll be much lower in alcohol than what you typically see these days,” says Olson. The partners have cobbled together an 8.5- bbl brewhouse and will operate the brewpub in an 1880s Victorian in Ambler, Pa., serving their own bread, farm-fresh food and six house beers, with plans for limited bottling of “special” beers.
Olson has a natural sense of wonder and curiosity which led them to begin experimenting with wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria in local Chaddsford Winery barrels a few years back while assisting at McKenzie BrewHouse in the western suburbs. Olson recalls, “At first we really didn’t know what to expect, but ultimately the barrels have become our porous breeding ground for an assortment of wonderful microbes.“ Olson will take the lessons learned at McKenzie and apply them to his program of “as many barrels in the basement as we can possibly fit!” The two are hoping to open to the public this summer; until then Olson plans to continue brewing at McKenzie.
Tired Hands Brewing Co. Is Jean Broillet’s bright-eyed vision of “a small brewcafe built on a solid foundation of localization and simplicity.” Broillet will produce “Belgian/French farmhouse ales and American hop-forward ales” on a secondhand, wood clad 6-bbl system with four dishbottom fermenters dedicated to farmhouse ales and two cylindroconical tanks for hoppy beers. He plans on offering two standard house beers on tap: a 5.2%-abv “aromatic” pale ale saturated with finishing hops and a traditional 4.5% abv saison. To keep things interesting, there will be six rotating taps that, although not brewed for consistency’s sake, will be brewed “consistently good.” Broillet is also planning bi-monthly limited release bottlings with a focus on mixed fermentation beers, “either fermented in wood, matured in wood, or a combination of both.” Lambic enthusiasts should note that there are plans for a coolship in the current design.
The menu will center around house baked bread and simple, locally sourced food. Broillet has methodically planned details and gathered equipment for the last several years, and reports that his location in Ardmore, Pa. Is “in the last round of building inspections” and should be open within 12 months.
Broillet has done a yeoman’s job as a brewer for the last several years at Iron Hill’s West Chester location, where he began the local chain’s barrel and mixed-fermentation program, and will remain there until his transition. In the meantime, plans are in the works for a pair of international collaborative brews with friends at Brouwerij ‘t Gaverhopke in Belgium and Fanø Bryghus in Denmark in the next month.
Brewpub’s lead brewer John Defibaugh and McKenzie’s Ryan Michaels in crafting a dark, rye saison appropriately named Trois Enfants.
Pilgrims on the Road Less Traveled
Owner Tom Baker of Earth Bread + Brewery and McKenzie’s Michaels were necessary antecedents to the new groundswell. Baker helped lay the foundation for artisanal brewing on the East Coast first with his cult Heavyweight Brewing label and now at Earth Bread, where consistency is cast aside and each batch is its own creation, while working the margins with plenty milds and gruits.
Michaels has collected gold for his Saison Vautour an astounding three of the last four years at the GABF. It’s won for both the standard draft version fermented in stainless steel and for a much funkier mixedfermentation version that rested in a wine barrel for six months … another case against consistency.
He says, “In a traditional farmhouse sense, where a lot of the mixed fermentation and barrels come in, we are probably übertraditional, yet people want to say it’s cutting edge. In the end it’s just cutting brewing down to the basics and having fun with it.”
No Barley, No Problem:
Recreating Jefffferson's Beer
CORNMANDER IN CHIEF. You can now enjoy a bottle of Monticello Reserve Ale, based on Thomas Jefferson's homebrew, at his Charlottesville, Va. Estate.
Nearly two centuries after it was last brewed and bottled, Thomas Jefferson's homebrew has returned to Monticello. And this time, you can down a glass right in Jefferson's own home, or in your own.
Ever since Jefferson's Charlottesville, Va. Estate reopened Jefferson's beer cellar for tours (see MABN, June/July 2009) in 2003, staffers at the estate have been toying with the idea of recreating and selling the beer. "Everybody is very keen on discussing Jefferson and wine," relates Justin Sarafi n, the assistant curator at Monticello who spearheaded the project. "He never made a successful vintage here. In the teens [1813-19], he was brewing a couple of hundred gallons of beer a year. That's kind of the untold story."
Mark Thompson, a Charlottesville native and founder and master brewer of the nearby Starr Hill Brewing Co. In Crozet, Va., took an immediate interest in the idea. "We had a couple of false starts and a couple of years ago we were able to get some momentum behind the project and here we are," Sarafi n says.
Jefferson didn't leave any recipes, so the historians and brewers couldn't come up with an exact copy of what the nation's third president brewed and imbibed at home. But they looked at records of what crops he grew, figuring he used mainly ingredients grown on his 5,000-acre estate. Jefferson apparently brewed mainly with corn and wheat - he grew little if any barley.
In an 1821 letter to fellow ex-president James Madison, Jefferson wrote that he brewed three 60-gallon casks each fall, and one cask in the spring, at Monticello. Jefferson assigned the task to one of his slaves, Peter Hemings. The brother of the more famous Sally Hemings learned to make beer from Joseph Miller, an English brewer and sea captain who had been stranded in the United States when the War of 1812 erupted.
Jefferson was America's "first microbrewer" and "a real locavore," says Thompson.
Thompson makes his Monticello Reserve from 80% malted wheat, 10% torrifi ed (pre-gelatinized) wheat and 10% corn grits.
The beer is lightly hopped with East Kent Goldings, an English strain that Thompson judged most similar to the hops Jefferson grew. Alcohol is 5.5% by volume. That's probably on the low end of what Jefferson brewed, notes Sarafin.
Unlike other Jefferson tribute beers (i.e., the Thomas Jefferson Tavern Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing Co. In Philadelphia), Monticello Reserve contains no barley, a nearly universal ingredient in modern commercial beers. This raises some problems in brewing. Barley kernels are surrounded by a husk that acts as a natural straining device during lautering, the act of separating the sugar-rich liquid from the soggy grain. Wheat, lacking this husk, tends to make a gooey mess. Thompson eases the lautering process by fashioning a filter bed out of rice hulls, which are flavor-neutral. Even so, the beer takes an extra hour or two to make, he adds.
You can take home a 750-ml bottle from the museum shop or various stores around town. Or you can drink a glass in the Monticello cafe, Starr Hill's tasting room or at a few restaurants and pubs in the Charlottesville area. Starr Hill plans to distribute it throughout Virginia by the end of 2011 and throughout its Mid-Atlantic distribution area in 2012, depending on how well the public receives the product.
Will drinkers pay a premium for a beer that's not high in alcohol or loaded with hops or exotic spices?
"We're going to gauge consumer reaction," replies Thompson. "I don't know if this is a souvenir type of thing or if it will have large-scale appeal."
If it's any indication, the beer sold out the first day it was introduced (Monticello hosted a three-hour tasting on Presidents Day, Feb. 21). The gift shop had sold 453 bottles by the end of February.
If all goes well, Starr Hill might make additional beers based on crops Jefferson would have had available. "Mark and I have talked about using figs," says Sarafin. Thompson said his dream, a few years down the line, would be to do an estate beer using only grains and hops actually grown in the gardens at Monticello.
In the meantime, Sarafn recommends that you take Monticello Reserve out of the fridge and let it sit half an hour before drinking it. Not only will that bring out the bready and citrusy flavors, but the beer will taste more authentic, as Jefferson didn't use anything like modern refrigeration.
If you want to replicate the way Jefferson drank it, pour it in a glass tumbler and enjoy it with meals. "It is very crisp and light, "Sarafin says. "It's great now that we are getting into spring and summer. It will be perfect for that time of year."
Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/No+Barley%2C+No+Problem%3A/688937/65988/article.html.