Mid Atlantic Brewing News December 2011/January 2012 : Page 1

Italian Flair Read the Book, Drink the Beer “WE ALL PUT IN THE YEAST.” From left to right, Thomas Kraus-Weyermann, The bar at Birreria crowds up quickly during the evening. An awning protects the marble bar top from the sun's heat during the summer, and a glass canopy will keep patrons warm during the cold weather. PHOTO BY VAL CLARK Horst Dornbusch and Garrett Oliver brew a special beer to commemorate the publication of their book, The Oxford Companion to Beer. PHOTO COURTESY OF BROOKLYN BREWERY M By Martin Morse Wooster By Greg Kitsock t begins with “abbey beers” and concludes, 920 pages later, with “zymurgy.” In between, the recently-published Oxford Companion to Beer contains over 1,100 entries penned by 166 contribu-tors. It’s intended as “a one-stop source for a very wide variety of informa-tion,” says its editor-in-chief Garrett Oliver, best known as the brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery.“I truly believe that … [it] is the most comprehensive book ever published on the subject of beer,” Oli-ver writes in the preface. But the work has also drawn brickbats for errors and omissions, particularly from British beer writer Martyn Cornell, who has termed the book “a dread-See Companion p.4 anhattan has some of the world’s best beer bars. But expensive real estate has made it a city sadly lack-ing in brewpubs. Until June, the only brewpub serving Manhattan’s 1.6 million residents was Chelsea Brewing Co., located on the Chelsea Piers. Last summer, Manhattan’s brewpub population tripled with the opening of the 508 GastroBrewery in SoHo and La Birreria, a branch of the Italian food hall Eataly. The latter is unusual in several ways. It might be the only brewpub on the roof of an of fi ce building, 15 stories high. It might See Eataly p 6 Book Review................................10 Fairy Hopmother ........................11 Matters of Import .......................12 Homebrew ...................................18 Maps ...................................... 20-23 Brewhaha ....................................37 Event Calendar ............................41 Dog fi sh Head's Sam Calagione and Birreria brewer Brooks Carrera collaborate on a beer at Eataly's rooftop brewpub. PHOTO: VAL CLARK INSIDE State by State News Virginia ...........14 C. Penn ............24 Philadelphia ...26 E. Penn ............28 Maryland ........30 Baltimore ........32 New Jersey .....36 W. Virginia ......38 Delaware ........40 D.C. ..................42

Controversial Companion

Greg Kitsock

Read The Book, Drink The Beer

"We All Put In The Yeast." From Left To Right, Thomas Kraus-Weyermann, Horst Dornbusch And Garrett Oliver Brew A Special Beer To Commemorate The Publication Of Their Book, The Oxford Companion To Beer. Photo Courtesy Of Brooklyn Brewery

It begins with “abbey beers” and concludes, 920 pages later, with “zymurgy.” In between, the recentlypublished Oxford Companion to Beer contains over 1,100 entries penned by 166 contributors. It’s intended as “a one-stop source for a very wide variety of information,” says its editor-inchief Garrett Oliver, best known as the brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery.“I truly believe that … [it] is the most comprehensive book ever published on the subject of beer,” Oliver writes in the preface. But the work has also drawn brickbats for errors and omissions, particularly from British beer writer Martyn Cornell, who has termed the book “a dreadful disaster” on his blog http://zythophile. Wordpress.com

Much of the writing is dry and factual. Want to know what “amylase” is? “4-vinyl guaiacol”? The Oxford Companion defines these highly technical terms. But it also explores aspects of beer geek culture like “breweriana” and “ticking” (“a peculiarly English beer-related hobby involving the tasting of as many different beers as possible ... widely compared to trainspotting”).

Readers will find entries on such titans of the brewing industry as Peter Ballantine and Fritz Maytag, along with non-brewers whose lives intersected with the beer business in some meaningful way (for instance, James Earl Carter, who signed a bill during his presidency legalizing homebrewing, and Hildegard von Bingen, twelfth century abbess, mystic and herbalist who discussed hops in her medical treatise Physica).

Defending the Companion

Oliver isn’t afraid of occasionally courting controversy. He contributes an entry on the late British beer writer Michael Jackson, who, he maintains, “was arguably the single most influential voice in food and drink of the 20th century.” Jackson, writes Oliver, “essentially invented the concept [of beer style] from whole cloth.”

That’s a lot of credit to hand out. But Oliver defended his claim: “Before Jackson, the way people referred to beer was much more general. Maybe people called a beer an IPA, but nobody talked about what an IPA was as a style. Did it need to be strong? Bitter? Dry? Jackson was the one who pulled it all together.”

The book’s choice of subjects to cover has puzzled some readers. There are entries for some fairly small breweries, like Brasserie Dupont and Westvleteren, but not for much larger operations like Deschutes or Widmer Brothers or even D. G. Yuengling & Son. “It was never our intention to cover every brewery of a certain size,” explains Oliver. “What we looked for was cultural significance.” Brasserie Dupont, Oliver notes, is “a small producer but massively influential”; its Saison Dupont is considered the exemplar of the saison style. (For the record, The Oxford Companion includes an entry for “Brooklyn Brewery,” but not for “Garrett Oliver.”)

Blogger Alan McLeod has compiled a wiki (http://ocbeercommentary.wikispaces. com/) listing disputations and errata. One error McLeod overlooked: the entry on “George Washington” states that he penned a recipe for small beer in his diary in 1737, when Washington would have been five years old.

King Henry’s Hops

While The Oxford Companion explodes some beer myths (i.e., the fake Ben Franklin quote that “beer is proof that God loves and wants us to be happy”), it perpetu- As brewmaster for the Brooklyn Brewery, Garrett Oliver has been able to generate buzz for his book in a way that John Grisham or Stephen King or Danielle Steele can’t. He brewed a special entry in his Brewmaster’s Reserve series of one-off releases, a wheat wine dubbed The Companion. Two of his co-collaborators on the book (Horst Dornbusch, the book’s associate editor, and Thomas Kraus- Weyermann, co-president of Weyermann Malting Co.) Helped Oliver brew the beer, using a special variety of floor-malted wheat that adds a rich, almost juicy quality to the 10%-alcohol-by-volume brew. Brooklyn Brewery is even offering The Oxford Companion to Beer in an attractive gift package along with a 750-milliliter bottle of The Companion. Companion continued from cover Jackson, writes Oliver, “essentially invented the concept [of beer style] from whole cloth.” According to Dan D’Ippolito, Brooklyn Brewery’s communications coordinator, “This is the only time I can think of that a Brewmaster’s Reserve beer was bottled.” This special bottled version of The Companion is refermented with a champagne yeast, which likely gives it a drier, spritzier profile than the draft version, he adds. This limited release of a limitd release will no see generl distribution. But you’ll have to visit the brewery to pick up this $85 box set. “I don’t think this is something we can sell through Barnes and Noble,” laughs Oliver. Otherwise, you can buy the book alone for $65, although copies have been selling on amazon.com in the $40 range.

- Greg Kitsock The Beer of the Book ates others, maintains Martyn Cornell. He cites the statement “King Henry VIII … forbade the use of hops outright at his court” in the entry on “English hops.” Henry, argues Cornell, forbade the royal ale brewer to use hops but not the royal beer brewer.

Among many other criticisms, Cornell (ironically, he’s listed as one of the book’s contributors) also accuses the entry on “Bottles’ of containing a “completely invented fact,” asserting that the imperial pint (568 ml) is a popular bottle size in Britain. He disputes the claim that porter developed as an alternative to blending old ale and younger beer, insisting that this theory on porter’s origin “has been comprehensively kicked to death.” And a description of fullscale brewing at the monastery of St. Gall in the 800s (part of the Oxford Companion’s “History of Beer section) is “total garbage” in Cornell’s view.

A rankled Oliver shot back with the post, “In my 22 years in brewing, this most convivial of professions, it is the most intemperate and inconsiderate thing I have ever seen a member of the beer community say about any of his peers.” While not disputing all of Cornell’s corrections, Oliver has maintained that “no work of this scale can be, has ever been, or will ever be published without errata, and I look forward to working with the beer community to strengthen this work and other works over time.”

A more temperate view is advanced by Clay Risen in a review he penned for The Atlantic: “In a book that may have upwards of 100,000 factual statements in it, the presence of a few dozen errors, while regrettable, is pretty impressive.”

The Beer Of The Book As brewmaster for the Brooklyn Brewery, Garrett Oliver has been able to generate buzz for his book in a way that John Grisham or Stephen King or Danielle Steele can’t. He brewed a special entry in his Brewmaster’s Reserve series of one-off releases, a wheat wine dubbed The Companion. Two of his co-collaborators on the book (Horst Dornbusch, the book’s associate editor, and Thomas Kraus- Weyermann, co-president of Weyermann Malting Co.) Helped Oliver brew the beer, using a special variety of floor-malted wheat that adds a rich, almost juicy quality to the 10%-alcohol-by-volume brew.

Brooklyn Brewery is even offering The Oxford Companion to Beer in an attractive gift package along with a 750-milliliter bottle of The Companion. Companion continued from cover Jackson, writes Oliver, “essentially invented the concept [of beer style] from whole cloth.” According to Dan D’Ippolito, Brooklyn Brewery’s communications coordinator, “This is the only time I can think of that a Brewmaster’s Reserve beer was bottled.” This special bottled version of The Companion is refermented with a champagne yeast, which likely gives it a drier, spritzier profile than the draft version, he adds. This limited release of a limitd release will no see generl distribution.

But you’ll have to visit the brewery to pick up this $85 box set. “I don’t think this is something we can sell through Barnes and Noble,” laughs Oliver. Otherwise, you can buy the book alone for $65, although copies have been selling on amazon.com in the $40 range.

- Greg Kitsock

Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Controversial+Companion/911007/91633/article.html.

Italian Flair

Martin Morse Wooster

The Bar At Birreria Crowds Up Quickly During The Evening. An Awning Protects The Marble Bar Top From The Sun's Heat During The Summer, And A Glass Canopy Will Keep Patrons Warm During The Cold Weather.

Manhattan has some of the world’s best beer bars. But expensive real estate has made it a city sadly lacking in brewpubs. Until June, the only brewpub serving Manhattan’s 1.6 million residents was Chelsea Brewing Co., located on the Chelsea Piers.

Last summer, Manhattan’s brewpub population tripled with the opening of the 508 GastroBrewery in SoHo and La Birreria, a branch of the Italian food hall Eataly. The latter is unusual in several ways. It might be the only brewpub on the roof of an office building, 15 stories high. It might be the only brewpub with a retractable roof. It’s also the latest project of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione, working with two of Italy’s most innovative craft breweries.

Eataly is an Italian food emporium, located across the street from Madison Square Park and diagonally from the renowned Flatiron Building. Here you can enjoy all things high end and Italian, from authentic pizzerias to gelato shops to panini outlets. If you’re hankering for $25-a-pound prosciutto or $45-a-pound ricotta, Eataly will be happy to serve you. A kiosk electronically offers the latest news from La Stampa, and there’s even a travel agent specializing in Italian vacations.

The genesis of La Birreria goes back to 2008, when Sam Calagione was attending the annual Slow Food festival in Turin. There he met Leonardo di Vincenzo, head of Birra Del Borgo, and Teo Musso, owner of the Baladin brewery. These two leading Italian craft brewers, like Sam, were famous (or infamous) for their wild stunts. (At Baladin Brewery, they once put headphones on a mash tun and pumped in Pink Floyd to see if the yeast would be happier.)

Enter the Birreria Brothers

Calagione says that he bonded with his Italian colleagues instantly. In spite of the language barrier, the trio reportedly “spoke beer very well.” They began to call themselves the “Birreria Brothers” and decided to work on a joint project.

Di Vincenzo and Musso were connected to the Eataly chain, which currently has five outlets in Italy and two in Japan as well as its Manhattan branch. They knew that Eataly was looking to open an American store and persuaded the food court’s owners that having a brewpub would fit in with Eataly’s mission of showcasing food made from fresh, high-quality ingredients. (A fourth partner, Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Co., ultimately dropped out.)

Construction on La Birreria commenced in the spring of 2010. The restaurant began serving food in August 2010 and began offering its own beers in June 2011. Part of the delay, says Eataly assistant general manager Allen Arthur, was that New York City’s health and liquor departments had an extensive argument about which agency should regulate brewpubs.

The brewpub is spacious (particularly for Manhattan) but crowded; when we visited, there was a 20-person line waiting to enter on a very hot summer weeknight. A retractable roof and heaters will allow customers to enjoy al fresco dining on cold winter nights.

The menu is “American ingredients, Italian recipes.” There are lots of sausages, some familiar (Italians eat bratwurst and something like sauerkraut), many unfamiliar, but all made on premises.

La Birreria also offers seven cheeses and three different mushroom dishes. La Birreria’s beers are all fresh, in cask, and have to be consumed on premises, since they don’t allow growlers. Part of the reason for this is to enhance the Eataly philosophy of fresh, local food. But assistant general managerAllen Arthur admitted another reason: with space at a premium, they could only install a three-barrel JV Northwest system, which can barely keep up with demand.

The brewer at La Birreria is Brooks Carretta, an Italian-American who speaks with a lilting mid-Atlantic accent. Carretta grew up in Rome. Five years ago he decided to start homebrewing. He swiftly graduated to making clones of Trappist beers, and decided going pro was more fun than selling dental equipment. So he called Leonardo di Vincenzo one day and asked for a job doing anything. Di Vincenzo hired Carretta to mop floors and clean out the tanks. Carretta moved up the ranks, enhancing his knowledge at CERB, a well-regarded brewing school affiliated with the University of Perugia.

Although Carretta loved working at Birreria Del Borgo, he says “I wanted to live in the U.S. for a few years.” So when the position at La Birreria opened, he eagerly moved to New York City.

Wanda and Gina, Meet Sofia and Liza

Plans are to have two year-round beers at La Birreria and two seasonal. All of the beers are named after Italian actresses. The first year-round beer is Wanda, named after stage actress Wanda Sotiris. It’s a mild ale with chestnuts added to the boil. Chestnuts, Carretta says, are “the new Italian thing,” which not only add body but also have some of the heft of a malt,

The second year-round beer is Gina, which was first made in test batches at Birreria Del Borgo. It’s roughly equivalent to an American pale ale, but Calagione, says Carretta, wanted to add a “fresh local ingredient” to the recipe. So they added thyme, which like the chestnuts, is imported from Italy.

Sofia was a summer seasonal comparable to a Belgian wit, but with twists added after Sam Calagione strolled around Eataly with renowned chef Mario Batali and wine writer Joe Bastianich. They decided to add peppercorns to the boil, and spent several hours deciding which kinds of dried peppers were the right ones.

Forthcoming is Liza, which Carretta describes as similar to a Belgian tripel, with lots of fresh ginger added to the boil. Ugli fruit were also added to the primary fermentation.

La Birreria also offers a wide range of other craft beers, as well as four Baladin, three Del Borgo and four Dogfish Head beers in bottles. A store in Eataly offers an extensive range of these breweries’ products in bottles, including four craft sodas made by Baladin. Two beers made by Brooks Caretta at Dogfish Head before La Birreria opened, Eataly Pale Ale and Eataly Brown, are no longer being offered, although Caretta says that these beers might resurface.

Eataly plans to expand, with talk of a new branch in Rome, with the Birreria Brothers involved in another brewpub there. “It would be a lot of fun to offer Dogfish Head beer in the country where my grandfather came from,” Calagione says.

The Washington Post reported that chef Mario Batali planned to launch a Washington branch of Eataly, complete with rooftop brewpub, but these plans might be shelved because of a lack of suitable real estate.

La Birreria di Eataly is very new, and also fairly expensive: because of the cost of importing so many ingredients and doing business in Manhattan, a pint of house beer costs $10, more than most guest beers. But Birreria has the potential to become one of America’s most interesting brewpubs.

Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Italian+Flair/911029/91633/article.html.

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