Breweries News

Talking Beer With Three 3’s Mike and Jon Geller

Last week Tom and I sat down with Mike and Jon Geller of Three 3’s Brewing in Hammonton to talk beer in anticipation of their big double-can release of Drenched and Bugg Juice at the tasting room on 12/8 at 3 pm. In addition, they will also be releasing Evolution Four as a taproom-only bonus!   Three 3’s has been killing it all over the state the last few months by taking 1st Place in the DIPA category at the Maloney’s Pub & Grille NJ IPA competition for Totally Drenched, being the winner of the Kick The Keg competition at the Mellow Mushroom in Toms River, and being named the 2017 IPA Smackdown Champion at Cork City’s blind taste test for Bugg Juice.  Although they are getting a reputation as one of the area’s best IPA brewers, they also have a full tap list of other really well-done beers.

Mike and Jon joined owner Dave Tomasello’s operation earlier this year and have not only helped in brewing Dave’s recipes, but have developed some of their own which they have been able to release.  “Most of the recipes that you see are Dave’s, a few have been mine or stuff that we are collaborating on.  You will start to see more collaborations, a little bit more of my stuff while working in some new IPA’s so we do something new every month”.  On the day that we visited Mike and Jon had just finished a day of commissioning their new 1-Barrel Pilot system with friends from Brotherton Brewing Company using local grains from Rabbit Hill Farms.  And after we interviewed the guys another collaboration was announced via Facebook with none other than Czig Meister Brewing, another great New Jersey Brewery located in Hackettstown.

Mike and Jon were homebrewing for a couple years and have transitioned from their 5 Gallon days to brewing on Three #’s 10 BBL system.  I asked Mike how hard it was to translate his homebrewing to such a big system and he told me “It’s definitely intimidating but at the end of the day your still trying to do the same thing right?  You are still steeping grain, you are still trying to add hops for your bitterness, and so the general principles translate.  Now how you get there and how you do it is very different, but yeah, the general idea is the same I think”.

 

What does the future look like for Three 3’s?  “Definitely cans regularly, different beers in cans, maybe something that we have never released before in cans exclusively.  We definitely have some new fun IPA’s and Pale Ales planned, and we have some fun collaborations that will be coming up that I am pretty excited about. All of them aren’t with breweries either, we have some other stuff in the works to work with different groups that do something different in the alcohol space.”

We really had a great time with Mike and Jon.  They are dedicated to making great beer and both are hard working guys that are a great hang.  After sitting down and talking with these guys for about 5 minutes you feel like you have known him for your entire life!   Their passion for beer and for Three 3’s is really contributing to the success of the brewery, and I really look forward to what Dave, Mike, Jon and the rest of the staff will be coming up going forward.

Follow Three 3’s On Social Media!

On the Web at www.three3sbrewing.com

Facebook @Three3sbrewing

Twitter @three3sbrew

Instagram Three3sbrewing

 

 

Beer Biz Profiles News

We Did The Jersey Beer Guys (and a Girl) Podcast! Episode Out Today!

A few weeks ago I got to sit down with Rob, Amy, Eric, and Ian to record an episode of the Jersey Beer Guys and A Girl Podcast to talk South Jersey Beer.  First of all, if you are a fan of South Jersey beer you need to start listening to this podcast.  Rob does a great job hosting the podcast, Eric and Ian are there to add their insights, and then there is Amy.  Amy is the wild card, the  1o.5% Unfiltered IPA of the group who asks the questions that we all wish we could and adds a great amount of hilarity to the show.  Amy is learning about Craft Beer on the show and is the perfect foil to Rob, who is a very knowledgeable beer guy.  I really enjoyed my time with them and cannot wait to get back to sit with them again.

 

To listen to podcast follow the link HERE or click the picture below!

You can reach the Jersey Beer Guys at jerseybeerguys@gmail.com

Follow Jersey Beer Guys on Facebook @jerseybeer.guys

Follow Jersey Beer Guys on Instagram  jerseybeerguys

10 Questions With... Beer Biz Profiles Breweries

10 Questions With…Donn Hoosack of ManaFirkin Brewing Company!

“I love the smell of malt in the morning…or in the afternoon or evening!” (apologies to Robert Duvall and Francis Ford Coppola). That was the delicious aroma that hit me as soon as I entered the doors of Manafirkin Brewing Company, as the newest brew, a Belgian Tripel was circulating through the chiller and being transferred to the fermenter.  Located in Manahawkin, the brewery opened its doors on May 19 and has quickly become a local favorite. The name is a combination of the town and a firkin. What is a firkin?  A firkin is a unit of measure and also the size of a particular kind of keg used for cask conditioning; one-quarter of a barrel, 72 pints, 9 imperial gallons. Firkins can be wooden or metal.

Manafirkin is a 3 headed beast with Donn Hoosack serving as Head Brewer and Co-Founder, joined by fellow “Firkin Founders” Todd Hunt and Mick Committee.  Donn had been a passionate home brewer for  11 or 12 years and, over time, expanded his system to the point where he was preparing to turn his garage into a production facility. The 3 friends got together and thought if we are going to do it, let’s go all the way and began doing the legwork on a warehouse location open to the public. Donn knew the brewing end, Todd is the owner of Shore Good Donuts on LBI, so he knew the business end and Mick was in charge of the legal and permit legwork.

Image By ManaFirkin Brewing Co

“We were always set on Manahawkin as our home base. We all live here, our kids are growing up here, so we really wanted to be part of this community. If we didn’t do it here, we wouldn’t do it anywhere, so it would be back to the garage for us.”, said Donn in a conversation we had over a couple of pints of “Wake the Firk Up” Oatmeal Stout, one of their flagship brews.  “This was truly a family project, as wives, moms, dads, kids, everyone was involved in the design, construction and set up”, Donn continued. The family atmosphere is still present as all hands are on deck for tap room days, including wives Lisa, Michelle and Heather, other family members and the friendly bar and brew staff. The large firehouse bell hanging over the taps is a formidable presence, so order the right beer, guess the right number, or give a good tip and maybe you’ll get a ring!  I was there on the Belgian Tripel day so while newest ‘Firkin family member, Assistant Brewer, John Starner, was supervising the transfer, I had the opportunity to ask our “10 Questions With…” to Donn.

What was the first beer you brewed?

First was a Magic Hat #9 clone, the second was the Chamomile wheat, (which you can see is on the tap list in a similar incarnation as Good KARMAmile, a pale wheat ale). Dogfish IPA clone was an early recipe, which really brings us full circle, as one of their brewers at the time, Chris, who is now at Crooked Hammock was a great resource when we were setting up.

What is your favorite style to brew and why?

IPAs…I just love the variety of hops and how you can use them when you are brewing an IPA.

Do you look at ratings on Untapped, Beer Advocate, Rate Beer and if you do how does it influence your recipes?

I do, but I really pay most attention to Facebook ratings. I like to listen to my customers and brew the beers they like. We have 17 beers on tap, which some may say is a lot, but I want to give our patrons variety…I know that everyone will walk away with at least one that they love. I also like to be creative, offer something new, so at least 1x per week, we are brewing something we’ve never served before. 

How do you stay connected to the local area?

Our spent grain goes to a local farm (on cue the local farmer came in to pick up a couple of cans). We also just got a couple of barrels from Laird’s Apple Farm, so we will be starting some barrel projects in the brewhouse.

What is the one tip you would give to home brewers to make better beer?

The secret ingredient…water! Water treatment is the last thing a home brewer grasps. It took me a while, but the water profile makes such a difference!

What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to open a brewery?

Have a good partner! It’s hard to do it alone, so being able to share responsibilities really helps to lighten the load! Also, make sure you really settle on an established site and all of your administrative ducks in a row.  Once you have a site, you have to start paying the lease, so the sooner you can start producing, the better.

If there were a beer that you could brew, with no regard to cost, production or sales, what would it be?

Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout! Dark, rich, complex…so much flavor!

Looking back on opening day forward, what was the one thing that surprised you the most?

From a business standpoint, we have exceeded all projection, so we are thrilled if not surprised at that. Our biggest surprise is that the Kalsch Kölsch is still one of our top sellers, number 3, in fact. In this world of IPA popularity, that is a great surprise.

Other than your beer, what is your “go to” drink after a long day at the brewery?

I like local brews, and my go-to is  “We Want the Gold” from Icarus in Lakewood. All of their beers are excellent and this one is a NEIPA.  I also like Weyerbacher’s Imperial Stout “Tiny”.

Where do you see the brewery in 1 year? 5 years?

We have a 5-year lease, so our plans are to continue to upgrade our production, recipes and grow here in our hometown. We have discussed alternative methods of getting our product out there like crowlers, etc. but nothing definite yet.

Bonus question…Donn..Why no Big Beard?

Can’t grow one…I’m like Mr. Bigglesworth!

Follow ManaFirkin Brewing Co on Social Media!

Facebook   @ManaFirkinBrewing

Instagram  @manafirkin_brewing_company

Breweries News

Ludlam Island Brewery Announces New Name for Lamplight IPA, Double Dry Hops It For 12/2 Release!

Ludlam Island Brewery was tasked to find a new name for Lamplight, their Juicy American IPA, when another brewery nicely asked them to avoid confusion with their brand.  The search for a new name was not easy and many suggestions were made by Ludlam’s dedicated fans as part of a contest to find a new name.  In the end, after much debating among the staff, the new name has been found.  The beer formerly known as Lamplight will now be called:

To celebrate the new name, a new batch was made that they double dry hopped with mosaic.  Assistant Brewer Brad told us it is “literally double the amount of the normal dry hop”.  Ludlam will be pre-filling about 300 Crowlers and they will go on sale this Saturday, December 2nd.  After this release, there will be no takeout of this double dry hopped version of “Let It Shine”, and it will only be going to a select few bars.

Check out Ludlam’s Facebook page for more information regarding the release!

Breweries Events

Cape May Brewing Company Releasing 2017 Boughs of Barley on 11/22

Cape May Brewing Company is releasing their traditional holiday beer, Boughs of Barley, at the tasting room and brewtique on Wednesday, November 22nd.  For more information please read the press release below.

From the Press Release:

Cape May Brewing Company Releases Boughs of Barley 2017

Cape May, NJ — Cape May Brewing Company is continuing their Holiday tradition with another release of last year’s immensely successful Boughs of Barley. This year, Boughs of Barley 2017 is a barrel-aged Abbey-style Belgian Dark Ale, aged for several months in Cognac and Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The perfect addition to any Holiday celebration, Boughs of Barley 2017 releases on Thanksgiving Eve, November 22, at their Tasting Room at 1288 Hornet Rd. in the Cape May Airport.

“We started on this project in September of 2016,” says CMBC co-founder and CEO, Ryan Krill, “brewing a Belgian Dark that’s immensely drinkable in its own right. But we brewed it with the intention of letting it barrel age for a few months, with the result being the perfect winter brew for the Holiday season.”

The base beer has a touch of Belgian candi syrup and orange peel, specifically chosen to complement the flavors the barrels would impart. The result is a complex brew with a remarkable depth of character and delightful interplay of aroma, mouthfeel, and balance.

The dark Belgian candi syrup imparts flavors of plums, grapes, some toffee, and a hint of dark, almost burnt, caramel. This is balanced in the base brew by a helping of orange peel, bringing a holiday harmony to this brew.

Fermented at a relatively high temperature with Cape May Brewing Co’s French Saison yeast strain, the hearty flavors of the candi syrup are balanced with notes of apricots, cloves, and a slightly floweriness from the yeast, giving the base brew a super-dry mouthfeel.

While this beer would stand well on its own, it was always meant to be barrel-aged. However, when it came time to barrel the beer, Cape May’s brewers couldn’t decide which barrels to use, so they used both Cognac and Kentucky Bourbon barrels.

“One version of a beer is great,” says Head Brewer Brian Hink, “but you know what’s even better? Two versions!”

Holiday revelers will have two different versions to spice up their holiday cheer, giving them the chance to add some comparative tasting to their Holiday plans.

“Using two types of barrels really showcases the barrel-aging process in its own right,” says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm. “This way, people can buy the same beer, aged in different ways, and see how that affected the flavor. It makes for a fun tasting session, especially if the beers are at almost 11% ABV!”

The difference between the two beers is quite noticeable. The brewery didn’t really know what to expect until both beers were well underway in their barrel-aging lifecycle.

“I figured — and hoped! — there would be a noticeable difference between the two,” Hink says, “and much to my enjoyment they’re really rather different!”

Both have sweeter characteristics, but the cognac has a velvety smoothness on the mouthfeel. The bourbon variant has more vanilla and toffee, while the cognac brings more prunes and a sherry-like quality.

“They both also get a nice woodsiness,” Valm says, “but since Bourbon barrels are charred, they tend to have a bit of a charcoal-like woodsiness; the Cognac barrels, on the other hand, have uncharred staves, so the woodsiness there is more crisp and like fresh cut wood.  The Cognac-aged variant is also smoother while the Bourbon-aged one has a bit of that alcohol heat to it.”

This year, Boughs of Barley is being sold on draft in a commemorative 32-ounce Holiday 2017 growler. Embossed in gold leaf with a Winter Holiday theme and CMBC’s stellar new logo, this will be a keepsake of the Holiday season, perfect for the discriminating beer lover on your gift list.

Boughs of Barley 2017 releases from CMBC’s Tasting Room and Brewtique at 1288 Hornet Road in the Cape May Airport at noon on Wednesday, November 22. A filled 32-ounce growler sells for $25, two for $45.

For more information on Boughs of Barley — or for tastings and tours — call (609) 849-9933 or see capemaybrewery.com.