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Tom

Breweries Events

Glasstown Brewing Company Celebrating Their 4th Anniversary on 1/27!

This week I traveled to Millville to sit down with Paul and Jenifer Simmons of Glasstown Brewing Company to talk about the past, present, and future of the brewery. It’s hard to believe, but Glasstown will be celebrating their 4 year anniversary this Saturday, January 27th from 12 pm-8 pm at the taproom. Glasstown was one of the first breweries in South Jersey and, until this week, the only brewery in Cumberland County.  Paul and Jenifer are great people who are widely recognized in the brewing community as mentors and have been generous in helping breweries that have opened in South Jersey.

I started the conversation by asking Paul what made him want to brew his first beer. He explained that he had brewed a few times in college with some Mr. Beer kits, and had been drinking a lot of craft beer, but it wasn’t until he passed by a homebrew shop, stopped in and looked at all the supplies that his and Jenifer’s interest was really piqued. They didn’t buy anything, but did go home and got on the computer to research some more and found Northern Brewer and More Beer and saw all the different kinds of beer you could make. That was the start of what would become one of the more respected breweries in our area.

In 2009 Paul and Jenifer moved to Millville from Cape May County where Paul was bartending in the summer. With his winter weekends open he couldn’t think of anything better to do in the fall/winter but to brew beer and watch football. It wasn’t long before they went all in on their passion and found a building to house their brewery at the Millville Airport. They opened in December of 2013, and started out brewing 12 gallons at a time on a Sabco system. That lasted about 3 months until they upgraded to a Handmade 1 ½ BBL system which they used for the next 3 months. Then one day while flipping through ads on Pro Brewer, Paul found a 3 BBL system for sale in Ohio. After an impromptu road trip, and some finagling of funds, the stars aligned and they were able to get the 3 BBL system much sooner than they had originally thought. They are still brewing on that system today, but have 6- 10BBL fermenters, and 8-7BBL fermenters (and the original 2- 3BBL kept for experimental batches). They are hoping to add 2 more 7BBL fermenters which will hopefully allow them to be open 7 days a week in the summer.

Along with the expansion of the brewhouse came the expansion of employees. Paul was full-time from the beginning which really helped speed things up (rather than getting there when he could) and Jennifer working part-time while still working her job until November of 2016 when she was able to work full-time to fulfill their dream of being a full-time business. Soon after they realized that they needed more help.  They started hiring a month and a half into it, and it hasn’t stopped. To date, they have 4 full-time and 2 part-time employees and may have to add another part-timer in the spring. In addition Jenifer’s Brother Mike works there and also does the artwork for the brewery as well.

When asked how the landscape of breweries have changed since they opened Paul said, “it would probably be the number of breweries that have opened. We applied the same time as Village Idiot and our ABC Brewers License numbers are 13 and 14, and we are in the 80’s now with more on the way”. Paul continued, “there is also a lot of great beer being made, and New Jersey is starting to get the recognition they deserve”.

Now on to the big anniversary event on Saturday. They will be releasing 2 beers for their 4th anniversary. First up is their Big Breakfast Coffee Maple Porter brewed with bourbon soaked oak chips to give it some barrel aged characteristics, and topping out higher than the original 7.2% ABV. There will be 600 22oz bomber bottles available, so when it’s gone, it’s gone. They are also doing a variation of their 609 IPA on draft only. They just surpassed their 100th batch of this fan favorite so they did a little change with the hop profile by adding some Galaxy hops for a little zing, and it will also look more like an NE style IPA. I really enjoyed sitting down with Paul and Jenifer, and wish them 50 more anniversaries. I also did our 10 questions with the brewer that will be coming out soon. Do yourself a favor, and come celebrate with the whole crew, and drink some of their delicious beers. You can bet I’ll be there. As always…….

Enjoy Your Pour!

Beer Biz Profiles Breweries Events

Slack Tide Brewing Company Year Two Celebration Saturday, 1/20!

I sat down with Jason & Tadhg Campbell of Slack Tide Brewing to talk about their upcoming 2nd Anniversary event happening on Saturday, January 20th. What started out with zero employees (other than themselves) has grown to 2 full-time employees and 2 volunteers with hopes to add 2 more employees by late spring of this year.  When Slack Tide opened they were brewing on a 20-gallon Tippy Dump system from More Beer and for the first 5 months. They quickly transitioned to a 3BBL system in April of 2016. Both of those systems were able to get them through until October of 2017 when they commissioned into service their current 10 BBL system.  “It’s been a nice progression of systems”,  Tadhg explained. The 20-gallon Tippy Dump was like an advanced homebrew system. The 3BBL had some nice features but also gave you some homebrew aspects. The 10 BBL system is a fully automated system, but the progression of systems really helped with the learning curve. The people at American Beer Equipment, who they purchased the 10 BBL system from, were extremely helpful and sent guys down to stay as long as was needed until they were comfortable with the system. (One funny side note, they recently sold their 20-gallon Tippy Dump and it was actually being picked up the day of this interview). I asked them what were their best and worst decisions they’ve made, and with a chuckle, Tadhg said, “opening a brewery” for both answers. After a good laugh, Jason told us “by far opening the brewery was the best decision”, and Tadhg added “trying to stick to a wide array of styles on their board.” Tadhg continued “we try to make something for everyone who comes through the door”.   The brothers both agree that there haven’t been that many setbacks over the two years with the exception of being a little delayed on the packaging aspect of the brewery, specifically with canning and bottling. “It was not by choice, it was more out of necessity due to the cost of equipment, and putting the main effort into making a great product” Jason explained.  “Also, we wanted to make it through the first year or so to see if it would match what we thought was going to happen”.

 

I hear from people all over how they love the nautical name of the brewery and the beers. During today’s interview, I found out the Slack Tide name was in a little jeopardy. While in the early stages of opening, they received a call from 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg who wanted to name a beer of theirs “Slack Tide”. Once the Campbell’s informed 3 Daughters they were definitely opening the brewery, they backed off the name and wished them luck. The beer names themselves come from a board in the back that employees put their ideas on. The guys really do put some thought into matching the right name to a beer. Example: Treble Hook. Treble means 3 and Treble Hook is their triple Belgium.  “There are some names we love, and the public doesn’t, and some that we aren’t so hot on, but the public loves” we were told. In the end, it is the beer that really matters. And speaking of beer, what are the styles and names of the 2 new 2nd anniversary beers for Saturday? The first one will be a Triple IPA called “Overnighter” named after tuna trips the guys like to take (also if you have too many you may want to stay overnight). The second one is a Berliner Weisse Kettle Sour with hints of pineapple and cranberry called “Haywire Twist”. I had the honor to sample this unique beer and think it will be a huge hit. Looking ahead I asked what their hopes for the 3 year anniversary are. Almost in unison, they said for people to be able to come in and purchase 6 packs. Also, adding some more taps is something Tadhg would like to see. I have no doubt that this will be achieved. The Campbell brothers and the entire staff at Slack Tide continue to grow and impress with every new beer they put out. Tadhg also added, “we have a true sense of co-opetition, and craft beer spirit”. Yeah, I had to look it up too, but co-opetition means collaboration between business competitors, in the hope of mutually beneficial results which, in the end, is good for everyone!

ENJOY YOUR POUR!

10 Questions With... Breweries

10 Questions With…Jim Sacco of Vinyl Brewing

In this edition of 10 Questions With…  I headed to Hammonton to do a little follow up to our previous article on the 3rd brewery to open up in town, Vinyl Brewing. I was excited to do this article with Jim Sacco, Co-owner and head brewer of Vinyl because it combines 2 of my favorite things, beer and music. Jim was brewing at Three 3’s Brewing Company when he decided it was time to go out on his own. So in January 2017 Jim, along with his Aunt and Uncle Susan and Tom Puentes,  started on the journey to make beautiful beer and music together. As I walked in the door I found a spacious and comfortable tap room with booths, tables, and a large U shaped bar. The walls are adorned with all kinds of music memorabilia, and there is plenty of space for the many patrons that have visited since opening in late September. Located in Downtown Hammonton on Main Street and surrounded by an abundance of dining choices,  everyone can find something to pair with their ever-rotating tap list. Do your taste buds a favor and add Vinyl Brewing to your list when coming to Hammonton.

Jim is dropping two new beers this week.  First is Speed Freak, a spelt IPA brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops and Out of Your Element, a Rye Porter.  Vinyl is a great place to stop by and have a beer or two in Downtown Hammonton which is now being referred to as the “Brewmuda Triangle” as a homage to it being the first town in South Jersey with three operating breweries  (Hackettstown also has 3 breweries in North Jersey).  Vinyl, along with Tomfoolery and Three 3’s, are in close proximity to each other and they have a great spirit of camaraderie and a love of their town which really comes through when you talk to anyone at any of these fine breweries.

What was the first beer you brewed and how was it?

It was an extract stout kit I brewed with a couple of buddies in my parent’s kitchen about 12 years ago. We did it on an electric stovetop and it took over 3 hours to bring to a boil. We thought it was really good, but looking back now, it was just terrible. But it was cool at the time.

What is your favorite style to brew and why?

It would have to be IPAs. There is so much you can do with the different malt and hop profiles, and adding fruit. You can really differentiate the IPAs by the different hops you use. I’m more of an east coast style drinker and brewer.

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

I do look at them. I think it’s cool to see what people are thinking, but I don’t want to put too much stock into it. Ultimately everyone likes something different, and who am I to get mad at someone who doesn’t like something I brew? I like to make beer that I like to enjoy and hope people will enjoy it, too. It definitely does not influence my recipes.

How do you stay connected to the local area in relation to sourcing ingredients?

I like to use local ingredients as much as I can. The beer I actually brewed today I used whole leaf hops from Timberline Farms in Folsom. The honey porter I made is from honey I got from a family friend’s farm just a mile down the road. I was also in Cape May and purchased some Cape May sea salt for a Gose I’m going to make. My family owns a sweet potato and a blueberry farm which I just made a sweet potato beer out of. And of course, we are the blueberry capital of the world.

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

Concentrate on your fermentation temperature, and also make sure you’re pitching enough yeast. I think if you lock those 2 things in, you’re going to make your beer 10 times better. Get a refrigerator and convert it and put a temperature control on it, and your beer will be so much better.

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

Definitely be patient. You will have to pay rent on a building that you can’t use for months, but everyone has to do it. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it pays off. It’s hard work and it’s stressful, but just bear with it, because in the end you’ll be thankful you stuck around. If it’s your passion, it will all be worth it.

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

Barrel aged sours, which we are going to start doing soon. Sour ales are my first love along with IPAs. The cost factor involved would be in the time it takes because you are waiting months and months for it to be ready.

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

The sheer amount of people that have come out, and the amount of beer we have gone through. The amount of support from the public and the brewery community has surpassed our expectations. We are extremely thankful for all the support.

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

Anything local. I like to go home and unwind with stuff from Bolero Snort. I really like the stuff in cans they have been putting out. I also like to have a good stock of Tired Hands Brewery at home, also. And sometimes I’ll just walk down the street to Tomfoolery and have a few beers.

Where do you see the brewery in a year? In 5 years?

In a year I hope we are reaching the point of expanding with a few more fermenter and start doing some bottle releases. In 5 years I hope to have taken over this whole building. I would love to go up to a 15 BBL system with some 30 BBL fermenters, and really start to push our distribution into Philly and New York.

Bonus Question: What is your favorite beer that you have ever had?

I’ll have to give you two. The first one is Mago Tago from Tired Hands. The next one, and probably my favorite of all time is Pliny the Elder. I just think that’s the best representation of that style of beer, and I don’t think anyone has come close to it.

Follow Vinyl Brewing on Social Media!

Facebook:  @vinylbrewing

Twitter:  @vinylbrewing

Instagram: vinylbrewing

On the Web:  www.vinylbrewingnj.com

 

 

 

 

 

10 Questions With... Beer Biz Profiles Breweries

10 Questions With…Tadhg Campbell of Slack Tide Brewing Company

In this edition of 10 Questions With… I headed to Clermont, N.J. to talk to head brewer Tadhg Campbell of one of my favorites, Slack Tide Brewing Company.  Tadhg and his brother Jason opened up Slack Tide in December of 2015 with the intention of making high-quality beer from locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. The Campbell brothers started brewing in their garages about 7 years ago. While the first couple batches were made from extract kits, they quickly moved to all grain where you have more control over the final product. The first year or so was rough, but with a great response from family, and friends they started thinking that they may want to make this more than just a hobby. So they brewed up 6 batches (most are still brewed today) bottled them up and gave them out to 48 people with an anonymous rating sheet in self-addressed envelopes. The response was extremely favorable. One of the 48 was actually a certified beer judge who got a couple of his judging buddies to taste the samples as well, and filled out a more detailed score sheet. The response was also very good, so they asked if he thought they should open a brewery which the beer judge replied, “I would”. So with Tadhg as head brewer, and Jason bringing his brewing knowledge and project management background in which he is very meticulous with the paperwork, things started to come together. Now you add Jason’s wife, Bobbie, with her marketing background, and Tadhg’s wife, Natacha, with her clothing background you have a great recipe for a successful business to go along with the great beer recipes. I highly recommend a trip to Slack Tide to get “unstressed”.

What was the first beer you brewed, and how was it?

It was an extract kit called Dead Ringer IPA. It turned out as well as could be expected for the first time. It was drinkable, but not delicious by any means. Not sure if we did the recipe justice, but we drank it, and thought it was the coolest thing ever.

What is your favorite style to brew, and why?

That’s a tough one. We try to brew many styles here. I know some brewers may be hesitant to say it, but I’m going to have to say an IPA. It’s the most popular and sought-after style, and there are so many variations of it. The New England style is really popular and is a little more difficult to hit the target then the West Coast IPA.

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

It would be silly not to, but I wouldn’t say we look at them too much. The feedback we like, and enjoy, and take into account the most is the face to face contact-Whether it’s in the Taproom, or at a festival, or just out in public. We also trust the other local brewer’s opinions and do the same for them. It definitely does not affect our recipes.

How do you stay connected to the local area in relation to sourcing ingredients?

It’s a big part of what we do here. Since we do live in the Garden State it’s nice to see farmers like Bad Cat Farms, and Rabbit Hill Farms starting to grow hops and malts. We brew with fruit from Hammonton, and sweet potatoes from Vineland, and Aronia berries that are harvested right down the street. What we do is local, and you always have to pay it forward local with the farmers whether it’s honey, fruit, vegetables, or even oysters.

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

When Jason and I started brewing in the garage we felt our beer quality took a huge step when we got a temperature controlled fermentation box. Dialing in the temperature made our beer more consistent, and a true reflection of what you got.

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

Do your homework! Be prepared to wait for a lot of the permits. The number one piece of advice is to calculate how much time you’ll need to spend at the brewery, and then double or triple that. Brewing is 90% cleaning and sterilizing.

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

I knew this question was coming, and I was debating on a few. I would have to say a big barrel aged Stout or Barleywine. The amount of time would be the expense, not so much the ingredients.

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

I would have to say the way the community embraced us. Not just the customers who are some of the best, but the other local breweries as well. We all work hard, we all drink beer, and we all have fun. It’s just a great fraternity of people, and we all want each other to succeed.

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

Most of the time it would be a cold glass of water, but if not that it would definitely be something from a local brewery.

Where do you see the brewery in a year? In 5 years?

We are currently installing a 10 BBL system which is almost complete. It’s going to take a lot of outside work in sales, but we want to have it maxed out. Maybe tweak the Taproom hours. In 5 years we want to be canning a lot so we can get into the package good stores. Hopefully another expansion, and continue to grow organically.

Bonus Question: What is your favorite beer, other than yours?

The most memorable beer would be Red Dog. (laugh) When I played football in college the 1st team was the blue team, the 2nd team was the white team, and the 3rd team was the red team. Since I was a freshman I was on the red team, and we called ourselves The Red Dogs and drank a lot of Red Dog. Probably because it was like $5 a case. This is a hard question because I like different beers in different seasons. The answer would be Firestone Walker Brewing’s Wookey Jack, which is not in production anymore. It was actually the inspiration for our Knockdown Black IPA which took home the bronze medal at the Best Of Craft Beer Awards in Bend, Oregon.

Breweries Road Trip

Road Trip: Berwick Brewing With Tom

On our camping trip over the 4th of July holiday, we decided to escape the madness of the Jersey Shore, and head to Ricketts Glen State Park. We stayed at Whispering Pines Camping Estates, which I highly recommend. They are located within 20-30 minutes of plenty of hikes, and attractions. They even had their own fireworks display that could be viewed from our campsite and lasted almost an hour. Our main reason that we stayed at Ricketts Glen was to hike the Falls Trail which brings you by 22 named waterfalls that are really awesome. After the mildly difficult 3 hour hike on the Falls Trail, we were hungry and thirsty, so it was time for us to sit down and grab a beer and something to eat.

Whenever we go camping I’m always on the lookout for a brewery nearby that serves food, which is something you can’t find in New Jersey. While Turkey Hill Brewing was the better-known brewery we opted for the lesser known Berwick Brewing.   Tom Clark, who was previously the owner of the now-closed Red Bank Brewery in Red Bank, NJ, brought his great recipes and food menu to the banks of the Susquehanna River in upstate Pennsylvania when he opened up Berwick Brewing in late 2007.  The inside of the Brewery could easily seat 100 people, and the outside Bier Garten could easily accommodate another 100. With at least 20 beers on tap at all times, there is something for everyone. For someone who is new to the craft beer scene, the Berwick Lager would fit the bill.  Speaking of Bills, the Grumpy Bill’s Porter was extremely good and represented the style admirably. Although I tried almost everything in our 2 visits the one I enjoyed was the Berwick IPA, and the Front Street Wheat. Berwick IPA was very good with not much bitterness on the back end. Wheat beers are probably my favorite style, and Front Street Wheat did not disappoint and went down smooth. The one beer that seemed to go over well with our camping group was the West End Pale Ale. It had everything you want in a Pale Ale with good aroma and a sweet finish. In addition to great beers, Berwick has a great menu. Who doesn’t like fried cheese curds? They were a big hit with our group! What really stood out the most was the incredibly delicious pizza. The crust was sweet and tasty while the cheeses Tom used were definitely high quality. Our first trip was so good that we had to plan to go back the next day. Berwick Brewing is a great brewery with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. I can’t wait to go back to the area camping again, have some more great beer and pizza. It was also a nice surprise to see some local breweries stickers on the wall!

Berwick Brewing is definitely a place you should stop at if you are ever in the area.  They have a great room, great food, and fantastic beer.  For more information on Berwick Brewery follow them check out the links below!

Enjoy Your Pour!

Visit Berwick Brewing on the web www.berwickbrewing.com

Follow Berwick Brewing on Facebook  HERE

Follow Berwick Brewing on Instagram berwickbrewing

Follow Berwick Brewing on Twitter @BerwickBrewing