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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

 

10 Questions With... Breweries

10 Questions With Shawn Grigus and Gayle D’abate Of Tomfoolery Brewing

In this edition of “10 Questions With…”  I traveled to Hammonton to talk with Shawn Grigus and Gayle D’Abate of Tomfoolery Brewing Company. The 7BBL brewery is located in the old bottling plant of Eastern Brewing Company of Old Bohemian fame, which is conveniently located near downtown Hammonton. As you walk in the door, you immediately know that this historic building was meant for one thing, beer! They have a canning machine and a small bottling machine which really adds to their versatility.

With backgrounds in biochemistry and electrical engineering, Shawn and Gayle make a formidable team that brews some great beer. As founders of the local homebrew club, Brew Jersey. and owners of Tap It Homebrew supply store, they definitely have what it takes to be a force in this emerging market. While talking with them I quickly realized why they are so well liked and respected in the brewing community. As with all the breweries in our area, I wish them the best of luck going forward. I sampled most of what they had on tap and found them all to be great and true to their styles. Today they will be moving into their new bigger and temperature controlled tasting room.  The Grand Opening will include a special limited draft release of Blood Orange Irish stout.

 

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

Shawn brewed an Oak Butt Brown ale which was a recipe out of John Palmer’s “How to Brew” book. It was drinkable, but it wasn’t very good. It was muddled with a lot of different flavors, but nothing popped. It just wasn’t a balanced beer. Gayle’s first beer was Shawn’s pale ale recipe, and it was obviously very good because of better equipment, and it was a proven recipe. Shawn added that his guidance didn’t hurt either

What is your favorite style to brew and why?

We actually have 2 answers for this question. First would be our pilsner. It’s a simple beer and a simple recipe, but not a simple beer to brew. The 2nd would be an I.P.A. We hate to even use that answer, but the reason is because of the aromas during the brewing process. The customers enjoy the smell as well, but the cleanup part is not easy due to the amount of hops.3.

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

We do monitor the ratings to get a general idea of what people want, and are thinking. You do need to dig a little deeper on some of the reviews to see how they rate other beers of a similar style. As far as influencing our recipes, that would be no.

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

Our blueberry beer doesn’t come out until the middle of July because we wait until the middle of June to get fresh blueberries. When it’s gone it’s gone until next year, because we will not use syrup or extract. We are also using a lot of grains from Rabbit Hill Farms. It seems more and more brewers are using grains from this farm in Shiloh, NJ which is awesome to see.

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

Don’t rush it to the glass. Take the time to let it ferment out, and age appropriately. Your beer will definitely suffer if it’s rushed out. You really want the flavor to pop in whatever style you are brewing. Make sure to treat the water to really push your home brew over the top.

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

The one thing we would tell someone to do is to go work in a commercial brewery, and get familiar and talk to the owner to find out what he had to do to get there. You must be committed to your passion. Be prepared to work hard and long for your dream.

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

This is a hard question since we pretty much brew what we want to brew. We will always try to brew something once to see how it turns out. We do 5-gallon experimental batches every Thursday where we can see what the consumer’s response is. If we had to pick one it would be a Brown Ale.

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

In unison, they both said, “The amount of work” which goes back to question 6. There is so much more to it than just brewing beer. Also, the great response from the public, and the comradery between the fellow breweries.

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

A tall glass of ice water (laugh). A refreshing quality beer from another independent craft brewer. Victory Hop Devil or Yards Brawler are 2 beers that come to mind.

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

Next year you will see a huge increase in production. We have the infrastructure to expand and really start to push out beer. In 5 years we want everybody in this region to know our name and our beers.

Thanks to Shawn and Gayle and congrats on the new tasting room!

Follow Tomfoolery Brewing Company On Social Media!

Facebook: @tomfoolerybrewing

Twitter:  @tomfoolerybrew

Instagram: tomfoolerybrew

Find Tomfoolery Brewing Company on the Web:  www.tomfoolerybrewing.com

 

10 Questions With... Breweries

10 Questions With…Tim Caron of Tuckahoe Brewing Company

In this edition of 10 Questions with…, I traveled a short distance from my house to Tuckahoe Brewing Company in Egg Harbor Township. Established in 2011, it’s one of the oldest breweries in South Jersey. I talked with Tuckahoe’s Head Brewer, Tim Caron, who joined Tuckahoe Brewing in January of 2016 after spending 3 years with 3 Stars Brewing company in Washington D.C. where he was an assistant brewer. He also worked on 3 Stars’ barrel aging projects.

Since coming to Tuckahoe, some of Tim’s creations have been a Kölsch,“The Beauty of Tarth”, “Snack” an aroma filled highly drinkable session IPA, “Grounded” Rye Pale Ale, and “Rabbit Hole” a Farmhouse Ale made with ingredients from Rabbit Hill Farm. Like all of the brewers I’ve met with, Tim was a wealth of knowledge and I could talk to him for hours.

It was a great time to sit down with Tim. It was just announced that Tuckahoe will be having their first ever can release on Friday 8/4, the fantastic Quatrain IPA.  The event starts at 3 pm and Three Guys Rolling Pies will have their food truck outside the licensed premises so you can grab a bite to eat.  And, if that wasn’t enough, it is Sales Manager Rob Callaghan’s birthday.  Stop by the brewery and grab a 4 pack for 15$ or grab a case for 85$

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

It was an off the shelf extract partial boil Pale Ale. It was darker than I wanted it to be and maltier, but I drank it. It came out ok and I gave a fair amount of it to my friends. Nobody does an all grain Barleywine for their first beer.

What is your favorite style to brew and why?

It wouldn’t necessarily be a particular style, but just something drinkable. When I want to drink I want a beer that I can have 3-4 of with friends and family and have a little conversation. So, to answer your question, I would say a Kölsch, Pale Ale, or a nice Pilsner. Something you can have a few of with your meal.

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

All of those platforms are both a blessing and a curse. You get immediate feedback from whoever wants to give it. You have to dig a little deeper into the person’s response. If they score the same style from other breweries low or high across the board, I’m not going to sweat that score. We certainly know what people are saying about us on there, but I wouldn’t say it influences our recipes. Our recipes are our recipes, and you have to have conviction and be committed to high quality and consistency.

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

We work with Rabbit Hill Farm in Shiloh, NJ for a couple collaborations with their malt. We’ve also done a collaboration with Screaming Hill Farm Brewery in Cream Ridge, NJ. We are in communication with 2-3 local hop farmers whose crops are about to be ready. We use some of our locally harvested yeast a couple times that we cultured up from blueberry skins. We also have a great relationship with a cattle and pig farmer that picks up all our spent grains. So, anytime we want local fruit or honey, he’s usually our first call since he has relationships with farmers that can get us that stuff.

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

GET NERDY! It’s all about yeast management and basic water chemistry. You must pitch the right amount of yeast and make sure it’s healthy and fresh. Make sure your water’s not too hard and basic carbon filtration. Sanitation, sanitation, sanitation. Make sure everything is really clean and really sanitized. It’s not just hanging out around a boiling kettle and drinking beers.

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

It’s an industry that needs a lot of capital. You need to do your research on how much it’s going to cost you, and how much you’re going to see in return. A main piece of advice is to be prepared to lose money or break even in the first few years. If you can get through that, and you’re still on board and love what you’re doing, then you made the right decision. There will always be troubles and issues, but you just work through them. If you love it, you’ll make it work. One bit of advice is to buy as many good hops as you can and as much as you can. If you can’t use it all yourself, you’re going to make friends with other breweries who would love to trade.

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

Pilsner. I think a really clean, crisp Pilsner is the ultimate expression of a brewer’s ability. There’s nothing in the way. It’s soft water, its one maybe two hops. The fact that pilsners are kind of muddied by the yellow fizzy stuff that people drink in mass quantities is unfortunate.

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

Although I wasn’t here opening day, the biggest surprise on my first day is an emergency came up and my brewing partner had to leave, and I got put in charge of the brew house. Happy to say the emergency and the boil both turned out good.

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

Founders All Day IPA. There’s always at least a 15 pack of that in my fridge. That’s my morning cap, afternoon cap, or evening cap depending on when the brew day is done.

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

1 year- Just keep crushing it with a few more tanks. Hopefully pushing a lot of cans out. Quatrain to start with, and a few more to follow. We want to be the beer that people are putting in their cooler when they’re going to the beach, picnics, canoeing, tubing, etc. 5 years- My goal is to be state wide, and big in Philly. But hopefully sooner. Also, to keep driving to be more creative with the offbeat stuff that we do, keep the tasting room as a destination, more can production, and just keep evolving with what people like to drink.

 

Visit Tuckahoe Brewing Company on the web at www.tuckahoebrewing.com

Follow Tuckahoe Brewing Company on Facebook HERE

Follow Tuckahoe Brewing Company on Twitter @TuckahoeCo

Follow Tuckahoe Brewing Company on Instagram tuckahoeco

 

 

10 Questions With... Beer Biz Profiles Breweries

10 Questions With…Jason Chapman of Pinelands Brewing Company

Since its grand opening on March 1st, 2014, Pinelands Brewing Company has really blossomed into one of the premier breweries in South Jersey.  On that day they offered 6 different beers and had no idea if anyone would show up-well they did and have continued to come to the brewery located in Southern Ocean County ever since.  Founder and Owner, Jason Chapman, was inspired by the 1.1 million acre Pinelands National Preserve and uses that inspiration to brew beer that “reflects and embodies the local pride and spirit so famously connected to the area”  which was one of the principles that were emphasized in their grand opening press release in 2014.  Our Tom Renzulli was lucky enough to spend a few hours with Jason and talk beer.  It was a busy day, Jason was judging a homebrew competition, and they also did a food pairing (which you can read about HERE).   Jason and his staff are all great people, make sure you stop by and grab a flight!

Thanks again to Jason and all of the Pinelands Brewing Company Staff for allowing us to stop by!

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

(Laughs) Extract Pale Ale with Hop Plugs.  It wasn’t too bad, but definitely room for improvement.  The ritual (of brewing) is what set the hook for me.

What is your favorite style to brew and why?

Barleywine, Big IPA, Oyster Stout.  Almost anything that presents a challenge, like a gluten-free beer.

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

Yes and No. It’s nice to get good and bad, but I’m my own worst critic, if they didn’t exist I would still be doing it the same way.

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

It all starts with the water from the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer.  Local honey, Hammonton Blueberries, fresh oysters for the Oyster stout, and local farm stand pumpkins

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

Make sure you use good water with no chlorine and pitch more than enough yeast.  Make sure your equipment is clean

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

First and foremost, make sure that your recipes are good, and consistent

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

I would say 100% New Jersey ingredients from the same farm.  It’s very important to me to use local ingredients

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

Definitely the fact that over 450 people showed up with a great response, even the Mayor was there! Sold all the beer we had made and couldn’t open up the following weekend

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

 I like a nice Tanqueray and Tonic, or Sailor Jerry and Coke

Where do you see the brewery in a year?

Doing a lot more of the same, just more frequently.  5 years full time on a 7 BBL system so I can make it my full-time job!

 

Follow Pinelands Brewing Company on Facebook @PinelandsBrewingC0

Follow Pinelands Brewing Company on Twitter @pinelandsbrewco

Follow Pinelands Brewing Company on Instagram pinelandsbrewingco

Visit Pinelands Brewing Company on the web www.pinelandsbrewing.com