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Talking Beer With Guy Corrado of Eastern Homebrew, Sponsor of the SJ Beer, Food, And Music Festival Homebrew Competiton!

I recently sat down Guy Corrado, owner of Eastern Homebrew located on Tilton Road in Northfield, to talk about the Homebrew Supply business, and his upcoming 2nd annual Homebrew Competition at the South Jersey Craft Beer, Food, and Music Festival being held at ACCC on Saturday, June 2nd. Guy opened his doors in July of 2015 and has been supplying a great many of the homebrewers in the South Jersey area ever since. Guy worked in corporate sales for 33 years and would homebrew as a hobby.  He found homebrewing to be very therapeutic and learned his craft over many years. He also worked part-time for Shawn Grigus at Tap It Homebrew Supply in Egg Harbor City. When Shawn closed to open up Tomfoolery Brewing with Gayle D’Abate in Hammonton, Guy saw a need in the area and put his plan into place to open Eastern Homebrew.

Guy initially started making wine after a visit to his sister out west and she introduced him to the hobby. He found that the homemade wine didn’t give him an allergic reaction like commercial wine did. When he decided to expand into brewing beer he dove right into brewing a Triple Belgium from an extract kit, and another brewer was born. From the beginning, Guy didn’t have a favorite style, he likes to brew them all. He really enjoys the seasonal brews, as do most of us. I think seasonal brews give us all something to look forward to all year long. When I visited, Guy had just finished brewing a Kölsch which should be ready right when the weather gets warm. He also enjoys brewing German Alt’s, Anchor Steams, and California Commons which are a 100%  American Lager. These are not your normal choices for home brewers, but Guy loves a challenge. He does most of his brewing in The Grainfather which is a nice self-contained system that he sells at the store. I tried a few samples that he brewed in it, and I must say it does a really nice job. Guy is kind of The Godfather of The Grainfather.

As I was sitting in the shop, I noticed he had a beaker of yeast swirling away being conditioned for an Apricot Sour Berliner Weiss. With a background in chemistry, I quickly realized Guy has a wealth of knowledge and really cares about helping people make better beer. “You don’t get into the homebrew supply business to make a lot of money,” Guy told me, “You do it for the joy of it all.”  Like most breweries, it has taken him about 2 years to break even and to start making a living. Most of his business is repeat customers, but he does see some new faces come through the door which is nice to see the craft is still expanding.

Guy has tons of stories of helping brewers reach their dream. One day, not long after Guy opened, There were a couple of guys who stopped in and said they wanted to learn how to brew with the goal being to fulfill their dream of opening up a brewery. Guy started to show them some extract kits, and they said, “No no! We want to do all grain, and we want the best equipment you have”. Guy questioned, “are you sure?” They replied “You don’t understand. We run into burning buildings when people are running out!” Those two gentlemen were Kurt & Karl Hughes who are now the owners of Bucket Brigade Brewery in Cape May Court House, N.J. Another pair of Guy’s steady customers are Jason Filoon and Tim Smith who are in the process of opening up Devil’s Alibi Brewing.  Jason and Tim have been creating quite a buzz in the Homebrew competition circuit the past few years. We wish them the best of luck making their dream come true so more people can enjoy their beer. I’m sure they may have an entry or two in Guy’s Homebrew competition which is taking place on June 2nd! I’m sure there many stories like this, and we thank Guy for being a great steward of this craft.  I truly enjoyed my visit with Guy at Eastern Homebrew, and can’t wait to see him at The South Jersey Craft Beer, Food, And Music Festival being sponsored by The Joe & Rachel Show on Cat Country 107.3.  Make sure you stop by and see us at our booth at the event!  We will be selling some of our  T-Shirts and will have a few special surprises for you!  Hope to see you there!

And, As Always, Enjoy Your Pour!

For more information on Eastern Homebrew, visit them on the web at www.easternhomebrew.com

Visit Eastern Homebrew on Facebook @easternhomebrew

 

 

For Tickets and Information on the Joe & Rachel Cat Country 107.3 SJ Beer, Food, and Music Festival follow the link HERE

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!

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

Beer Biz Profiles

Armageddon Brewing Announces Kickstarter Campaign After Helping Change NJ Laws on Cider and Mead Production and Distribution

Armageddon Brewing has announced a Kickstarter Campaign after working for several years to successfully help change and write new laws regarding cider and mead production in New Jersey.  We are publishing their press release in full to tell their story and will have an interview with them on the site in the near future  If you have the means and would like to support them in their quest to open a production facility please follow any of the links below the press release for more information.

From The Press Release

Armageddon Brewing is the culmination of a shared dream of four sons of New Jersey with a passion for hard apple cider and mead. Just like so many, these four close friends are huge craft beer advocates, that love the huge variety of microbrews now available from coast to coast. Unfortunately, a few years back, founding member, Christian was diagnosed with Celiac disease, meaning that beer was out of the picture for him, since it’s basically gluten juice. It was this sudden change that lead Christian to search out gluten-free alternatives to beer – mainly, cider and mead. To his disappointment, what he found on the market was pretty lackluster. Most of the big-name ciders on store shelves were overly sweetened, flavored with artificial apple flavoring, while many being sold as mead were actually just low-alcohol white wine with honey added. Out of frustration, he turned to three close friends – Kyle, Matt, and Gill. As all four were avid homebrewers they resolved to solve this problem the only way they knew how. They started making their own ciders and meads, and nothing has been the same since!

What they learned after making many batches of cider, is that the apple is incredibly versatile, and hard apple cider does not need to be characterized as an offensively sweet beer alternative. The ciders that they began making ranged from incredibly dry, traditional French style ciders to sweet and juicy ciders, reminiscent to taking a bite from an apple right off the tree. And the meads were just as diverse; some were flavored and barrel aged to make the honey character extremely subtle, while others were bold and complex with the full flavor of the honey and added fruits and spices shining through.

Thankfully, after seeking a second and ultimately third opinion, it turned out Christian’s diagnosis was incorrect, and he has since been able to return to drinking beer and homebrewing. But all the guys came out of his experience with a greater understanding of hard ciders and mead, and a newfound drive and passion to create their home-made recipes on a larger scale.  The dream now is to share these incredible libations with as many as possible, starting with a taproom attached to their cidery and ultimately growing into a full production facility capable of far-reaching distribution. There’s was only one obstacle standing in their way…

Being the proud New Jersey sons that they are, they were set on opening in their beloved Garden State, but making hard cider and mead was illegal. Ok, maybe not technically illegal, but the stipulations and requirements needed in order to produce it were outlandish. Requirements like owning at least 3 acres of land to grow ingredients on. Ingredients that needed to make up at least 51% of what went into the hard cider. And there were no laws on the books for mead, making it effectively illegal to produce.
Well, they weren’t about to just give up, so they changed the law. It was a long process and at times seemed like an impossible task. But throughout several years of meeting with legislatures, drafting the bill, making concessions, and with the unwavering support of their local community as well as their local government, and some new friends in the alcohol industry. On May 11th of 2017, their bill was signed into law, making the production and distribution of hard cider and mead in New Jersey legal! Now all that’s left to do is open up shop and start making what they think is soon to be some of the best hard cider and mead on the market.

You’re probably familiar with hard cider. It’s a fermented beverage, like beer, that uses apples instead of grains. But you may be wondering what mead is. Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world, dating back to over 8000 years ago. In its simplest form, mead is a mixture of honey and water that is left to ferment. While the idea of honey water may make you think of an overly sweet drink, mead has all the complexities of wine, meaning it can range the gambit from mouth puckering dry to lip-smacking sweet and juicy.

What makes their hard ciders and meads different is that they strive for perfection – quality over quantity. So much so that the guys have an experimental pilot orchard where they grow a variety of cider apples to see which grow best in certain conditions and which juices go best with each other. With quality being paramount in this endeavor they employ completely organic and holistic farming techniques and methods to ensure the purest, best-tasting fruit and juice possible; No nasty chemical pesticides, just natural techniques used to suppress pests and invasive plants while encouraging the apple trees to produce the best fruit they can.

When it comes to their standard line up of ciders, they only use the best ingredients available and try to use as much organic locally sourced produce and honey as possible. But aside from what goes into the fermenter, what comes out is just as important. They’re making a variety of ciders and meads to please any and every palate. From incredibly tart and dry, to extremely approachable and drinkable. Armageddon Brewing is making the best beverages they can to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.

Armageddon is currently in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to open their facility. Your contributions will help them get the equipment essential to making their hard ciders and meads on a large scale. Things like a glycol chiller to serve their libations at the perfect temperatures, and a canning line to help distribute their ciders. Your help is also needed to make their taproom great. The more pledges they can bring in, the more they can dedicate to making the taproom a comfortable and inviting environment for everyone. Armageddon Brewing is currently working with a property owner and architect in Somerdale, New Jersey to finalize their space, but pledges to their Kickstarter are essential.

Visit Armageddon Brewing on the Web at www.armageddon-brewing.com

Follow Armageddon Brewing on Facebook @Armageddonbrewing

Click the Picture Below for Armageddon’s Kickstarter!