Great Lakes Brewing News August/September 2014 : Page 1
GRAINIAC. Right Brain's Head Brewer Nick Panchame manning one of the PHOTO BY BIL LUSA. brewery's two brewhouses. Story and photos by Bil Lusa ussell Springsteen was a high school wrestler from Durand, a suburb of Flint, int, when the opportunity ity to compete in Germany y arose. He qualified with a local team and sought sponsors to pay his way. Having strolled into the hotel bar, the seventeen year old high school athlete was celebrating different nt cultural norms towards alco-hol and was in the process of chugging beers to get hammered when he was swift-ly confronted and corrected by an activist German barmaid, who taught him to respect beer: to taste, savor, and enjoy the brewer’s work. Fast forward twenty years and he’s in Traverse City, Michigan, chucking pigs and apple pies into a brew kettle, which would probably make a few German brew-ers cry, or at least run screaming from the brewhouse. Springsteen worked for Jack Archibald at the legendary and now defunct (and sorely missed) Traverse Brewing Co, tak-ing over for a kid you may have heard Joe Short. In the earlier years of, Jo See Right Brain p. 6 ILLUSTRATION. BY: HANS GRANHEIM By Tina Weymann Fast-Forward to the Past In beer-making’s heyday, tons of freshly dried hops and malted barley were shipped from New York to less bountiful states, as well as to Canada and Europe. Our farms produced almost 90% of the nation’s hops in the mid-to late-19th cen-tury; in 1870 nearly four million pounds were harvested, and that same year yielded over one million bushels of barley, much of it malt-grade. Hop farming was labor-intensive, from planting to picking, but there was a sense of community spirit at harvest time. All occa-sions were “adjusted to the hop season,” and the hop-field laborers were a diverse lot: “home pickers – quiet, respectable people” who lived in the immediate neigh-borhood, whole families of migrants, slum dwellers, and many from the ‘hoboe’ class. Such outward distinctions were put aside when it came time to pull down the poles See No Farms p.4 Right Brain's Willpower Pale Ale can (designed by Leif Kolt) has been nominated by the BCCA for Can of the Year in 2014. PHOTO BY BIL LUSA INSIDE Event Calendar .....................3 Beers To Us! .........................8 Beer Beacon .......................10 The Beer Queendom ..........12 Homebrew ............................. 14 Map/Directory................ 18-23 State by State News Ohio ............... 16 Michigan ........ 18 SE Michigan .. 19 SW Michigan . 21 Indiana .......... 28 Chicago ......... 30 Illinois ........... 31 Wisconsin ..... 32 N Wisconsin .. 33 Minnesota ...... 34 Ontario .......... 36 New York ....... 38 Pennsylvania . 45 Abandon Brewing uses estate-grown hops in a brewery that was once an old barn.
No Farms, No Beer
Fast-Forward to the Past
In beer-making’s heyday, tons of freshly dried hops and malted barley were shipped from New York to less bountiful states, as well as to Canada and Europe. Our farms produced almost 90% of the nation’s hops in the mid- to late-19th century; in 1870 nearly four million pounds were harvested, and that same year yielded over one million bushels of barley, much of it malt-grade.
Hop farming was labor-intensive, from planting to picking, but there was a sense of community spirit at harvest time. All occasions were “adjusted to the hop season,” and the hop-field laborers were a diverse lot: “home pickers – quiet, respectable People” who lived in the immediate neighborhood, whole families of migrants, slum dwellers, and many from the ‘hoboe’ class. Such outward distinctions were put aside when it came time to pull down the poles And pluck the perfectly ripe hop flowers off the flesh-abrading bines. Old photographs show adults and child-laborers enjoying picnics, story telling, and dancing at the end of a grueling day in the hopyard.
The boom-and-bust economics of hop farming, the vagaries of weather and pestilent infestations, an emerging hop industry in the Pacific Northwest (with its efficient practice of training hop bines onto trellises rather than onto poles), and, finally, Prohibition, put an end to hop growing in New York.
Two malt houses once existed in the small city of Batavia, in the fertile fields of Western New York. Charles Fisher owned one off Elm Street; the Genesee Brewery made malt in a facility on Lyons Street.
Small-scale malthouses went extinct in the dark, dry days of Prohibition, to be supplanted by diversified agrobehemoths like Cargill that met the big brewers’ demand for adjunct ingredients as well as basic malt products. With the advent of the craft brewing and homebrewing revolution that began in the mid-1970s, existing malteries gradually expanded their offerings to include a palette of specialty “color” and “aromatic” malts, diastatic and dehusked malts.
But in New York State, virtually no malt-grade barley was harvested outside of extensionsupported test plots, and no small-batch malteries existed, until 2012.
Demand Drives Supply
With the craft brew movement came consumer sophistication and the term ‘hophead.’ Microbreweries experimented with stylistic variety and innovation, and by the late 1990s some were producing ‘estate’ series that showcased hops grown at or near the brewery. As the local flavor craze fueled the demand for indigenous hops, some small farms turned part of their cropland to hopyards to fill orders from regional craft breweries. Some bugaboos continued to haunt Hop farmers: it took years to establish hophills, flood or drought spelled disaster, and blights could wither the hops on the bine. But here in upstate New York, hopyards have been springing up everywhere, despite these risks. Only three years ago, fewer than 20 acres of hops were cultivated in New York State. Today’s production is at least 10 times higher.
Fixing the Weakest Link
While New York’s hop industry has thrived over the past decade or so – thanks in good measure to organizations like the Northeast Hop Alliance and research stations such as Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension – cultivation and processing of malting barley lagged woefully behind until the last couple years.
At Farmhouse Malt, in Newark Valley (Tioga County), pioneers Natalie and Marty Mattrazzo malt and kiln grains from their own farm in nearby Berkshire as well as from other growers. Cajoling farmers to Switch from relatively easy-growing feedstock to temperamental malting-quality barley hasn’t been easy. Farmers have had to relearn appropriate cultivation methods, determine through trial and error which varieties might survive our cold, damp microclimates, and literally retool every piece of equipment needed to sow, grow, reap, and eventually malt the grains once produced in such abundance here. Certified barleyseed is hard to come by. Barley, rye, and other cereals are susceptible to diseases like Fusarium head blight, which produces the aptly named vomitoxin, rendering the affected crop unfit for human consumption even when only trace amounts are detected. In 2012 the Mattrazzos produced a bumper crop, but the following year’s weather was disastrous. Ever the optimists, Natalie and Marty have just expanded Farmhouse’s operations to include one of New York’s newest licensed farm breweries, with a brewing facility and tasting room in Owego.
In Dryden, near Ithaca, East Coast Malts specializes in organic barley malt for the local craft-brewing community. Fourthgeneration farmer Ted Hawley and wife Patty are reviving the malting industry in Batavia with New York Craft Malt, producing handcrafted, small-batch, artisanal malts from locally grown grains.
But demand for locally grown, highquality, micro-malted barley far exceeds capacity, at least for now.
Government Gets on the Bandwagon
Under Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State has enacted various pieces of legislation to assist the state’s burgeoning craft beverage industry, including tax breaks and one-stop shopping that allows producers to have a single point of state regulatory-agency contact. In 2012, following the state’s first Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit, New York passed a progressive, innovative Farm Brewery Law that promised benefits to small and medium-sized breweries, to re-emerging segments of the state’s agriculture, and to the tourism economy, much like the highly successful 1976 Farm Winery Law.
The legislation went into effect in January 2013, and in its first year 22 farm breweries were licensed. A number of startups held off on obtaining licenses until they could do so under the new law. At this writing, there are 48 licensed farm breweries throughout New York, with many others in the planning stages.
By the Numbers
To qualify as a farm brewery in New York, at least 20% of hops and 20% (by weight) of other ingredients, including barley and other small grains, must be purchased from in-state producers. That percentage jumps to 60% (20% of hops, 40% of barley and other small grains) in 2018, and to 90% in 2024. The farm brewery license relaxes restrictions on selling beer by the glass, permits the brewery to also produce and sell hard cider, to retail other New York State-made beverages, and allows the brewery to sell its own beer at up to five “branches,” like coowned tasting rooms and restaurants. In a nutshell, the new farm brewery license offers Greater flexibility than New York’s microbrewery license—but with a hitch. An existing microbrewery license may be converted to a farm brewery license, or a brewery can hold both licenses.
Beyond New York
Following on New York’s heels, a number of of other states – including Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana – have proposed or passed similar farm brewery legislation. Michigan’s proposed “Farm to Glass” bill provides a noteworthy contrast to New York’s law. Like its model, Michigan’s bipartisan legislation is intended to boost the state’s agriculture and the exploding craft-brew industry. Michigan’s law would be driven by tax-credit incentives: 8 cents per gallon would be given for the first 500,000 gallons, and 4 cents for production between 500,000 and 15 million gallons. To qualify for the credit, 51% of ingredients must be grown or produced in Michigan starting January 2015; 70% starting 2018; 90% by 2019. As in New York, Michigan’s bill provides a “natural disaster exemption” in the event of catastrophic crop failure or the inability of producers to keep up with escalating demand. Qualifying alcoholic beverages could sport a special “Michigan Farm to Glass” label. Interestingly, the proposed requirements and benefits extend not only to beer but to wine, mead, cider, and distilled spirits as well.
The Right Place, Inc., in Grand Rapids, was recently awarded a grant to study Michigan hop cultivation and create a statewide cooperative to establish quality standards. Hop production jumped from zero to 200 acres in 2013 at five participating facilities throughout the state; 400 acres were planted in the spring of 2014 at eight hop farms. Despite the battle cry that Michigan is “leading the charge” in the Great Lakes, the stark fact remains that over 30,000 acres of hops are in production in the Pacific Northwest.
It Takes a Village Transforming
local hops and grains from farm to foam is no simple feat, but a wide-ranging network of resources in New York is doing just that.
Headquartered in Madison County, the Northeast Hop Alliance offers workshops And networking opportunities, serving as a clearinghouse for growers and brewers alike. NeHA’s annual Hop Festival draws experts, aficionados, and the merely curious into the fascinating world of hops. Cornell University’s new research hopyard at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva recently was awarded a $40,000 state grant to conduct pest-management trials of various cultivars, including Alpharoma, Centennial, Fuggle, Perle, Saaz, and Willamette.
Cornell’s Small Grains Project, headed by Dr. Mark Sorrells, is conducting cultivation trials of wheat, spring oats, and spring and winter barley varieties. So far, they have had good luck with two-row varieties such as Conlon, Scarlett, and Pinnacle, and with six-row varieties like Endeavor, Tradition, and Rasmussen. The recently formed Craft Maltsters Guild aims to revive the ancient art and science of malting, and to connect craft brewers, farmers, breeders, industry professionals, and micro-maltsters to shared knowledge and resources.
The Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville has emerged as a leader in the effort to close the gap between agricultural supplies and demand from brewers and increase capacity for New York State’s budding farm brewing industry. Starting this year, the Carey Institute will be resurrecting a New World Dutch Barn, circa 1760, on its campus to house New York State’s first farm brewery incubator. The barn is being adapted to serve as an economic and Social hub that unites farmers, brewers, and craft beverage enthusiasts, and will house three key programs: a Model Farm Brewery, a Farm-To-Glass Classroom, and a Farm Brewery Incubator.
The Empire State Development Corporation recently awarded $108,000 to the project, dubbed the Helderberg Brewshed, and an ongoing fundraising campaign is underway to secure the remaining project budget.
And in late breaking news, Natalie Mattrazzo was just appointed to the Farm Brewing Committee of the New York State Brewers Association. After years of working with small grain farmers and academics, Natalie is recognized as the one person in NY with her finger on the pulse of malting grain production in our state.
In mid-June, in response to concerns raised during New York’s second Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit, held in April, Gov. Cuomo announced additional funding of $350,000, a portion of which will go to the Cornell Agriculture & Food Technology Park, to research hops and malting barley, to troubleshoot pests and diseases and to determine which varieties work best for our state’s agriculture.
New York’s farmers and farm brewers, and others in a growing number of states, see mostly sunny skies overhead, and we aficionados are finally learning to appreciate the care and quality that define our fresh, delicious farm-grown brews.
Read the full article at http://archive.brewingnews.com/article/No+Farms%2C+No+Beer/1783217/220946/article.html.
Right Brain Brewing
Russell Springsteen was a high school wrestler from Durand, a suburb of Flint, when the opportunity to compete in Germany arose. He qualified with a local team and sought sponsors to pay his way. Having strolled into the hotel bar, the seventeen year old high school athlete was celebrating different cultural norms towards alcohol and was in the process of chugging beers to get hammered when he was swiftly confronted and corrected by an activist German barmaid, who taught him to respect beer: to taste, savor, and enjoy the brewer’s work.
Fast forward twenty years and he’s in Traverse City, Michigan, chucking pigs and apple pies into a brew kettle, which would probably make a few German brewers cry, or at least run screaming from the brewhouse.
Springsteen worked for Jack Archibald at the legendary and now defunct (and sorely missed) Traverse Brewing Co, taking over for a kid you may have heard of, Joe Short. In the earlier years Of craft beer in Michigan, great beer wasn’t everywhere. It was a tougher sell and palates need to be educated – and it wasn’t a growth industry for everyone. Working through the struggles of the Williamsburg (the small Michigan town, not Brooklyn’s post-hipster gentrification mecca) based brewery was valuable training for a future brewery owner.
The Right Idea
In 2007, Springsteen opened up Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City’s Warehouse district, an area of small industrial spaces where, at the time, not much was going on commercially. Springsteen had turned to cutting hair as a career during a (now temporary) departure from brewing, and the barber/stylist opened up a brewery and adjacent salon. The pub was off the beaten path a bit from the hubbub of downtown and Front Street for sure – but the decision to be non-smoking (prior to state legislation) when every other bar in town allowed smoking gave the brewery a feature (along with haircuts) that kept it busy and allowed it to grow.
In 2012, after nearly four years as a microbrewery basically operating as a brewpub out of their original Warehouse district location, Right Brain planned a move to 16th street near Boardman Lake, an area RBB’s marketing manager Leif Kolt affectionately refers to as SoFo (for South Of Fourteenth street). The move took the brewery from a cozy but ultimately limiting 3,500 square feet to 36,000 square feet – RBB could now fill a silo with grain as opposed to having a couple pallets at a time on hand; and they have room for things like barrel aging, fermentation, and packaging. Right Brain packages their flagship beers in pint cans, and a number of specialty beers in 22 oz bottles.
In 2013 in their first full year in SoFo the brewery produced approximately 3000 barrels and is on track for 5000 in 2014. Folks get thirsty Up North.
The Right Theme
A brewery wouldn’t be a brewery without a theme, style, philosophy or ethos, right? Right Brain recipes are food inspired, often constructed from flavors backwards to recipes in the manner some chefs would. While many people across the country are eating and drinking local products where possible, Michigan is in the unique position of having the second most agricultural diversity of any of the 50 states (after California). Right Brain seeks out locally grown products to develop beers around – including Spear Beer, brewed with Michigan asparagus originally, specifically for Empire’s Asparagus festival; and the Pie Whole Beer series: Apple Pie Whole, Cherry Pie Whole, Blueberry Pie Whole, and Pecan Pie Whole – each beer is brewed with 40 whole pies, crust and all, from the Grand Traverse Pie Company. Right Brain works with the bakers to achieve the characteristics they’d like out of a brew-pie and, where possible, the pies are baked with locally grown fruit. With regards to Spear Beer, 80 pounds of Asparagus is picked and grilled for a 15 barrel batch of beer. In case you were concerned about root vegetables being left out, RBB even brews Schrute Farms, a beet Saison with Detroit grown beets.
While many of these beers feature bold flavors and non-traditional ingredients, it is important to the brewery that they are, first and foremost, beers— not just in name but In flavor. When you drink, say, a Cherry Pie Whole, you’re still drinking and tasting an amber ale.
In 2011, Right Brain Brewing struck GABF Gold in the experimental category with Mangalitsa Pig Porter. The Mangalitsa Pig itself is rare enough – called the Kobe beef of pork, the free range Hungarian breed is now being raised in Michigan. Right brain takes the head and the bones – 2014’s beer used the whole head, eyes included – and adds it to the brew kettle in a cheesecloth bag. A 7 barrel batch calls for six pig heads. To leave the fats and oils extracted in the brewing process behind, the beer is Transferred at cooler temps carefully from the bottom of the kettle. Chocolate malt provides the porter’s dark backbone and contrasts the saltiness of the smoked pig heads. The 6% abv beer is sought out by rare beer aficionados, tourists, and locals alike for its unique construction.
Three things came out of Right Brain’s Gold Medal: one, validation for the brewery itself that what they were doing was not only worth doing, but working; two, a new respect across the region from the craft beer community and those curious to see what was going on up in Traverse City; the third, unfortunately, was the attention of regulatory bodies with regards to food safety and labeling issues— apparently, putting pig heads in a brew kettle opens up quite the can of worms. (Note: Right Brain has not brewed a beer with worms, but don’t rule anything out at this point.) However, RBB had documented the development of the beer and was able to provide paperwork and video of the process and the sourcing.
The Right Beers
Right Brain’s flagship beers, available in 16 oz cans throughout Michigan and on Draft, include Willpower Pale Ale, a hopped up session American pale ale. It is light, crisp, refreshing and a beer to have when you’re having more than one. Also in the can package is Northern Hawk Owl Amber, a smooth, maltysweet ESB that’s true to style and complementary to many foods. A warm malt backbone with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel gives way to a nice, dry finish. And, lest we forget the dark beer fans, CEO Stout features Chocolate, Espresso, and Oatmeal notes. It is jet black in color yet lighter bodied than one might expect.
Since Right Brain Brewing opened in Traverse City in 2007, seven more breweries have opened in the city—one even in Right Brain’s old warehouse district location. This in a town with a population under 15,000. The area was already home to Mackinac Brewing Co, North Peak, and Jolly Pumpkin. Several more are in the planning stages, making Right Brain the seasoned veteran presence in just seven short years.
Right Brain beers are currently only available in the state of Michigan, with distribution currently covering about 80% of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Read the full article at http://archive.brewingnews.com/article/Right+Brain+Brewing+/1783221/220946/article.html.