This last week was unusual in that I made it to three of Long Island's four brewpubs. Last Friday at lunch I ran over to the Black Forest Brew Haus in Farmingdale to sample Joe Hayes's Hefeweizen and his delicious Chocolate Doppelbock. After lunch I stopped off at Kedco to visit Brews Brothers. The friendly and attentive staff assisted me with procuring approximately 75 pounds of grain for my cottage brewing efforts. The liquid yeast selection at Kedco was limited. I brought home 5 Wyeast smack packs. On top of that I grabbed about 30 oz of various hops.
I decided to brew a batch of beer on Sunday. My intention was to brew 10 gallons of mild, but instead I ended up with 5 gallons of Double Mild. This beer will be served at the grand opening of my cottage brewpub on May 13th.
Don't forget that May 6th is National Homebrew Day and the day of the Big Brew (look on The Spirit World for my short article on the subject; the article should appear sometime on the 5th). I emailed Mike Deinhardt, president of B.E.E.R., to see if any of the homebrewers on Long Island would be celebrating National Homebrew Day and he informed me that nothing had been planned by the club. So I'm staging an impromptu celebration at my house. I'll be trying to brew that double batch of mild again. I'll start the brew early Saturday morning. Anyone who wants to help with the brew can show up around 8 am, otherwise if you just want a preview of what will be on tap at my cottage brewpub, then drop by at noon. We'll be toasting the hobby of homebrewing at 1 o'clock with pints of a wheat beer I brewed in early April.
My friend Daniel and I organize informal Wednesday evening beer outings. The destination last Wednesday was John Harvard's Brew House in Lake Grove. Both Daniel and I are on the short list to join the Mug Club. We paid our $50 membership fee and on June 1st we will have our very own stoneware mugs hanging in John Harvard's. If you weren't on the waiting list already, you can join on a first-come-first-served basis after June 1st. The bar maid estimated that only about 10 of the 100 slots would still be available on June 1st.
I had a couple of beers at John Harvard's. The Barbarian Bock was excellent. I followed that with the Strong Scotch Ale. Other beers on tap include: Bohemian Pils, West Coast IPA, JH's Pale Ale, Altbier, and Pinstripe Porter. I did a quick inventory of what's in the fermenters and saw that Mad Tom's Old Ale is bubbling away. I didn't see the bourbon barrel in the glass brewing case. I'll have to ask DJ Swanson, the brewmaster at John Harvard's, if he's going to bourbon cask condition the Mad Tom's again. I had a glass on of the bourbon conditioned Mad Tom's on New Year's Day and have been dreaming about it since.
When my wife announced last night that she wanted to eat out, I floated the proposal that we drive out to the Southampton Publick House. She agreed immediately. The food is always excellent and the beers superb. The service is a little slow, so we always plan to take our time.
In addition to the regular beer lineup, there were four special beers: Extra Stout, Extra Special Bitter, May Bock, and Abbey Double. I started with the May Bock and finished with the Abbey Double. I brought home a bottle of the Abbot 12 (quadruple) to put in the cellar.
We had the dining room to ourselves so I wandered around with my son looking at the stuff hanging on the walls. I read a news story from November 2000 that said Long Island once had 10 brewpubs. This was back in the late 90s. According to the article, four of those ten went out of business during the same year because of "mismanagement." That's too bad. The four that did survive though are all top quality brewpubs.
Hanging on a pillar near the brewery end of the dining room was a recipe for Phil Markowski's Abbey Single. I had a couple of pints of the Abbey Single at the end of March (see the Long Island Brewsletter #1). The recipe and the beer is based on Westmalle Extra (a beer I've never had). Now I know how to make an Abbey Single, I'll have to brew it and serve it in my cottage brewpub. I'll post the recipe on my web site in the near future once I transcribe it from my notes.
Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery will speak about the co-evolution of the new American beer and food cultures from 7:30- 8:00 and Phil Markowski, Brewmaster of Southampton [Publick House] will speak from 8:30 - 9:00 on the history of modern farmhouse ales compared to those of 100 years ago.