Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Typology Tuesday #2: Bock

This post is a contribution to Typology Tuesday, a monthly project started by the Brookston Beer Bulletin.  On the last Tuesday of every month, beer bloggers are invited to explore a different style of beer and write a post about it.  For the month of February, we are writing about bocks.

To be perfectly honest, I don't have a ton of experience with bocks.  That is part of the reason why I wanted to participate in this month's Typology Tuesday.  Jay Brooks from the Brookston Beer Bulletin compiled a good amount of history, style guidelines from various sources and further reading suggestions for bocks, located here.

Bocks are lagers that generally fall into the 6.3-7.6% ABV range.  They are dark brown or very dark in color and have a high malt complexity.  You won't find much hop bitterness in these beers; just what's enough to cut the sweetness from the malt.  Bready, biscuity, nutty...all those bread descriptors could likely describe bocks.

Bock is one of those styles where I always seemed to be drinking a variation of the original style, but hardly ever the traditional style itself.  Doppelbock?  Check.  Weizenbock?  Check.  Maibock?  Rogue's Dead Guy Ale was probably one of the first non-BMC beers I tried (or at least in the first 10!).

I can count on one hand the number of beers I've had where the style was simply bock.  There's Shiner Bock, which doesn't quite meet style guidelines at 4.4%, and was always an underwhelming beer unless I was being offered no other option.  Yuengling Bock was brought back in 2010 as a late winter seasonal, but has since been discontinued.  I don't have any notes on the beer, but I remember it being alright.  It was also outside style guidelines at 5.1%.  Anchor Brewing used to have a bock in their portfolio, and it was ALSO outside style guidelines at 5.5%.  Sadly, I never tried Anchor's version before it was discontinued several years ago.

I wanted to try a traditional bock for this post, and had a hard time finding one!  I went to 3 different liquor stores that I rely on for their superb selections, but only found doppelbock and weizenbock until I made it to the 3rd store.  There, sitting on the shelf, I found Zywiec Bock.  I was familiar with Zywiec Porter, which I wrote about here, but wasn't aware they brewed a bock.  I decided to give it a try for this post.  Let's see how it is!

Zywiec Brewery, Bock, Typology Tuesday
Zywiec Bock
Zywiec Bock (6.5% ABV) poured a dark amber with a frothy head.  A very attractive beer!  It has a nutty, pumpernickel-like flavor and it goes down incredibly easy.  I'm glad this came in a 16 oz. bottle and not a 12 oz. size.  Zywiec's Bock would go perfectly in a liter mug at a beer hall or barbecue.  The aftertaste just leaves me wanting more.

I know the Dutch Heineken Group has a controlling share in the Zywiec brewery, but at $1.99 for a 16 oz. bottle, this was a steal.  I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more traditional bocks.  It's a style that lends to drinking.  Not a challenge to put one back, and a beer you could probably pair with just about any food (if you're into that sort of thing!)


Saturday, October 31, 2015

902 Brewing Black Dynomite Black IPA

I love when a new brewery starts up and is able to get their beer in bottles.  It also makes me nervous though, because in the past I've been burned from getting bad bottles from new breweries.  My only assumptions are that there must be a higher chance for variation/contamination when filling bottles.  When bottling, you need consistency of fill volume and carbonation, and you need to make sure those bottles are clean and sanitized or else off flavors may develop in the beer.  These are all problems I've seen from bottles in the past.

Let's hope that we don't have any bottle problems today!

902 Brewing entered the New Jersey beer scene a little less than 1 year ago.  Instead of starting out with their own brewery, they contract out the brewing and tank space at Climax Brewing in Roselle Park, NJ. This had me a little worried, because Climax is one of the brewers that I've had bad bottles from.

Most of the business 902 Brewing does is in and around the Hoboken area in NJ, but they are on tap at a few bars out near me in western NJ.  Some of their 22 oz. bottles have also trickled into my area.  I picked up a bottle of Black Dynomite Black IPA from Bottlecraft in Franklin.  There was no date on the bottle of the label, so I could only hope that it was somewhat fresh!  Since Bottlecraft is a newly opened liquor store, I had a good feeling that the beer wouldn't be too old.

I couldn't find the alcohol content on the bottle anywhere, so I had to look it up on 902 Brewing's website. It was listed there at 7.3% ABV.  Hopefully they'll find a way to include this on the label in the future!

Check out my Halloween inspired beertography.....Happy Halloween!

902 Brewing, IPA, Black IPA, Craft Beer, New Jersey
902 Brewing Black Dynomite - Pardon my shoddy beertography!

I hope that Black Dynomite is a sign of good things to come for 902 Brewing.  The Black IPA was quite good.  Bitter, but not too bitter.  Lots of roasted flavors from the dark malts.  This is what I want from a Black IPA.  Too often in a Black IPA, the bitterness overwhelms any chance of tasting the dark malts.  And sometimes it just tastes like a stout, and you wonder why they added "IPA" to the name of the beer in the first place.

Great stuff here.  I'll be sure to pick up 902 Brewing's other beers (Heaven, Hell or Hoboken American IPA, PATH pale ale) when I see them offered.

You can find 902 Brewing and their beers at these upcoming events:
11/7 Beer, BBQ and Bacon Showdown in Stanhope
11/10 New Jersey Craft Beer event at Hops in Morristown
12/19 902 Brewing One Year Anniversary event at Finnegans Pub in Hoboken



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bolero Snort Brewery Bravehorn

Bolero Snort Brewery is killing it.  I can't say it enough.  They have been sporadically releasing new beers in 22 oz. sized bomber bottles, alongside their year round beers (Longhop IPA and Ragin' Bull amber lager) and barrel aged treats.  The beers that have been released in the bombers have been stellar, and they have also been competitively priced.  I've shared my drinking of several of their new beers on all of the social media, just not on this here blog (I'm trying to rectify that!)

As of this writing, some of the unique 22. oz bombers that Bolero Snort has released have been El Matador (a session ale brewed with cilantro, lime and jalapeno), Variabull 001 and 002 (an IPA and a smoked brown ale with coffee, respectively), and Explorabull (another IPA).  Coming out on 11/1 in 22 oz. bottles (and kegs of course) is Moovember Milk Stout.

Bolero Snort, Craft Beer, New Jersey, Craft Beer

The latest bomber from Bolero Snort that I've enjoyed is Bravehorn, a scotch ale/wee heavy style beer with cranberries and orange peels added to the boil.  I have to admit, at first this beer sounded straight up odd to me.  Not being a big fan of sour beers or overly fruity beers, I had some hesitations in buying Bravehorn.

According to Bolero Snort Brewery co-founder Bob Olsen, "We were trying to figure out something that kind of fit the seasonality but still avoided the pumpkin craze.....We skipped doing Fall Pasture (last year's pumpkin beer) this year."

Bolero Snort Brewery, New Jersey, Bravehorn, Craft Beer
Bolero Snort Brewery's Bravehorn

Bravehorn isn't overly tart or fruity like I feared, but more bready with a only subtle presence from the cranberries and orange peels.  It would be a perfect beer to have with a hearty Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, pairing exceptionally well with everything on your plate but at the same time not jumping into the forefront of your taste buds.

I'm a huge fan of Bolero Snort's recent label artwork, especially on their bombers.  Bob from Bolero Snort had this to say about the origin of the artwork:
So it actually started with Tabull Saison - I met Jim from the HappyHourComic.com and was talking about wanting to do a farmer inspired version of our logo - my skills would only allow for adding a hat/straw out of the bulls mouth and Jim stepped in and did a great job with the overalls/bandana etc. It kind of went from there - the desire to change up to bombers and then Jim being able to help us out with some killer artwork. We got some really fun other beers in the works already with some of Jim’s work and a TON of ideas for the future. 
Here are some other Bolero Snort labels that Jim from HappyHourComic.com has worked on:

Get out there and enjoy some great beer!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Upcoming NJ Beers (and Meads) - as of 07/22/15

Hey folks!  Welcome to the latest batch of new beers you'll be seeing soon from NJ breweries!  Makes your mouth water a bit, doesn't it?

902 Brewing

902 Brewing started selling their beers in NJ earlier this year.  Contracting out of Roselle Park's Climax Brewing, 902 Brewing has been pumping out kegs of their IPA, Pale Ale and Black IPA.  Here we have the label for their first bottle release.  It is for their Heaven, Hell or Hoboken IPA and will be packaged in 22 oz. bottles!

902 Brewing, New Jersey, Craft Beer, India Pale Ale
902 Brewing's IPA: Heaven, Hell or Hoboken

Belford Brewing

keg label for Honey Hudson (Ale Brewed with NJ Honey)

Boaks Beer

keg label for Wooden Beanie brewed at Free Will Brewing in Perkasie, PA (Barrel Aged Belgian Style Brown Ale)

Brix City Brewing

Little Ferry NJ's Brix City Brewing is another one of NJ's newest breweries to open, and the below label is for their KTK Double IPA.  Like 902 Brewing's IPA, KTK will also be packaged in 22 oz. bottles.

Brix City Brewing, New Jersey, Craft Beer, Double IPA
Brix City Brewing's KTK Double IPA

Carton Brewing

keg approval for Dune Fruit

Cypress Brewing

keg approval for Double IPA

Demented Brewing 

keg approval for C-4 India Pale Ale (7% ABV)
keg approval for Sol Reaper American Pale Ale (6% ABV)
keg approval for Astarte Strawberry Cream Ale (5.5% ABV)

Melovino Meadery

Mead from Vauxhall, NJ!

Melovino Meadery, Mead, New Jersey
Melovino Meadery Hot For Teacher

NJ Beer Co.

Here's an updated label for NJ Beer Co.'s LBIPA.  Lookin' great!

New Jersey Beer Co, New Jersey, India Pale Ale
Updated label for New Jersey Beer Co.'s LBIPA

Get out there and enjoy some beers!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Upcoming NJ Beers - as of 07/01/15

With all of the new breweries opening in NJ, there are more and more label approvals coming through the system.  To keep these "Upcoming NJ Beers" posts shorter, I am going to try and post them every two weeks instead of once a month.

Let's see what new labels have come through the system since the last update!

902 Brewing had kegs of"Black Dynomite" Black IPA approved

Angry Erik saw 3 keg labels approved for the following beers: To Taste American IPA (6.0% ABV), Two Shoe Brew Copper Ale (6.0% ABV) and Fjord Crosser Belgian IPA

Beach Haus Brewery

Belford Brewing

Bolero Snort

Climax Brewing  saw approvals for Hammer and Ale Imperial IPA, Maxwell's Summer Ale, Maxwell's Pale Ale

Cricket Hill received two keg approvals for the following:  Philly Roller Derby Lager and Tiff's Limited Release Ale

Cypress Brewing, gearing up for their launch event, received several more keg approvals: double chocolate imperial outmeal stout, Cypress Hefeweizen, Cypress IPA, Cypress Summer IPA, Cypress West Coast Style IPA, Cypress Irish Red, Cypress Blonde Ale, Cypress Northern English Style Nut Brown Ale, Cypress Rye Saison,

Demented Brewing had keg approvals for the following beers: Scarlet Night American Amber Ale (5.8% ABV), Litha American Wheat Ale (5.8% ABV), Belladonna German Wheat Ale (3.2% ABV)

Flying Fish received keg approval for an interesting new Coffee Pale Ale.

Forgotten Boardwalk saw keg approvals for Pocket Trip Imperial IPA, Title Deed Imperial Oatmeal Espresso Coffee Stout, as well as a can approval for Morro Castle Smoked Porter.  See the can label below!

Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing, Morro Castle, New Jersey, Craft Beer
Forgotten Boardwalk Morro Castle

Melovino Meadery

New Jersey Beer Co. - The North Bergen team saw approvals for Fat Captain Ale, Captain's Beard Ale, T T T India Pale Ale.  If I had to guess, these are being made specifically for a restaurant.

Pinelands Brewing

Tuckahoe Brewing saw keg approval for Citra Cafe IPA.

Get out there and enjoy some beers!

Monday, June 29, 2015

In the Brewhouse with Conclave Brewing

I can't stress enough how much of an exciting time this is to be a beer fan in NJ.  The majority of NJ residents now live within a short drive of a local brewery, giving them the ability to get their beer as fresh as possible, from the source.

Conclave Brewing, Raritan Twp, New Jersey, Craft Beer
Welcome to Conclave Brewing

Conclave Brewing, opening July 11 in Raritan Twp., is making that drive a lot shorter for Hunterdon County residents  Ever since River Horse moved a little farther south down the Delaware River to Ewing, Hunterdon County has been devoid of a production brewery (there is The Ship Inn brewpub, in the northwest corner of the county).

Conclave Brewing, Raritan Twp, New Jersey, Craft Beer
Part of Conclave's Brewhouse

Conclave Brewing's thirsty customers will be able to imbibe in a farmhouse saison and an espresso milk stout.  Once hop orders are secured, a pale ale will be added to the list.  To spice things up, variants of these beers with different treatments will also be available.

Conclave Brewing, Raritan Twp, New Jersey, Craft Beer
Conclave Brewing's Tank Farm

The brewery is a 3 barrel kettle with a lineup of 7 barrel fermentation tanks.  If you want to try Conclave's saison and espresso milk stout before they open, head over Nik's Wunderbar (Whitehouse Station, NJ) on July 9th.  Starting at 11am, Conclave will be on tap!

Conclave Brewing, Raritan Twp, New Jersey, Craft Beer
Conclave's Tap Room 

Conclave will have their doors open on July 11 from 1-5 pm.  On tap will be their espresso milk stout, a spiced variant of the espresso milk stout, their farmhouse saison and a dry hopped version of the saison.  You will be able to have glasses of the beer in the tap room, and of course fill up growlers to go.

Conclave Brewing
15 Minneakoning Rd. / Suite 202
Raritan Twp, NJ 08822

Friday, June 26, 2015

In the Brewhouse with Cypress Brewing Co.

Get excited for another NJ brewery opening soon!  Cypress Brewing will be opening their doors in early July in a tucked away industrial park at 30 Nixon Lane in Edison, NJ.  They are currently prepping for their July 9th launch party at Hailey's Harp and Pub in Metuchen, NJ, and their fermentation and brite tanks are full to prove it.  

Cypress Brewing, Edison, NJ, Craft Beer
The Barstools at Cypress Waiting to be Filled
For their launch, Cypress Brewing will have 10(!) beers ready for NJ beer fans to try out.  Their idea is to have something for everyone to be able to enjoy.

Hop heads can relish in three different IPAs:  a "nearly sessionable" Cypress IPA, a Cypress Double IPA and a 106 IBU "hop bomb" that is Cypress West Coast IPA.  

Stout lovers will clamor over the Cypress Double Chocolate Imperial Oatmeal Stout, where at 8.8% ABV, Cypress will only sell it to you in half glasses (in their tap room, at least).  

You will find a full list of their launch beers, along with brewer's descriptions, at the end of this post!

Cypress Brewing, Edison, NJ, Craft Beer
Fermentation Tanks Filled with Beer for Cypress Brewing's Launch Party

According to Cypress owner/brewer Charles Backmann (he is 1 of 3 owners), they were originally going to start with a 1 barrel (31.5 gallon) brewhouse, but ultimately decided it would be best to spring for the 2 barrel (63 gallon) system.  As you can see in the picture above, they have 4-2 barrel fermentation tanks and 1-4 barrel fermentation tank. 


Cypress Brewing, Edison, NJ, Craft Beer
Cypress' Brewing Setup Ready to Go

You will be able to try Cypress Brewing's beers at several bars around Middlesex County, but they are also planning on doing a lot of business out of their tap room.  For sale will be full pints and flights.  And of course, growlers will be available for you to take the beer home with you.

Cypress Brewing, Edison, NJ, Craft Beer
Love the Cypress Brewing Logo and Shadow Cypress Trees

Once again, head out to Hailey's Harp and Pub in Metuchen, NJ for Cypress Brewing's launch party, where you will be able to have a taste of any of the beers listed below.....I guess you can call that a tap takeover!

Cypress Brewing Co.
30 Nixon Lane, Unit E
Edison, NJ 08837

Hailey's Harp and Pub
400 Main St.
Metuchen, NJ 08840

Cypress Brewing's Launch Beers

Cypress Blonde - 3.7% ABV, 20 IBU - Light American Ale with a blend of pale and pilsner malts.
Cypress Northern English Nut Brown - 4.6% ABV, 25 IBU - Dark and malty with roasted barley and chocolate malt.  Earthy hops and a sweet, nutty finish.
Cypress Hefeweizen - 4.9% ABV, 12 IBU - Traditional German Hefeweizen with pronounced banana and clove notes.
Cypress Irish Red - 5.2% ABV19 IBU - Deep red hue and a malty, slightly roasted flavor.  Mild use of earthy hops, and finishes with a slight toffee flavor.
Cypress Amber - 5.5% ABV, 35 IBU - American style Amber Ale with a slight biscuit flavor due to added Amber malt.  Moderate use of West Coast American hops.
Cypress Rye Saison - 5.6% ABV, 27 IBU - Hazy and light in color.  Dry, with a distinct Rye flavor with hints of black pepper and coriander.  Earthy hops and a clean finish.
Cypress IPA - 5.9% ABV, 64 IBU - A "nearly sessionable" American IPA.  Light in color, with pronounced pine and grapefruit flavors.  Dry-hopped with a generous amount of Centennial and Cascade hops.
Cypress West Coast IPA - 7.4% ABV, 106 IBU - A "hop bomb" American IPA.  Powerful aroma and 106 IBU from an onslaught of West Coast hops.
Cypress Double IPA - 8.4% ABV, 85 IBU - Mashed high (for an IPA) to allow some residual malt sugars to show through.  Added honey malt for a slightly sweet flavor.  Floral aroma with a hint of tropical fruit.
Cypress Double Chocolate Imperial Oatmeal Stout -8.8% ABV, 45 IBU - High final gravity and added oats for a heavy, silky mouth feel. Nearly 50% more cocoa then a typical chocolate stout.  Earthy hops, and fermented with English Ale yeast.