Thursday, January 5, 2012

Monday, October 24, 2011

What's brewing...

We have completed our application with the federal government (The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau), which culminated with a 60 minute phone interview on October 4th.  We should be receiving our Brewer's Notice within the next few days.  This means that we have met all of the requirements set forth by the federal government as far as our manufacturing methods and our financial and taxation means are concerned.  We have also filed all of the needed paperwork with Federal Food and Drug Administration as a food production facility.  We also are almost through with our inspections with Dennis Township and the Cape May County Health Department.
We still anticipate that the New Jersey's Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control will finish reviewing our application in November.  The second round of paperwork that we submitted in September weighed over seven pounds; once this is fully reviewed, we will have our site inspection.  Once we are approved, we will begin manufacturing under the terms of our Limited Brewery License, and expect to have our beers on tap in Yesterday's in Marmora, The Tuckahoe Inn in Beesley's Point, The Buck Tavern in Corbin City, and Levari's Grill in Petersburg.  Bottles will be available in Yesterday's Package Goods Store, Gleeson's Liquors on Sea Isle Boulevard, and Passion Vines in Somers Point.
Once we are up and running, we will also apply for our Brewery Tour Permit with the ABC and Dennis Township.  This will allow us to offer tours and up to four 4 ounce samples at the brewery.  Customers will also be able to purchase up to a 12-pack to take home and enjoy.  We hope to have our Brewery Tour Permit by the spring.

Marshalville Wit
Dennis Creek Pale Ale
Steelemantown Porter
Coming Soon....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Catching Up with Tuckahoe Brewing

Brewery launches Nos. 5 and 6 for 2011?

Catching up with New Jersey nanobreweries-in-development Tuckahoe Brewing and Flounder Brewing, both of which project they'll enter the Garden State craft beer market before the end of the year.

Tuckahoe (in northern Cape May County) and Flounder (in Somerset County) have submitted their paperwork to federal and state regulators. How swiftly the processing of their licensing applications and brewer's notices by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control goes will be a significant factor regarding when their doors open.

But both breweries are optimistic their matters before the regulators are on track, and right now they're busying themselves with the build-out of their facilities.

Tuckahoe Brewing
Last week, Matt McDevitt, Tim Hanna and Jim McAfee, three of the four guys behind the brewery – the fourth is Chris Konicki – extended an invitation to check out their brewery-in-progress, located in a small industrial park in Ocean View (that's in Dennis Township, just west of the shore town of Sea Isle city). A 3-barrel brewing system from PyschoBrew is expected to arrive sometime this month, as are two 8-barrel fermenters. A keg washer arrived last week.

Step inside their space and you'll notice one of Tim's old surfboards, the front seat of a 1980s-vintage Dodge van (perfect for sitting down and enjoying a beer while camping) and a freshly built flight of stairs that leads to a loft office area, retro-furnished with a turntable and hip collection of vinyl, the kind that disappeared from most people's minds and stereo consoles decades ago. Next-door neighbors are an organic coffee roaster (Harry & Beans) and a seafood market (Casey & Ben's); both could figure into Tuckahoe's brew lineup (think oyster and coffee stouts).

Tuckahoe's business plan calls for hitting the market – the foursome anticipates a November launch – with a year-round American-style pale ale, called DC Pale Ale; the fall-winter seasonal Steelman Porter; and Marshallville Wit for the warmer weather months. (The names are all drawn from northern Cape May County lore; DC is short for Dennis Creek, a Delaware Bay tributary.) The brewery also wants to source local ingredients for its brews whenever possible and is talking with a nearby farmer about growing barley for brewing. (They will have to find a maltser, however.)

Matt, who handles the brewing, and Tim served up prototypes of the porter and amber pale ale turned out on a homebrew rig that's now a pilot brew setup. Dosed with Centennial, Amarillo and Willamette hops, the pale clocks in around 6 percent ABV and offers a quite worthwhile drinking experience.

Matt and Tim backed up the pale with the Centennial-hopped porter, a 6 to 7 percent ABV brew that was roasty and well balanced, quite quaffable beneath a dense, tan head of foam. With this brew around, Cape May County winters are going to be much anticipated.

Matt says he's still fine-tuning the Belgian wit recipe. So far, he's turned out versions of the 4.5 percent ABV brew using Fuggle hops, coriander, bitter and sweet orange peel, chamomile, clover honey and grains of paradise.

Flounder Brewing
Hurricane Irene was quite cruel to inland New Jersey north of Route 195, the east-west interstate that New Jersey wears like a belt. Hillsborough in Somerset County caught its share of the late August tempest's thrashing, and the subsequent flooding set Flounder Brewing's timetable back some, says Jeremy "Flounder" Lees, one of the nanobrewery's founders.

The brewery is on high ground, so it fared the storm well enough, with a shade tree on the property coming down. However, the town itself saw a fair amount of standing water and has been left trying to catch up on official business in the aftermath.

That matters when your brewery needs a construction permit from town hall and has to submit some new drawings of the site for review. On top of that, the plumber the brewery uses has likewise been swamped by storm-related emergency work.

The upshot is the delay Jeremy noted, but he still envisions a soft opening around the holidays with a gingerbread brown ale and honey-infused amber ale, called Hill Street Honey.

Despite the storm clouds, there is a rather bright silver lining for Flounder Brewing.

The brewery picked up $6,000 in financing through the Brewing the American Dream program, the Boston Beer-ACCION USA partnership that makes micro-loans available for fledgling breweries.

The brewery was able to get the financing after the program was broadened to serve start-ups, which otherwise would have had to show a half-year's worth of revenue to qualify for cash. That's obviously something difficult to do when you're not already in business, but rather trying to launch a business.

In any event, the cash has enabled Flounder Brewing to start larger than it had initially planned by purchasing a pair of 55-gallon kettles – one for wort boil, the other as a hot liquor tank – and a 35-gallon kettle for mashing.

If things go smoothly from here on out for Flounder and Tuckahoe, and they are able to launch this year, 2011 will go down as a very vibrant year for start-ups, a year that also saw the licensing of nanos Great Blue Brewing and Cape May Brewing, as well as production brewers Kane Brewing and Carton Brewing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The hops experiment...

I ordered 4 varieties of organically grown hop rhizomes back in March from The Thyme Garnden Herb Company in Alsea, Oregon .  (Cascade, Nugget, Mt Hood & Hallertau)        I didn't know which hops would grow best in New Jersey soil and climate or when exactly to plant. I started all four varieties in large pots in my basement and after signs of growth, I planted in late April.

In late spring the Cascade started to bud and a little Nugget.

I guessed on when to harvest-they seemed fully grown, they were a little drier and starting to brown a bit. I harvested the Cascade over about a two week period in late August.

The My. Hood and Hallertau didn't bud at all and just a little Nugget. (maybe next year)

I dried them out on a window screen set on two 5 gal. buckets with a box fan underneath in my basement.  After about 24 hrs of drying they get very flaky and light. (keep the fan on low or they'll blow everywhere). I put them in zip lock bags (about 3 full) and then the freezer. They should keep in the freezer for a year or so based on what I've read. These lasted about 4 weeks and then they were used in the brew.

Future plans for hop harvesting.... 

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Jersey Craft Beer

South Jersey Brewery to Open Doors by End of the Year

The singular thing that I absolutely love about talking to brewers is their overarching sense of enthusiasm. Having gotten a chance to bend the ears of many brewers, it doesn’t surprise me how incredibly proud they are of their craft. My conversation with Matt McDevitt from Tuckahoe Brewing Company did not deviate from this concept.
Matt, who has been home brewing for well over ten years, expanded his hobby by partnering up with Tim Hanna in 2006. The two frequently thought about starting a brewery when they retired, but quickly determined that old age would easily impede their plans. Afterall, post retirement it’s much easier to drink beer than to brew it.
Driven by the thought of sharing their craft with the New Jersey masses, Matt and Tim teamed up with two other partners and began exploring the idea of starting a brewery. In January of 2011, Tuckahoe Brewing Company was born in the town of Ocean View located in southern New Jersey. (Read more about the rich history of the town on Tuckahoe’s website)
Although still in the licensee phase, Matt and his partners are destined for success and expect to be up and brewing by the end of 2011. Confirmed by Matt, the brewery is expecting the delivery of their recently ordered equipment in September.
We recently ordered a three barrel brewing system from Psycho Brew LLC out of Michigan. They were able to find a manufacturer of eight barrel capacity fermenters for us. We ordered two which will enable us to make double batches, turning our three barrel system into six barrel system.
To support this quantity of beer and size of fermenter, Tuckahoe also ordered a two HP chiller from Pro Refrigeration out of Washington.
Matt noted that Tuckahoe’s flagship is slated to be an American Pale Ale with a summer Belgian Witte and fall / winter Porter in 2012. (Read more about their beers here.)
Besides initial production, Tuckahoe’s immediate plans are to expand their brand by building a new website (an update is scheduled for September, click here to see their current website) and, after licensing, increasing knowledge by providing samples to local bars and restaurants. They even anticipate on attending local beer festivals to spread the word.
When asked about the differentiator between Tuckahoe and other local breweries, Matt’s response was driven by the appreciation of Tuckahoe’s local New Jersey community. Already in discussion with several local area farmers, the group’s plans are to utilize NJ grown grain and hops to create a product brewed from completely local ingredients. The concept of giving back to the local community is something that resonated throughout my entire conversation with Matt.
Having full time careers as teachers and architects, I asked Matt if the group found it difficult to devote their time to starting the business. “Anything that is worth it in the end is going to be challenging time wise”, Matt responded then added “Financially it certainly is easier, and the summers help too.” Their commitment is evident as Matt noted any free time is instantly devoted to brewery business matters.
Tuckahoe Brewing Company is a testament that even small businesses in New Jersey can quickly get off the ground given dedication, a sense of community, a strong product and successful partnerships. Be on the lookout for Tuckahoe in the early part of 2012!