Great Lakes Brewing News December 2010/January 2011 : Page 1
Christmas Ales! All Hail A Beginning ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM By Maggie Boleyn “So,” I asked the prime mate point blank while writing this article, one late October day. “What are you getting me for Christ-mas?” He looked startled, “It’s not Hallow-een yet. I don’t even know what I’m going to be.” I smiled sweetly. “You are going to be dead if you don’t come up with a really good present.” Hey, don’t you end up at a loss for great gifts for your favorite craft beer lover. Check out the following round up of Christmas ales and winter warmers INSIDE Event Calender ................................................3 Editorial ............................................................3 Host Your Own Holiday Beer Tasting ............6 Beer and Health ...............................................8 Jolly Giant ........................................................9 Homebrewing .................................................12 Business of Beer ...........................................13 Beer Beacon ...................................................14 Maps and Directories .............................. 18-24 from the Great Lakes region and beyond. Your life may depend upon it. And when Jack Frost comes after your nose, let him find you nipping at one of these (or one of your own festive favorites) and making very merry this winter. Christmas Ale, Bell’s Brewery, Com-stock, Michigan. My story, so my state goes first. Michigan’s own Larry Bell began brew-ing beer 25 years ago in a 15-gallon soup kettle. This year, over 150,000 barrels of Bell’s brands will be sold. A one-man economic stimulus package, Bell an-nounced a $52 million See Hail p. 4 State by State News Wisconsin ........16 Indiana .............25 Illinois ..............26 Chicago ...........27 Minnesota ........28 Michigan ..........30 SE Michigan ....31 Ohio .................32 New York .........33 Pennsylvania ...36 Ontario .............38 NOT HORSING AROUND. Above, Ed Samchisen, owner, brewer at Horseheads Brewing, Inc. Below, Brenda Samchisen, co-owner. Photos by steve hodos. Horseheads Brewing Purpose Built, Purpose Driven By Steve Hodos orseheads Brewing, Inc., just outside of the Village of Horseheads, is a three-and-a-half-year-old brewery run by owners Ed and Brenda Sam-chisen. Brenda works part time at the brewery. Ed is the brewer and just left his manufacturing engineering job so he could move up to full-time brewing. Ed homebrewed for 10 years and earned a Siebel Institute Concise Brewing Certificate before open-ing the brewery. Horseheads is the reigning F. X. Matt Memorial Cup brew-ery, winning the best brewery in the state designation at the 2010 Tap New York festival. The brewery was purpose built from the ground up. Ed bought the land, designed the building and searched See Horseheads p. 10
All Hail Christmas Ales!
“So,” I asked the prime mate point blank while writing this article, one late October day. “What are you getting me for Christmas?” He looked startled, “It’s not Halloween yet. I don’t even know what I’m going to be.”<br /> <br /> I smiled sweetly.“You are going to be dead if you don’t come up with a really good present.”<br /> <br /> Hey, don’t you end up at a loss for great gifts for your favorite craft beer lover. Check out the following round up of Christmas ales and winter warmers from the Great Lakes region and beyond.Your life may depend upon it. And when Jack Frost comes after your nose, let him find you nipping at one of these (or one of your own festive favorites) and making very merry this winter.<br /> <br /> Christmas Ale, Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, Michigan. My story, so my state goes first. Michigan’s own Larry Bell began brewing beer 25 years ago in a 15-gallon soup kettle.This year, over 150,000 barrels of Bell’s brands will be sold. A one-man economic stimulus package, Bell announced a $52 million Investment earlier this year, expected over the next five years.<br /> <br /> Bell’s Christmas Ale uses locally grown malt and contains no spices, but it does have dry, toasted notes mingled with subtle toffee flavors from the 100% Michigangrown barley, custom malted by Wisconsin based Briess Malting. Michigan and Pacific Northwest hops lend earthy, herbal aromas.At 5.5% ABV, it’s a smooth, highly drinkable beer that will complement your holiday meals and help the long winter nights pass pleasantly.<br /> <br /> Winter White Ale, Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, Michigan. Like its Christmas cousin, Bell’s Winter White Ale is a Belgian-style ale that offers a lighter, yet flavorful alternative to the habitually heavy winter warmers.Fermented with barley and wheat malts and a Belgian ale yeast, this beer offers clove and fruity aromas, also without any spices. Deliberately brewed to retain a cloudy appearance reminiscent of snow clouds gathering over the Great Lakes. 5% ABV.<br /> <br /> Summit Winter Ale, Summit Brewing Co, St Paul, Minnesota. This dark, rich winter ale is brewed with three malts and three hops and offers a robust, full-bodied flavor with just enough bitterness to make it work. 6.2% ABV. Goes well with hearty holiday fare.<br /> <br /> Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale, Boston Beer, Massachusetts. For those who are looking for a good introduction to traditional spiced winter offerings, Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale is a Santa’s sleigh filled with all the spices of the season. The rich taste begins with a depth of malt character ranging from sweet toffee and caramel notes to dark, roasted chocolate notes. Then the spices, cinnamon, ginger and orange peel comes on full, dancing like sugar plum fairies on your tongue. Those spice notes make this brew perfect for pairing with holiday desserts like carrot cake or gingerbread.<br /> <br /> Old Man Winter Ale, Southern Tier Brewing, New York. Traditionally, with the onset of winter, the brewer’s mind turns to providing warmth.<br /> <br /> Southern Tier Brewing’s winter seasonal, Old Man Winter, is a rich and complex fusion of hops and barley that will warm you down to Your toes and lift your spirits above the falling temperatures. Dubbed “A liquid winter wonderland” by its brewers, Old Man Winter throws a deep and inviting hue with all the warmth of an open flame on the hearth. Because of its higher alcohol content(7. 2% ABV), Old Man Winter is a heady brew that encourages sipping and pondering its richness, or the meaning of life, or even what presents you need to buy to finish your shopping.<br /> <br /> Lump of Coal, Ridgeway Brewery.South Stoke, England. “Wowza!” the excited bag boy shouted as I stepped up in the checkout line. “How can I get some of that?” Startled, yet secretly pleased, I replied, “Why, thank you, young man.I haven’t heard that in quite some time.” But the stunned look on his face and the fact that he nearly dropped one of my bottles of beer told me I had blundered. Seriously.“Oh,” I continued, crestfallen. “You were talking about Lump of Coal from Ridgeway Brewery, weren’t you…” He eyed me warily.“Yeah, lady, whadidyathink?”<br /> <br /> Never mind what I was thinking. “This is a chocolate stout, young man,” I said, forging ahead, my mood now rivaling the coal black color of the 8% ABV bittersweet chocolate stout in question. “Do you enjoy mingled coffee and chocolate flavors? Otherwise, you may want to try one of Ridgeway’s bad boys from the Bad Elf line. Ridgeway offers ‘A Rather Curious Collection of Holiday Ales’ which includes their Bad Elf and Lump of Coal brews,” I continued. “I like IPAs,” the young man said. “Then you really should try Bad Elf,” I urged. “It’s a strong, warming, golden ale made with generous amounts of English malt balanced with a whopping 45 ounces of fresh hops - including English Cascade - per barrel. Other Ridgeway styles include an English bitter named Very Bad Elf, a Barleywine named Criminally Bad Elf and more. The clever stories alone on the labels make them worth seeking out,” I concluded.“You sure know a lot about beer,” the young man said. “Well, I should,” I replied. “I write about it.” This time, there was no mistaking the admiring look from the nice young man.“Awesome!” But, this time, I knew what he was thinking about. (Sigh.) Alpha Klaus, Three Floyds Brewing, Indiana.Alpha Klaus is the festive cousin of Alpha King, which is 3 Floyd’s flagship beer. A big American Christmas Porter, Alpha Klaus is brewed with English chocolate malt, Mexican sugar and American hops.This 6.0% ABV brew would be a great treat for all of the porter princesses on your gift list.<br /> <br /> Mild Winter, Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, Illinois. When the temperature drops (and it surely will) leaving you wondering where global warming is when you need it, Goose Island’s Mild Winter American mild ale is a good choice for cold nights. This brew is medium-bodied, toffee brown, with a creamy head and an aroma of raisins and freshly baked dark bread. Mild Winter’s rich caramel malt, spicy rye flavors and 5.6% ABV are sure to take the bite out of whatever the weather brews up for you this year.<br /> <br /> Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing, California. The long, cold nights of winter are always a little brighter with Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale. Wonderfully robust and malt-rich, Celebration Ale is dryhopped with Cascade and Centennial hops for a lively, intense hop flavor and aroma.Two row pale and English caramel malts Supply the balance. Brewed especially for the holidays, this 6.8% ABV is perfect for a festive gathering or for a quiet evening at home.A classic, and a another good introduction to winter ales.<br /> <br /> Christmas Ale, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Ohio. Good thing that the brewers at Great Lakes Brewing Company are more forward thinking than you-know-who. In late October, they released several incredible beers, including their award winning Christmas Ale, which is brewed with honey and spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon.This 4 time gold medal winner is well worth seeking out in 6 packs or on draft <br /> <br /> Mad Elf Ale, Troegs Brewing, Pennsylvania.Mad Elf Ale, with its ruby red color evoking Santa’s suit, is a cheerful creation that will warm your heart and titillate your tongue. The combination of cherries, honey, and chocolate malt delivers gentle fruits and subtle spices.Fermented and aged with a unique yeast, and at 11% ABV, this brew has significant warming strength underlying the pleasant character of this intriguing ale. Mad Elf is a right jolly and delicious choice for the Holidays.<br /> <br /> St. Nikolaus Bock Bier, Pennsylvania Brewing, Pennsylvania. An old favorite, St. Nicholas Bock is the perfect holiday gift for the beer drinker. At 6% ABV, St. Nicholas is a moderately hearty bock beer with undertones of chocolate malt and a rich, dark ruby color. It will be available beginning in early November in draft and 12 oz. Bottles. It will warm you on a cold winter night and brighten your holidays.<br /> <br /> Our Special Ale, Anchor Brewing, California. Last, but by no means least, is Anchor Brewing’s holiday must have. Every year since 1975 the brewers at Anchor have produced a unique Christmas Ale, available from early November to mid-January. The recipe is different every year. So is the tree on the label. The tree for 2010 is the Ginkgo biloba. Anchor’s brewers say that although the brew changes yearly the essence remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. While Anchor’s recipes are a closely guarded secret, many enthusiasts save a few bottles from year to year, stored in a cool dark place, to taste later and compare with other vintages. Anchor’s Christmas Ale is available in 12-ounce bottles, magnums, and on draft. Properly refrigerated, the beer will be intriguing and drinkable for years, with different nuances slowly emerging as the flavor mellows slightly.<br /> <br /> Did I miss one of your favorites? Of course. As always, these lists are just to whet your whistle for the abundant variety of winter brews available out there, and the enjoyment then bring to this time of year. Send us an email about your favorites (even better, send samples) and make sure your brew isn’t left off next year’s list!
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Orseheads Brewing, Inc., just outside of the Village of Horseheads, is a three-and-ahalf- year-old brewery run by owners Ed and Brenda Samchisen.Brenda works part time at the brewery.Ed is the brewer and just left his manufacturing engineering job so he could move up to full-time brewing.Ed homebrewed for 10 years and earned a Siebel Institute Concise Brewing Certificate before opening the brewery.<br /> <br /> Horseheads is the reigning F. X. Matt Memorial Cup brewery, winning the best brewery in the state designation at the 2010 Tap New York festival.<br /> <br /> The brewery was purpose built from the ground up. Ed bought the land, designed the building and searched Out the equipment; it took 14 months from beginning work on the site to complete the brewery, which opened on July 3, 2007. The brewery started with a 15 barrel brewhouse which was still in use when it won the Matt Cup; in July of this year it was replaced with a 30 barrel kit. The new system, like the old, is direct fired using natural gas.<br /> <br /> Horseheads’ two main distribution channels are sales at the brewery- mostly 22 ounce bottles and growler fills with some kegs- and 22 ounce bottles self-distributed to beverage centers. There are also draft and bottle sales to bars, with distribution from Buffalo to Syracuse along the Thruway corridor and from Corning to Binghamton in the Southern Tier. J. Ryan’s in Syracuse is one of the biggest outlets. There are no bar sales in the immediate Horseheads area, though the beer is popular in Corning. The brewery expects to switch to a distributor as sales grow. Ed Samchisen made the ergonomic decision to forgo half-barrel kegs in favor of quarter barrels. He expects to offer the larger package once his uses a distributor.<br /> <br /> As currently configured, with four fermentors (two at 15 barrels and two at 7 barrels), Horseheads is on track to produce 1,000 barrels per year. Expansion plans include upgrading the smaller fermentors and then adding a new building to double the plant’s square footage. The expanded brewery will include more fementors and a packaging line for 12 ounce bottles.<br /> <br /> Ed is quite proud of his existing singlehead filler, which has been with the brewery from the start and, with minimal repairs, has filled over 30,000 bombers. The current configuration, a single-head filler and hand capping and labeling can process up to 80 cases (12 bottles each) a day.<br /> <br /> The Beers<br /> <br /> Horseheads makes six year-round beers: five “standard” ales plus Hot-Jala- Heim Beer with Bite-a beer brewed with jalapeno and Anaheim peppers. This hot beer has a better head retention than you would expect. Ed attributes it to his sheet filter which removes most of the pepper oils that are the head killers in this style. Hot-Jala-Heim started as an occasional brew, but it was too popular to keep in part time status. The brewery uses a single temperature mash. Malt is all pre-crushed and bagged and pellet hops are used. Four different yeasts are used to produce the current range of beers.<br /> <br /> The “standards” are Brickyard Red Ale, Chemung Canal Towpath Ale, Horseheads IPA, Newton Brown Ale and Pale Expedition Ale.<br /> <br /> There are five monthly specials spaced throughout the year: Chocolate Porter (February), Horseheads Nebula (March), Maple Amber Ale (April), Horseheads Blueberry Ale (May & June) and Christmas Ale (December).<br /> <br /> There are now two seasonal collections as well. The summer collection is Iroquois Wheat Beer, Lackawanna Steam Lager and Peach Wheat Beer. The fall collection is Pumpkin Ale, Rye P.A. and Sullivan’s Stout. Multiple batches must be made in order to satisfy the growing demand. This range will expand by one (to 18) when a new secret brew comes out in January.<br /> <br /> Pumpkin Ale is harder to make, as it takes extra work to process and filter the beer, but it is a big seller. A lot of out-ofstate customers stop to buy it, and it quickly sold out at places like J. Ryan’s this year along with the Sullivan’s Stout and the Rye PA. Nebula and Christmas Ale are both Belgian style brews. The Christmas Ale recipe includes orange peel.<br /> <br /> It took a while for Horseheads beers to make it beyond the nearest markets. Ed did a lot of work getting the brewery set up while also continuing with his full time day job.As the market slowly expanded production finally reached the point where Ed could devote full time to the brewery.<br /> <br /> The brewery sales room offers the usual range of beer-ware and paraphernalia along with homebrewing supplies. Ed found that his customers are interested in brew kits so he has dropped most of his malt syrups and powders. Customers looking for specialty grains and the like are directed to a homebrew shop in Elmira.
Read the full article at http://glbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Horseheads+Brewing/571981/54469/article.html.