The Secret's Out: Rocky Point Artisan Brewers & Secret Engine Brewing Release Collaboration Beer Sticke Handwerker

20140808-105342-39222857.jpg

Mike Voigt of Rocky Point of Artisan Brewers, left, and Mike Mare of Secret Engine.

“Sometimes the beer just tells you when it is ready,” says Mike Voigt of Rocky Point Artisan Brewers about their recent collaborative brew with Secret Engine Brewing of Brooklyn. Mike Mare, brewer and co-owner of Secret Engine, is currently trying to find a permanent home for the brewery while still getting his beer out there. Though the original plan was to wait until later this month, Sticke Handwerker, the Long Island debut from Secret Engine, will be released this Friday at Tap and Barrel, The Black Sheep Ale House and a to-be-determined location in Brooklyn.

Mare has been brewing for more than 10 years and decided to make the leap to commercial brewing about three years ago. However, as the guys at RPAB know all too well, finding a suitable home for your brewery and an agreeable landlord is not the easiest task. While the search for a headquarters for Secret Engine in Brooklyn continued, Mare decided to reach out to established breweries for some advice and a possible collaboration. As a former touring musician, what Mare missed most about being on the road was the ability to connect with people from all areas and backgrounds, so he sent out e-mails to about 600 breweries. One of the few responses he received was from Mike Voigt of RPAB.

The two met at Voigt’s house to enjoy a few beers, play guitar and get to know each other. That same night they started throwing around ideas for a collaboration and over the next month Sticke Handwerker was born. “We have majorly different brewing styles,” says Voigt. Though they both feel Sticke Handwerker truly reflects the two breweries. RPAB tends to brew to style with small tweaks, while Secret Engine is more outside the box. Together they created something unique. So unique, in fact, when we asked what type of beer it is we were told, “You have to delve around to find out what the secret meaning of the secret beer is.” Thus leaving everything to the palate of the taster.

We were able to try this mysterious beer right out of the fermenter at RPAB and can attest it is one of a kind. Sticke Handwerker hasa velvety mouthfeel and gobstopper-like array of flavors and aromas. The first release this weekend will be in firkins, with kegs to follow. This cask-conditioned version of the brew will be lightly carbonated and served close to cellar temperature allowing the flavor to shine through. Voigt and Mare are already brainstorming their next brew, which is rumored to include mint, so this won’t be the last Long Island sees of the Secret Engine Brewing/Rocky Point Artisan Brewery partnership.

20140808-111150-40310151.jpg

First Appeared On Edible Long Island

Rocky Point Artisan Brewers Nano Cask Festival & Farmer's Market – January 25 2014

20140120-173129.jpg

It’s that time of the year again. Get ready to drink some lightly carbonated, near room temperature beer! The fourth annual Rocky Point Artisan Brewers Nano Cask Festival and Farmer’s Market is being held Saturday January, 25th 2014. This event has both professional and home brewers pouring their wares from, you guessed it, casks.

20140120-173242.jpg

Surge Protecter

For those who may not know a cask is literally a container for beer. To that you might reply, “Obviously”, to which we say well smarty pants did you know that cask conditioned ale has been christened (along with bottle conditioned beer) as “Real Ale” by CAMARA (the Campaign for Real Ale)? Cask conditioned beer served from casks is a traditional method of serving beer. Patrons used to belly up to the bar and order a flagon of ale which was poured directly from the cask/container.

20140120-173158.jpg

Montauk

But what makes a beer cask conditioned? Well that is easy: cask beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized and undergoes it’s secondary fermentation and conditioning in the cask. It is also served from said cask without the use of any additional gas (nitrogen or carbon dioxide). This means that the carbonation contributed to the beer as a byproduct of fermentation tends to be light which is why some think cask conditioned beer tastes “flat”. The fermentation in the cask and serving temperature which is warmer then beer served from kegs also leads to loads of flavor coming through a cask poured ale. If you have never tried a cask beer before this event is a good way to try several in a comfortable setting.

20140120-173216.jpg

Great South Bay

We attended the third annual festival and it was one of the best events of the year. The brewers go all out with their casks bringing interesting takes on flagship favorites or even one off beers that will never be seen again. Last year there was acoustic music (which was heavy on the Led Zepplin) serving as a background of sorts to the goings on. This year The Beer Amigos, of The Beer Amigos podcast fame, will be performing a few of their tunes for the gathered masses.

20140120-173234.jpg

Greenport Harbor

A nice feature of this event is the ability patrons have to purchase beer to go from their favorite brewery or one they may just have discovered. Many of the vendors will have bottles for sale and will also be filling growlers of non-cask selections which attendees can take home and enjoy. Bringing home a fresh filled growler or bottle after a day of trying rare and unusual locally brewed craft beer is one way to keep the party going. The fourth annual Nano Cask Festival and Farmer’s Market has a lot going on! Here are the details as provided by the RPAB guys themselves.

20140120-173248.jpg

Ghost Cat Loves You

4th Annual Long Island Nano Cask Festival
Hosted by Rocky Point Artisan Brewers

Saturday January 25th 1-5pm
NSBOA Clubhouse
55 Clubhouse Dr Rocky Point

Tickets can be purchased at www.rpabbeer.com
$40
-entrance
-2014 tasting glass
-unlimited tastings from all brewers/clubs
-live music
-cheese platters for sale by The Big Cheese
-Performance by The Beer Amigos
-Merchandise and growler fills for sale from select brewers

Brewer’s East End Revival and Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiast members are invited to a special VIP hour prior to the event opening to the public!

Please bring your PayPal email confirmation as your ticket in.

20140120-173222.jpg

Cask Festival Crowd

We will be attending the Cask Festival and Farmer’s Market as representatives of Brewer’s East End Revival homebrewing club. Our stout/saison A+K and our super limited cider/saison/sour Fizzy Lifting Drink will be available for tastings. In addition we’ll also be pouring a special collaboration “saison” brewed using apple cider instead of water that was balanced with a pinot noir and black currant pyment. This was brewed with Andrew Luberto of LIBME who will also be in attendance. Oh and Beer Loves Company shirts and buttons will be available for purchase too. This is an event not to be missed and we hope to see you there. Come out to the RPAB Cask Fest and try a few cask ales!

20140120-173254.jpg

Spicy

Blue Point Cask Festival 2013: Until Next Year…

Though the Blue Point Cask Fest did not begin until 2 pm, we arrived shortly after noon to help set up (and get a first look at what the other brewers had on tap). The parking lot of Blue Point Brewery was already buzzing at this point as everyone was congregating under the massive tent that had been set up to house the casks and breweries. We quickly found our way to the Brewers East End Revival (B.E.E.R)  table, which was conveniently located next to the Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME) table. In total, B.E.E.R would be serving 8 home brews, one of which was our very own Fünke a Mint Blueberry Kölsch which we brewed with Bobby Rodriguez. Due to the large number of casks present, there was a bit of a tap shortage, but it seemed like everyone was eventually able to work it out and get their beer flowing. Since we were unable to be there when Bobby transferred the beer from carboy into the cask and added the mint and blueberry flavoring, the first time we actually tasted Fünke was a couple short hours before we would be serving it to the thirsty patrons of this event.

IMG_3939

Our beer, Fünke a Mint Blueberry Kölsch poured a very lovely, deep purple color. The color of this beer was immediately intriguing and eye catching to us and those that tried it. Since this was a cask brew, the level of carbonation was subdued which lead to this brew having a modest head but a pleasant level of carb in the body. Fünke offered a pleasant aroma, moving back and forth between blueberry, malt, very mild hop and mint. We felt, as did some others, that the mint came forward more than the other scent components. On the sip Fünke offered notes of a traditional kölsch under layers of sweet, fruity blueberry, cool refreshing mint and left a lightly candied and fresh taste on the palate. The beer seemed to divide the crowd a bit as it was more akin to a fruit or cider beer hybrid with some really enjoying our flavor combinations while others liked the taste but left a little puzzled. It seems a sweet, light bodied brew with mint overtones can turn a few people off. We thought it was a great success and were happy with how it came together as was Bobby.

IMG_3999

IMG_3941

After sampling our beer and a few other home brews that were featured at the two tables, it was already 2 pm and the crowd started pouring in. This event sold out extremely quickly and that was evident by the amount of people that began to immediately line up in front of our casks. It seemed like many patrons were drawn to the mint blueberry kölsch, possibly because of the appealing ingredients in the name (or perhaps they wanted a little taste of Tobias Fünke, Analrapist). We were pleased with the amount of guests that seemed to be frequenting the two adjoining home brew tables, as well as the table of The Brewers Collective, another Long Island home brew club, a few “doors” down from us. Overall Fünke a Mint Blueberry Kölsch was very well received. It was one of a handful of beers on hand that was completely finished at the entire event (professional breweries included) and was the only beer to go at the B.E.E.R. table. We were glad we “kicked our cask” as the saying goes. Also, it made a pretty delicious “black and blue” when combined with a dry Irish stout that was brewed by Dave Phillips, a fellow member of B.E.E.R.

IMG_3947

IMG_3986

Not only did we get to pour our beer for hundreds of guests, but we also got an opportunity to walk around with our own sample glasses and see what the cask fest had to offer. Many local breweries were represented such as Long Ireland, Great South Bay, Newburgh Brewing, Spider Bite and of course, Blue Point as well as national outfits like Flying Dog, Cigar City and Smuttynose. Some of our stand out favorites were the Sweet Potato Saison from Blind Bat Brewery, which we felt would be a delicious alternative to pumpkin beer in the fall. It was sweet, but not overly so, with hints of nutmeg, caramel and vanilla that were balanced out with a slight tartness. Port Jeff Brewing Company had a sour on cask called “So Fresh” which was bright and sharp with lactic, fruity notes that nicely walked the line between sweet and sour, leaning more towards the latter. We actually had the chance to taste this beer at their first anniversary celebration when it was referred to as “Wet and Wild” and it was brewed using hops from Condzella’s Farm. This sour definitely lent itself well to being casked and has actually improved a bit with age, though it was tasty during both samplings. In addition to traditional breweries, brew pubs and establishments that support craft beer were also in attendance. In this category was New Haven’s Bar, which is a pizza serving, craft beer loving dance club that has been running their own cask ale festival for years now. They were serving two beers, Thousand Pound Gorilla which is a 10% ABV barley wine, a big beer inspired by the brew masters son, and Nine Foot Irish, a 9% ABV Irish ale that is “smooth and easy to drink but with a punch”.  We had the opportunity to speak to Jeff Browning, the brew master at this intriguing hybrid and we be featuring more on that soon. As Jeff said, “you can be 21 or 80 and still have a lot of fun in the place.” We think a ferry ride over to Connecticut is in order to check it out for ourselves.

IMG_3950

As always, the Blue Point Cask Festival was a chance to bring professional brewers, home brewers and craft beer appreciators together for a chance to sample some old favorites and new creations on cask, perhaps for the first time. This event is always a great time and has been selling out quicker and quicker every year, indicating that perhaps the secret is out. When attended our first cask fest at Blue Point Brewery several years ago, the crowd was much smaller and a bit less diverse. However, the 2013 incarnation was packed with patrons of all ages who came out to enjoy some good beer and expand their horizons into the wide world of cask ales. It is really a testament to the event that it has grown so rapidly while still maintaining a solid lineup of beers and including small and up and coming breweries. We know we are looking forward to the 2014 Blue Point Cask Festival and the way things have been going, we may have to get our tickets soon to guarantee a spot!

Blue Point Brewery Cask Ales Festival (2013)

If you’re from Long Island and have ever set foot in a bevy (“home d” if you must) or bar, odds are you have heard of Blue Point Brewery. Most likely, you’ve even paid a visit to their tasting room once or twice (or any chance you get). So you may or may not know that Saturday, April 13 is their 9th annual Cask Festival. The event is held outside of the brewery, rain or shine, and features cask only beers from Blue Point Brewery alongside other local craft breweries and home brew clubs. There will be over 100 different beers brewed by 30+ brewers. Food is available for purchase and Blue Point will be holding a food drive for Long Island Cares, so bring cans of nonperishable foods to donate if you can. Tickets sold out online in record time, so hopefully you were able to purchase one or can get your hands on one from someone who can’t make it.
20130325-115203.jpg
For those wondering, cask ale (also known as “real ale”) is unpasteurized, unfiltered and is actually conditioned right in the cask. There is no carbon dioxide or nitrogen added to the cask, so the beer that is served is not artificially carbonated. Any carbonation occurs naturally from the priming sugar and yeast used in the brewing process. There is an organization called C.A.M.R.A (The Campaign for Real Ale) who actually coined the term “real ale” and aim to promote awareness of cask brews. Typically bars and breweries don’t have cask ales available and if you happen to run into one or two you’re in luck, so it is a real treat to have 100+ casks under one tent.

20130325-120548.jpg
As members of B.E.E.R (Brewers East End Revival), we will be working the festival and also pouring a beer that we brewed along with fellow club member Bobby Rodriguez. Like Frank, who we brewed our gruit with, Bobby is an experienced home brewer and all around craft beer lover. We will be detailing the brewing process right here, so look for everything from recipe brainstorming to casking the beer in the weeks leading up to the festival. Though this will not be our first time attending the Blue Point Cask Festival, it is our first time brewing for it and also our first cask beer, so we are excited to complete the brewing process and serve our creation to patrons of the festival.

20130325-120902.jpg
This is a not to be missed Long Island event, as Blue Point will possibly be brewing a mint oatmeal stout and cooking something up with myer lemon, schezuan peppercorns and ghost chiles (all in separate beers). There was also talk of a “black and blue”, which is a mix of their blueberry ale and oatmeal stout, but the cask version will feature aseptic blueberry puree. This beer cocktail has been a favorite at the brewery for years, so a cask spin off is something to look forward to. Of course, they have a few surprises up their sleeve as well. So make sure to have your tickets ready, bring a can or two of food to donate and we will see you all there.