Ed Hahne and Mexicali Blues: an LIBME & Great South Bay Brewery Collaboration

Our friend and fellow Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiast and Brewers East End Revival Member Ed Hahne passed away on July 11th, 2014. We found out when we woke up the next morning after receiving a text from another friend and homebrewer Frank Filacchone. He sent us an odd message saying, “I’m sure you heard the bad news by now,” which we thought meant the beer both men recently brewed together, along with Mike Napolitano and Ed’s wife Lee Ann, at Great south Bay Brewery had turned out poorly. We never expected to get this news; in fact we thought Frank was just overreacting about a batch that had gone sour. We knew though when he followed up with another text reading “Call me now,” things were more serious.

It’s a shock when the first thing you hear when calling someone is that your friend is dead. When something like this happens so suddenly it jolts you, almost putting you outside of reality. We felt for the first few minutes after getting off of the phone with Frank that he couldn’t have been right, the information he had was wrong and he would call back any second with good news: Ed was ok. When this feeling wore off we both talked about how good of a person Ed had been to us and to those around us.

Ed Hahne was one of the most welcoming people we have met in our life. From the moment we met him both he and his wife Lee Ann treated us like friends. Ed was willing to take his time to ask us about how we were doing and how our wedding plans were coming along within the first few times of meeting us. He was that kind of person: warm, caring and wearing a big heart on his sleeve.

Ed was also a teacher and we felt honored to have many discussions with him about his life with Lee Ann and the many different experiences they had shared together. Alicia remembers vividly when Lee Ann told her about a surprise trip to California she booked for them both to visit breweries they always wanted to see. To go somewhere together, experience and taste life as a couple.

Now Ed is gone but we will never forget him and neither will his comrades in local homebrewing clubs LIBME & BEER. In fact, Long Island has a chance to taste the fruits of Ed’s brewing efforts and the result of winning the recent LIBME “Chopped”-style homebrewing competition, brewed in collaboration with Great South Bay Brewery.

Lee Ann Hahne, Ed Hahne, Mike Napolitano, Frank Filacchione and Andrew Luberto

Lee Ann Hahne, Ed Hahne, Mike Napolitano, Frank Filacchione and Andrew Luberto

Mexicali Blues is a stout brewed with Mexican chilis, cinnamon and vanilla. According to Lee Ann they “didn’t stuff the ballot box,” to end up with the perfect ingredients for a stout and were “very happy with each item they pulled”. Ed agreed with Lee saying that the beer is, “all about the Mexican Chilis. They are the ingredient X.” Frank Filacchione and Mike Napolitano wound up finding the chilis for the homebrewed version in a bodega in Brooklyn. However, the original vanilla extract they used didn’t provide the certain something they were looking for so a “secret concoction from home” was added, boosting the flavor.

We had the chance to taste this DIY version of Mexicali Blues June 4th at the monthly LIBME meeting. That night the “Chopped”-style competition was judged through a popular vote by those in attendance. Members tried each competing team’s beer then voted for the one they liked best. We both found Mexicali Blues to be our favorite and cast our votes for it. The beer was a nicely balanced stout with hints of vanilla, traces of cinnamon and a building but never overwhelming presence of Mexican Chili peppers. Frank, Mike, Lee and Ed made a wonderful beer together and deserved to have it declared winner.


GSB's Greg Maisch, Frank Filacchione, Lee Ann and Ed Hahne

GSB’s Greg Maisch, Frank Filacchione, Lee Ann and Ed Hahne

Mexicali Blues was produced by the Boil in a Bag (BiaB) method where the grain and full volume of water are added to one kettle, rather than two, to create the beer. This is sometimes seen as a short cut by other brewers and team Mexicali Blues felt a little heat when brewing their beer in a group setting at fellow club member Chris Kelley’s house. “We were mocked by the other brewers throughout the day,” said Ed Hahne. But with the win the old adage “He who laughs last, laughs best” was proven as the group was able to kick back and relax while all the other teams were still brewing or cleaning equipment. Ed called it, “A great irony.” (work smarter not harder instead?)

We hope that the beer the group brewed at Great South Bay with head brewer Greg Maisch hits the same subtle notes their winning beer was so gracefully able to play. The GSB batch was made on their one barrel pilot system and will be released this Saturday at the brewery. This beer, labeled an under dog in the competition by team Mexicali Blues, is something we are both very much looking forward to trying. In conjunction with the release Great South Bay will be honoring the memory of our friend Ed Hahne.

Frank Filacchione, Andrew Luberto, Mike Napolitano and Ed Hahne

Frank Filacchione, Andrew Luberto, Mike Napolitano and Ed Hahne

Last night we attended his wake. It was a sad yet somehow uplifting occasion. With around two hundred people gathering to pay their respects from all periods and facets of Ed’s life it became a celebration of our friend rather than just a chance to say goodbye. Throughout the wake there were many speakers sharing there wonderful memories of Ed. One of Ed’s friends, Bob, spoke and a point he made hit home with us.

He noticed that Ed had brought all of the people in attendance together. Ed touched so many diverse people throughout his life who now have a connection and learned so much from him. Bob suggested that is what Mr. Hahne’s legacy is: friendship, caring and community. We could not think of a more fitting legacy for someone who was so open and welcoming. We will be thinking of you when we sip Mexicali Blues on Saturday, Ed, and are going to cherish our memories and what you taught us always.

We will miss you Ed

We will miss you Ed

Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts Homebrew Competition Winners Brewed by Great South Bay Brewery

Chris Kelley, member of local homebrewing club Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME) had an idea: organize and host a “Chopped” style brew day. Ten teams participated, each having a head brewer and 1-2 assistants, and they were randomly assigned a style of beer and two ingredients. Additions ranged from wood to peaches to habanero peppers, with Kelley and team drawing a Rye IPA base with orange peel and basil.

He was “super psyched” by the prospect of citrus and hops because “they go together wonderfully”. The basil however had Kelley thinking, “What the heck am I going to do with that?”. Discovering orange and basil paired together in an Italian dish, he and his team wrote a recipe and brewed their beer. Kelley said, “It’s quite amazing the depth of flavor basil gives to hops”, finding the ingredients married well. He was pleasantly surprised with the result and the fresh IPA found its way into LIBME’s monthly homebrew competition, a collaborative effort with Great South Bay Brewery.

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The idea for an LIBME and GSB partnership came about during the Great American Beer Festival last year. The highlight for owner Rick Sobotka and COO Phil Ebel was the Pro-Am competition, which recognizes the best joint effort between a homebrewer and professional brewery. After taking a bronze medal for their Splashing Pumpkin, the Pro-Am winner was announced. Ebel recalled, “the guy that was sitting behind us won and he jumped up and screamed. It was one of those things that you’re just like, man, that’s a great feeling.” Both long time members of LIBME, they approached president Todd Long and education committee head Andrew Luberto, who previously ran a SMASH Brew Day at GSB, with the prospect.

Long was immediately receptive to the idea of working together, saying of GSB, “They’ve always supported the club and we’ve always supported them”. After meeting and seeing the benefit for all participants, the program began to take shape. Some stipulations were put in place, like no sour beers, barley wines or Russian imperial stouts, simply because they take too long to ferment. LIBME uses BJCP guidelines to judge all their competitions and to maintain quality control, the beers will only be brewed at GSB if they score higher than a 35. Provided it meets that standard, the winner of each month’s LIBME competition is now produced at Great South Bay Brewery and served in their tasting room. Sobotka is pleased with the results so far saying,

“Honestly I still feel like a homebrewer. I miss the days of casual brewing with friends and have regained a lot of enjoyment by offering this program.”

Luberto added, “I love the experimental nature of it” and appreciates the freedom homebrewers bring to a professional setting.

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Fittingly enough, last month’s winner was Kelley. He was invited to GSB for the brew day and assisted head brewer Greg Maisch with recreating the recipe on their small batch system. The one barrel pilot system was built in late 2009 at their other location in Bay Shore and resurrected it for this collaboration. Greg also started as a homebrewer with the philosophy, “If I could buy it I could make it”. He has been having a lot of fun working with the homebrewers and seeing the different techniques they bring to the brewing process. “This gives local homebrewers a goal to work towards”, Kelley said after the long day of brewing. His basil and orange Rye IPA is being released at Great South Bay Brewery Father’s Day weekend and will be available while supplies last. If it is anything like the homebrew batch we tried, it won’t be around for long.

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Chopped brew day photos courtesy of Chris Kelley.

John Palmer & LIBME Beer Brunch (by Andrew Luberto)

Guest post written by Andrew Luberto
Photos by Jennifer Davis

On Sunday, May 11th author and homebrew guru John Palmer came and visited our homebrew club The Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME). The visit was part of a mini book tour Palmer was doing in conjunction with the Brooklyn Homebrew shop Bitter and Esters to promote his new book Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements), the fourth installment of the ingredient series being published by the Brewers Association.

As head of the education committee for LIBME, I’ve helped arrange a number of educationally related events for the club and it always surprises me how what at first seems like an obstacle to an event later becomes an asset. When John Lapolla, the owner of Bitter and Esters and the person acting as Palmer’s liaison for the weekend, informed me that the only available time that they could fit us in would be 9:00-11:00 a.m. on a Sunday, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. However, when we approached Pete Mangouranes the co-owner of The Good Life, a local craft beer pub and friend of the club, about using his space he had the idea of creating a three course beer brunch to go along with the talk. So because of this early time slot, not only did we have John Palmer coming to speak to our club but we now had a gourmet three course beer brunch to look forward to as well. Apparently a John Palmer seminar now fits into that rare category alongside fishing and golf as being socially acceptable to consume alcohol at 9 in the morning.

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Todd Long (LIBME President), John Palmer & Andrew Luberto

On top of that, the day before the event Pete texted me about being on the fence with his first beer for the brunch, what he had in mind was the 17% Mephistopheles by Avery. Pete was concerned about a beer that big that early to start off a brunch.  Unfortunately, Pete happened to text me while I was at Blue Point Brewery for the AHA Big Brew day and a 17% beer at 9 am seemed to make sense in the crowded celebratory atmosphere I was in at the moment. The next morning when I thought about it again I had serious misgiving to say the least; when I voiced them to Pete he shrugged nonchalantly and said “eh, make everybody friendly.”

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Looking back it was indeed very friendly. John Palmer was remarkably easy going about the whole event, even when my wife accidently hit the play button on his lap top a few times while helping to advance his power point slides, kicking in an unintended soundtrack over his talk. Members of some of the other local homebrew clubs also attended after we extended an invitation to them, giving us an opportunity to float ideas about coordinated regional homebrew events. Afterwards John Lapolla said he’d be in touch and “plan our takeover of the world.” Everyone was on the same page, collaboration and growth. It occurred to me that our local event that day was a small microcosm of the craft beer world in general, where everyone is working towards the greater good and general advancement of the industry, hobby, and appreciation of craft beer. And it felt good.

Win a Keg of Blue Point Brewing Company Beer of Your Choice While Supporting Long Island Cares!

Thanks to Kevin’s team leading Movember fundraising efforts we were awarded a 1/2 barrel keg of Blue Point Brewing Company beer. Pretty good right? Grow a moustache, raise some money and win beer. Well as much as we enjoy BPBC beer and wouldn’t mind having it on tap at here at home, we have decided to keep up the charitable theme and raffle off the keg.

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The raffle will take place at the Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiast (LIBME) meeting this Wednesday, January 8 at Bobbique in Patchogue. Tickets will be 1 for $12 or 2 for $20, with all proceeds going to Long Island Cares. The winner will receive a certificate which they can turn in at Blue Point Brewing Company to receive a keg of their choice based on current availability.

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Long Island Cares is a local charity that helps feed struggling Long Island families. In addition to providing food, they also offer school supply assistance and career training for parents to help pull families out of poverty. They were critical during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, helping people who may have never dreamed they would need the services of a food bank. We have worked with them in the past by holding a food drive at the Brewer’s East End Revival 17th Annual Brew-Off. Overall they are a great local charity that we have worked with before and are excited to help. Hope to see you all at Bobbique!

2013 North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ and Wine Festival at Martha Clara Vineyards Wrap-Up (or Should we Say Bandage-Up?)

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So the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ and Wine Fest held at Martha Clara Vineyards has come and gone for another year. This event truly has a lot going on with the beer, BBQ and to some extent wine (also some cider and mead showed up as well).

Gallons upon gallons of great beer was being served the entire day by breweries from around the country while music played, friends got friendy with it and pigs were roasted on spits. We here at BLC were able to sell our Beer Loves Long Island shirts as well as a variety of our buttons throughout the event.

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity not only pour our newest ale Hopless Romantic (an herbal gruit) at the Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts table but we also were able serve several different versions of our cider at the Brewers East End Revival table too. All of our boozy treats got a great reception and we went home empty handed, which we were happy about. All in all we had a good time with friends from two clubs, numerous breweries and had a chance to pour our drinks for a thirsty public while pawning off our (radical) merchandise on them.

If we had to sum the event up to you it would go like this:

So much beer!

Wow those people liked our cider.

Hey we sold some shirts!

Wow there is a lot of beer here.

Holy cow there are even more people, everywhere.

Hey look at those guys/gals hitting each other.

Yikes another fight.

Shit was wild.

Andy Calimano and Starfish Junction Productions really do know how to throw a party. We are looking forward to bringing even more beer and cider to next year’s event with a bunch more Beer Loves Company merch. See you next year Martha Clara/hordes of people/brawlers (we will think of you fondly until then <3).

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Condzella Hops: "Beer Loves Company + Hops" is Here!

After a long journey overseas from Germany to New York,  Beer Loves Company + Hops (formerly known as the Wolf WHE 140 Hopfen Pflückmaschine harverster) has finally arrived at its new home: Condzella Hops. As a result of their successful Kickstarter campaign, Condzella Hops was able to bring this machine to Long Island in order to more efficiently harvest their hop crop and start to re-spark the growth of the “New York Hop“. Though this was obviously an exciting arrival, it did not come without its share of work to do. Since the machine is so large it was unable to be shipped in one piece, though John Condzella chose an open air container for shipping so the harvester would not have to be cut in half. Instead, it arrived with a myriad of extra pieces, chains and belts that all need to be reassembled. With a little help from some friends, John has been working diligently on the harvester and it is almost ready to make its debut. Hops have a very short window in which they can be harvested, and that time is rapidly approaching. John estimates that the machine will be ready for action this weekend and the hop harvest will begin next week. We will be there for the inaugural harvest (and hope to bring some hops home for a fresh hop brew day), so look for more coming soon! Also, be sure to visit Condzella Hops and Beer Loves Company at the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ & Wine Festival at Martha Clara Vineyards this Saturday!