Barrage Brewing: It's Almost Go Time…

It’s been a long road for Barrage Brewing the past couple years, but finally there is light at the end of the tunnel and beer in the fermenters. After months of construction, roadblocks from Suffolk County and a successful Kickstarter campaign, Barrage has now begun production in their Farmingdale, New York facility.

Owner Steve Pominski says they hope to open the doors this month and are well on their way to making sure the brewery is fully stocked. Craft beer bars and distributors are already eagerly waiting for kegs to be filled, so look for Barrage beer on tap across Long Island very soon. Additionally, Barrage Brewing will have tasting room hours and offer on site growler fills and merchandise.

An official grand opening announcement will be made on Barrage’s website (and ours), though we are sure all of the Long Island craft beer scene will be talking about it on Facebook and Twitter so it’ll be tough to miss. In the meantime, check out a list of all the beers Barrage brews to get ready and figure out which you want to try first. The brewery will likely open with about five varieties on tap with rotating specials and seasonals making appearances.

If you just can’t wait, Barrage will be pouring at the Rocky Point Nano Cask Festival on January 25 & the Winter Wings and Beer Fest on February 22, though hopefully they will be open by wing time.

Port Jeff Brewing Company 2nd Anniversary Party – Saturday October 19, 2013

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Owner & Brewmaster Mike Philbrick celebrating his brewery’s 1st birthday
It’s hard to believe that just two short years ago a trip to the quaint waterfront town of Port Jefferson, Long Island couldn’t be capped off by a brewery visit. Thankfully, Port Jeff Brewing Company came in and changed all that. Replacing The Red Sled Christmas Shoppe (don’t worry Santa enthusiasts, they just moved to the Harbor Square Mall), PJBC became the first and only brewery in owner Mike Philbricks hometown.

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Port Jeff Brewing Company
What better way to commemorate this occasion than with a full day of over 20 Port Jeff beers on tap? Last year, the brewery celebrated their first anniversary in a similar fashion, with the festivities being held both in and around the brewery on the outdoor deck. We were able to arrive a little before the celebration kicked off and spent the remainder of the day enjoying some Port Jeff staples and trying many of the special timed releases that were offered. One stand out was the rum aged Boo Brew, which was a deliciously boozy take on Port Jeff’s pumpkin ale. There were also casks, brand new beers and old favorites blended with fruit and other interesting additions. Another “off the menu” offering was Wet N’ Wild, which was a originally a wet hop brew using Condzella Hops that took a wild, delicious turn into a sour somewhere along the way.

This year there will be no shortage of great beer and entertainment, with Andrews-Blessing Band performing outside and setting the soundtrack for the day. Like last year, there will be a few staples available in the tap room throughout the event (we are partial to the porter) but they will also be pouring almost 20 special timed releases. The lineup is below, straight from the mouth of the Port Jeff Facebook page (with times of special releases included). We already have our eye on the PJBC/Bobby Rodriguez collaboration which we “helped brew”, Imperial Force as well as Wet N’ Wild to see how it has evolved in the year since it’s birth. WN’W was the highlight of the party for us last year but it faces some stiff competition this time around. The event is free to all who wish to attend with the delicious brews being served pay as you go. It runs from 10 am-7 pm, so if you stick around for the long haul and share with friends you could potentially drink your way through the entire list (or at least give it a valiant effort). Hope to see you all there!

All Day

Boo Brew
Low Tide Black IPA
Party Boat IPA
Port Jeff Porter
Schooner Ale (Winner of Silver Medal at 2012 U.S. Open Beer Championship)
Starboard Oatmeal Stout (Winner of Silver Medal at 2013 U.S. Open Beer Championship)

Special Releases (Limited)

11:00AM
Beer Fields Apricot Amber (Winner of Beer Fields’ 2013 Home Brew Contest)
Imperial Force
Studio 56 (Exclusive for Tap and Barrel)

Noon
Carolina Common (Collaboration w/M. David Gonzalez of Foothills Brewing)
Birra DeNicola (Exclusive for Del Fuego, La Tavola, and Ruvo)
Rumkin (Cask)

1:00PM
Barrel-Aged Porter (Winner of Bronze Medal at 2012 U.S. Open Beer Championship)
Wet ‘n’ Wild (Cask)
White’s Beach Wit (Winner of Gold Medal at Hudson River Craft Beer Festival 2013)

2:00PM
Big Boy Birch Stout (Cask)
H³ (Tripel H)
Runaway Ferry Imperial IPA

3:00PM
Barrel-Aged Oatmeal Stout (Starboard Oatmeal Stout aged in Heaven Hill Distilleries Whiskey Barrel)
Party Barge (Party Boat IPA dry-hopped w/Amarillo)
Schooner Ale w/Cherries (Cask)

4:00PM
Port Jeff Porter w/Cocoa Nibs & Vanilla Bean (Cask)
Ryes-N-Bok

5:00PM
Barquentine Belgian Pale Ale (Winner of Bronze Medal at 2013 U.S. Open Beer Championship)

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Brewing a Fresh Hop Ale with Long Ireland Beer Company

Most brew days we have been a part of begin early and are usually fueled by a morning cup of coffee and a beer or two as the day progresses. Whether we are brewing with a fellow home brewer on a ten gallon system or observing a professional boil in a big burly kettle at their brewery, the process is fairly similar. It all starts with raw ingredients and ends with plenty of liquid that, after a little bit of time and attention, becomes beer. We recently had the opportunity to be there for Long Irelands fresh hop brew day, but this time we did not start out at the brewery. We took it back a step and began our day at Condzellas Farm, where the hops that would be used for brewing were being harvested.

We already detailed that process, so we won’t bore you again, but definitely check out this video of Beer Loves Company + Hops doing her thing if you haven’t already. Once the hops were harvested, weighed out and packed in crates it was time to transport them to the final stop in their journey, Long Ireland. If you have never delivered pounds of fresh hops to a brewery, know this: that hoppy smell does not easily leave your car and it may make you crave an IPA at 9 am. We were met at Long Ireland by Justin Wesnofske of Wesnofske Farms, bearing his own crates of hops that he had painstakingly hand harvested the night before/earlier that morning. After our own recent hop harvesting endeavor we could feel Justin’s pain and understand why Mr. Condzella wanted to bring Beer Loves Company + Hops to Long Island!

Long Ireland went about brewing their standard Celtic Ale the same way they have done hundreds of times before, with the exception of the wall of fresh hops in the brewery that had everyone’s attention. When it came time to add these hops, they opted to stuff some into gigantic hop sacks (Snoop Dog would have approved) adding those to the boil. As time progressed, more hops were added using the mash tun as a hop back. This time they were thrown in loose, producing what looked like a pretty wild (and hoppy) soup. Long Ireland and all of the brewers went above and beyond to make sure the fresh hop characteristics were transferred into their brew.

Seeing an ingredient go from bine (remember not vine) to brew kettle in the span of a few short hours really hammered home the “drink local” message. Hopefully it won’t be too long before breweries here are using Long Island malt as well. Long Ireland has transferred their license over to what is known as a “farm brewery” license and will be using more and more NY state grown ingredients in the coming years. They will be releasing their Fresh Hop ale at an event this Friday, along with Greenport Harbor. We will have all the details on that tomorrow, but know that all proceeds will support Condzella Hops and Wesnofske Farms, which is beyond awesome and shows that the bond between farmers and brewers is only getting stronger. Beer loves Long Island and we think Long Island might just love it back.

 

Barrage Brewing: Doors Successfully Kicked (Almost) Open!

Way to go, Long Island! Once again you have supported a local member of the craft beer community in the form of a Kickstarter campaign, and once again they have met and surpassed the target. Earlier today, with 8 hours to spare, Barrage Brewing met their Kickstarter goal of $18,000. This money will be used towards mandatory sewer system work, which is the final step before the brewery can open its doors. Very soon we will have yet another brewery here on Long Island (in Farmingdale, to be exact) thanks in part to the support of the community. To say Steve Pominski, owner of Barrage Brewing, is excited and grateful would likely be an understatement. We will leave you with his Facebook status moments after the $18,000 milestone was reached:

All of us at Barrage Brewing Company would like to thank everyone that helped us with getting our Kickstarter fully funded!!!!! You did it everyone…you are making a long awaited dream come true!!! Now lets get these freaking doors open!!!!!!

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Beer Loves Company + Hops is En Route to Long Island!

Well, it’s finally here…almost. The officially named Beer Loves Company + Hops is currently on it’s way to Condezllas Farm in Wading River, New York. Condzella Hops raised the funds to bring the European hop picker to Long Island via a Kickstarter campaign a few months ago and it is now actually in transit. We will be heading out to the farm this weekend for a Port Jeff Brewing Company beer dinner and are anxious to see how the hop plants are coming in. Before you know it, the machine formerly known as the Wolf WHE 140 Hopfen Pflückmaschine will be here and ready to start picking. And of course, Beer Loves Company will be there as well to bring you pictures, updates and a look at the first major hop harvest on Long Island in many years. 999662_490251554378927_40773889_n

17th Annual Brewer's East End Revival (B.E.E.R.) Brew-Off – Beers, BBQ, Awards

Last Saturday, May 18, 2013, marked the 17th annual Brewer’s East End Revival Brew-Off held at the St. James American Legion Hall. This competition/celebration is held once a year and includes one of the largest home brew contests on the east coast. This year, around 260 home brews of varying styles were entered by brewers of all experience levels; some looking to make the leap into professional brewing while beginners want some honest feedback and critique to improve. There was a panel of about 25 volunteer judges on hand that graciously sampled beer for several hours, beginning at 9 am (not the worst way in the world to spend a Saturday).

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Though the homebrew competition is the crux of the event, there were other festivities that occurred simultaneously and continued after the winners were announced. Starting at 6:30 am, a crew assembled outside to man the grill and feed the hungry judges and volunteers. Since most in attendance would be there for upwards of 9 hours, the cooking crew knew that donuts and sandwiches weren’t going to cut it all day. They prepared a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and English muffins to be enjoyed prior to the first round of judging. At about 9 am, the judges, stewards and cellar masters gathered inside the American Legion Hall to begin round 1, which lasted about three and a half hours. When they emerged into the daylight, palates perhaps a little burned out from all that home brew, jockey boxes were set up that were pouring even more, you guessed it, home brew donated by B.E.E.R club members. In addition, a lunch of cheeseburgers, hot dogs, tuna salad sandwiches and accompaniments was served.

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After a brief lunch break, it was time for round 2 of judging. Some new faces showed up, including Mike Philbrick of Port Jeff Brewing Company, who would ultimately be deciding the winner of the Brewer’s Cup, a prestigious honor that came with a hefty prize-having your winning home brew produced and distributed by his brewery. Once judging for all categories wrapped up, a smaller panel of esteemed judges assembled to deliberate the “best in show” winners. This session went until about 4:30 and after much careful deliberation it was time to announce the winners.

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Yet again, the judges emerged to a plethora of events going on outside. The brew-off had opened to the public so the backyard of the hall had really filled out. Prizes for both the competition winners and raffle winners were on display, and once again the grill was fired up. On the menu this time was pork that had been slow cooking all day, grilled chicken breasts and thighs, fresh bread and assorted salads. Unfortunately, it had started to rain fairly heavily at this point but the club was prepared with tents to house the prizes and most of the crowd under.

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The home brew competition winners can be found at the B.E.E.R official website and there were plenty of raffle winners due to a generous influx of prized from both local businesses and national outlets. As we already mentioned, Bobby Rodriguez won the Brewer’s Cup which means his delicious barrel aged beer will be available by Port Jeff Brewing Company in the near future.

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This was our first year attending the event, which made running it a bit of a leap of faith into the unknown, but we had a great time and want to thank everyone for participating. The day could not have gone off mostly glitch free (with the exception of a translucent cup debacle) without all the judges, volunteers and companies who donated prizes. It has been going strong for 17 long years and we don’t doubt that year 18 will bring its own new set of great memories and experiences.