Saturday, January 3, 2009

Praise be cold

Here’s a reason to champion a tumble in temperature: eisbock.

And there’s only one reason to bring that up: High Point Brewing’s highly anticipated (draft only) eisbock is in the pipeline.

We spoke to Greg Zaccardi just before Christmas about morphing some Ramstein Winter Wheat Doppelbock into eis. Greg said that a batch of the doppelbock (9% ABV) was finishing out so it could be kegged off, then sent to the big chill to turn the available H2O into an ice core, off which the brewers will draw the malty, now alcohol-richer eisbock. (The most recent incarnation clocked in at 12% ABV; that beer was a surprise treat back in August and quickly pounced on at a brewery open house).

How soon a 2009 Ramstein eisbock happens depends on Mother Nature providing a reliable arctic blast, the kind that turns a lake or pond into a hockey rink. Seems like the weather’s trending toward the sustained below-30 degrees air temperature that’s needed for the conversion. So for now, it’s a waiting game.

But if you want a date to bank on, the folks at High Point expect the eisbock to be available by the second Saturday in March (the 14th). That’s when brewery open houses resume following the winter hiatus. In fact, you can pretty much expect High Point to bock your socks off that day, since their maibock is scheduled to debut then, too.

Here’s another heads-up: Since a portion (about 25 percent) of each keg’s 15 gallons must be sacrificed (as in turned to a discarded slush) to create the eisbock, the supply is obviously tighter than other High Point brews. And the beer has developed a quite an interest among High Point’s draft accounts. What all this means, as fans of this beer well know, is that if you’re not fortunate enough to have Ramstein eisbock on tap at your local bar, then you and your growler should make plans to line up at that first open house of 2009.

Meanwhile, High Point’s Blazing Amber, a draft only Vienna lager, could be under glass this year. Greg’s giving serious consideration to broadening High Point’s bottled lineup with the amber. Stay tuned.

The beer’s name is a nod to the spectacular 1957 inferno at Pequanoc Rubber Mill, a blaze that was visible 100 miles away and drew an offer of help from the NYFD.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Happy New Year.

Drink Jersey beer.

No kidding, have a beer brewed in the Garden State. It's good for ya.