Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The new brewer at Bitting

If you've been stopping by for a pint at J.J. Bitting over the past couple of months, you've been sampling the brewing efforts of James Moss, a Pacific Northwester who's taken over the mash tun and kettle from August Lightfoot.

Long a familiar face at Bitting, August made an exit from the Woodbridge brewpub in late September (the last keg of his swansong brew for Bitting kicked last week).

James, 27, followed his girlfriend from Oregon to the Northeast (she just earned a master's in teaching at Columbia) and scored the Bitting gig after spotting a job posting on ProBrewer. Before relocating to Brooklyn (he trains it down to Woodbridge), James was trying to land a gig as a cellarman with McMenamins, the multifaceted Oregon-based brewpub chain. His resume includes a stint at a winery and time at the Ram Restaurant & Brewery near Tacoma, Wash.

Like a lot of craft brewers, James was a homebrewer before he was a commercial brewer. Turning pro was a goal he started bringing into focus about five years ago.

What's in store in Woodbridge
Bitting patrons will find the familiar mix of brews that have drawn them to a barstool at the former coal and grain company building situated beside the tracks NJ Transit's trains travel. James says he may sneak one of his porter or IPA recipes into the mix, but overall he plans to ease folks toward his brewing personality and brew interpretations. (For the record, he has an affinity for porters, oatmeal stouts, double IPAs and IPAs done with a Pacific Northwest slant.)

"Experimenting is one of the things I like about brewing. There's so many options to try," he says.

James just brewed Bitting's Barley Legal barley wine with the help of Tom Paffrath, who used to tend the kettle at Basil T's (soon to officially be named Artisans) in Toms River.

Look for that big brew to go on tap in early February. The Bitting winter warmer that James turned in goes on tap this month.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Update – Homebrewer contest

... The opening round will be judged next Tuesday.

We checked with Greg Zaccardi at High Point Brewing on Monday for some confirmation about the contest. So yes, the game is on, with the victor collecting the spoils of a $100 Office gift card, bragging rights, a commemorative tap handle, perhaps best of all for a homebrewer, the opportunity to help brew his or her recipe on a grand scale, namely at High Point in Butler.

The winning beer will go on tap at the seven Office Beer Bar & Grill locations, under the Office's house beer label.

Once again, here are the rules, and entrants should RSVP the Office at:

  • All styles are welcome.
  • Criteria will be based on the quality of each beer and the commercial viability of a late winter beer to be sold in The Office Beer Bar & Grill, beginning in late January.
  • Entrants will provide the equivalent of six 12-ounce bottles for the event.
  • The restaurant winner will chosen by 50 percent guest votes, and 50 percent judges. Overall appeal is the single criteria.
  • Each restaurant winner must provide an additional six – 12 oz bottles, or the equivalent for the championship.
  • The winning beer will be determined by a panel of industry professionals.

Participants must comply and agree with the following conditions:

  • 21 years old or older
  • All participants must be present at the time of judging
  • The winning recipe is to be provided, and the winner will relinquish any commercial rights for the winning the recipe.
  • Employees of The Office Beer Bar & Grill and our vendors are not eligible to enter.
If you've entered the contest, shoot us an email at ... We'd love to hear from you.