Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Beach Haus' splash & an ale for 2011

Contract brewer East Coast Beer Company notched a run of 600 barrels for the final four months of 2010, and the company is setting its sights on releasing an ale this year to join the lager that launched its brand.

Based in Point Pleasant, East Coast hit the Jersey beer scene last August with their Beach Haus pilsner (draft and bottle), produced under contract with Genesee Brewing in Rochester, New York. Beach Haus proved to be a beer that made an impression and quickly found favor among beer drinkers, even fans of exotic and hop-heavy brews.

Founder John Merklin says East Coast now has statewide reach with Beach Haus, and the 2010 production runs puts the company's pace "slightly ahead of where we wanted to be."

But the beer business is an uphill game, and John says there's still plenty of work to be done to build on that early success and market splash.

"Our distribution continues to expand, and we pretty much have the entire state of New Jersey covered. We are having lots of regional success in Cape May and Atlantic counties, which were just added to our portfolio in December," John says.

Last week, the East Coast crew began some some final phase work on the recipe for a year-round ale to join the company's pilsner label toward late summer. Tom Przyborowski, who had been doing brewing consulting work for East Coast and helped develop the pilsner recipe, is now working with the company full time.

'"Tom studied under Dave Hoffmann (of Climax Brewing) for a number of years, and we think he provides a neat aspect of New Jersey brewing legacy to our mix," John says.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Roofs, River Horse & Mark Twain ...

A Mark Twain moment at River Horse Brewing in Lambertville ...

By that we mean, when Twain heard the New York Journal had published his obituary, he commented: The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. And so it goes with reports of a partial roof collapse at River Horse brewery in Lambertville – the incident has been oversold by the headlines.

Owner Chris Walsh says rain and melting snow did drain down onto a portion of flat roof in the center part of the building above some fermenter tanks, weakening it and causing it to sag Monday evening. No one was hurt.

Yes, the fire department showed up, the water had to be drained, and today became a day to catch up on brewery paperwork and not production, Chris says. The affected area has been shored up and will be fixed, and Lambertville officials will reinspect the place.

The incident has made for slow-news-day fodder, with Philly TV, among other news agencies, sniffing around for a story. Meanwhile reports like the one Monday evening by, which did the journalism no-no of posting unsubstantiated police radio chatter about the building sagging and in danger of collapse, are as Twain put it, greatly exaggerated.

Chris says the brewery expects to be back in production about Friday, finishing orders for Belgian Double Wit. Coming in the middle of winter, the brief shutdown won't set production back too much. "This time of year, there's no problem on the orders. If this was June I'd be freaking out," he says.

The brewery posted photos on its Facebook page around noon today, as well as a word of thanks to the Lambertville fire department.