Friday, May 10, 2013

FU Sandy coming back for another round

 After raising $45,000 that was spread among a trio of hurricane-relief charities, Flying Fish Brewing's wheat-pale ale released last winter will make a reprise.

The upcoming second round of FU Sandy will be bottle and draft.

 Kegs of Sandy are being targeted for around the start of Philly Beer Week (May 31-June 9); 750 milliliter bottles are planned for release sometime in June. 

Like the initial draft-only installment of FU Sandy, the 6.2% ABV beer will again do charitable work. 

The Somerdale brewery plans to dedicate a portion of the proceeds toward rebuilding from the hurricane-nor'easter hybrid that ravaged the Jersey coastline last Oct. 29.

The brewery steered all proceeds of the first run of 86 kegs of FU Sandy to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund; chapters of Habitat for Humanity (Southern Ocean County, plus coastal and northeast Monmouth County) and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

The beer was well-received when it was released in mid-February, generating a lot of requests to bring it back. 

And Flying Fish listened.

A 50-50 balance of two-row pale malt and American white wheat, the beer is hopped with ADHA 483, an experimental hop donated by the American Dwarf Hop Association. FU Sandy was an inaugural use for the hop in a beer.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Iron Hill collaboration beer featuring kumquat

Suzanne, Chris and the kumquats
A new Iron Hill collaboration beer finds brewer Chris LaPierre working again with his girlfriend and Allagash sales rep, Suzanne Woods.

A couple of years ago, Chris and Suzanne teamed up to produce a saison made with peppercorns. 

Last week, they brewed a Belgian table beer with kumquats for release at the brewpub in Maple Shade later this month, in the run-up to Philly Beer Week (May 31-June 9). 

"This one has a little bit different twist on it," Chris says. "The saison we brewed together was a beer she designed. She doesn't really know how to write the recipes, but she does know what she likes and doesn't like. She told me what kind of saison she wanted, that she wanted pink and green peppercorns in it, so I designed a recipe around that, and she came in and brewed it with me."

For Petite Fortunella, the kumquat beer, Chris and Suzanne involved one of her Allagash co-workers, Patrick Chavanelle, a brewer whose duties at the Portland, Maine, brewery also include pilot brewing and recipe development.

"So it's sort of a collaboration from afar," Chris says.

For Iron Hill's taps, Chris and Suzanne made a 4.5% ABV beer, nominally higher than what you would expect for a table beer.

"(Patrick) originally wanted it to be 3.5. I told him I really appreciate table beers, but not all of our guests necessarily do, so it needs to come up to 4 1/2," Chris says. "It will still be very sessionable, very drinkable."

The beer's name is a nod to the fruit being used and the yeast to ferment it. Fortunella is part of the Latin name for kumquat. 

What becomes of leftover kumquats
"We're using the Orval yeast, and there's a Petite Orval that is the monks' table beer. So he kind of named it petite in tribute to Petite Orval," Chris says.

"It kind of reminds me of some of the Italian beers that we have coming out – low in alcohol, very sessionable, not overdone, very delicate … and also from the fact that the Italians use all kinds of interesting spices, fruits and flowers. So I suspect it may taste more like one of the new Italian microbrews than anything Belgian."

Suzanne is widely known in the craft beer community of southern New Jersey for her days as a sales rep with Pennsylvania's Sly Fox, before jumping to Allagash about two years ago. She's also the founder of In Pursuit of Ales, a women's beer group in Philadelphia, and lends the region her written thoughts on the Philly beer compass at Beer Lass.

As a lot of people know, and certainly the Iron Hill faithful do, Chris has been the brewer at the Maple Shade IH location since it opened almost four years ago, having come over from IH's West Chester, Pa., brewpub. (He also worked at Dock Street in Philadelphia way back when, plus Harpoon Brewery.) 

Chris has collaborated with homebrewers as part of IH's yearly Iron Brewer contest and has done at least three collaborations with the brewpub's South Jersey neighbor, Flying Fish. 

One of Chris' more marquee turns at collaboration was on a Christmas beer with Unibroue brewmaster Jerry Vietz last year.