Blog | Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!
The Return of Greenport Harbor’s Hopnami
I sampled countless cask-conditioned beers at Blue Point’s Cask Ales Festival and, despite an incessant effort from Ale-Qaeda, I was not poisoned by poison.
During my samplage, I sampled several samples of Hopnami, an IPA from Greenport Harbor Brewing Company. This sunshine-colored ale was insanely aromatic and each fluffy, juicy, fruity swallow didn’t piledrive my palate with bitterness. It was actually my favorite cask at Blue Point. I have same-day evidence affirming my statement, too, for any nonbelievers:
Hopnami debuted in 2010. It was overwhelmingly successful for John Liegey and Rich Vandenburgh’s 15-barrel brewery, securing endorsements with Nike, Apple, and Caldor. The beer disappeared without explanation, however, in 2011.
According to brewmaster DJ Swanson, Hopnami secretly relocated to Japan to film Hopnami vs. Godzilla, a remake of the 1964 classic, Mothra vs. Godzilla. This iPhone 3G-recorded kaiju was critically skullbashed, though, and only received a direct-to-VHS release in Indonesia. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of Indonesia, then instituted a countrywide ban of Hopnami vs. Godzilla in 2013, citing “incomprehensible suckiness.” Hopnami, dejected and deflated, returned to the tranquility of Greenport in March—shortly before Blue Point’s Cask Ales Festival.
Hopnami vs. Godzilla!
Okay. The film isn’t real. Hopnami did disappear in 2011, but its hiatus was unintentional.
“We got caught up with Project Hoppiness and then Other Side IPA was really successful for us,” explains Swanson. “We discussed it a lot over the last few years, but it was finally the right time.”
The revival will occur at Hoptron Brewtique on April 17, as Hopnami pours alongside Black Duck Porter, Other Side, and Spring Turning Rye Saison. This isn’t Grandpa Grandmaster Flash’s version, though. Swanson has developed a new recipe with four different hop varieties: Amarillo, Citra, Cascade, and Experimental Hops #05256.
“The IPA world has changed over the last few years, and everyone seems to use the same mix of hop varieties in their beers,” says Swanson. “I wanted to differentiate this from everything else—especially from Other Side.”
While Swanson digs Other Side’s prominent maltiness, characteristic of his recipes, Hopnami now has “less malt flavor and a lot more hop aroma from whirlpool additions and dry-hopping.” The result is an IPA with “the danky style that’s really popular right now. It’s big with sweet fruit juice aromas—more tangerine, less mainstream grapefruit. But not overly bitter. Real easy to drink.”
Greenport Harbor Brewing Company relaunches Hopnami at Hoptron Brewtique on April 17.
Inside Ale-Qaeda: Trying to Drink Long Island’s Deadliest Terror-Brewing Organization
I love cask-conditioned beer, which is unfiltered and naturally conditioned, or matured, in a cask. This process, an alternative to filtering and kegging following the primary stage of fermentation, prolongs the life of yeast and, subsequently, enables beer to develop uninhibited without the suppression of brewers, parents, or Putins. It creates full-fledged versions of self.
When I consume a cask-conditioned beer, each swallow is a flavorful burst of individuality. It’s a burst of America, Super Neaters!
Wait. I shall explain.
A cask-conditioned beer is created naturally, and natural is freedom. This freedom embodies the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the perseverance of General Motors, and the something of Something Else! Since cask-conditioned beer is natural, Super Neaters, cask-conditioned beer is undeniably American—as American as American Pie 2, the cure for polio, and unicorns!
Frank Filacchione and Mike Napolitano, however, hate cask-conditioned beer and, thus, hate America. They enjoy murdering any mythical creatures sprouting skull-spiraled horns, and advocate for the revival of polio.
Filacchione and Napolitano are caskorists in Ale-Qaeda, the largest terror-brewing organization on Long Island. Ale-Qaeda poisons cask-conditioned beers with poison, seeking to destroy palates and, ultimately, America.
Ale-Qaeda, from Patchoguestan, is a deadly organization poisoning cask-conditioned beers with poison.
Kidding! Filacchione and Napolitano are swell dudes and unaffiliated with any Qaedas. Both are actually members of Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME), a nonviolent organization for homebrewing. It was established in 2007.
LIBME has “more than 700 members and of those, around 100 are considered charter members,” says president Todd Long. “They consistently attend our monthly meetings and support the club at all the events and activities, including classes, tastings, and festivals.”
Filacchione and Napolitano, who combine for 26 years of homebrewing, are both charters. They are “the lead men in setting up and breaking down at events where we share our beers with people,” says Filacchione.
This “share our beers with people” is a constant showcase of LIBME’s originality, especially from Filacchione and Napolitano. They created Reaper Madness, a bourbon barrel-aged stout infused with Carolina Reaper peppers, for example, for the Long Island Nano Cask Ale Festival in January. It was balls-awesome. Their latest collaboration, Bacon Maple Praline Porter, is for Blue Point Brewing Company’s Cask Ales Festival on April 05.
After brewing a porter, which “tasted nice and chocolatey,” says Filacchione, the base was transferred into a cask, then primed with Mama’s Choice Maple Praline Flavored Syrup and Cascade Beer Candi Company Maple and Smoked Bacon Syrup. These syrups, which contain sugar, will continue fermentation in the cask.
“We’re expecting the beer to taste syrupy, like French Toast,” says Napolitano. “Like breakfast, basically.”
Blue Point’s Cask Ales Festival will feature cask-conditioned beers from 30+ breweries. LIBME is not a brewery, but will also pour cask-conditioned beers, including Filacchione and Napolitano’s Bacon Maple Praline Porter.
‘Cuz This Is America, Super Neaters.
Drank That Local Sh*t: Great South Bay Brewery Lethal Cupcake
Drank That Local Sh*t explores the nitty-gritty of Long Island-born beers, with assistance from their creators.
Great South Bay Brewery//Lethal Cupcake
Style: Imperial Chocolate Porter
Date of Birth: 03/16/14
Availability: Draft, Bottle (22 oz)
Super Neat Find the Beer Description in the Bold Story Time!
Narrator: A covey of cupcakes penetrate Niko Krommydas’ mouthhole, secreting chocolate-heavy globules into the skin-encased recesses of his Esophagus…
“Lethal Cupcake is semi-sweet and chocolatey with, perhaps, accompaniments of cola and black licorice,” I say, reciting with the thespianic proficiency of Samuel “Screech” Powers. The script is crayon-scribbled on a napkin from Sizzler.
“Your bicep seems flaccid,” says The Director. “Your character must secrete machismo from every orifice. He is the personification of α. If, for example, we are threatened with an attack from Lisa Kudrowne Warfare, your character is our only… [inaudible] I don’t know which bicep, but I need more bicep.”
...somewhere/anywhere/everywhere, a text reads: “I’m here.”
Final Scene: Niko Krommydas, now The Director, films a covey of cupcakes performing various calisthenics, at submaximal intensity, for several hours—maybe months. This eventually fades into an ink-black screen, cuing Lisa Kudrow’s subpar remake of Phoebe Buffay’s “Smelly Cat.” Credits.
Narrator: The reader of Niko Krommydas’ blog, Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!, will now rise to piss and, upon his/her return, opt to select Open New Tab…
[New Tab: Mother Asks Child To Do Homework, You Won’t Believe The 136 Epic Responses From Child!]
Bonus DVD Commentary: “I exist between the interzones of bloggery and unbloggery,” I say, “where the roastiness lingers beneath a sepulcher of pulsating dustfarts.”
Real Story From Creator of Beer Story Time!
“Lethal Cupcake is the nickname of a special someone in my life who is both warm and fuzzy, yet packs a walloping punch: my 10-year-old daughter, Marris. It was just her birthday last week, so I consider this beer to be a special gift to her. Marris is now a blue belt in Japanese karate at Heijoshin Dojo in Bay Shore, and as angelic and delicate as she might appear, she’s a fierce competitor who finishes her opponents off with ease—all while smiling with a gleam in her eye, of course.
Yes, she’s a lethal cupcake.
For fun, we decided to create a science fiction-inspired story on the side of the 22-ounce bottles about mutant, man-eating cupcakes. I’ll save the rest of the story for when you get your bottle.
As for the beer, a blend of chocolate and English dark crystal malts give this brew its chocolate cupcake characteristics: a deep brown color, and aromas and flavors of toasty, rich cocoa and malty caramel. As an homage to our forefathers, we also threw in some brown malt, a variety now nearly extinct yet obligatory in classic porters of the early 20th century. While the brown malt lends another unique roasty taste and complexity to this beer, chocolate is the main flavor here—a clean and rich chocolate, which is balanced and bittered by East Kent Golding and Bravo hops.” [Rick Sobotka, owner and brewmaster of Great South Bay Brewery]
Like Father, (Not) Like Son: A Peek Inside The First Beers of Barrage Brewing Company
Adam Pominski hates beer. He’s consumed “exactly seven, and every single one tastes the same.”
Steve Pominski, his father, is owner and brewmaster of Farmingdale’s Barrage Brewing Company, the newest brewery on Long Island.
Steve likes beer. A lot.
After several roadblocks, which were eventually smackdowned by a $18,800-raised Kickstarter in 2013, Barrage Brewing opened on January 26. Adam has never swallowed a driblet of liquid from his father’s one-barrel brewery, but “helps a lot with the brewing, and also does all the logos and design work,” says Steve. “I couldn’t do this alone.”
Adam downplays his role at Barrage Brewing, however: “I’m a glorified janitor. I really just help out my dad with what he needs.”
Adam and Steve are both descendants of King Pominskian III, Duke of Barley, the first member of the Parliamentary House of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons of Hops.
King Pominskian, who created the House of Commons of Hops in 1743, was a gifted-ass brewer, and wanted an aristocratic platform to showcase his aptitude. He was eventually banished from Lord-dom in 1757, however, and executed in Wortsville Square.
He was allergic to beer.
Despite their differences on imbibery, Adam and Steve share the blood of King Pominskian and, thus, will always pulsate with the memory of his wrongful persecution.
They have vowed to honor him with Barrage Brewing. They will never forget.
To display their solidarity, Adam and Steve agreed to discuss Barrage Brewing’s first five beers for Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!
Fairytale Red Ale//5.6% ABV
Steve Pominski: “If anything, I would consider this our flagship. This is basically a traditional Irish red ale, but we made it a little hoppier. Traditionally an Irish red is usually very malty, and even has a little sourness to it from the grains being used. We decided to add some complexity with Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe hops. It adds some floral notes to the beer, but it’s not a hop-bomb, or overly bitter.”
Adam Pominski: “Candy, or something light and sweet. I don’t know. The name doesn’t really evoke a strong taste, or anything manly. But from what I heard, it’s a very hoppy red ale.”
McLaughlin’s Folly//5.7% ABV
SP: “A buddy of mine, Scott McLaughlin, loves oatmeal raisin vanilla cookies. He also loves stouts, and asked me in 2011 if I could brew something that combined both. This is it. People can’t quite put their finger on the end flavor to it. They think it’s vanilla, but it’s actually the raisins. The raisins are pretty prominent. They have this odd flavor in beer, especially when they’re boiled in the wort. This was the first stout recipe we brewed for Barrage. I’d consider it a stout with light chocolate notes. The raisins and vanilla are the main flavors.”
AP: “It’s named for one of my dad’s friends. He’s a big and scary dude, so I would think this has to be really strong—like 190% ABV. But the irony is, a lot of people say it tastes like an oatmeal vanilla raisin cookie.”
SP: “I wanted to do a beer with only one hop variety, but I didn’t want this to be an IPA. This is basically a light-bodied American pale ale that’s easy to drink, in the vein of [Three Floyds Brewing Company] Gumbballhead and Zombie Dust. We didn’t use any hops in the boil, so it’s not overly bitter. It’s all in the aroma. It’s more of a grapefruit note than, say, lemon. Citra doesn’t automatically mean citrus.”
AP: “I’m guessing oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, or anything full of citrus. That’s somewhat wrong, apparently. Citra hops don’t necessarily impart citrusy notes. Didn’t know that.”
Famous Last Words//11.0% ABV
SP: “This is our Russian imperial stout, which was originally named Alexander’s Prohibition Stout for my grandfather, who used to brew beer in his bathtub during Prohibition. He lived in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn. It’s a huge beer, meaning thick and chocolatey, with a lot of coffee flavor. We actually use a small amount of coffee in the boil. The grain bill for this beer is tremendous—probably 130 pounds per barrel. We’re right at the top of the mash tun. We also age this beer with oak staves. I feel like the bourbon barrels were getting too gimmicky. I guess because it’s so thick and chocolatey, you don’t get any hint of alcohol to it. There isn’t any burn. It costs a ton to brew, but it came out just the way I was hoping. It’s perfect.”
AP: “I only know what my dad told me about him: He used to cook up beer or moonshine in the bathtub. This is a Russian imperial stout, so I assume its just very strong chocolate milk. Almost as if Johnny Walker, Yoo-Hoo, and Nyquil had a threesome. That’ll knock your ass out.”
Necromancer Double IPA//7.0% ABV
SP: “A necromancer controls lost souls, so I wanted the name to represent how we’re controlling the hop souls in this beer. It’s our only double IPA, but it’s hoppiness is mild—only a light hop aroma. It’s brewed with honey, too, which cuts through the bitterness. This is our newest beer to come out. It just debuted [on February 09].”
AP: “I just imagine that when you drink it, you need to be sitting in a chalk-drawn ritual circle, reading from some book of the dead. Other then that, I assume it tastes like bones and dirt, with a touch of honey.”
The Dissection of Anheuser-Busch InBev & Blue Point Brewing Company: Part I
I witnessed a slew of sludge-filled hateballs catapulted toward Patchogue, following the announcement of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s acquisition of Blue Point Brewing Company.
SPLAT. KERPLUNCHT. SPLAT.
I wanted to wait until additional details unfolded, initially, but the buildup of sludge—particularly on Facebook—was grotesque, and too stenchy to ignore. It smelled terrible.
I’ll provide some examples:
“This is awful news.”
“One of my favorite beer companies sold out to the big man.”
“I suspect they’ll close the Patchogue location and consolidate.”
“Toasted Lager Lite?”
“Ready for cheap concentrated blueberry juice added to a cheap lager to replace the blueberry ale?”
The sludgery continued…
“i’m never supporting them again.”
“Time to buy BP brews while the recipe is still unadulterated. Best wishes.”
“Blue Point…say it ain’t so…”
Seriously? You’re selling glassware?
Everyone. Please. Stop.
The New York Times wrote “Terms of the deal between Blue Point and the United States arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev were not disclosed,” so presently, we can only speculate.
MUST WE ALSO SPECU-HATE, THOUGH?
We could explore a probably-similar transaction, such as Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Goose Island Beer Company in 2011, or Duvel Moortgat’s gimme-takey of Boulevard Brewing Company in 2013. We could also criticize Blue Point’s now-ironic prank on April’s Fool Day in 2011—a jab at Anheuser-Busch and Goose Island—announcing its alliance with MillerCoors, another conglomo-brewery.
...or we could just Wait N’ Stop Da Hate.
Blue Point, which opened in 1998, is an iconic institution on Long Island. This is undeniable. And I expected post-announcement disappointment from Long Islanders, because on Long Island, Blue Point is not a brewery, but a deity—a holy and cherished emblem of local.
Anheuser-Busch, conversely, is not an emblem of local. It is faceless, and the producer of Budweiser, once an enemy of Blue Point’s flagship, Toasted Lager.
...but now the enemies are allies.
Long Island feels betrayed. Confused. Abandoned. It’s unfair to assume the death of Blue Point, however, or expect the creation of Toasted Lager Lite. A commercial with Mark Burford and Pete Cotter, riding a pair of Versace-hoofed Budweiser Clydesdales?
The initial opinions—no, judgments—were harsh and premature. As I witnessed a slew of sludge-filled hateballs catapulted toward Patchogue, I wanted to disintegrate-by-deathray them, because Blue Point deserves better. After 16 years of brewing on Long lsland, which will continue under the ownership of Anheuser-Busch, Blue Point deserves our support. They’ve earned it.
I’ll depart with a quote from Jim Richards, brewer at Blue Point, via Facebook:
“Ok so everyone has seen the news Bp has been bought. I am very sad to see such venom and hate being thrown around. Mark and Pete built Bp from nothing and has earned everything they have gotten. This is only going to make us stronger. It will still be Armchair, Eric and me rocking out the brewhouse. We just now have more support and resources at our disposal. This will allow us to do more for our patrons…I will have the ability to make more high quality beer and have some amazing people teaching me more and helping me and the rest our staff evolve into better brewers. It has always been about the beer and always will be. As I said I am just kind of hurt by all negative response. I truly love Blue Point and love the beers we make and all the people I have met by having the honor of brewing our beer.”
STAY TUNED FOR PART II
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