Monthly Archives: January 2014

Barrage Brewing, ending a 2-year haul, opens its doors in East Farmingdale

Owner-brewer Steve Pominksi inside the new Barrage brewery

Owner-brewer Steve Pominksi inside the new Barrage brewery

Stephen Pominski Jr. has been working on the railroad. Now, he’s also working in a brewery — his own.

Pominski, 52, who works full-time as a trackside tower operator for the Long Island Railroad, has just opened the doors to Long Island’s newest microbrewery, Barrage Brewing Co.,  in East Farmingdale.  He’s been making beer commercially since mid-December after two years of planning and construction.   He’s at the brewery between his LIRR job and time at home, often aided by his son, Adam, 25.

“Now, it’s for real,” said Pominski.  “But it’s still very daunting. It’s still intimidating.”

Barrage is marking the occasion of its opening with launch parties on Jan. 31 at Morrison’s Restaurant in Plainview and on Feb. 1 at Dave Schultzer’s Bellport Cold Soda and Beer.

In addition to these two outlets, Barrage’s beers will be available by the growler ($13 each) at the brewery – on Sundays only, and, eventually at a growing number of bars, among them The Good Life in Massapequa Park , the Black Sheep Ale House in Mineola, and Hoptron Brewtique in Patchogue, and beer distributors with growler taps around Long Island. He plans to self distribute and eventually get his beers into New York City. “Right now, we want to take care of our close area.

The Barrage brewery consists of a 1-bbl. gas-fired stainless steel brewing system. By doing step infusions, Pominski says he can brew twice a day. There also are 10 42-gallon conical fermenters, some of them housed inside two 8×8 walk-in cold rooms. Bags of malt from German, English and American maltsters are stacked on pallets and bins of specialty malts line a wall.

BarrageBrewingLogo smallFinanced with savings and investments by relatives and a successful $18,000 Kickstarter campaign, Pominski’s brewery has its roots in craft beer’s first go-round in the New York area, the early 1990’s. That’s when he discovered the flavorful beers available at Mr. Fadely’s Deli Pub in Patchogue, where he also got to know Blue Point Brewery co-founder Peter Cotter. A homebrewer for 15 years, Steve and his wife, Diana, in 2009 converted a small existing room in their home and their garage into a family room, equipped with a 16-foot bar with two taps for his homebrews. Friends raved about his beer and encouraged him to sell it Soon, the family room became a regular stop for friends and the bar in the garage became known as “The Barrage.” In June 2010, stirred by the opening of nano brewery Barrier in Oceanside, Pominski founded his brewery.

But forming a company and getting to the point where you could sell beer are a formidable challenge. After trying to open in Freeport, N.Y. – zoning issues prevented this from occurring— the search was on for a new location. Landlords didn’t want fumes or sewering was inadequate.  In March 2012, Pominski found his current location. But other obstacles got in the way. The installation of a gas line was delayed six months as National Grid focused on Hurricane Sandy repairs and then Suffolk County decided his sewer lines weren’t up to code and ordered him to dig them up and replace them at a cost of $17,000.

“It’s been anxiety ridden and overwhelming,” Pominski said,. “Now, it’s a relief. But,  he noted, adding that after giving away brews at festivals, now “people are paying for this beer and I have to make sure it’s worth it.”

Pominski is targeting novice craft beer drinkers as well as beer aficionados. His first offering, Fairytale Red Ale, an Irish-style red, “is right down the middle.” Also now on tap are Blackspot, a black rye IPA; Citralization, an all Citra hop American pale ale, and Mclaughlin’s Folly, an oatmeal stout brewed with raisins and vanilla. Other brews, mostly dark and in an Old English vein, will follow, Pominski said. “I really like dark beer.”

The new brewer says he hopes to produce about 300 to 400 barrels of beer during his first year, but admits, “I’ll have to brew a lot.”

You’ll find Barrage Brewing at 32 Allen Boulevard, Unit E. Located behind TJA Auto Collision, less than a block off Route 110. Pull into the driveway along the east side the body shop and count a half dozen or so garage doors. You’ll see Barrage’s name on the window.  Call before you go (516) 986-8066.

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Convention of American cider makers in Chicago Feb. 5-7 will draw 300

Cider Summit, a public tasting expo on Feb. 8 at Chicago’s Navy Pier, expected to draw up to 2,800 cider devotees.

Cider con logoWith hard cider’s popularity sweeping the nation, members of the year-old  United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM)  will gather in Chicago on Feb. 5-7 for CiderCon, the industry’s the annual meeting and conference. 

Educational workshops and a trade show will be held at the Westin on Michigan, with the focus on stewardship, the conference’s theme.

“Cider is quickly setting itself apart from the rest of the beverage industry,” Mike Beck, owner of Uncle John’s Cider Mill in Michigan, and current USACM president, said in a press release. “With this increased visibility, comes a greater sense of responsibility. We chose stewardship as our theme in order to focus on how to grow our industry together in the best way possible.”

Beck added in a telephone interview: “We’re all in this together. There’s plenty of room in the market for everyone. We’re all in an open, sharing environment.”

This year’s CiderCon is sold out and is expected to draw 300 attendees from the most recognized U.S. cider brands as well as small craft cider makers and orchardists.  Beck said attendance is up substantially from last year, when USCAM was established. USCAM now has 149 members.

From 2007 to 2012, hard cider revenues more than tripled in the U.S., from $178 million to $601 million, according to the market research firm IBIS World.

In addition to business sessions, the conference will feature workshops focused on production, marketing, research and apple growing and sensory tasting seminars featuring cider and cheese pairings, apple brandy, and ice cider.

A day prior to CiderCon some attendees will explore cider houses Vander Mill and Virtue Cider on a bus tour to Michigan.

Separately, on Feb. 8, Cider Summit, a public tasting expo, will take place at Navy Pier, with sessions from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Alan M. Shapiro, president of SBS Imports, of Seattle and the Seattle Beer Collective, organized cider Summit. Shapiro, who imports Aspall ciders, said this event, too has grown substantially in terms of vendors and attendees. He expects to Cider Summit to sell out at 2,800 tickets. The first Cider Summit was held in Seattle in 2010; Portland was added in 2012, Chicago in 2013 and in April, a Cider Summit will take place in Berkley, Calif,

The Chicago Cider Summit will feature more than 100 ciders from 36 producers throughout the U.S., England, Scotland, France, Spain, and even New Zealand.

“It’s 1988 in the craft beer world for cider right now,” said Shapiro.

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Culinary Institute of America plans training brewery in Hudson Valley

Rendering of proposed Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA's student center

Rendering of proposed Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA’s student center

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), with a grant from the Brooklyn Brewery, is planning to develop a small brewery – the first training brewery on the East Coast – on the college’s Hyde Park, NY campus, near Poughkeepsie.

CIA officials anticipate The Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA, as the facility is to be called, will open in the summer of 2015.

Operations at the brewery will be integrated into the curriculum of the college’s degree programs. Juniors and seniors pursuing a concentration in Advanced Wine, Beverage, and Hospitality will staff the brewery and learn about fermentation and brewing techniques as well as the business aspects of running a small food and beverage operation.

The CIA, a not-for-profit college best known for its chef-training programs, is responsible for obtaining the requisite federal and state brewers licenses, but will get support from Brooklyn Brewery, CIA spokesman Jeff Levine said.

Brooklyn’s grant, about $250,000, will be used to equip the seven-barrel brewing facility, which will be located in the college’s new student union and dining facility, currently under construction. Housed within a glass-walled environment meant to evoke an old Brooklyn warehouse, the brewery initially will offer its own lager and pilsner, along with seasonal brews, on tap at the brewery and at the four CIA restaurants on campus.

Garrett Oliver

Garrett Oliver

Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver or a member of his team will visit the Hyde Park campus on a regular basis as guest lecturers and will assist CIA faculty in developing curriculum and recipes.

The CIA has long been involved in craft beer. Associate Dean Ken Turow co-founded and is advisor to the CIA’s Ale & Lager Educational Society. Turow also co-created a regional showcase of beer and food products and professional brewing competition the Hudson Valley Beer & Food Festival.

Moreover, the CIA has hosted series of beer dinners, one annually, beginning in 1995, featured the late British beer writer Michael Jackson. The beer dinners continue, though they have been fewer in recent years.


Waldy Malouf

“This partnership is forward thinking both in terms of culinary education and college dining,” said former New York City top chef Waldy Malouf, now senior director of special projects for the CIA. “In addition to being a craft brewery for campus visitors and students 21 and older, it will serve as a research and development classroom to create and test new beer flavors.”

“We have great respect for The Culinary Institute of America, its leaders, and its illustrious alumni,” Brooklyn Brewery co-founder and chairman Steve Hindy said in a statement. He noted that Brooklyn Brewery has worked with the college for more than two decades on beer and food promotions, and special dinners.

Steve Hindy

Steve Hindy

The University of California-Davis offered the first collegiate brewing course in the U.S. Sine 1958, it has has offered a unique specialization in brewing science as part of its undergraduate degree program in fermentation science. The campus has a 1.5-barrel pilot brewery, which was upgraded in 2006.

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Thieves steal 16,000 bottles of BrewDog prototype beers from UK retailer

BrewDog's Prototype series

BrewDog’s Prototype series

British police are investigating the late night theft of 16,000 bottles of rare beers produced by the iconoclastic Scottish brewer BrewDog.

The beers, worth an estimated £40,000 ($71,000), were stolen from the Essex, England, warehouse of beer retailer Ales by Mail on Dec. 30. Ales By Mail distributes the beers on behalf of the Scottish brewer.

According to published reports a gang of 15 raiders carried out the theft, which was caught by a surveillance camera.

In the wake of the theft, Ales By Mail has made a public plea that retailers, bars and pubs not purchase any of the stolen brews on the black market.

The stolen beer has a retail value of around £40,000, and includes BrewDog beers listed on the brewer’s website as prototypes.

logo-largeThe BrewDog brands stolen include prototype beers Interstellar, Hobo Top and Brixton Porter, along with recent launch Moshi Moshi.  The beers were to have gone on sale this week.

“They are niche craft beers and can only be ordered through the BrewDog website,” Paul Kruzycki, founder and managing director of Ales By Mail, said in a statement.

CCTV camera footage shows a gang of between 10 and 15 thieves, who broke into the warehouse between midnight and 2 a.m. and loaded the beer into a van.

The Prototype series beers, the brewer says, is a chance for its customers “to help us decide what to brew in 2014. “ They are priced on BrewDog’s web site at £6 ($10) per 33ml bottle.

BrewDog describes Hobo Pop as amped-up American wheat beer, produced using extra pale, cara, crystal malts along with wheat and rye. Amarillo and Centennial hops were used. The beer has an OG of 1.0142 and 50 IBUs. Hobo “has bags of vibrant citrusy energy and a complexity you wouldn’t expect in a 4.2% beer,” BrewDog says. “If this hobo had a knapsack, it would be stuffed full of Amarillo, one of our favorite hops.”

Interstellar is a red rye IPA produced using extra pale, crystal and dark crystal malts and rye with Magnum, Willamette and Amarillo hops. The 6.5% abv brew has 65 IBUs and an OG of 1.059. BrewDog says Intersteller has “a complexity on a par with the maintenance manual for the Millenium Falcon. Fuelled by Willamette, this massive beer shares the hop profile of a beer we brewed whilst floating down a river in North West USA… This is an autumnal IPA that will have your palate sent to the spice mines of Kessel, and smashed into who knows what.”

Brixton Porter is a session porter produced using extra pale, dark crystal and black malts, roasted barley and Victoria’s Secret, Bramling Cross and Challenger hops. A 5% abv beer, t has 50 IBUs and an OG of 1.048. “Originally intended as a beer to mark the opening of our Brixton bar, this porter made it further than our ill-fated potential London venue did,” BrewDog says. “With an aroma you’d expect to find in a foreign extra or a stout, this deceptive brown porter will taunt your nose with chocolate, deep rich roasted coffee, and the menacing, smoky salty hit of burning pirate ships.”


Moshi Moshi 15

Moshi Moshi 15 is a 5.2% abv Pale Ale that sells for £2.59 ($4.25) for 33ml bottle. The beer is the brewery’s 15th birthday salute to Moshi Moshi Records, a small London-based label. A rich biscuity malt base takes the bassline, with the odd caramel pop and slap. Heavy hop riffs play on top; resinous resonance from the rhythm guitar, and the bitter notes we love so much on lead.”

A reward is being offered for information leading to the recovery of the beer and arrest of the thieves.



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