Beer Profile: Mendocino Bock Beer

Mendocino Brewing
Saratoga Springs, NY

Profiled by Ken Carman

I’ve been by this brewery more than a few times, but never stopped. It’s in a factory like facility just slightly north of downtown Saratoga. It was a local brewery by another name before Mendocino bought it out. I would assume they still have a brewery out west as well, though their site seems a little vague under contact information.

Greeted by a nice, somewhat, deep gold when poured. Small but nice head. Caramel aroma with plenty of melanoidin sense: no hop in aroma or taste.

Taste? That’s where it falls apart. OK, it’s mild… in the background… but it’s there: phenolics. That “zip:” a bit like a water through a green rubber hose; plastic… some call it “band aid.”

Disregarding the obvious defect, and the fact I didn’t have a second bottle to make sure it wasn’t just the sample I had, this slightly hazy pale bock, just wasn’t complex enough. Some caramel and caramelized sense to it and a bit of “deep malt” aroma, But it fell apart upon first taste. Not all that impressive or memorable, except that slight, but annoying, phenolic zing.

How unfortunate. Try again guys. Add more malt and get a more complex grain bill. Double check your yeast, sanitation, shipping problems/storage conditions and all the other possible sources for phenolics, just to be sure.

Imprisoned beer – Brazilian Craft Brewers Fight Almost Insurmountable Odds

Written by Charlie Papazian for

There is a special beer awaiting beer enthusiasts, but for now it languishes in the “cellars” of a small Brazilian microbrewery because the government regulatory agencies can’t figure out how to approve such an astounding example of the brewer’s art.  On New Year’s Eve I savored a sample.  It was one of the best imperial stouts I’ve enjoyed in my life.  It was a good way to end my year and start another. But the beer remains imprisoned.

Founder and brewmaster of the Colorado Brewery, Marcelo Carneiro da Rocha.opened the unlabeled bottle just before midnight.  It is 10.5% alcohol by volume, made with English malts, Styrian Golding hops among others and black rapadura sugar.  Brewed in early 2009 he reveals that a sampling of the beer in June met with polite “not quite ready, a bit astringent” remarks.  But I can assure you due to the government’s slow not-yet “approval” process the beer has aged exquisitely.

With gentle licorice notes and a perfect balance between roast malt bite and hop bitterness the yet to be named “Colorado Imperial Stout” is smooth as velvet and has developed into a world class beer.

One of the key ingredients is black rapadura.  Rapadura is a unique sugar produced with unrefined sugar cane juice.  The juice is evaporated until natural sugars form a hard sugary cake.  There are amber and dark versions.  It is one of the cheapest forms of sugar in Brazil and is looked down upon by most Brazilians as not worthy of consideration – for much of anything.  Its taste is complex and delicious.  In beer it contributes a wonderful complexity for dark beers and a background foundation for light ales or lagers.  Hints of caramel and authentic molasses are but a couple of characters attributed to rapadura.  Granulated rapadura found in some specialty stores and supermarkets in the USA are rather bland and refined compared to the cake blocks sold in Brazil.

The Colorado Brewery is one if not the first pioneering micro/craft breweries in Brazil, it began brewing in 1995.  Called the Colorado Brewery because the brewing equipment was purchased from a Fort Collins, Colorado, USA based manufacturing company at the time.

Photo left: Marcelo Carneiro da Rocha listens to his beer.

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The New Jersey Beer Company

Written by John Holl for

(The “Garden State” has a pretty poor image, nationwide. Nice to see some positive news, especially beer-wise.- Prof. GA)

Like so many others before him, Matt Steinberg came to New Jersey via New York City seeking a lower rent. He settled in North Bergen, a Hudson County town with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.

The 32-year-old Steinberg, who has a degree in computer science and works as an IT consultant, has long held a fondness for craft beer, something forged in college. Back then, he and his buddies would gather up a few extra dollars and pick of a case of Saranac Lager, as opposed to the usual cheap college beer.

“I’ve been interested in alcohol long before I was old enough to be legally interested,” he said during a recent interview at a Jersey City beer garden. He also has an entrepreneurial spirit and a fondness for home brewing. So when that little voice in the back of his head grew louder, urging him on to open a business, he thought about a few options, including opening up a bar or restaurant.

Steinberg decided, instead, to open a brewery. New Jersey is already home to some 20 breweries and brewpubs. But, with a few exceptions, few admit that they come from the Garden State.
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Coming Soon to a Whole Foods Near You?

Written by Rick Nichols for Restaurants and Food section.

(Published under the title: On the Side: A grocery pub: How civilized.)

Shoppers (and opening-day gawkers) who headed to the new Whole Foods mega-market off Germantown Pike in Plymouth Meeting last week found themselves confronted by competing realities before they even got in the door. To one side were winter-beaters – firewood of every description. You had your composite Enviro-Logs and Java-Logs, and your stacks of “basic firewood” (which comes straight from the tree), but also, for the more elegantly inclined, neatly split birch.

There were jugs of Orchard Valley cider in an icy trough. And a few feet away, the heralds of spring – sprays of Cranberry Farms pussy willows ($2.99) and potted primrose in vivid reds and ivories. You could, it seemed, get anything you wanted – local cider (from Lansdale, 11 miles away) and grass-fed beef from Georgia, organic and conventional, even your season of choice: More winter? A side of spring with that?

If you entered through Door No. 1, nearest to the adjacent mall, a magic carpet awaited. Banks of pink orchids in clay pots. Cinematic cascades of blue hydrangea. A wall – yes, a vertical wall – of golden beets and dandelion greens, purple-top turnips and red kale. At the egg case, the eggs were not only cage-free, they were carton-free, arranged one-by-one in rows on springy bedding (as they might be in the coop), a stack of small wire baskets at the ready to assist in your faux-farmstead collecting.

So this, children, is where eggs really come from, absent the squawk and feathers, the stench, and the mindless pecking. They come from a food-topia in Plymouth Meeting.

That was Door No. 1, gateway not only to the fresh foods (and the burger – add $1 for bacon – and pizza and sushi stations) around the perimeter, but also to an interior stocked with the usual suspects – frozen pizza and aisle-ender pillars of tortilla chips, herbal soaps and herby soups, pasta sauce and pet supplies.

But there was a Door No. 2, 50 feet away. And if you hooked an immediate left after entering it, an entirely different reality loomed: the Cold Point Pub.
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Club Update: Escambia Bay Brewers

#1 Spring BrewBQ
Is anyone interested in hosting the spring cookout this year? Let me know ASAP.

#2 Shirts
Is anyone interested in purchasing a shirt with the club logo on it? We can get 3 different styles
1) Screen printed Tshirt- cost about $15???????
2) Embroidered Tshirt- the last ones we did cost members $16
3) Embroidered Shirt with collar- the ones a few of us still have cost $35

If you are interested let me know ASAP.


The next General Club meeting will be at Brews Brothers 4:00pm on Sunday February 21st. Brews Brothers is under new management and John (new owner) seems like he wants us to have more meetings/functions there. We’ll see how things go.

Rick and Carol Monroe are hosting a Baby Beer Shower for Mike and Amy Helf on Saturday February 6th. RSVP ASAP if you plan to attend (RSVP me Rick & Carol!!!). I’m not sure how these Baby Beer Showers work but I’m sure there’s beer and food involved. Bring beer and something for a baby? See Carol’s email to all you club members from January 25th

Pat Johnson
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Brew Biz: Werts and All

The Topic: Extreme Beers

Why do I love extreme beer? I suppose because I have taste buds that need beating. Well, that’s true when it comes to most styles of beer. There are some I like to judge in competition simply because I don’t like them. Put me on a table that includes Russian Imperials and I’ll be a less effective judge, in my opinion, than I will when judging wheat beers. Same would be true with Imperial IPAs vs Sour Ales. Sometimes that Belgian funk can be just a bit too much: but I think I am better because I can focus more on style than preferences.

God, I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll wind up on tables featuring beer I like the least for the rest of my judging life because I just typed that.

One meme’ I have discovered while doing interviews with different brewers at micros and brewpubs as of late is a knee jerk reaction against extreme beer. One brewer told me he thought it was bad for the industry and he would rather brew beer that one could have several pints of. He also thought it too easy to hide defects in extreme beers and he thought traditional styles more worthy of brewing.

“It’s a trend, It will die.”

I think we need both.
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