Southern Brew News February/March 2010 : Page 1

Billy Klingel, head brewer at Oysterhouse Brewing Co. serves raw oysters to a couple of patrons while they enjoy his unique Moonstone Oyster Stout. Trumpet wunderkind Melvin Jones sits in at the Twain’s Jazz Jam. PHOTO BY SUSAN ROSMARIN Story and Photos By Micah Hanks N o matter what your line of busi- ness, few would argue that 2009 has been bittersweet financially. Some folks have been lucky enough to offset the woes of the recession by taking extra shifts at work; others wish there were enough hours in their existing shifts to make it seem worthwhile. Then there are those who have ended up seeking second jobs to make ends meet, juggling hours and leading a sort of double-life between separate professions. For Billy Klingel, bar manager of the Lobster Trap in Asheville, North Carolina, leading a financial double-life sometimes gets him a great parking space. Arriving downtown early each morning is the key, and most days of the week before the res- taurant opens for business, he can be seen hefting beer kegs and brewing equipment out of his car into the dining room. For Klingel, brewing beer professionally may appear to be a labor of love, but few love it quite as much as he does. Close to a year ago, the Lobster Trap launched its own in-house brewing operation, Oysterhouse Brewing Company. See Science p.3 State by State News Tasting Notes ........................................ 6 Better Brewpub Regulations in Georgia..7 Homebrew News Style Section:English Mild Ale ...............9 Beer Wench's Kitchen ......................... 10 .............................. 8 Alabama/Mississippi ....17 Georgia ..........18 The Carolinas .......20 Florida ...........22 Tennessee ........16 By Jeff Holland t Twain’s Billiards and Tap in Decatur, where the founders, staff, and regulars tend to be fans of live music, it was perhaps inevitable that music would become an integral part of the atmosphere, along with regulation pool tables, dart alleys, shuffleboard, and first-rate, house-brewed beers. Ethan Wurtzel and his sister, Talia, started Twain’s in 1996 as a pool hall that hap- pened to stock one of the best selections of beer in Decatur. They were joined by their brother, Uri, in 1998 and by the mid 2000s, the family of beer aficionados was toying with the idea of renovating the space and creating a brewpub, while retaining the pool hall atmosphere that attracted a regular crowd. The renovation, which was completed in late 2006, created room for a small stage and enough space for enjoying both music and conversation. Once the brewpub was up and running, Twain’s began to fea- ture different bands on Thursday nights, usually something in the vein of Americana, old-time, or blues. “The space is con- crete and glass,’ says Uri, “so generally we try to keep it more low key and acoustic, at least music that doesn’t need to be turned up all the way, that would keep people from having a conversation if they want to.” Uri and Ethan asked Twain’s regular Deisha Oliver, herself a musician, to book See Twain's p.4 Tyrone Jackson (piano), Joe Gransden (trumpet), Wes Funderburk (trombone), Kenyon Carter (saxophone), and Luis Stefanell (percussion) lead an all out jam at Twain’s Billiards and Tap. PHOTO BY SUSAN ROSMARIN

The Southern Science Of Crafting Culinary Brews

Micah Hanks

No matter what your line of business, few would argue that 2009 has been bittersweet financially.

Some folks have been lucky enough to offset the woes of the recession by taking extra shifts at work; others wish there were enough hours in their existing shifts to make it seem worthwhile. Then there are those who have ended up seeking second jobs to make ends meet, juggling hours and leading a sort of double-life between separate professions.

For Billy Klingel, bar manager of the Lobster Trap in Asheville, North Carolina, leading a financial double-life sometimes gets him a great parking space. Arriving downtown early each morning is the key, and most days of the week before the restaurant opens for business, he can be seen hefting beer kegs and brewing equipment out of his car into the dining room. For Klingel, brewing beer professionally may appear to be a labor of love, but few love it quite as much as he does.

Close to a year ago, the Lobster Trap launched its own in-house brewing operation, Oysterhouse Brewing Company.
Performing double-duty as head brewer by day, Klingel wheels the brewery out of the kitchen back to the bar as the dinner crowds begin arriving. To some, housing a compact brewing operation in a restaurant like this might seem restrictive, but with in-house operations, being smaller is the key to being better. Restaurants like The Lobster Trap have begun opting for innovation over aggravation, taking up clever integrative practices that allow them to control some of the financial aspects of the beverages they offer, as well as put their own distinct mark on the craft brewing culture in the Southeast.

“I’d love to have a place where I could hang out with my dog all day and brew beer,” Klingel laments as he describes Red Dog, his 16-year-old Carolina dingo-mutt.

Although a larger work area would be nice, he is quick to say that he’s 100% committed to the present incarnation of Oysterhouse.

“Somebody pays me to make beer?” he says cheerfully. “I find that to be a good problem.” From Passion to Business What was first a passion soon became a feasible business opportunity. “I was on a mission to create a unique beer that we could market and sell exclusively in our restaurant.” Of course, Klingel wanted a brew that would compliment the seafood selection, so naturally, brewing an oyster stout was an ideal goal. “It seemed like a bizarre idea at the time, but with a little research I found that it wasn’t unheard of, and actually was quite delicious.” What would become the Moonstone Oyster Stout combined roasted barley, chocolate malts, a touch of black patent malt, and of course, five pounds of oysters on the half shell. Although Rhode Island Moonstone oysters, as the name entails, are a key ingredient, there are actually a variety of different oysters used in the brewing process. “Each gives a slightly different flavor,” he says. “Plus, they provide lots of calcium,” which saves him having to add Calcium Sulfate or Calcium Chloride, which some brewers feel can detract from a beer’s flavor. “That way, using the oysters also helps with getting that thick and creamy head, too.” Oyster Beer History In the past, the Guinness Company has claimed that the idea of brewing beer with oysters actually stems from consuming oysters alongside stouts, rather than in them. In a nutshell (or in this case, maybe an oyster shell), certain stouts went especially well with oysters, thus they were dubbed “oyster stouts.” However, the late brewing expert Michael Jackson, author of The World Guide to Beer, questioned this. “I believe that stout (or, more likely porter) was originally consumed with oysters simply because both were everyday items in the London of Dickens and Thackeray,” he wrote in 1988.

“Despite the intensity of stout and porter, and the delicacy of oysters, their marriage turned out to have been made in heaven.” Due to its unique ingredient, Klingel did end up having to go through formula approval to confirm that the oysters weren’t a potential allergen before he could start selling his creation. Aged for 29 days, the Moonstone Oyster Stout is smooth, rich and delicious, with a medium complexity and subtle toasty flavor from the chocolate malts (which also give it a noticeable chocolaty aroma).

Arguably, the brew received its finest endorsement from Klingel’s friend Dennis, a businessman originally from Ireland who frequents the restaurant. During a recent visit, Dennis tried the Moonstone Oyster Stout. “I think he ordered seven of them,” Klingel says. “I couldn’t have asked for a better endorsement than that!” Specialty Beer Bar Growth Asheville area restaurants and pubs brewing specialty beers have become one of the most successful draws for tourists to the area. Jack of the Wood, a lively Irish Pub located on Patton Avenue right in downtown, also built its reputation on the fine beers it brewed. GreenMan Ales, the pub’s specialty, were made on-location up Until 2004, when production demands finally called for a larger operation.

Since then, resident brew master at GreenMan, John Stuart, has been producing up to 21 thirty-one-gallon barrels of beer per week!

“Jack of the Wood is a tremendous asset for us,” Stuart says.

“Although we’re in the process of getting GreenMan Ales available elsewhere, we’re always going to be joined at the hip to Jack’s.” Finishing the last of his porter, Stuart produces a bottled beer with no label, uncaps it, and pours it into a glass. “This is actually a homebrew sample someone brought me. We’re so lucky to live in a town like Asheville, because around here some of the best beers you’ve ever tasted are made in people’s kitchens.” This is no statement to take lightly; after tasting GreenMan’s offerings, it is clear that Stuart, with twenty years of professional brewing behind him, is at the top of his game. Using a variety of English and Belgian yeasts and specialty grains, the GreenMan Brewery’s beer has a very
Distinctive style altogether, while each variety maintains its unique characteristics.

One of the most interesting beers they offer is the Truth IPA, a “hugely hopped” super-IPA with a sweet, tangy finish. “The first test batch we put on tap disappeared within 21 hours,” Stuart says with a grin.

“Joe, the owner of Jack of the Wood, and I were sitting around with a bunch of the staff one night thinking, what should we call this? One suggestion was simply “The Truth,” and I think somebody made the Jack Nicholson reference to ‘you can’t handle the truth!’ The name stuck.” The real truth, it seems, is that while brewing in-house may provide easier, more affordable ways for businesses to offer craft brews initially, the result is often something far more unique than originally intended.

These offerings have helped shape the distinctive flavor that marks Asheville’s brew pubs, and with the growing interest in craft brewing today, restaurants that pair fine beer with unique foods they serve will no doubt continue to shape this “new wave” of craft beers elsewhere too. As the old saying goes, “it’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it."

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/The+Southern+Science+Of+Crafting+Culinary+Brews/324677/31837/article.html.

Where The Beer Flows And The Music's Free

Jeff Holland

AT Twain’s Billiards and Tap in Decatur, where the founders, staff, and regulars tend to be fans of live music, it was perhaps inevitable that music would become an integral part of the atmosphere, along with regulation pool tables, dart alleys, shuffleboard, and first-rate, house-brewed beers.

Ethan Wurtzel and his sister, Talia, started Twain’s in 1996 as a pool hall that happened to stock one of the best selections of beer in Decatur.

They were joined by their brother, Uri, in 1998 and by the mid 2000s, the family of beer aficionados was toying with the idea of renovating the space and creating a brewpub, while retaining the pool hall atmosphere that attracted a regular crowd.

The renovation, which was completed in late 2006, created room for a small stage and enough space for enjoying both music and conversation.

Once the brewpub was up and running, Twain’s began to feature different bands on Thursday nights, usually something in the vein of Americana, old-time, or blues. “The space is concrete and glass,’ says Uri, “so generally we try to keep it more low key and acoustic, at least music that doesn’t need to be turned up all the way, that would keep people from having a conversation if they want to.” Uri and Ethan asked Twain’s regular Deisha Oliver, herself a musician, to book
Bands for the pub. She has worked hard on finding the right mix and vibe for the space and has brought in regional and national artists, as well as local favorites. Rather than compete against the weekend music scene, Oliver suggested concentrating on weeknights, which has allowed touring artists to fit Twain’s into an off-night and bring some of their fans with them. “It has worked out well for both Twain’s and the bands,” says Oliver. “It’s a win-win.” Among the artists to grace the stage at Twain’s have been Dexter Romweber, Two Man Gentleman Band, Trailer Park Swingers, Georgia Fireflies, and the 357 String Band.

One of Twain’s regular patrons, Joe Gransden, who just happened to be a jazz trumpeter, suggested to Uri that Decatur could use a “really solid jam session.” Uri admits that he was not sure how jazz would fit into the scene. “I didn’t want it to be cheesy,” he says. “But I trusted Joe, and I said lets give it a try, and it has turned out to be the best night for us on a weeknight.” Open Jam The Tuesday night open jam draws a rotating cast of players that makes for a different show each week. Some of the locals who have sat in include trumpeter Melvin Jones, bassist Steve Brown, vocalists Laura Coyle and Francine Reed, and saxophonists Kenyon Carter and Mace Hibbard. New York guitarist Russell Malone stops in whenever he’s in town, and Grammy-nominated trumpeter Russell Gunn has also appeared.On a typical Tuesday night, a steady stream of players pours in the door toting their instruments. The house band, consisting of Gransden on trumpet, Tyrone Jackson on piano, Craig “Cucumber” Shaw on bass, and Chris Burroughs on drums, lays down a few tunes to get everyone warmed up, then players are brought up to jam. Gransden heads out into the crowd, greeting the regulars and introducing himself to the newcomers from which he will draw together an ensemble of musicians.

Although they may have never played together, the musicians quickly fall into the groove, with each player stepping up to take a solo. Sometimes Grandsen will step in to bring it home, and then a new group is called to the stage. A few seasoned musicians might get in a few rounds, with a saxophone duel or simultaneous solos. At times the players are tentative, but often the music soars. It is clear that all are having a great time, and the casual atmosphere keeps the mood light.

Variations on a Tune “We get a ton of musicians coming to sit in, all levels, from beginners to the best in the country,” says Grandsen. “It’s a really good marketing tool for a lot of musicians because all the best musicians are coming out. People will hear a piano player and hire him for their gig. It’s really a networking giant for the jazz scene here in Atlanta.” One of the most appealing aspects of Twain’s live music is that there is never a cover charge, an approach that allows people to come and go freely. Artists appreciate the fact that Twain’s pays a guarantee, a rarity forOn a typical Tuesday night, a steady stream of players pours in the door toting their instruments. The house band, consisting of Gransden on trumpet, Tyrone Jackson on piano, Craig “Cucumber” Shaw on bass, and Chris Burroughs on drums, lays down a few tunes to get everyone warmed up, then players are brought up to jam. Gransden heads out into the crowd, greeting the regulars and introducing himself to the newcomers from which he will draw together an ensemble of musicians.

Although they may have never played together, the musicians quickly fall into the groove, with each player stepping up to take a solo. Sometimes Grandsen will step in to bring it home, and then a new group is called to the stage. A few seasoned musicians might get in a few rounds, with a saxophone duel or simultaneous solos. At times the players are tentative, but often the music soars. It is clear that all are having a great time, and the casual atmosphere keeps the mood light.

Variations on a Tune “We get a ton of musicians coming to sit in, all levels, from beginners to the best in the country,” says Grandsen. “It’s a really good marketing tool for a lot of musicians because all the best musicians are coming out. People will hear a piano player and hire him for their gig. It’s really a networking giant for the jazz scene here in Atlanta.” One of the most appealing aspects of Twain’s live music is that there is never a cover charge, an approach that allows people to come and go freely. Artists appreciate the fact that Twain’s pays a guarantee, a rarity for A free show on a weeknight. “The guys [Ethan and Uri] are coming out of pocket for the guarantee they pay and for food and drinks,” says Oliver. “They are doing this to support their business, of course, but they are also huge music lovers.” The Wurtzels give back in other ways, as well. Once a month, they allow students from the nearby Decatur Music Center to use the space for recitals and jams. “These kids are phenomenal,” says Oliver. “It’s really fun to watch these future musicians up there experimenting and learning. We are hoping to have some of the kids play the early slots at our big annual fundraiser for the Atlanta Community Food Bank in May.” Last year’s benefit for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, dubbed Spring Fest, featured music on stages inside and out, smoked pork butts, a silent auction, and the usual slate of Jordan Fleetwood’s housebrewed ales.

New Music This year Twain’s is introducing a monthly bluegrass jam on the last Wednesday of the month. Leah Calvert, the fiddle player with local bluegrass stalwarts Dappled Grays, will host the jam. “She’s going to reignite the old Freight Room days,” say Oliver. “It will be similar to the jazz jam in that it will be curated by one artist and will be open to anyone who wants to bring an instrument and sit in. I’m really excited about that. Roots music just seems to go over so well in that space.” Asked to explain the connection between good beer and good music, Oliver hits on a key theme. “There’s something definitely hand-crafted about beer, and a lot of the music we bring into Twain’s has that same hand-crafted,sittingon- the-back-porch-sippinga- great-ale quality. I think those two things do go handin- hand.” Twain’s brewer Jordan Fleetwood agrees.

He is often at home after a long day at the kettles when the music goes down, but he likes to catch the shows, as well. “Brewers tend to be passionate about music as well as beer,” he says. “It’s about like minded people. People who like local music tend to appreciate local beer.” Fleetwood is currently brewing the longabsent Hell for Society Stout and Hannibal Red is back on tap, along with the Stubborn River ESB and Gingerbread Brown Ale. Stop in for the beer and stay for the tunes.

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Where+The+Beer+Flows+And+The+Music%27s+Free/324678/31837/article.html.

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