Wednesday, October 14, 2015

NJ brewery Rinn Duin looking for a Head Brewer

The folks at Rinn Duin. Photo by
Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger
If you're a brewer or aspiring brewer, and you live in New Jersey or are willing to locate there -- really, it's not as bad as people say! -- a small brewery in central New Jersey might want to hear from you.

Rinn Duin Brewing is a small, 25-barrel brewery out of Toms River that specializes in traditional UK styles of beer. English milds, Scotch ales, browns, that sort of thing.
They're pretty new, having gotten their start less than two years ago, and are located in an area with a growing craft beer scene. (Carton and Kane, both highly praised NJ breweries, are both within an hour of this place.) Despite being new, they have a great looking facility.

Anyway, they're looking for a head brewer. Maybe you? Here are the details, as pulled from their posting at

Head Brewer for a UK style brewery
Rinn Duin Brewing is a 25 BBL brewery in Ocean County NJ that is looking for a head brewer. This is a working head brewer role encompassing all aspects of brewery operations.
Essential Functions and Responsibilities

• Cleaning and sanitation of all equipment in the brewery
• Brewing recipes to specifications, and ability to develop recipes.
• Yeast management and propagation
• Responsible for the entire brewing and quality control processes and should be well versed in scheduling, brewing, cellaring and packaging operations including a bottling line.
• Manage raw materials, inventory control, scheduling and hop contracts, coordinating with suppliers
• Sanitary sampling, yeast cell counts and record keeping of all beers produced
• Equipment maintenance and troubleshooting
• Review and maintain a top quality QA/QC program
• Process development and Standard Operating Procedures enhancement
• Strong verbal communication and organization skills.
• Monthly detailed inventory
• Mentoring to all employees on the brewing process and beer education
• Cutting controllable costs and maintaining a profitable brewery
• Use of proper and safe chemical handling techniques
• Safety Protocols and OSHA compliance
• Fill server shifts in the sample room as needed
• Ability to work flexible shifts
• Participation in events, festivals, promotions, etc. (this is a must).
• Forklift experienced/certified.

• Minimum of three years brewery experience and hands-on working knowledge of a production brewery with a 20bbl brew house or larger, brewing education is a plus
• Must possess good mechanical aptitude and troubleshooting skills.
• Able to work with alkaline and acidic chemicals without allergic reactions.
Able to work in wet or humid conditions (non¬weather), wet floors, wet equipment and extreme heat
• Assure cleanliness in the brewery and follow brewery best practices
The full time position will offer competitive compensation, an allowance for health insurance and paid vacation. Compensation will be based on experience and qualifications. If interested, please send a resume, salary requirements, and a brief summary of proven skill sets
Responses by email only to

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sam Adams takes on Heady Topper, Enjoy By IPA

When I talked to Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Company, two years ago, he made pretty clear that he didn't like standing still. He didn't want his company to stand still, either. Keep innovating, keep trying new things, or die. That was the idea.

In today's craft beer world, in which the best beers in the world are always the Hot New Thing instead of the Rock Solid Classic, that's the right approach to take. People demand new. They demand their breweries keep mixing things up.
Photo courtesy of, by Michael Beswick

Koch and his mega Samuel Adams brand are going to be shaking things up soon. First, by releasing a huge canned double IPA inspired in part by Heady Topper, and more notably, by demanding that it only stay on shelves for a short period of time, akin to Stone's Enjoy By series but even more aggressive. They're going to mandate that after 35 days it gets pulled from shelves in order to ensure freshness.

That's a pretty bold move, especially for a brewer as big as Sam Adams. It could change how some beers are handled at retail.

First, the beer itself. Koch recently told BostInno, "When you look at some of the iconic big IPAs, like Pliny the Elder or Heady Topper from here in New England, part of what makes them so renowned is people drink 'em fresh ... They get 'em at the brewery. If you have those beers two to three months into their life, they're not the same."

This beer is going to be an unfiltered double IPA clocking in at 10% ABV and available only in 16oz cans.

In other words, very inspired by Heady Topper.

Dabbling in big, hoppy beers is a bit unusual for them. They've done IPAs for years, of course -- they had an IPA way back in the 1990s before almost anyone else, messed with DIPAs several years back with Third Voyage, and these days have a full line of them, including Rebel Rouser (not to mention their awesome single-hop pack from a few years back). So, despite the scorn they get, they can do hoppy, too.

But a Heady clone is new ground for them.

The REAL new ground will be their stringent shelving policies for this beer, though.

They plan to give it a 35-day shelf life. After that, it must be pulled from the shelves. Wholesalers are probably going to do some grumbling about that, but you know what? It's a great move. I've ranted about bottle dating before, and for good reason. You want to be drinking your IPAs as fresh as possible. When they linger on the shelves too long, they go downhill ... some of them pretty quickly.

So why not force freshness? It's done with other types of food and drinks. If we care about it enough for frickin' Little Debbie snacks to get yanked after a time, we should care about it with beer, too, to the point of taking an aggressive hand in getting older IPAs off the shelves.

Retailers might not like it, but I'm all for it.

Though Sam Adams no longer gets much respect among today's beer crowd, I'm generally up for trying anything they do. This one will be released only in select markets (and they haven't said which markets yet), so we'll see if I can get my hands on some.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Busting 5 More Persistent Beer Myths

Some time back, I pulled out my trusty bow and quiver and, after accidentally killing my pet cat and a small family of nearby chipmunks*, took aim at some pernicious beer myths.

It's time to take aim at a few more, because there is no better feeling than lording some pointless piece of knowledge over someone in an effort to make yourself feel a little better about your small, sad little life. This selection is perhaps a touch more subjective than the last, but I have the benefit of being right, so I'm not too worried about any subjectivity here.

Here are 5 beer myths you should totally stop believing:

Contract Brewing is Bad

Photo courtesy of CraftCan on Photobucket
Contract brewing is something of a dirty word in the world of craft beer. Guys like Jimmy Carbone of Beer Sessions Radio routinely rant about how he refuses to support or respect contract brewed beers. Some have proclaimed it will be the death of craft beer. The idea of contract brewing is simple: you have a beer you want made, and you pay another brewery to make it for you. This may be because you don't own your own equipment, because your brewery doesn't have enough capacity, or for other reasons. The bottom line is, contact brewing is when Beer A is brewed down the road at Brewery X instead of by the people who own Beer A. And this really gets some people up in arms.

Which is silly. What matters is what's in your glass. You can't taste "passion." Owning your own brewery or equipment doesn't magically imbue it with magical properties that turn it into "real" craft beer. And guess what? If you've enjoyed some Sixpoint, Terrapin, 21st Amendment, Samuel Adams, Brooklyn, and even for a brief time Russian River, among countless other breweries, you've probably enjoyed some contract-brewed beer. (In order to keep up with demand while installing new equipment, Russian River had Firestone Walker brew Pliny the Elder for them.) Contract brewing is a business decision, nothing more, and despite what some idealists would have you believe, craft beer is a business. If the recipe is good and the end result is tasty, that's all that matters.

Lagers Are Boring

These lagers are delicious, you fool! Image from
Chat with some beer geeks (especially those just starting their exploration of beer) and you're bound to run into more than a few people who are quick to proclaim their disdain for boring old lagers. So bland! So dull!

Guess what? You're probably talking to someone who isn't as familiar with beer as they claim to be. "Lager" is a broad category, just like "ale," and it includes many styles. Lagers are simply beers brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast, usually at a colder temperature and often (but not always) stored in cold temps for a time after brewing. Legendary beers like Ayinger Celebrator or Aventinus? Lagers. Landmark smoked beers like Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock? Lagers. Baltic porters? They're lagers. Marzens aka Oktoberfest beers? Also lagers. Dunkels, schwarzbiers, bocks of all types? Lagers, lagers, lagers. If you really think all those beers are boring, you're either lying to save face or you have the most one-dimensional palate ever.

IPAs Were Invented To Survive The Trip to India

This one involves a little bit of hair-splitting, but if the Internet was invented for anything, it was for hair-splitting. According to this myth, the beloved India Pale Ale (IPA) was invented by George Hodgson in order to survive the long trip to India, something other beers couldn't do because they didn't have the copious amount of hops that IPAs did. He jacked up the ABV and hops to survive the trip, and that was that.

It's a great story, but it's not so simple. For this one, I'm going to turn things over to people a lot smarter than I am. First, take a gander at this excellent breakdown of some IPA myths by the outstanding beer historian Martyn Cornell, then throw in this one for good measure. This fantastic post from Beer Church tells the real story in clear terms. And one more to wrap things up from the superb Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. It all boils down to this: Other beers made the voyage to India just fine (especially the ever popular porter) and what evolved into today's IPA was largely an accident. It was never "invented," it merely evolved, and even that wording is a bit dubious. So there.

The Guys At (Insert Big Brewery Here) Are Terrible Brewers

Mitch Steele, brewmaster at Stone
Visit any thread on any beer discussion group that happens to mention Budweiser or one of the other mega breweries and inevitably you'll see a slew of comments about how awful those brewers are, if only they knew how to brew real beer, maybe Bud should hire someone with talent, blah blah frickin' blah.

There's no two ways about it: those comments are stupid. The fact of the matter is, the big breweries employ some of the most high skilled, best educated, most thoroughly trained brewers on the planet. Yes, even Budweiser. If they brew boring beer, it's because it's their job to -- and make no mistake, being able to make every can of Budweiser in America taste exactly the same is really damn hard. Even excellent craft breweries sometimes have some variation from batch to batch. Try doing the same with a beer so "simple" there is no place for off flavors to hide. Further proof can be found in the craft beer world. Mitch Steele, brewmaster at Stone, is just one of many former big brewery brewermasters who have moved into the craft wold (and who have done a killer job at it). Chris Lohring, founder of Notch Brewing, calls the big guys "the most technically proficient brewers in the world." Basically, hate their beer all you want, but respect the skills of the guys who make it. They're some of the best, even if their bosses don't let them show it.

The Big Breweries Use Sub Par Ingredients

Hops and barley. Photo by Algerina Perna
At the risk of being called an apologist for the big brewers -- two entries about them in a row will do that, despite this blog being a clear indication of what I tend to drink -- I'm going to go ahead and tackle this one. This myth is simple: the big brewers like Coors and Budweiser buy all sorts of cheap, shitty ingredients and bottom of the barrel hops and grains so they can make their lousy beer as cheaply as possible.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The fact is, those mega brewers have contracts with the same hop and grain producers who provide the ingredients for craft beer. They've invested a lot in them. Further, because of the huge volume of business they provide these farmers, they get first dibs on the product -- and they're known to have stringent standards. "Each truckload of barley is sampled and tested at delivery. If it fails to meet company standards for quality, the barley is rejected and likely becomes cattle feed." Stone's Mitch Steele has discussed this on podcasts, saying that the folks at A-B were damn near tyrannical about buying the best on the market before anyone else could. And as for the adjuncts, I've already addressed that. The finished product may not be for you and me, but it's not because they're using lousy ingredients. It's because they're tying to reach Joe Six-Pack who just wants to down some beers and watch the game.

So there you have it. Five more beer myths that needed busting. Agree, disagree? Comment down below and give me the validation I crave.

The End.

*This is probably a work of fiction. I probably didn't kill any animals in the writing of that post.