Welcome to Squibs: Your sporadic (read: infrequent), Morning Grumpy-styled window into the head of C.B.W. President Ethan Cox. Now available in HiDef!
1. Wow! We did it- we’re open! Â It’s really very difficult to come up with words to describe the feelings I know we’ve all been having over the last few days. Â For me, being thankful has been the overwhelming emotion. Â Thankful not just to the many fans who eagerly drank up every drop ofÂ salableÂ beer we’ve made so far down at Coles and Goodbar–and said nice things about the beer online–but really to all the partners who made this possible. Â No question the Community at the very heart of CBW is us, and the seven of us all threw in everything we could,Â resource-wise, from time to money to experience and information: we really operated as a team andÂ accomplishedÂ a remarkable goal. Thanks also go to our many partners, kids, parents and even pets for theirÂ patienceÂ and encouragement. Â Now we’re gonna rock out and make tons of beer, mmmk?
2. Beer isn’t really the only beverage I drink; also a lot of coffee, sparkling mineral water (blame my time living in Europe for that) and, when I’m in a contemplative mood especially, a nice glass of Scotch (though not only single malts: bourbons and IrishÂ whiskeyÂ also are seen in my liquor cabinet.) So, it was with no small interest that I accepted an invitation to the Dwyer’s Pub Scotch ClubÂ to chat about C.B.W. a little bit. Â Those guys have a great thing going on, I have to say. Â Led by Keith Sexton, they run
through three scotches each meeting complete with information on bottle prices, origin and of course, a guest speaker. Â Sometimes they do dinner and a movie, and each meeting also features a member-driven ‘Scottsman of the month'; last night, we toasted William McMaster Murdoch, First Officer of the HMS Titanic. We also tried Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Isle of Jura 16yr old, and a Scotch from Virginia, Wasmunds from the Copper Fox Distillery. Â All were tasty, though for me the Ardbeg was a bit fusel-alcohol driven and the Wasmunds just had an oddness, leaving the Jura my favorite of the night. Â I made sure they were aware of the now-in-planning Eight Buffalo Spirits guys and intend very definitely to return sometime. Honestly, it’d make a great new habit.
3. Beer is a betterÂ accompanimentÂ to most foods than wine: there, I said it. Â If you doubt me, you might consider going to the premiere edition Bines & Vines, a beer v. wine dinner series to debut at Gene McCarthy’s Tavern on the 30th of April from 6:00-9:00 PM. Â Recently under new ownership, McCarthy’s is re-inventing itself as Buffalo’s latest destination for excellent beer (they intend to begin brewing on down the line as well) and locavore-orientedÂ dining, with an emphasis on how beer and food work together in the kitchen as much as on the palate. For the launch of the series, I have selected the beers while Julia Burke (of freelance beer and wine writing all over the place including the Buffalo Spree, NY Cork Report and Great Lakes Brewing News) has selected wines from Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, all to be paired with a menu consisting of:
Coppa Charcuterie Plate of Sweet Coppa, Finocchiona Salami, Lardo wrapped in apple slices, and Pancetta (prepared by Bruce Wieszala)
Massachusetts Avenue Project Watercress Soup
T-Meadows Farms Braised Pork Shoulder with Greens & Beans, Polenta, and a house made BBQ Sauce
T-Meadow House-Smoked Candied Bacon with House-Made Quark from Blue Hill Farms milk and Singer Naturals Cherry-Apple CompoteÂ .
Tickets are a mere $35, and are available though Brownpapertickets com; I’d say get them soon or they’ll be gone!
4. Frank: Everyone wants to know why. We’re happy to mislead you about that, and frequently; spinning webs of falsehoods is a skill we all possess in great abundance. Â Sometimes, we even mistakenly say true things. What we’ll reveal about Frank for right now is just this: everyone knows a Frank. Â He’s a friend, a neighbor, a relative; he’s a jack of all trades and master of some… he gets stuff done. Â And when he’s done getting things done, he goes bowling.
5. The Beer Business Junkies or ‘I read Beerpulse so you don’t have to’ section: This week, we’re talking aboutÂ commodityÂ prices, especially hops. Â Let’s face it, the expolosion in growth of the craft beer segment is already putting quite a strain on hop availability; not a week goes by without brewers asking through various channels for hops, especially high-demand varietals like Citra and Simcoe. Lately the asks have even transitioned from the hops themelves to futures. Â Wayne Wambles of Cigar City thus worries:
“I am worried that the industry won’t be able to support all of the new craft breweries that are in process of opening or recently opened. The issue isn’t that there aren’t enough consumers of beer or demand but rather raw material supply. We are already allocating for hops years in advance in order to make sure that we can continue to produce our core brands. Word on the street is that the same might happen soon with grain supply.”
Needless to say that when you’re a nanobrewery,Â fluctuationÂ on pricing and availability hit you very hard indeed. So what’s a small fry like C.B.W. to do? Â It seems to us there are two factors in our favor. The first isÂ flexibility. Â While the hops we settled on for Frank (Zeus, Centennial-type and Zythos, the latter 2 in fact bothÂ proprietaryÂ blends) were ordered in amounts to ensure a fairly healthy supply of the beer on down the road, we certainly don’t feel like it’s the only pale we can–or will–make. Â We’ll be able to let hop availability guide us towards other styles, and experimentation: I am excited to try some new German releases at the upcoming Craft Brewer’s Conference, and perhaps we’ll look to them for some authentic hefes, dunkels, alts or even a pilsner if we can free up someÂ fermentationÂ space for a lager. Â The second factor is undoubtedly the good news that there is a resurgence of hop growing in NYS, and while it might be centered on growers in the historical epicenter of the industry, there areÂ adventuresomeÂ growers from Niagara County to Springville and even urban farmers I have talked to who are interested in being a part of the trend. Â While we’re not using any NYS hops quite yet, and we’re not planning on ever limiting ourselves to only-local hops (the world of hops is just too exciting and varied!) we certainly will brew some batches and perhaps even put into regular rotation some beers featuring the most interesting and flavorful of the emerging NYS varietals, you can be sure.
6. Drunk Candyland on YouTube. Â That is all.