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Dear Historians,

Here we are in the waning days of the first month of the year, crossed over the threshold of the new year and the light is slowly returning. At home, it comes as a great reassurance that we have been getting what feels like the first significant snows of the year, blanketing the ground and insulating the plants and animals dormant in the earth.

I have had some dormancy myself, in regard to brewing and packaging beer, as I’d spent some time with family over the holidays and vacations. But, I am back at it now. Getting my first brew of the year in on January 10. This date holds some significance for me as it is the anniversary date of the first brew here in Albany, opening my third year of brewing.

To kick things off, I have brought in a new primary yeast culture, a pallet of Maris Otter malt and some local whole cone hops for a series of beers inspired by the historical origins of brettanomyces. You may know that the ‘Brett’ in brettanomyces stands for ‘British’, because it was first isolated in British ale casks. The activity of the Brett on the ale over longer durations led to stock ales historically having some bright acidity and additional complexity. My approach is to recreate some of these ‘stock’ British beers with a single yeast strain and let the culture residing in the barrels work on the beer over the next months and years. Maris Otter is an English floor-malted (re:traditional) British malt. Usually I use as local of a malt as I can get, but made an exception here. I’m using Vermont grown whole flower Willamette hops, which was a variety bred in Oregon at OSU as a hybrid of Fuggles, an English hop variety. It has a very low alpha, and a muted expression, which I think is perfect for these long term storage beers.

I am thinking of these beers as Child ballads. Not as that of a child, but based on the ethnomusicologist Francis James Child who collected the popular ballads of England and Scotland and their American variants, known as Child Ballads. These tragic songs of murder and love lost became the roots of American folk music, which fed many newer American musical traditions.

I’ve been busy outside the brewhouse also, doing some collaborations with friends near and not-so-near. I’ve been working with a local potter who fires with wood and incorporates local clay sources into her ceramics. We have been working on making some very simple ceramic cups for beer drinking. On the fermentation side I went down to brew a baltic porter with my friend and former co-worker Chris at his new Eredita beer project, brewing out of 12% in CT. That should come out in late February (I think). Also around then, lookout for a beer based Amaro I have been working on with Matchbook Distillery on Long Island. We have been making macerations with their distillate for some of our favorite foraged ingredients and blended it with a base beer brewed and aged up here in Albany, before going down there to condition all together. Though this is their product, I will be sure to let you know when it comes out, so you can buy one from them if you are so inclined.


Now to the good stuff! I’m planning to release some new beers over the next few months, including my first larger run of a fruit beer. Here is a run down of some of the beers you should expect to see:

-Rubus Duel-

A Blackberry/Raspberry Beer using berries grown in the Champlain Valley, made with a rye base beer.


Seance-Style Smoke Beer. This was made right after the toad themed beer; similar to Ghostpipes, if you are familiar with my back catalogue. So, a super simple brew with some smoke from the yeast of the previous batch.

-Perfect Red King-

A Sumac Beer


A Goldenrod Beer

<Lots of Others>

I’ve got some long contact time demijohn beers with Pine, Spruce and Fir tips. Crazy bright right now. Need a bit longer to mellow out.

That’s about it for now. I really appreciate your support for my weird brewing projects and wish you the best this year!



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