Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Just What the Doctor (PhD) Ordered...Beer!

Alementary Brewing - The view from out front.
Billy Joel once sang “who needs a house out in Hackensack?” I am not sure who does but Hackensack could sure as hell use a brewery! There are currently over 4,000 breweries in the United States but a dismal amount of those are located within the confines of Bergen County, New Jersey. Luckily, that number is on the uptick with the addition of The Alementary Brewing Company in Hackensack, NJ.

Bergen County residents (they live in Bergenfield) Blake Crawford and Dr. Mike Roosevelt both come from very technical backgrounds. Blake is a former chemical engineer and Mike - who is quick to half-jokingly remind you that he “is the one with the PhD!” - is a trained molecular biologist with a history in the pharmaceutical industry. A combination of smarts, passion and a bit of luck put these guys in a position to say “take this job and shove it…I ain’t working here no more!” They are all-in.

Taps and temperature, front and center.
When we met, Mike was already full-time Alementary-minded. Blake actually couldn’t be there to meet because his “real job,” was still getting their money’s worth for one more week. The brewery was a week from opening day and everything looked immaculate. The physical brewery itself has a great aesthetic with a perfect combination of wood, glass and metal. The 8 taps behind the bar stick out from a natural wood-plank wall and the tap temperature gauges reside right above them. They decided to put the  gauges on the bar-side (as opposed to inside the huge refrigerated room that houses all the beer) for convenience and it also looks super cool. Blake and Mike each have their own domain at Alementary, where they can put their best talents to work; these areas are smartly labeled as “Artist’s Studio” and “The Lab.” Everyone knows that it’s all about the beer but having a well-thought out, sharp looking tasting room to drink that beer is a plus and these guys deliver on that front.

 She ain't too bad on the eyes.
My accomplice/photographer and I sampled all 8 offerings that were on tap: Let’s Begin! (Lime Gose), The Kolsch (Kolsch), 1st Session (American IPA), A-Game (American IPA), Vindication (Black IPA), American Tradition (American Pale Ale), Mr. Stevens (English Dark Mild Ale) and The Porter (a Robust Porter). None of the beers that are currently being poured went north of 6.2% as far as ABV is concerned, making them prime for downing quite a few on your visit.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that we didn’t get to sample a nice hearty stout but before you know it, Autumn will be upon us again and I will get my chance. That being said, the Lime Gose was a pleasant surprise. Goes isn’t one of my preferred styles but the lime and lightness had me really enjoying this one.
I look forward to seeing what else this chemist and biologist cook up in the lab!
PhD Mike Roosevelt give his dissertation on Alementary's offerings

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Making a Difference...With a Bullet

Some estimates show that there are 1.5 new breweries opening up in the United States EVERY DAY. That is a lot of beer and it certainly is a rapid expansion of the craft beer community. As we have mentioned here before, the small community feeling that still exists in the scene is one of the most appealing aspects of craft beer's growth. As in any community, there is a willingness to show support for those who are doing things that expand the reach and goodwill of the community itself, while helping others. Erik Spalding and Cole Evans, the founders of Bullets2Bandages, have come up with a way to combine a love of craft beer and a method of giving back to the veterans community from which they came. They have created some incredibly unique beer accessories and apparel while at the same time giving 15% of their profits to veteran-focused charities.

Erik and Cole were Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers. Yes, they were defusing and getting rid of bombs...Hurt Locker style. Two guys who were getting rid of bombs, have now created a line of accessories that ARE the bomb! I know how cheesy that line was but I just couldn't help myself. As the company name, Bullets2Bandages, implies, they are using actual once-fired, military grade .50 caliber bullets to create bottle openers, key chains, money clips, beer bottle caddies, tap handles, this awesome survival kit and much, much more. Everything is 100% manufactured in the U.S.A. and can be customized with a logo or phrase of your choice, in a variety of colors and finishes. As a promotional item the .50 caliber opener will surely get a lot more usage and generate a lot more talk than some of the cheap, plastic, "made in China" crap that companies have been handing out for years. As suggested on the site, these would make for kick-ass groomsmen gifts.

Bullets2Bandages are churning out some super cool products and supporting a good cause. Check out the site and pick something up. Next time you crack open a beer - with a bullet - you'll feel good about helping out.