Snow Caps and Foam Heads in Alaska
August, 2015, Healy, AK- In the remote town of Healy, Alaska (pop.1,021), brewers from New York, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Oregon have come together at the 49th State Brewing Co to work on a collaborative Belgian Quadrupel brew. How did this group ever get here?
The Group (L-R):
Sean Burke, Head Brewer, The Commons Brewery, Portland, OR
David McCarthy, Co-Owner/Brewer, 49th State Brewing Co, Healy, AK
Sharif Abou-Taleb, Director of Brewing Operations, Yonkers Brewing Company, Yonkers, NY
Jason Bullen, Head Brewer, 49th State Brewing Co, Healy, AK
Vincent La Rochelle, Lead Brewer, 49th State Brewing Co, Healy, AK
The Brew: A Belgian Quadrupel, with organic cocoa nibs.
The beer will be ready for seasonal release in the near future. That’s all they’re saying folks.
The Connection: The Siebel Institute (Chicago) and Doemens Acadamy (Munich).
The Siebel Institute is the oldest brewing school in the United States and considered one of the top brewing schools in the world. They partner with the Doemens Acadamy in Munich to provide a two-part Master Brewing program.
In the case of this collaborative group, it’s not only where they received their education, it’s where they networked and found like-minded brew-heads. Burke and Bullen were roommates. McCarthy and Bullen sat next to each other. Abou-Taleb knew them all. McCarthy had taken a break between part-one of his studies in Chicago and part-two in Munich so he could open the 49th State Brewing Co with Bullen as the head brewer. McCarthy and Bullen both believe in balance, planning, and subtlety in brewing and their partnership seemed a natural choice. McCarthy and La Rochelle met in Munich in 2013 during the second half of their training. When La Rochelle happened to see an ad for an assistant brewer posted for the 49th State Brewing Co, he applied. For McCarthy and Bullen, La Rochelle was the only choice.
The traditions and techniques all five brewers studied helped refine their personal style of brewing. When they reunited in Healy, they had two missions, break-in the new bottling system the 49th had just acquired and brew a collaboration beer that would make their instructors proud. They began their work during Augtoberfest, the 49th State’s ode to the Bavarian Oktoberfest. While patrons filled the huge outdoor beer garden, performers took to the stage, and the party raged on, the team worked away in the brewery doing what they love.
You can find the first bottles of 49th State Brewing Co, Augtoberfest in the gift shop at the brewery and can try the collaboration when it’s finished conditioning.