Ryes of the Brewminaries at Rockaway Brewing Company

This past Wednesday Bitter & Esters had the good fortune to brew five barrels of Rye Pale Ale with the fine folks at Rockaway Brewing Company along with the members of the brand new homebrew club, the Brewminaries. How did a brand new homebrew club get to collaborate with one of Queens' finest breweries? It all started back in February of this year when I was a guest on Jimmy Carbone’s Beer Sessions Radio along with Chris Cuzme of Cuzett Libations, Kyle Hurst of Big Alice Brewing, and Marcus Burnett of Rockaway Brewing Company. We were discussing the upcoming Brewer’s Choice event where many of the breweries were pouring beer made from New York malts and hops. After the show Marcus asked me if Bitter & Esters would be interested in doing a collaboration brew with them on their five barrel system. They had an open fermenter available in March and since they started off as homebrewers, they wanted to do more events with homebrewers. I said of course, what a great opportunity! Later that week, Bitter & Esters regular Beer Swap attendees were represented at the great homebrew gathering Brewnity under the name the S.W.A.P Team (Swapping Wonderful Ales Periodically). We even had t-shirts made up, and we all had an amazing time. Afterwards the swappers realized they could combine their efforts and form an actual club. Thus the Brewminaries were born! They took their name from our employee Bobby, who called them our luminaries. The Brewminaries are dedicated to education, experiments and getting together to taste each other’s homebrews. They plan to bring samples of their experiments to our monthly swaps and share them with the community at large. Anyone can become a Brewminary, regardless of your brewing experience. All it takes is dedication and a strong liver. As of this writing they are 30 members strong, have a website and a twitter account. All in just over a month! As we were deciding how to go about our brew day with Rockaway we realized it would an awesome first project for the Brewminaries! And in what is turning out to be typical Brewminary fashion, they jumped right in with gusto. We decided that they should come up with the recipe and after some wrangling and horse trading, they came up with a rye pale ale hopped with Galaxy and Mosaic hops. Ryes of the Brewminaries was born! I expect that puns will be a running theme with the Brewminaries. Wednesday March 18th was decided as brew day. All of the Brewminaries wanted to participate but space was limited. So besides myself and Doug, Sheri Jewhurst (President, officially listed as Dictator!), Robert Sherrill (events co-chair), and Barry Wasser (Treasurer) represented the Brewminaries. We brewed with owner and head brewer Ethan Long. Ethan is a super nice guy, totally chill and brews awesome beers. He put us to work. We did everything from milling the grain, stirring the mash, setting up hoses, cleaning the mash tun and boil kettle and pitching the yeast. It was a lot of work and a great learning experience. You think you clean a lot as a homebrewer? Try what these guys do every day on a five barrel system, it seems like the cleaning never ends! After brewing we shared some of our homebrews with everyone and they let us taste the eight delicious beers they have on tap. Barry even brought stout brownies! The beer will be ready by the beginning of May, just in time for nice spring weather. Our plan is to organize a bicycle trip from Brooklyn to Long Island City for the release. That way we can do a bike tour of the awesome breweries in LIC. Ryes of the Brewminaries will be available at some of our favorite local beer bars including Covenhoven. Stay tuned for more info. Thanks so much to Ethan, Marcus, Ray, Justine, John and everyone at Rockaway, it was a blast! Can’t wait to try the beer. Keep an eye out for more great things from the Brewminaries. John John LaPolla Headshot