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Thursday, 15 August 2013 21:12

Pumpkin ale, new bottler at Tuckahoe

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Tuckahoe Pumpkin Ale
uncrated bottler sits beside some fermenters at Tuckahoe Brewing; the bottler figures into a reworked approach to managing demand for Tuckahoe beers and better serving the northern Cape May County brewery's markets, which now include the west side of South Jersey.

Amanda Cardinali-2Earlier this year, Tuckahoe had planned to step up to a 15-barrel brewhouse, and the owners of the 20-month-old ale-maker explored taking on investors and examined some bank financing. But they never found terms via either route that were a suitable fit.

Thus a revised plan for the need-to-grow Tuckahoe: a mix of bank loan and self-financing that has meant the addition of the two new 3.5-barrel fermenters, a new grain mill to replace a troublesome one, plus the six-head 12-ounce bottle filler bought from Meheen Manufacturing in Pasco, Washington (about four hours southeast of Seattle). Co-owners Chris Konicki and Matt McDevitt will fly to Washington State next week for a crash course on how to operate the new bottler.

Tuckahoe New Bottler"What we're going to find out is what kind of configuring we can do. Because we do 22's (bomber bottles), and we want to continue doing them," Matt says, who notes the training with Meheen is a day of instruction and a day of bottling at nearby Ice Harbor Brewing. 

Tuckahoe brews on a 3-barrel system into batch sizes of about 9 barrels. Plans right now call for dedicating a third (or a little more) of the brewing production for bottling, with cases put in the hands of distributors (Konrad and Harrison Beverage) and sold through the tasting room. The bottles, Matt says, will help keep Tuckahoe beers in bars with fast-rotating or limited tap space.

"A lot of bars, either they don't have any (available) taps, or they don't want to commit; they don't want to switch off their beer that's doing really well. They can put us on the bottled beer list," he says. "This is a way to ensure we have more accounts when we do grow brewhouse- and fermenter-wise."

Bottles are in the picture for all of Tuckahoe's core beers – Dennis Creek Pale Ale, Marshallville Wit, Steelmantown Porter – plus seasonals, like Holly Beach Pumpkin Ale, which comes back for a second year starting with a brewery tasting room launch from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16. The tasting room, a recent addition, saw a lot of action when it debuted Memorial Day weekend. (Tuckahoe Brewing has also taken some extra floor space at the Oceanville business park where it is located.)

Grain RoomMatt says the beer has been fine-tuned from last year. Cinnamon continues to be the main spice, but the clove has been dialed back. Matt also used less pumpkin puree this go-round but tweaked the grain bill.

"I added a malt that created a little bit more toffee, maybe a little bit more caramel," he says.

The initial batch of the pumpkin ale is 5.8% ABV, but subsequent batches will probably be a half-point higher in alcohol.

Read 7812 times Last modified on Monday, 02 September 2013 23:58

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