Pick of the Batch Beers
Pick of the Batch will be upon us before you know it, and we’re all getting tremendously excited!
While the fall-fun activities will be out in full force — get ready for face painting and Steinholding! — let’s face it: that’s not why we signed on. We’re not here for Cornhole and pumpkin painting, even though we are getting really good at both.
Naw. We’re here to make awesome beers. And Pick of the Batch is here to put them on display.
So, as we gear up for October 12th, we’re ready to unveil the stellar lineup of exclusive brews you’ll find at Pick of the Batch!
“We put together a mouthwatering menu of beers for our Pick of the Batch Beer Garden,” says Events Coordinator Randi Friel. “The autumn flavors are on full display, but, if that’s not your thing, we’ll still have something for everyone.”
Pick of the Batch Exclusives
Brewed with our assertive Belgian Saison yeast, this merlot Saison gets nearly half of its fermentable sugars from California merlot grape juice. With a subtle malt backbone comprised of pilsner and wheat, we lightly hopped this brew with Hallertau Blanc, accentuating the wine flavors from the grape juice.
“It’s a really unique offering,” says Innovation Director Brian Hink. “The Saison esters play perfectly off the jammy/juicy/fruity finish that the overabundance of grape juice lends to the finished product.”
Coming in with a 7% ABV, Brian loves its drinkability.
“It’s kinda like a carbonated glass of wine,” he says, “but the Saison yeast brings way more character than wine yeast does, and the subtle hop notes in the background add a nice bit of balance.”
Lab Manager Lauren Appleman is always interested to see what our Belgian Saison yeast brings forth.
“I haven’t yet tried the final product, but I can tell you that our Belgian Saison yeast always makes for an interesting fermentation,” she says. “We’ve used this yeast strain a few times recently, but not often enough to be very familiar with how it acts during fermentation. In a similar fashion to lager yeast, this strain gives off a ton of sulfur compounds but, eventually, it will clean itself up.”
For Saison fans — and, really, for anyone — this brew is sure to be the hit of Pick of the Batch.
Coastal Evacuation with Habañero and Mango
Our award-winning Double IPA Coastal Evacuation gets spiced up with some crazy-hot habañeros, then mellowed with a generous helping of mango. With the hints of orange citrus and honeydew melon from the Centennial-forward blend of hops in the base beer, you really can’t beat the addition of a bit of heat to make you rethink everything you thought you knew about Coastal Evacuation.
“The heat plays off the hops perfectly,” Brian says, “and the mango helps bring out the fruity side of Coastal Evacuation’s flavor profile, which will help to soften the heat a touch. It’s our third take on one of our favorite Wednesday One-Offs, Coastal Heat: the original version, double dry-hopped, and now mango, so I’ll be curious to see how this compares to the other takes on Coastal Heat.”
Lauren is looking forward to this one, as well.
“I am very excited about this one,” Lauren says. “Tropical and heat go together so well, and the mango does a great job at cutting down on the heat a bit.”
“I’m not a big heat guy,” he says, “but I love the way the heat flavor plays off the hops.”
If a bit of a pepper kick is your thing, be sure to check this one out.
Malt-forward with a hint of sweetness provided by a generous helping of Jersey Fresh honey (from fresh Jersey bees), our Honey Porter has subtle notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate, the honey sweetness is firm, yet not overpowering. Add to that chunks of roasted pumpkin and traditional pumpkin pie spices, and you’ve got your entire Thanksgiving dessert in a glass.
“Honey Porter is a great beer in and of itself,” Brian says, “but it’s also the perfect canvas to apply other layers. It’s smooth and chocolatey, with a gentle bitterness that balances the underlying sweetness, without being roasty or ashy at all, and this is just the perfect backdrop for charred pumpkin chunks and all your favorite pie spices.”
Lauren, like many other folks, isn’t a fan of pumpkin pie, yet still finds some merit in this beer.
“The only thing that makes pumpkin pie okay is the mountain of whipped cream,” she says. “That being said, I still really enjoy this beer. It’s kind of like if someone accidentally dropped a piece of pumpkin pie in their beer and still decided to drink it anyway.”
And Honey Porter is a fantastic backdrop for a wide variety of adjuncts.
“I love Honey Porter,” Brian says, “and we’ve done a number of one-offs with it because it’s such a great foundation for these culinary projects. This one was a fun one to conceptualize and execute.”
So, if you’re a fan of pumpkin pie — or if you’re not — this is one you’re not going to want to miss.
Dutch Apple Lager
Built on a base of our award-winning Cape May Lager, its mellow malt character and touch of bitterness is the perfect backdrop for a rich and caramel-ly Dutch Apple Lager. Filled with vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, and brown sugar, this beer tastes as if you picked it up at a stand somewhere out in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
“This was inspired by the King Cake cask we did with Cape May Lager for Mardi Gras,” Brian explains, “which came out way better than it should have. I remember talking to the cellarmen about making that pin and they questioned me pretty heavily on it. There was some lemon in that cask that helped to brighten things up with its tartness.”
However, since Mardi Gras is, as you know, in the spring, and this is a fall festival, we wanted to find a way to make this excellent cask beer into something that would work for Pick of the Batch.
“So, we subbed in the apple in place of the lemon,” Brian says. “It’ll have a similar effect, but a touch more savory, perfect for the autumn.”
There’s nothing more American than a good apple pie, and, with our Dutch Apple Lager, you’ll think you fell headfirst into grandma’s best. Don’t miss it!
Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and brown sugar bring this shandy to life, with noble Saaz hops adding the slightest bit of spice in the background. Using a Belgian Witbier yeast with a basic pilsner malt bill, a hint of lemon helps the spices to stand out in a tremendously un-beery beer.
“The lemon accentuates the Witbier’s natural tartness,” Brian says, “which has an almost apple/cider-like finish to the beer. Paired with the pie spices, it’s a delicious fall shandy.”
Many of the guys in production were surprised at how much they enjoy this beer.
“I was doing benchtop trials with our lab tech Matt,” Brian says, “and he and I were both surprised at how much we liked it. This is definitely not a beer Matt nor I would normally go after, and we’re pros, so we’re very good at keeping personal subjectivity out of this kind of thing, but even he and I were enjoying it.”
Take it from the pros! Even if shandies aren’t your thing, you’re going to want to seek this one out at Pick of the Batch.
Rich and silky smooth, we lagered our Baltic Porter for several months to allow the flavors to mellow and develop. Using our house Bohemian Lager yeast on an assertive malt bill with pilsner, crystal 65, and chocolate malts, at 10.0% ABV, this is one of the biggest beers of Pick of the Batch.
“This is an outstanding Baltic Porter,” Brian says. “Smooth, rich, and maybe a little too drinkable. It’s not a very common style, but excellent for the cooler days of autumn. If they ever get here.”
Lauren is a big fan of this beer, too.
“I love this one!” she says. “At some point this year, we had this on cask and it was wonderful!”
Be sure to check out this tragically-underrepresented style at Pick of the Batch!
Double Dry-Hopped Captain May
The good Captain would love this one! We took the beer bearing his name, already well-hopped with Simcoe, Comet, and Centennial, giving it an enticing aroma of melons and over-ripened mangoes, and hopped it up even further! Cashmere and Sultana (the hop formerly known as Denali) will bring out further tropical and spicy notes, with hints of stonefruits on the nose.
“It’s a hop bomb with more hops,” Brian says. “It’s a hop bomb with more hops!”
If you’ve been loving our newest IPA — or if you haven’t had the chance to give it a try — you’ll get your chance at Pick of the Batch!
Jersey Shore Souvenir
Our upcoming collaboration with Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn, Jersey Shore Souvenir is a clean, crisp, and utterly crushable KellerPils. Cold fermentation, a generous conditioning time, and a traditional grain bill leave this spritzy and vibrantly hoppy little number destined to be crushed all day. Delicately dry-hopped with New Zealand Moutere and Rakau hops, this crispy boi is a blend of old-world techniques and new-school hops.
“It’s a super clean and chuggable KellerPils,” Brian says. “It’s insanely sessionable and hoppy without being over the top. It’s all about ingredients and process on this one!”
Lauren’s on-board with Jersey Shore Souvenir, too.
“Crispy bois are the new hazy IPA,” she says. “It has a low ABV and still drinks relatively clean considering that it had a pretty hefty dry hop.”
Jersey Shore Souvenir makes its debut at Pick of the Batch, available in the Brewtique in 16-ounce cans. We’ll have more details about Jersey Shore Souvenir and our collaboration with Other Half next week on the blog!
FLAGSHIPS AND SEASONALS
In addition to these awesome brews that you won’t find anywhere else, we’ve got some old favorites up our sleeve, perfect for an autumnal beer garden such as Pick of the Batch!
Our fan-favorite, Mop Water five-spiced brown ale is the perfect brew for Pick of the Batch — it’s, essentially, autumn in a glass!
“It’s a spiced brown ale; it doesn’t get much more fall-y than that!” Brian says. “When the weather finally cooperates, and it’s the first night of fall when you can rock a hoodie and start to see your breath in the air — that’s what Mop Water’s for.”
Lauren loves our no-pumpkin pumpkin beer.
“No pumpkin, no problem,” she says. “The spices are pleasant and make it the perfect beer for a bonfire. Embrace the basic-ness.”
You can’t have a fall beer garden without Oktoberfest! It’s simply not done.
Our malty-sweet, Märzen-style lager is rich and complex, smooth and clean. Fermented at a cool 50° — hopefully, we’ll see some of those temperatures at Pick of the Batch! — Oktoberfest is well-balanced with a hint of hops presence but focused on the grain bill of Vienna, Munich, Caramunich, Pilsen, and Melanoidin malts.
“Oktoberfest is perfect for a fall festival,” Brian says. “With its low, 5.8% ABV, it’s the beer you want for an all-day autumn sipper.”
Cape May Lager
When the days turn cooler, that’s when the lagers come in. They’re not as heavy as the stouts and porters that you might reach for over the winter, but they’re hefty enough to put some meat on your bones as the nights get longer.
And there’s really no beating our Cape May Lager! With its delicate, biscuity malt aroma, firm yet gentle bitterness, and just a touch of malt character, Cape May Lager is crisp and refreshing, drawing you in with each successive sip.
“Cape May Lager is insanely drinkable,” Brian says. “It’s approachable, crisp, refreshing, and delicious — the beer I can drink all day at Pick of the Batch!”
It’s not exactly an autumn beer, but people are loving it, so why not give it to them! With Citra, Mosaic, and Azacca hops blending together to accentuate the fresh flavors of orange juice, Crushin’ It is dry, approachable, and perfectly balanced.
“Crushin’ It is one of those beers that, three beers in, you realize that you should only have had two but still want to go for a fourth,” Brian says. “It’s ridiculously drinkable and people have been loving it.”
We’ll have a few more beers available at Pick of the Batch — Cape May IPA and Always Ready will be on tap, too, and you’ll be able to find Finisher, Always Ready, Cape May IPA, Devil’s Reach, Coastal Evacuation, The Grove, and Mop Water in the Brewtique. Click here for tickets.
See you on October 12th!