SMOKER FEST’14

And now the story of this year’s PORTER COCHON.

Matt getting all aggro with his poker.
Matt gets all aggro with the smoker poker.

Firstly merci buckets to Emily & Matt out to Durham Point who graciously hosted Smoker Fest’14 and allowed us to use their double barreled smokah. What a beaut, eh? Matt and a buddy designed and built this exceptional rig and had the foresight to install a dual exhaust system. WOW!

   

Secondly, more buckets of merci to Julie & Barry up to Bridgewater Farm in South Berwick for the 4 split hog heads. Incidentally, these heads are from hogs partially raised on spent grain from EEB. That’s pretty green, innit?

Thirdly some merci buckets to our favorite forager, Miss Jenna, who found a big ole stand of sweet gale this past summer. After we stripped off all the leaves and buds to brew with, we saved all the sticks and twigs and Asmokelet them mature in an undisclosed garage for several months. And in the end, my swarthy friends, that is what we used to smoke them hog heads!

Agrin
Alex stares back at one of the steely eyes.

The smoke was rich and pungent as we all took turns adding more gale twigs every 20 minutes or so. We enjoyed some fine Smuttynosed beverages as well as some Rogue beard beer. After 3 hours not only were the heads well smoked, we were too.Mpoke

Some days later, at the EEB bunker, the halved heads were boiled for a few hours with honey and brown sugar into a wonderful broth. After the meat and bone were strained smoked hog headsout, the broth was pumped into a boil kettle full of porter wort. Then at a specific moment during the second boil some of the eye balls were reintroduced, to the abject delight of that days Granite State Growler Tour crew.I'shaveit

Come gets a taste soon!

One Year Old . . .

Well there McThirsty, hard to believe that as of 11/17/13 EEB had been in existence for one whole year. It’s been a whirlwind of events, collaborations, hard work, continuous growth, and a non-stop cavalcade of beer! We had a little celebration with employees and critical friends last week and it sure did feel good! It’s humbling to be part of such an awesome, supportive beer community. Whether it’s our snappy beer pourin’ sherpas, collaborative consorts, other brewers (both home and pro), or our most royal regulars, we sure did get ourselves involved with some good people. Merci buckets to all who have helped us make Earth Eagle Brewings a success!!

Earth_Eagle_Brewings_Tod_Mot

Speaking of good people, Mr. Tod Mott graced our facility for another collaborative brew this past Saturday. Despite looking demonic/undead in this (s)mashing pic, Tod is always great to work with, effortlessly embodying the “Relax, Don’t Worry, . . .” brewer’s mantra. Saison D’hiver, a big winter ale, will debut at a super special food event next month before it hits our taps. (Keep an eye out for Mr. Mott’s latest venture, Tributary Brewing Company in Kittery.)

As we look forward to year 2, there’s lots of exciting developments developing, and a bunch more hard work to do. We are just about to install a little kitchen where we’ll cook up delish panini and crock-pot delights. We’re calling it the “Hellkey Kitchen” after two of our generous friends–THANKS Bruce & KK! We’ve got all the hardware and permits we need, the electrician was in the other day, and now we just need a day or two to build-out the room. So, not only does this mean we’ll have some food, more importantly it will mean WE CAN SERVE PINTS when it’s done!!!!

The popular King Humulus Hop Jousts will continue of course. The first bracket garnered lots of interest (Cascade edged out Willamette by a keg) Stay tuned for the next joust! It really is fascinating to taste just one type of hop in a beer designed to showcase it–makes us better brewers and makes you a more educated drinker.

We were planning to offer some one-off bottles for sale–perhaps you noticed those big barrels out back? We’re still going to do it but we discovered there’s going to be more to the process than we thought. Namely that we need to brew more beer to blend with the stuff in the barrels in order to offer something really exceptional. So the bad news is we probably won’t have bottles ready for Christmas but the good news is when they do arrive they’ll be well worth the wait!

So here’s to year two! Thanks again for your interest and support. Please do come have a beer (or two or three) with us soon!

Double Dang!

Greetings from the EEB bunker. Very excited to report that we are about to double our production capacity! And not a moment too soon because we’re going to be down to 5 taps for the first time in a long time–can’t have that sort of thing going on now, can we! Observe the look on Alex’s face, Christmas morn or what?!

We’ve been pouring at a few events as of late. The pic is from a Seacoast Slo Food event a few weeks ago at a beautiful spread in Kittery Point featuring beers with ingredients from Strawbery Banke. Last weekend Alex, Zack, and I were at the Gate City Brewers Fest in scenic NashVegas. Gosh, we do love turning on new folks to the EEB liquid love thang!

Hops have been coming in from our friends and patrons by the garbage bag full! This picture is a teeny bit of the green bounty that me and my loverly wife have been processing in our home for the last several days–to the point where it’s making us groggy! A bunch of York Cascade was used to dry-hop the latest batch of Red Ryder (thanks Tad and Peggy!). Chris and Kelly donated a bunch of Kittery Cascade and Magnum while Ann and Michael gave us a bunch of Portsmouth Bliss! The process: chop down the bines, bring’em home, pluck the cones off (in front of the boob tube), roll them through the dehydrator, bag’em, and then chuck’em in the freezer. We do have the best smelling home in the seacoast as you might imagine, and we even have a dog!

Alex and I, as well as Ryan, Long Island Pete, Sarah, and the Zachmiester are all tre’ happy you folks continue to come visit us! See if you notice the interior design upgrades next time you visit. We appreciate your support as well as all the brave souls who dared to try our beers at this last wave of events. Stay thirsty, McThirsties!

Earth Eagle Brewings Deets

1 hour plus wait on 11/17/12, huh?!
Takin’ care o’business whilst gittin’er done.

Hey all,
Just a quickie to let you know that our hobby has become a business! Thanks to the many fine folks who have found us and quaffed our empyreal ales and wonder gruits!
We are located at 175 High Street, Portsmouth NH inside the same building as A&G Home Brew Supply. It’s the old Tech Arts building that also houses 3 Bridges Yoga, Port City Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Grim North Tattoo in the front. Our entrance is on the side of the building, in the parking lot under the A&G sign. Our tasting room hours are Thursday & Fridays 4-9pm and Saturdays 3-9; Sundays 1-4pm. Get the latest deets and tap line-up on the FB: Hope to see you soon–cheerios!                                                                           Photos: Jay Fortin

TWO MORE DAYS UNTIL LIFT-OFF!

With 1/3-barrel Brewzilla in Amy & Alex’s garage, 2009.

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
-Abraham Lincoln

In November 2009, after reading Stephen Buhner and Sandor Katz, we started brewing on the picnic table in my back yard. Buhner inspired with accounts of medieval brewing practices and insight into humanity’s connection with plant world. Katz provided a reassuring “anyone can do this” ethos and a deep reverence for the microscopic life-forms who conduct the real alchemy of brewing: fermentation.  Alex and I were attempting a hop-less interpretation of DFH’s World Wide Stout–going big right out’ the gate. Proud to say the beer tasted incredible out of the fermenter, humbled to say it was an infected mess when it was finally poured from a bottle. Big huge lesson #1: clean your stuff, well, and often.

And we were off.

Is that Ju-Ju, Gris-Gris, or Mojo in the tasting room?

Three years later, maybe to the day, we will start selling our beer. This is in no small part to Alex running with an idea to open a home brew shop. A year and a half ago, he and his wife (my sister) Gretchen took the plunge and opened A&G Homebrew Supply. As you might imagine, our homebrewing acumen grew as we enjoyed access to, and wholesale prices on, lots of supplies and equipment. Another bonus involves the old adage: “The best way to learn is to teach.” With Alex suddenly in a brew store 7 days a week he had to teach it. He read books, magazines and scoured the interwebs voraciously–and we continued to brew a new batch every week or two.

And lets not forget the resurrected Seacoast Homebrewers Club who eventually took to meeting at A&G. All of us are better brewers because of the friendships and support that club members have given each other over the last few years. Nothing like geeking out once a month whilst discussing and drinking the different brews we bring. (Thanks and cheers, ya’lls!)

In the brewery proper 2012, upgraded to a one-barrel system.

I don’t remember a particular moment when the idea of starting a brewery was hatched. We started playing “faux brewery” as soon as we had brewed a beer we wanted to share. Pretty early on Alex told me that some Native Americans refer to wild turkeys as “earth eagles.” Then the band-name moment came to me: Earth Eagle would be a very cool brewery name.  The term “brewings” came up pretty quick thereafter.  It sounded a tad mysterious, feral even, more like witches huddled over a kettle than a beer factory.  And we certainly didn’t want to give our friends and families blank bottles of beer with cryptic initials on the caps, so we started naming our beers and making labels.

Folks kept telling us that they really liked our stuff and wanted to buy it. We also won some homebrew competition medals. Then the song started to change from “I want your beer” to “I want to invest in your beer.” Alrighty then, when fate comes a knockin’ you best open the door!  Starting off with a one-barrel brewery feels just right for two guys who’ve never worked in a brewery before. We are optimistic that Earth Eagle will expand but want it to fund its own growth and create its own timetable. We intend to do it right AND stay connected to our “brewings” ideal of old world alchemy and creative expression.

Please join us for our opening day, Saturday November 17th from noon to 4 pm, and experience what we are brewing for yourself–empyreal ales and wonder gruits. Prost!

The Good, The Bad, and the Bubbly

     Greetings and salutations my fellow zymergyists and cultured imbibers. It’s another news-flash from EEB land and yes, things continue to progress, at a pace not unlike the growth of a tree or the changing of the seasons. We emerged from lawyer-limbo about a month ago and promptly sent money and paperwork to Uncle Sam and his old pal Daniel Webster. The feds and the great state of Cow Hampster have been payed and besotted with details like what we’ll do with the business if one of us croaks and what exactly our doors are made of and yes, everything in-between. We’ve got a bit less than a month during which time they will visit our humble facility and pass judgement.
     Speaking of facilities, we have been in an odd loop regarding refrigerators. Alex scored a beaut a year or so ago which worked like a champ until 6 tap holes were drilled in it and the compressor suddenly crapped out. A local business that maintains and traffics in such things seemingly hooked us up with a four-tapped fridge, but not only did this crap out, the rep we had left said company before we got our money back. So we are fridge-less, still out a chunk of change, and giving said company a small window to redeem themselves with. Our suds certainly  ain’t bad at room temp but it isn’t ideal and party taps are no where near as sexy as fixed tappage’–those freeze-dried turkey heads coming in the mail will be badass (kidding!).

      Yeah, the suds. Well lets start with the challenging part; batch #4 of a chaga/madrake gruit is, like it’s earlier incarnations, officially destined for the drain today. We think we’re finally on to the issue but rest assured that we aren’t going to serve you anything we don’t like. Jive Turkey (pineapple pale) and Dynamo Humm (DIPA+tripple gruit/bourbon barrel aged) were hits at the recent New England Homebrewers Jamboree. And finally, we won some medals at the FOAM Blues and Brews Fest last month in Mass. NE Gangsta tagged a bronze in IPA, Fur Trapper a silver in Belgian Strong, and Mary of the Marsh gold in the herbal/spiced catagory.

     The last thing is that, in my efforts to keep up with Alex who lives and breathes brewing seven days a week, I went to school. Last weekend I trucked it to Middlebury Vt. for the first American Brewers Guild’s Advanced Homebrewers course, taught by co-owner Steve Parkes, international brewer extraordinaire. Not only do they have a teaching facility but also a functioning state-of-the-art 15bbl brew system to boot, and a tasting room. My general knowledge about brewing was reaffirmed and I got the low-down on the chemistry and math behind brewing–crucial stuff, particularly if’n you wanna go pro. Steve served it up straight, authoritatively, and fielded the river of incoming questions with narry a pause. He was approachable, knowledgeable, and has named his fermentors after the members of the Ramones. He’s got a solid, unique, and tasty IPA on tap at their Drop In Brewery which is a sign of folks who know their shite.
     So there you have it. Quite the mixed bag, eh? Who knew such trials and travails awaited us? Thanks again for your interest and well wishes. As always, viva Las Vegas.

A MANTRA FOR ANXIOUS YEAST HERDERS

Greetings fellow zymurgyists and HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! It once again has been months since our last confession and these are our tales. If this post seems tainted by a bit of underlying cynicism, fear not. It is only our frustration with this noble endeavor of trying to sell you our beer. I have given serious thought to marking myself permanently with a memento from this trying time, a tattoo pronouncing our predicament: Hurry Up and Wait. We’ve got the beer—hell we’ve had that base covered for a while now—so that means we’ve got the brewery, and we even have a tasting room with 3 sinks, a busted fridge, some boomin’ speakers, and a 30” cast iron Belgian lion. What, might you ask, is missing? The short answer is paperwork.

Our tasting room shrine to the Belgianese
The long answer is that we are, and have been, in a special place called lawyer-limbo. It’s a strange land where time and space seem to stretch and bend, where simple things become lumbering behemoths and the language—oh the language! ‘Tis a tongue so complex and verbose that an interpreter needs to be at your side for every oration. And dude, we haven’t even started dancing with the state or the feds yet…
Clearly our challenge is to cultivate patience, patience, patience. Also trust, trust that this process is going exactly the way it should be going and at exactly the right speed. Too namby-pamby for you? Yeah, us too but what are we gonna do? We’ll do what Charlie says: “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.” But that’s a challenge too because we have sooo much yummy brew to relax with, too much really, which brings me to my next subject: our brewings.
The darker ales from late last fall are still quite viable and still evolving. The Jean Claude Cochon is a fine and full porter with the smoke and pork notes markedly muted—maybe too much. The previously cacophonous smoked and oaked Kumbaya has matured into a rich balanced porter/stout. The Axe Man and Grapple Load are holding up very nicely as is the wonder gruit Mary of the Marsh. These beers have been schooling us for months and I like to think we are learning.
Not up to par? Time to pour.
Latest batches include a 55gallon bourbon barrel full of what’s tentatively called Shizam Wagon, a previously mentioned mix of Jack Wagon, our grande IPA, and Shizam, our tripple gruit. Prelim tastings have been verrry positive. We need to bottle and keg it up soon but who’s gonna drink all of that?! The Fresh-Cut From Down Under is a delectable pale featuring just motueka hops from New Zealand. The first batch of Shamanata, an almost-wheat wine with chaga and maple syrup, was ultimately a bust. Took us a while to figger out what happened but we finally realized that we were neglecting to clean the inside of the ball valves on our fermenters—oops. Our hopped beers were unaffected but the gruits were totally vulnerable. We’ve got batch #2 of Shamanata in secondary and without the unwanted bugs and dirt, it’s tasty!
I.P.Amber topped off with some Mary
Alex messed with his New England Gangsta IPA recipe a bit and wound up with a new brew. He chucked some amber malt at it and the addition proved too worthy a match for the hops—not what he was looking for. None-the-less it’s tasty and getting more tasty with time—for now we’re calling it I.P. Amber (which typically indicates major dehydration but never mind…). We’re also drinking a Fresh Cut Saison (yum!), there’s a Straight-Up Saison in secondary, and some original recipe NE Gangsta. We just bottled up December’s batch of Fallen Angel barley wine and had another go at our very first beer, a gruit based on DFH’s amazing World Wide Stout, called Chinese Rock.
And so, as we continue to meditate on the concepts of patience and trust (whilst brewing our brains out), stay thirsty my friends, stay thirsty…..

Permit me

The build out begins, and though it may be a long and tedious process we have grand visions of opening this summer. There are so many things that need to happen between now and then that it can make your head spin, and mine is spinning rides round, baby rides round. Filling out paperwork and learning about all the rules and regulations has been quite the educational experience. I am certain that this is only the tip of the iceburg and there will be many hurdles to face along the way. I am forced to remember that we need to stand in front of each obstacle with open arms and imbrace it one step at a time. We must learn to walk before we can run.

After a couple of weeks explaining a nano-brewery and how the tasting room will function to the city we got our building permit and have begun the construction. I was chomping at the bit waiting for this project to begin and then once it did I started wondering what have we gotten ourselves into? When you see a giant hole in the floor you start to ask yourself, am I doing the right thing? The answer inevitably is Yes!, but as humans I guess there is always a sense of doubt. I am super stoked about the progress and have been so busy with A&G as well. I am having a hard time believing that I have been able to manage it all. Maybe it’s because I can get my stress out wielding a pick axe.

The pipes are being put in today as I write this and knowing that all of our drain issues will be behind us makes me smile. By the end of this week the giant trench will be filled in with concrete and a few months from now this will all be a distant memory. Once we have finished installing the drain pipes we can move on to the next project, the Tasting Room and Bar. We have had many ideas floating around on how we will transform the room into a “Grand Central Station” for all of you EEB fans to fill your growlers and enjoy our brews. Ultimately it will come down to the funds we have available, which is minimal, but the way we want it to be. We have always believed that we could do this project on a tight budget and that still holds true today. There have been some folks who say a 1/2 barrel brewery is a waste of time and to go big or go home. To them I only have one thing to say Dogfish Head. We believe our brewery model will prevail and soon enough we will have a larger brewery and many fermenters bubbling away full of delicious concoctions for you to consume.

So I will leave you all with anticipation and a longing for the next post,

Live Free and Brew, Earth Eagle fans.

This Is How We Rock, This Is How We Roll

Greetings EEB enthusiasts! A Portsmouth Beer Week opportunity coming up quick: 3/3 at A&G—goodness gracias it’s gonna be an open house! There’ll be some music courtesy of Curt and co., nosh from the District, and, gulp, some fekkin EEB to whet your whistles with. Grapple Load, Jean Claude Cochon (the fabled pig’s head porter), Axe Man (belgian quad), and Mary of the Marsh (hopless wonder gruit) will be on hand to give all palates proper adjustment.

Alex and I are riding the wave of what-will-be these days. Filing for our LCC, our NH nano license, installing floor drains, and getting ready to storm the world of beer with our fine products. ‘Kinda feel like we’re about to put our surfboards in the water for the first time, in front of a tsunami. But no worries, we have our lifejackets on. We are also putting the finishing touches on our business plan, the writing of which has been a satisfying culmination of the thoughts and experiences that spawned Earth Eagle Brewings. Here’s a taste from page two:
Earth Eagle?
Earth eagle” is a term some Native Americans use for the common wild turkey. The qualities of the earth eagle they observe and the meaning they imbue it with speak to our philosophy as brewers and business owners:
  • Ecological: The turkey is called Earth Eagle because of it’s spiritual association with Maka, Mother Earth. Earth Eagle symbolizes the blessings of Maka and the ability to use them wisely.
  • Unconventional: As with wild boar, the turkey is a feral animal; feral as in existing in a natural state, as animals or plants; not domesticated or cultivated; wild.
  • Civic minded: Some tribes call the turkey South Eagle, Night Eagle or Give-Away Eagle. Give-away refers to a tribal member bestowing all possessions to another, along with other sacrifices to help the people. Those who are old, poor and/or feeble are treated with honor.
  • Charitable: The turkey sacrifices it’s life so the people can live. As with boar, almost all parts of turkey are used. The flesh is nourishment; feathers, for ceremonial and other use, and bones, for whistles.
  • Resilient: Another power of the turkey is renewal. Wild turkeys were extinct in some states because of uncontrolled hunting. When they were reintroduced, they renewed their numbers rapidly. Nothing can be an endless resource if it’s not honored and nurtured.

It just sort of worked out that way, pulling out some relevant principals from the turkey-lore. That feels significant somehow, like we a falling into something good rather moving mountains to get to there. Not that we aren’t working hard. We continue to brew once or twice a week and as those of you who brew know, that ain’t baking cookies. Seems like there is always brew waiting to racked or kegged or bottled. Alex is frequently doing double duty running his shop and slipping into the brewery when there’s break in the action. I usually get in there a couple afternoons a week and also do some stuff from home.

In the interests of full disclosure I’m saddened to report that we dumped half a batch of beer down the drain yesterday. Hog Head Peculiar was peculiar indeed. It’s a pale gruit with more of the pork broth in it, bittered with mandrake root and heather flowers. It some how got infected which gave the half batch that we bottled a bit of sour effervescence that kinda worked. We got around to the other half yesterday and it was full-on bad sour. Damn. I cracked one of the bottles when I got home and it was drinkable, phew! Not a total loss. Alex and I are both pretty anal about cleaning and sanitizing so we are still trying to figure out what happened. Anyway, as with other breweries who really care about their beers, if we don’t like it we are not going to share it with anyone.

The t-shirts are in and available at A&G

We’ll be brewing up a storm this week, aiming to fill that big Jim Beam barrel yet again with a special blend of our Shizam tripple and Jack Wagon IPA grande. Got the idea from Green Flash’s Le Freak which we are crazy about. After that we anticipate using the barrel for sour brews, a one-way trip for the noble container—once you go Brett you never go back.
So we hope to see you on the 26th and/or the 3rd. We want to share the stuff we like, stuff we hope you like too.

New Equipment, New Beers, and Jean Claude Cochon, RIP.

Bruce and KK make it possible for us to upgrade to 15 gallon conical fermentors–Muchas Gracias!

10 gallons of either GRAPPLE LOAD OLD ALE or REGINALD WITHERSPOON’S OLD ASS ALE draining into a 55gallon barrel that held Allagash Curieux (one of my all-time faves) and some kind of bourbon before that.
Same as above, only from a carboy. We are going to have a serious event when this 55 gallon blend of old ales is ready to drank–probably late February’12.
One of the latest und greatests, a Belgian dubble.
Yet another, that’s right, a smoked oaked spruced-up (with spruce tips) porter.
Met Jean Claude from Canada where, until recently, he enjoyed a fine life with his sister Antoinette.  His head will be used in a porter modeled on a GABF gold medal winning beer by the Right Brain Brewery. Yes, a beer brewed with a smoked pig’s head (and some bones).

After yours truly spent an hour and a half shaving bristles, the gloved hands of our culinary consultant Tony proceed to skin JC’s 27 pound head.
Tony holding JC’s face, now spiced (with a magic AOK Herbals spice blend), rolled, and tied-up. We’ll slow roast it and serve it finely sliced in a day or two.
Here’s what’s left.
The skinned head is suspended from this frame after which it’s all slid into that metal box where it will bask in sweet hickory smoke for an hour or two. After we’ll boil it, then chill and remove the fat, and pour the rest into the boil of a porter or stout. Stay tuned for Jean Claude Cochon Ale. The wacky history of meat beer lives on–in the hearts and boil pots of the faithful.