Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Nòmada Brewing Nòmada Brewing podcast Non-Flash version of the podcast

Sami Claret and Javier Aldea began their brewing project Nòmada Brewing (Catalan for "nomadic") the same way as the Brooklyn Brewery, Dogfish Head, Mikkeller, and many other top craft breweries -- as homebrewers.

Sami Claret and Javier Aldea
Before launching the project commercially in 2011, Sami recounts how he was crazy about beer and would be constantly on the hunt for new styles, new breweries, and new beer bars. One day a Brit who ran a bar in Barcelona, where Sami is from, told him, "you know, mate, you can make this stuff at home." Sami was skeptical, but he gave it a go. And when sharing his homebrew with friends who told him, "esta cerveza es muy buena!" he just assumed that they were being polite and probably thought that any free beer is good beer! But the more he shared his brews, the more positive feedback he got. Eventually it brought him together with fellow homebrewer Javier, who is from Vitoria in the Basque region about 350 west of Barcelona, and Nòmada was born.
Ben from As Is (50th St. & 10th Ave), Sami, and Maite,
who is the brewery's graphic designer
Nòmada quickly made a good name for itself as a gypsy brewery, earning Rate Beer's 2012 title as "one of the five best breweries in the world", and in 2013 Sami and Javier were named the best craft brewers in Spain. They also made collaborative brews with some big names in the craft beer world: Stillwater (US), Freigeist (Germany), To Øl (Denmark), Northern Monk (UK), Omnipollo (Sweden), and Ghost Brewing (Denmark). All the hard work and notable brews caught the attention of Spain's largest brewer, Mahou, which offered to help elevate the fledgling brewing company, as they did with Michigan's beloved Founder's Brewing, which involved a minority stake in ownership.
B.R., Maite, Sami, and Joel at Coopers Craft
Besides the help Mahou provides on the business side of things, they also give Nòmada the privilege of brewing on the giant brewery's "pilot system", which consists of a 30 hectoliter brewhouse! That's about 19 barrels, which is larger than many regional craft breweries (many brew on 15 barrel systems). The brewhouse is centrally located in Madrid.

Nòmada dipped it's toe into the US market a few years ago when they were a featured brewery at the Shelton Brothers annual beer fest, The Festival, in Portland, Maine in 2013 (disclosure: both B.R. and I are employees of Shelton Brothers). Sami returned to The Festival this August in Atlanta, GA, and hit NYC afterwards, having his beer featured at Spuyten Duyvil in Williamsburg, As Is on Manhattan's West Side, and Boundurants on the Upper East Side.
Bob, Joel, and Sami at Bondurants
One of the stand outs poured in NYC recently was the Mint Stout, a 10% ABV Imperial Stout with a quite assertive mint aroma and flavor. It would seem like that would be easy to accomplish, however mint in beer is actually a tricky proposition. We've had some mint beers that were awful. This one was divine. Another delight was the Revontulet (Finnish for Northern Lights/aurora borealis), a raspberry sour ale dubbed a "semi-sour", was gorgeous to look at with it's clear bright garnet red color, and just as beautiful on the palate. We hope to see all of these wonderful creations both in bottles and kegs very soon!
Some of the beers featured in NYC

Revontulet at Bondurants


The 2017 Festival featured over 100 different breweries and cideries

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tecnico Rudo Tecnico Rudo Introduction Non-Flash version of the podcast Tecnico Rudo Interview with Pedro Non-Flash version of the podcast

Pedro Escobar was born the poor son of Mexican salt miners... Wait -- no! That's not right! Though it does make for a great back-story for his Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling character, El Tecnico Rudo!
El Tecnico Rudo takes on a challenger!
Pedro is a first generation Mexican American who learned the skills of maintaining and repairing large mechanical equipment from his dad, who emigrated from Puebla, Mexico as a teenager along with Pedro's mom, and is part of that mythical American Dream -- immigrants coming to America for a better life, and to help build a better America.
Pedro Escobar in Clark Kent mode.
It was while working with his dad, said to be one of the most respected vineyard and brewery technical engineers in America, that the Brooklyn Brewery and Pedro were first introduced. This would eventually lead to Pedro taking on the role of the brewery's head Maintenance Engineer, responsible for keeping all things mechanical in good working order, ensuring the uninterrupted flow of the finest beer from North 11th St. in Williamsburg.

Bob, Willy, and Pedro.
Though his first experiences with beer didn't much stir him, Pedro's concept of beer was dramatically challenged when he tasted a Stone Arrogant Bastard for the first time. That impression was tattooed on his tastebuds, and it served as the inspiration for his own brew for the Brooklyn Brewery's Worshipful Company of Brewers series -- the 7% ABV Tecnico Rudo American Strong Ale.

The Worshipful Company of Brewers program at the Brooklyn Brewery affords all manner of the brewery staff -- not just the brewers -- an opportunity to create a recipe entirely of their own choosing and brew it in the large 20 barrel commercial brewhouse. Pedro's brew was originally planned for the wintertime, but it got pushed back into the warm months, where his domineering 7.3% hoppy American Ale would either slake your mid-summer thirst, or at least make you forget about the heat and humidity entirely!

Tecnico Rudo.
The beer has a simple enough malt bill, primarily 2-row pale malt augmented by Special B and Aromatic malts. Even with a whopping 7.3% ABV there is plenty of malt sweetness left over to offer a rich body and to try to balance the enormous hop character and aggressive bitterness, provided by Chinook and Citra hops. This one may only be available at the Brooklyn Brewery tasting room, so make plans to wrestle this one down while you can!

Brewmaster Garrett introduces Pedro.
The stage is set for El luchador de cerveza.

Pedro's family.

Pedro and Purple Rage.

Garrett, Eric Brown, and Pedro.
"It's not my birthday!"