Many, perhaps most professional brewers cut their teeth as home brewers. This has been true for a while, but doubly so for the current generation of new pros, like Blake Crawford and Mike Roosevelt. Professionally, they represent the science side of the art and science of brewing, Blake as a chemical engineer and Mike as a molecular biologist. Along with that comes an on-site lab that would be the envy of many a larger brewery. Meanwhile, their home brewing passion lets them explore the artistic side. In addition they emphasize the community aspect of hanging out with friends and beer.
Opening in Hackensack, NJ, I guess they are the second production brewery in Bergen County. The Alementary officially opens on April 16, but my homebrew club got a preview. These are brief notes, even for me, but I tried five of the eight they had on tap, first a flight of four, and then a solo tasting glass.
Pours cloudy pale straw with a brief white head. The nose is hoppy for a Kolsch but with a nice pilsner malt backbone. On the palate it’s very refreshing, delivering that malt along with a crisp edge of noble hops. Malt and spicy hops alternate down a moderately long finish. 5.2% ABV
Straw-colored with a light bubbly white head, their first session IPA starts with a good complex hop aroma. The flavor shows light flavor hops balanced neatly by biscuit malt. The finish is light as well, with bracing bitterness. 4.8% ABV
A golden glass with a peach hint and a very light hop aroma, lighter than the session IPA. The hops grow stronger on the palate, citrusy, with malt comeing along and then a bitter wave. It’s very smooth, and the finish continues these elements. 6.0% ABV
Vindication Black IPA
I presume the name reflects breaking through all the paperwork and plumbing to finally be able to open the brewery. This is dark brown with chestnut highlights and a medium tan head. To me this is more brown ale than IPA, but very satisfying with a moderately long finish. At all times any roastiness is balanced by the hops. 6.8% ABV
This pours pale gold with a moderate bubbly head and a tangy malt nose. The aroma delivers salt and light tartness balanced with cracker malt, continuing through the flavor into the finish with salt building very slightly. This is tart, not sour, and both salt and tartness are nicely restrained. This would be particularly good with food. 4.8% ABV
Our mission is simple: Create approachable and uncomplicated world-class beers in a brewery experience that gives our friends and neighbors a brewery that they are proud to call their own.
From this preview, I think they are delivering on their mission. Welcome, Blake and Mike!