Monday, June 4, 2012

“A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.”

Avid supporter and lover of Newport Storm, I am thrilled to be a part of this crazy energetic crew. Each day is a new adventure; watching Derek and Pete attempt to maintain their sanity on canning day, or squeezing my way through the refrigerator to get a keg of Summer Hefeweizen that can only be accessed by playing a shuffle game with all the other kegs in there. Nevertheless, I have quickly realized how this job completely changed my perspective on beer. Yes, I'll admit it; I used to be a light beer drinker! But hey, I'm still fairly new to the drinking world and have begun to open my horizons to the ever growing world of craft beers. Some I will carefully select and sample through my own will, others will get shoved in my face by an eager family member or friend saying, "Try it, it's delicious!” I smile and accept the pint because after all, it's a free drink. Now, however, I am beginning to appreciate the ingredients and TLC that constitute a well rounded craft beer; esters that denote aroma or hops that give off aroma and generally a bitter, even nut-like flavor. I guess you could say this job has turned me into a “sophisticated” beer drinker. I can still remember the times when had no regard for what I chose at the bar and would go for the lightest, cheapest beer. Now I am intrigued not only by the styles of beer like India pale ale or hefeweizen, I have a new found appreciation for its presentation and decoration.

I know people say never judge a book by its cover, but what about judging a beer by its tap handle? To be honest this has become another determining factor in my beer selection (after I order a Newport Storm beer...or two). What appeals to me is the design and craftsmanship behind the handle and how it reflects the brewery's brand and creativity, a way to aesthetically enjoy a well crafted beer. It definitely comes in handy when trying to yell across a crowded bar to the bartender to let him know what draft you want, “I’ll have the mohawk orange!!” I'm sure many of you are familiar with our easily recognizable cyclone handles at bars and restaurants throughout Newport and beyond that reflect our storm themed company. Now when I go out in downtown Newport I am constantly scoping out the bar counter to see where our tap handles are and what can be purchased in bottle form. Some are proudly and prominently displayed (i.e. Pour Judgment where just last night I spotted Cyclone Tim and Rhode Island Blueberry on tap, even bottles of Cyclone Quinn and Sabrina!). Then again, some tap handles and bottles are hidden in a corner or refrigerator under the bar. In my experience though, it never hurts to ask (and trust me I do!) If this new job has taught me anything so far it is don’t be afraid to branch out and try something outside your comfort level, especially when it comes to beer.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Distilling season ends

Last Sunday, Pete was polishing the still, coiling up hoses, and boxing up the last of the distilling pieces. It was the last day of distilling season. When I started up the still last October, my hope was that we could distill 50% more rum than the previous year and have it completed by the end of May when the cooling water gets warmer than ideal and all our fermentation tanks are necessary for our beer.

In order to accomplish this, we would have to run the still every day from start to finish (we did take Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day off). Of course, this didn't leave a lot of margin for error or breakdown. I would also need some help to get this done, so in late September Pete joined me in the distillery.

The next 8 months saw lots of long days, quite a bit of improvement in our techniques, and lots of attention to detail. We were able to experiment on some barrels (sometimes on purpose and sometimes not so on purpose). We discovered some new things about our rum that helped us become even more consistent. We even managed to find some more uses for our used barrels.

As of last Sunday, Pete and I had put down 122 barrels of Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum (2 more than or goal). We finished 18 days earlier than we originally planned. We were both really glad to have a break from the relentless pace of the previous 8 months. Pete is now focusing on brewing and I'm getting back to focusing on all the activities we have planned for this summer. Pete, never one to miss a moment, brought us two well deserved beers last Sunday afternoon. It was a nice break before getting started on another relentless season. Unlike us, our rum will now rest and in 2 or 3 years we hope to be bottling up all our hard work.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rum keeps us warm...

Ladies and Gentlemen...  (And the special folks who were directed here from Constant Contact)

Today, we introduce our brand spankin new Ethanol Fireplace.  TA DAH!!!

When we distill our Thomas Tew Rum - one of the bi-products is ethanol.  Crafty as we are...we have started burning this free resource in our  Visitors Center to keep us warm and toasty.  It burns clean with no waste or fumes.  Perfectamundo!   Come visit and get warm and toasty!