By: Charlie Cummings, Quality Control Supervisor Published:
Each year, Harpoon takes its utmost respected, hard-working, and flat-out indispensable employees, who happen to be celebrating their 5th anniversary, (and for some, their 8, 12, and 17th…) to Europe. After the trip, we brew a beer inspired by the culture for our 100 Barrel Series. This year, the group went to Italy to learn more about their craft beer culture. Quality Control Supervisor and brewer of this year’s European inspired 100 Barrel Series beer, Charlie Cummings, provides an inside look at Italy, and the collaboration that led to 100 Barrel Series #52 - Tuscan Pool Party!
I had heard about the exploding craft beer scene in Italy for a few years, so I felt very lucky and excited when Italy was the chosen destination for our 2014 trip. Going into the trip, Al Marzi and I both were kicking around the idea of brewing a red wine grape-themed beer based on our experiences in Italy, but we kept an open mind because we knew there’d be a lot of original brews there.
During our trip, we visited the Trastevere district of Rome which had some great bars serving all styles of beer. Some were very nice crisp pilsners and IPAs but there were also some much more "out there" beer styles. We tried one beer where a full 50% of the volume was from wine grapes. It was highly carbonated, tart and complex, and it piqued our interest.
A few stunning 70 degree days were spent in Tuscany where we bought several bottles from a winery we visited. The unbelievable landscape and our hang outs by the pool at night, were complemented by plenty of bottles of wine and Harpoon IPA cans we brought along to give out to new friends (full disclosure, most of them were consumed by us!) At one point I topped off a half can of Summer Beer with Chianti. Right then, I knew we could have a pretty great flavor combination by brewing something like that.
Our last adventure of the trip was a visit to Birricio L’Olmaia in Montepulciano, Italy. When we arrived, renowned Italian craft brewer Moreno Ercolani, explained his love for rock music right off the bat . He really was a good host, popping open bottle after bottle to serve to our large group, explaining each beer as he went. We all kind of identified with him and his brewing philosophy - beers with lots of bold flavors, but nothing out of balance. And you could tell he really cared deeply about all his beers. We asked him if he'd like to work on a beer with us and come out to Boston some time to hang out and try the beers we make for our loyal Harpoon fans. I'm not sure he understood we were serious at that moment, but we were. I couldn't wait to get back and start brewing pilots for a L’Olmaia collaboration beer.
In the weeks and months following our return, Moreno, Al and I tossed back and forth ideas by email on various techniques for brewing a wine grape beer. We tasted a handful of American-made wine grape beers and they were delicious but all very different from each other. During the process, I made three different pilot batches on our 20 gallon homebrew system, using a Chianti kit from the winemaking supply store and various combinations of malt, hops and even yeast (we tried fermenting one carboy with Belgian yeast but it was decided that was too confusing on top of an already hard-to-explain beer).
It’s hard to explain because it is not a style. You can't look up the style specs for this beer online and decide whether it fits it or not. It is a beer that gets the best aroma and flavor aspects out of high-quality Sangiovese and Merlot juice (a blend similar to what goes into Chianti - the main red wine of Tuscany.) It layers on top of that the familiar fruity, resiny character of Amarillo dry hops. We're aging it on oak spirals to accentuate the wine aspect of it. Just like the beers of L'Olmaia though, we don't want any particular ingredient to dominate. This is going to taste totally new to people, but at the same time it should be familiar and smooth. At 7.6% ABV it will not be a session beer by any stretch, but still something you really want another sip of. The long, tart finish makes sure of that. It couldn't have hurt that we hung a portable CD player on the tank, cranking Zeppelin as it fermented, either.
I hope a bottle or draft of this finds its way to you. Consider it a glass of beer made for the fun of it, and in respect for the traditions of brewing and wine making, but especially the growing craft beer movement of Italy. Thanks to Moreno and also my co-workers (now co-owners!) for helping to make this beer a reality!
Join us for the release of Tuscan Pool Party at our Beer Hall in Boston on December 9th or at our Windsor Brewery, December 10th!
By: Jordan McMillan, Digital Marketing Published:
Don’t be fooled by all of the Christmas decorations hitting the shelves, we have yet to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year – Friendsgiving! In celebration, we’ve put together some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes – but with a twist. They all incorporate beer! When you’re preparing to impress your guests, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries with these recipes on traditional favorites; your friends are a lot more forgiving than your cranky uncle, judgmental sister, and finicky cousins. We promise these recipes won’t disappoint! And if they don’t turn out perfect for you, just bring a 6-pack of Harpoon and they’ll forget all about it. Happy Friendsgiving!
Harpoon IPA Roasted Turkey
Recipe by Harpooner, Jordan McMillan and Nick Corrado. Loosely adapted from Betty Crocker and Food Network.
- 1 whole turkey (12 to 14lb, depending on guests)
- ¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 stalks of fresh rosemary
- 1 chopped yellow onion
- 2 apples, quartered
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 2 Bottles of Harpoon IPA
- Crack open one bottle of Harpoon IPA, this is going to be a long process and you need to stay hydrated.
- Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 325°F. Remove and discard neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. In shallow roasting pan, place turkey, breast side up.
- In saucepan stir together butter, mustard, rosemary, salt, pepper and the other bottle of Harpoon IPA. Heat on stove until contents are well mixed. Brush about 1/3 of mixture evenly over surface of turkey. Fasten drumsticks together with cotton string.
- Roast uncovered 2 1/2 to 3 hours, brushing with additional beer mixture and pan juices every 30 minutes. Turkey is done when thermometer reads 165°F and drumsticks move easily when lifted or twisted. If necessary, cover turkey breast with heavy-duty foil during last 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours of baking to prevent excess browning.
- Let turkey stand 15 to 20 minutes for easier carving.
Rye Mashed Potatoes
Recipe by Harpooner, Jordan McMillan
- 10-12 Russet Potatoes
- 1 ½ cup butter
- ½ cup half n half
- 2 Bottles of Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA
- Peel and quarter potatoes and add to a large stock pot.
- In the same pot add two bottles of Rich & Dan's Rye IPA, then fill the remainder with water until the potatoes are covered.
- Boil potatoes until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
- Once potatoes are tender, drain the water and put them back in the stock pot. Add the butter ½ a cup at a time. Mash potatoes with potato masher or hand mixer. Slowly add in the half ‘n half.
- Add salt and more butter until you reach your desired creaminess.
Sweet Potatoes with UFO Gingerland
Recipe by Harpooner, Cait Kelliher
- 6 lbs of raw sweet potatoes – about 8 medium, cooked
- 1 1/2 cans of UFO Gingerland
- ¼ cup of granulated sugar
- ¼ cup of light brown sugar
- ¼ tsp. of ground cinnamon
- ¼ of a tsp. of nutmeg
- 1/8 of tsp. of ground ginger
- ½ a cup of butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Fill a stock pot halfway with water and add one can of UFO Gingerland. Boil sweet potatoes whole and unpeeled for about 25 to 30 minutes, until they are mushy.
- Set aside till they are cool enough to handle. Once cool - peel, slice and put into a bowl to mash them.
- Place ½ a can of UFO Gingerland and sugars in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring regularly, for about 3 minutes, or until sugars are well dissolved. Add the spices and butter; stir in till butter is completely melted. Pour into the mashed sweet potatoes and stir till mixed together.
- Pour into serving dish and cover top with a layer of marshmallows.
- Place in the oven for 5 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly browned.
Cranberry Sauce made with Harpoon Craft Cider
Recipe by Harpooner, Carolyn Orth
- 3 cups Harpoon Craft Cider
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp. grated orange zest
- 12 whole cloves
- 2 ½ cups fresh cranberries
- Combine the Harpoon Cider, sugar, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to low; simmer until sugar is dissolved and the flavors are blended, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir cranberries into the saucepan, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until cranberries begin to pop, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves. Pour into shallow dish to cool and serve.
Winter Warmer Rolls
Recipe by Harpooner Chris Murphy's grandma, Thelma Tinker Murphy, who passed this family dough recipe to him at her house when he was a teenager.
- 1 ½ packets of fast rise yeast
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 5/8 cup Harpoon Winter Warmer
- ¼ cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Dissolve yeast & 1 tsp sugar in ¼ cup warm water
- Heat 1 cup of Winter Warmer on stove until it simmers, keep simmering for 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine butter, 1/3 cup sugar & salt.
- Add 5/8 cup of hot Winter Warmer and stir until butter is completely melted.
- Allow to cool and add prepped yeast with 3 well beaten eggs.
- Begin mixing, and gradually add the flour 1 cup at a time.
- Add ¼ cup milk while adding flour.
- Mix until well incorporated (at least 5 minutes).
- Move dough into a bowl greased with butter, grease the bottom of a plate and cover.
- Leave in fridge overnight.
- Take golf ball sized clumps of dough and roll into a sphere with both hands. Use flour to keep dough from sticking. After forming the sphere flatten and place on a baking sheet.1/4” spacing between rolls.
- Each batch of dough with yield 25-30 dinner rolls.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes
Harpoon Winter Warmer Pumpkin Pie
Recipe by Harpoon Brewery’s Quality Control Manager Jaime Schier and his wife Mary
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp. cloves
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ginger
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ½ tsp. allspice
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup light cream
- 2/3 cup Harpoon Winter Warmer
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cup canned pumpkin
Butter Pie Crust:
Makes one 9 inch pie shell
- 1/2 cup (one cube) unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 cups flour plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ice water
Pie Crust Directions:
- In large bowl, combine flour and salt.
- Add entire cube of chilled butter. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse pea sized crumbs.
- Using approximately 1 tablespoons of ice water at a time, add water to dough mixture and use hands to gently incorporate. Continue adding water and mixing with hands until dough can be formed into a disk.
- Dough can either be wrapped in plastic and frozen for later use, or rolled out.
- To roll, place dough in between two pieces of wax or parchment paper and use additional flour, as needed, to keep it from sticking. Avoid over rolling, as this can make your dough tough. Aim to get your dough rolled out using as little manipulation as possible.
Pie Filling Directions:
- Combine sugar, salt, and spices in one bowl. In a separate bowl, combine cream, eggs, and Harpoon Winter Warmer. Whip the beer, cream & eggs well (about 2 minutes), then slowly combine into spice mixture, using hand blender to fold together. Blend in the pumpkin until smooth. If the pie mixture seems very liquid-y when you pour it into the crust, add a tablespoon of AP flour and stir in well.
- Pour into pie crust & bake @ 350F until a butter knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
- Top with whip cream or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!