Nick Coe Brews for Boston
By: Nick Coe & Harpoon Helps Published:
Back in April, we hosted three Brewed for Boston nights and the YOU Brew for Boston raffle, all to benefit the One Fund and victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Through the events and the brewing raffle, we were able to donate $36,675 to the One Fund. The lucky winner of the raffle, Nick Coe, won an opportunity to brew for a day on our 10 barrel pilot system. Nick recently joined us for a full day at Harpoon brewing his Honey Brown Ale! Read on for his experience, and check out the photos from the day.
I must have listened to the voicemail from Merrill Maloney at Harpoon a dozen times; it was like I won the Powerball. In fact I was so excited that my wife thought we had won the lottery when I called to tell her that my ticket was drawn in the YOU Brew for Boston raffle and that I would get the unique opportunity to brew my own beer at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston. It was as if the prize was designed specifically for me. I was living in CT when I heard about the raffle, so I begged my friend Meredith to go down and buy a ticket for me. She actually bought two – you can imagine how upset the other ticket holder was when my number was pulled! Sorry, Scott!
Merrill put me in contact with Sean Cornelius, Harpoon’s Head Brewer. We worked on a date and he set me up with Ken Hermann, the brewer I would work with on brew day. Picking one beer was the hardest part! I wanted something to bridge the gap between summer, fall, and winter seasonal beers. A beer dedicated to the folks who want to hold on to summer fun for a few more months, play cornhole in the cool fall air and relax next to a fire pit, those who prefer the beach in October rather than July. I actually read through all the 100 Barrel beers that Harpoon had made and looked through their other limited releases and seasonals and found one kind of beer that was missing: a Honey Brown. It seemed so simple, a truly fundamental beer for the homebrewer, great flavors, mass appeal, and a timeless style. And I would get to make it at Harpoon.
Brew day was a blast! Ken and I had worked out a grain bill and Ken drafted our hop additions. The recipe would make your mouth water… have you seen 25lbs of honey Brewing on a pilot system is not for the weak. It took a solid half hour to mash in the 500+ lbs of grain. Ken ran the system and slowly showed me how to operate some of the controls, but I let him handle the maze of pipes and related valve levers, probably the trickiest part of the whole process. We measured hops and timed our additions all along the way taking samples and measuring gravity and pH for quality control. We even had a visit from Dan Kenary, Harpoon’s co-founder, who checked out our progress! Everything was spot on target and the brew went on without a hitch thanks to Ken’s meticulous attention to detail, a definite prerequisite for a professional brewer.
Now what to do with 300 gallons of beer? You can imagine that everyone I know was asking for a keg or a case. The entire experience was part of a charity fundraiser and I felt it was important to keep that theme when it came to deciding what to do with 3,000 beers. I worked with Merrill and we came up with a few great ideas that will again support the One Fund (more info on that soon). And hopefully I’ll get a keg or two to take home! It was such a great experience and I want to thank everyone at Harpoon who helped put it together and create such a rewarding charity event. And to all the Harpoon fans out there, hopefully you can make your way to the Boston Beer Hall soon and try a pint! Cheers!