SCCC and Helderberg Brewery Collaborate on New York State Beer
Experimental IPA made with 100% locally sourced ingredients will be released in May
The unmistakable aroma of fermenting mash filled Helderberg Brewery this past weekend as 15 of upstate New York’s newest brewers gathered to craft an experimental New York State beer.
The brewers were all students enrolled in Schenectady County Community College’s 13-week brewer’s training course. The course is designed to give students the technical background they need to work as professional brewers and is taught by Rich Michaels, quality and innovation manager at F.X. Matt Brewing Co.
Michaels collaborated with Helderberg Brewery to introduce students to the nuances of using locally grown hops and six-row barley in brewing.
“We are introducing these students to the concept of working with all local, New York State ingredients at the very start of their brewing careers,” said Greg Back, project assistant at Helderberg Brewery. “By doing this, we hope to inspire long-standing change in the industry and make brewing with local ingredients the norm rather than the exception.”
The SCCC students wrote the recipe used over the weekend, which will be a dry-hopped IPA. One hundred percent of the hops and grain used in the beer came from local farmers and maltsters, including Dutchess Hops based in Langrangeville; Germantown Beer Farm, a malt house in the Hudson Valley; and, Migliorelli Farms, also in the Hudson Valley.
The recipe’s grain bill was comprised of all six-row barley, a grain that can be grown in New York State but that has traditionally been passed over by brewers in favor of two-row barley. However, with more and more farm breweries in New York State, it’s important that new brewers understand that six-row barley, as well as other grains, are viable, high-quality ingredients.
“There is a perception among New York brewers that six-row barley is the fruit of the devil,” said Instructor Rich Michaels. “But it’s really not that different. And you can make a great beer with it.”
By introducing the SCCC students to six-row barley and other alternative grains early in their brewing careers, Helderberg Brewery and its partners hope to teach brewers how to make great beer with the variety of small grains that can be grown in New York State, thereby supporting a more robust and diverse small grains system.
The IPA will be released at a tasting party at Helderberg Brewery on Friday, May 20 starting at 6 pm. Admission is free; pints are $6. Beer will also be poured at the graduation ceremony for the SCCC brewing program.
Helderberg Brewery is also conducting a New York State SMASH Brew Trial with State malts and State hops. We’ll source the ingredients. You brew the beer. To learn more and participate, contact Greg Back at firstname.lastname@example.org.