Notch Brewing at the Flying Saucer Pizza Company’s “Brew Ha-Ha”

Just got back from the “Brew Ha-Ha” over at the Flying Saucer Pizza Company and I figured I would give a little write up on it  (By the way, the Brew Ha Ha is run by the mustachioed owner of this blog). Notch Brewing’s brewer, Chris Lohring, was there showing off some of his awesome beers and chilling with his Salem peeps.  Those of you that read this blog regularly might recognize that I have a lot of love for Notch beers, so I was pretty stoked, especially since the Flying Saucer was pouring Left of the Dial, Notch’s new session IPA, which I have been dying to try.  Long story short, we tried it and it was delicious and full of hops.  In many ways it made me think of a more flavorful All-Day IPA (I’ll be doing a review of that soon).

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After and during the beer sampling, Lohring talked with the crowd about the process of brewing, and was very open and honest about the massive fees and costs that go into brewing beer.  In particular, he highlighted his choice not to build his own brewery and to instead tenement/contract brew out of the Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich.  I say tenement/contract brew because that is the way that Lohring put it, since he is not quite one or the other, but instead a slurry of both.  Lohring shed a very honest light on one of the underplayed sides of the new craft beer wave for the crowd, which I personally found fascinating.  On top of that, Mr. Lohring also brought up the topic of how much he likes Berliner Weisses, and when asked whether he would brew one for Notch, he said yes!  Lohring said that until now he was unable to brew a Berliner Weisse because he is a tenement/contract brewer, and thus uses another brewer’s brewery.  Berliner Weisse beers require the bacteria Lactobacillus to help give the beer its tart flavors.  Unfortunately the bacteria is ruinous to other beers if exposed to them, and can spread very quickly in a brewery.  Fortunately, the Mercury Brewing facilities have one building for fermenting and another for brewing the beer.  This means that, given the proper amount of time, a beer can be brewed in the brewing facility and pumped back into the mashtun to ferment, and it will not infect other beers brewed at the facility.

Until now, Notch Brewing has been unable to get in the required 3-days to brew a Berliner Weisse and ferment it, but the Mercury Brewing Company is currently moving all of its operations to a new and bigger brewing facility, and when it finally makes that move (re: sometime soon) this will give Notch the amount of time in the old facility to brew a Berliner Weisse…  Long story short, Notch will be brewing a Berliner Weisse this summer!  I am giddy with anticipation.

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Aside from that little tidbit, I just had a nice time at the Brew Ha-Ha sitting back and enjoying the beers of Notch and several other offerings that were on tap at the Flying Saucer.  I even won a nice new Notch Brewing shirt.  T’was a good night.

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For those interested, the Flying Saucer and the Gulu-Gulu café (right next door) are located in Salem, MA and are my local craft beer bar(s) (there connected by a hallway that leads to their bathrooms).  The Flying Saucer’s tap list focuses on awesome local selections while the Gulu-Gulu just has it all, but on top of the beer they also have some great food.  Flying Saucer, being a pizza company, makes some kick-ass pizzas that I am always happy to sample, and if you are in the area I highly advise you to check it out.  You should at least look at their menu

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