Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Winner Rennal" Time

By Kurt Epps—The PubScout

Coinciding with recent reports on the news that the average Joe or Jane can now rent out the pad where Snooki and crew took taste to new lows, comes the much better news that The East Coast Brewing Co. has a better idea.

Officially called “Winter Rental,” the title of this column refers to the way real Jersey Shorians say the phrase. By now, you probably know that ECBC founders John “Merk” Merklin and Brian Ciriaco were high school buddies, but there’s another high school link to the debut of this new Black Lager.

Tom Przyborowski, a former student of mine and his best bud from Johnson Regional in Clark, Bob Nicol, have combined to make the packaging and label for the new brew. Bobby runs a firm called Square Melon Communications which did the attractive graphic design work for the beer. It also did the label for the flagship brew Beach Haus, a classic American Pilsner reminiscent of pre-Prohibition days that has won a good deal of well-deserved acclaim among the beer cognoscenti. Marked by the signature “rolling wave” atop each bottle (to make it easier for bartenders to find in the low light of many bars), the “wave” has become the logo many now associate with quality beer.

Tom stopped by my house to share some samples (one of the perqs of being a beerwriter with a former student as a brewer), and I talked with him about it.
“Merk always wanted a beer with the title “Winter Rental," but we didn’t know just what style would get the nod,” says Tom.

The style that got the nod is a Black Lager which they hope will compete favorably with the likes of Sam Adams Black Lager, the new Black Lager offering from Guinness and of course, the classic schwarzbier from Die Faderland—Kostritzer. Tom says that Winter Rental will check in at about 5.6% ABV, as compared to Beach Haus which registers a 5.3% level. The Pubscout did an unofficial tasting some months back of Beach Haus and it won very favorable reviews from the Uno’s crowd who were invited.

Winter Rental will undergo similar scrutiny as the “cockle-warming” season approaches, but Merk says, ”[it will be] a hearty, yet soft and elegant brew that brings comfort to the late Fall and Winter months. This seasonal lager is a darker beer with roasted malts and a hint of chocolate. Less hoppy than its predecessor Beach Haus®, Winter Rental® is yet another full-flavored, accessible style to add to the East Coast Beer Co. selection. We wanted to connect people with the shore in the Fall and Winter seasons as well. The winter rental lifestyle is as unique and enjoyable as any other. We think this too should be celebrated and are doing so through drink.”

The PubScout concurs and urges my readers to try this new kid on the block. It should complement foods like Black Bean Soup, Burritos, Cheesesteaks, Buffalo Wings, Stuffed Mushrooms, Chili, Pot Roast, BBQ ribs and Venison. Devotees of raw oysters and clams might be pleasantly surprised, too.

No viewing of Jersey Shore re-runs through the winter is necessary, but that’s your call and a matter of personal taste. Me? I’m going with the better taste of Winter Rental.

P.S. look for ECBC to come out with a classic pale ale somewhere down the road.

Cheers! The PubScout

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