Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Friday, July 31, 2015

What's A Motto?

Plenty of beer makers have used mottos or slogans to sell their beer, or at least to help people remember it. My personal favorite in that list above comes from John Courage (It's what your right arm's for).

Charlie offers an Amber
But during a recent visit to "New-Brewer-On-The-Block" Cypress Brewing, I asked host-owner Charlie Backmann if Cypress had one.

"We do, but I can't remember it. Something about three great guys making great beer...I don't know...we made it up during a tasting session. You'll have to ask Bill (Lutz) when you tour the back."

As it happened, a wet (which proves he was working) Bill Lutz emerged from the back on brewer business, and after introductions, I ask him the same question. He couldn't remember, either. Must have been a hell of a tasting session. 

But you won't need a motto or a slogan to remember Cypress after trying it, either at the brewery in Edison or at various drinking spots in Middlesex County. Hailey's Harp in Metuchen, Charlie Brown's, Quaker Steak and Lube on Route 1 in Edison and Miller's Ale House on Rt. 9 in Woodbridge have all beaten a path to the door of the green cypress tree with the beer mug light above the door.

Charlie is one-third of the trio of owners. Bill Lutz is another and Jay Kijowski is the third. Charlie, who works so many hours that he wonders if he ever goes home, took me on the requisite tour, and what I learned was astonishing. These guys built the entire place form floor to ceiling--including the cooler, tasting room furniture, bar and bathroom--in seven months. 
Bill Lutz (L.) and Charlie Backmann (R.)

Even more amazing was the electronics Jason, whose day gig is being the IT guy for Ray Catena Automobiles, invented (patent pending) and built to monitor the entire brewing process. And Bill Lutz designed the entire kettle system. If their future wasn't in brewing, it certainly could have been in construction.

But beer was where they wanted to put their marbles--and their efforts-- from the early, heady days home brewing on Cypress Dr. in Colonia. Charlie actually was studying law, all set for a career in criminal justice. But his father told him he "made good beer," and the call of the wild hops beckoned more strongly.

Offering a variety of beer styles, Cypress has something for everyone, from a bouncy, refreshing hefeweizen to a chewy Double Chocolate Imperial Oatmeal Stout made with more than four pounds of real cocoa per batch. A Blonde, a Red, an Amber, two IPA's, A Saison made with Rye and an "award-winning" English Nut Brown round out the rest of the current roster. Charlie was getting ready to start his Octoberfest the next day, and plans on using eight full weeks to bring it to the handmade bar by the third week in September.

The comfortable--also hand-built-- tasting room filled up substantially as the night wore on. Even two local high school wrestling legends, now celebrity coaches, found their way to the "Tree"--and not for the first time. Whether drinking pints or flights, the clientele all seemed to know the gregarious Charlie, chatting with him as he consumed the dinner brought into him by his girlfriend.

Hefe, Rye Saison, DIPA and Nut Brown
The PubScout liked all the beers he tasted, but the Amber called him back for a second pint before the night was through. First sip was unremarkable; second sip piqued my interest. And I was hooked by the third sip.

So the word is apparently getting out about what Cypress is doing, now to the tune of about 500 bbl per year. And according to Charlie the minute a 30 bbl system becomes available, it's going in, which means expansion of the floor space somewhere down the road.

Oktoberfest is going in here today!
Which proves that a catchy motto or slogan is not required to sell beer. 

As Charlie finally allowed, "If your beer is good, you won't remember your motto." 

Which, I suppose, is as good a slogan as any other.

The PubScout

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