River Crew Brewing

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By in About RCBC 1

The River Crew Brewing Company

Kinda random, right?  And how the heck does that tagline fit in?  Not the first thing you’d think I’d say if I told you I was naming a brewery or a beer site.  And it’s not – I had actually kicked around a couple of other names before deciding to stay true to my roots and go with this.  Like any good name, there’s a story behind it.  It’s something pretty close to my heart.  Let me take you through it.

It all started with a group of my friends – guys I’ve know since preschool mixed with some other like-minded fellas who had the misfortune of getting involved with us along the way.  We rode hung out, played sports, road big wheels, picked on each other, and all other growing up activities that bond a group together.

Towards the end of grade school and into high school, we started to hang out by a dam in the Schuylkill River (pronounced sku-kill) back in PA.  Why?  Why not.  We just wanted to chill together, and we found a spot that we all liked.  We used to build forts out of the trees and construction materials there.  As we got older, we just hung out there, smoked cigars, and had a few underage brews.

Slowly, we became known as the River Crew, and the name stuck.  It really solidified in high school, to the point we were making t-shirts and it was an honor to be “crewed.”  College came, and some went to the same school, and others went their separate ways.

Amazingly, we all kept in pretty close contact over the years, through college and beyond.  We even hosted our own little Thanksgiving dinner for a few years.  One thing is constant whenever we get together: beer.  There’s always beer around, and as we got older, the beers got more and more diverse.  One thing was for sure – we all loved trying something new, and the stranger the brew was, the better.

A little while ago, a few of us were (legally) drinking one night and a stroke of inspiration hit us: we needed to start our own brewery.  It was that night that the River Crew Brewing Company was formed, at least conceptually. We had a ton of fun coming up with some names for some beers based of friends and people we know, which is where the “inappropriate” portion of the company came into play.  There’s samples of these beers below.  We captured all this on a blog, which is the only place outside of our dreams it lived for a few years.

About  a year ago, we took another step towards to making this dream a reality when I started home brewing.  Full of enthusiasm and optimism, my first beer, a nice pale ale recipe, was a dismal failure.  It ends up I killing the yeast before I pitched it.  My second brew, an Imperial Blonde Ale from LD Carlson, turned out pretty good.  It’s got a nice, full-bodied malt flavor balanced by a good mix of hops.  My 3rd brew, a Sierra Nevada Clone, is still fermenting.  I’ll be writing about my experience with it soon.  I had a taste when I transferred it, and I think it’s going to be a good one.

I understand that if I want to be an actual brewer, I need to brew more than 3 beers and graduate from kits to my own recipes.  I definitely plan on stepping up my brewing skills soon, and plan on getting a whole lot more brews under my belt and into my belly.

So that’s it – that’s how this crazy idea got rolling.  I’d love to some day get it to the level we envision it – a rocking brewpub with great beers and great food to match.  I know this is probably a pipe-dream, but it’s a fun one to have.  And who knows, maybe I’ll get the hang of this brewing thing and we’ll actually get something going.

Here’s a list of those initial beer names we came up with on that fateful night a few years ago:

  • CB’s Cheat me Sweet Wheat – Be careful with this one as it feels like the right choice at the time, it may come back to bite you
  • M&M’s Asshole Ale – This intense hoppy flavor may bite but in the end you realize it’s harmless
  • Zennie’s Zesty Fruit Zensation – Although it’s a little fruity it’s well worth the commitment
  • Tim’s Full Mouth Stoudt – Although light on the calories it’s still a mouthful
  • Travis Rutt’s IPA – After a few you will not remember your thoughts
  • Private Stew Pilsner – We kept it light for those who still have to report back to the general
  • Mikey’s BS Bock – This potent concoction will have you talking out of your ass
  • The Rajun Cajun’s always changing Special Brew of the Month – A monthly or Bi-Monthly special blend that will only last long enough to acquire a test. As it is afraid of comment, we need to constantly change it
  • The River Crew Lager – A familiar taste; its smooth crisp and comfortable. It brings you back to the good ole’ days
  • CB’s Just The Tip Ale – Just a sip, just for a second, just to see how it feels
  • Timmy’s Inappropriate Double IPA – 11% of inappropriateness
  • Moment of Zennie Pale Ale – A little bit of Zennie in every glass
  • CB’s Writer’s Block Red Ale – One sip of this brew will give you diahrea of the mind and pen. Perfect for first dates and term papers
By in About RCBC 0

Back To Brewing

After about a 6 month hiatus, I’ve decided to get back to brewing.  Finally.  I haven’t brewed since I move to CT, and I’m really excited to get my hands suddsy from being arm-deep in beer.

I put off brewing for a couple of reasons, some of which are valid, and some of which are just me being ridiculous.  My main motivation for not brewing over the winter months was the temperature in my apartment.  I have oil heat at my place, and I’ve never had the wallet-prying pleasure of paying for lovely utility before.  That first $300 heating bill was an eye opener, and I probably over reacted to it.

To keep costs down, I kept my heat around 60 degrees for the whole winter.  Yeah, I know, I’m nuts.  I was only able to make it through thanks to a bunch of blankets and my trusty Snuggie (for real – it’s blue.)

Keeping my apartment just above ice-box level didn’t really make for ideal fermentation conditions.  I found out later there are some beer recipes where this is temperature would work, but I didn’t want to risk it.  Plus, with how unpredictable the heating bill was, I just felt it was best to take a bit of a break.

The motivation for getting back into brewing was the discovery of Brew York on Twitter.  Brew York is a collection of home brewers, beer bloggers, beer reviewers, and just plain old beer fanatics around the New York City area.  Needless to say, these were my people.  And boy, do these guys know their beer – almost to an intimidating level.  Luckily, they’re some of the most humble and supportive people I’ve ever met, and are more than willing to support a brotha in his quest to learn how to make quality beer at home.  Check them out here: http://twitter.com/Hoptopia/brewyorkers

The more I started talking about beer with them, the more the brewing itch grew.  Finally, once the weather started turning warmer, I decided it was time scratch that itch and get back to brewing.  Kim, my girlfriend who has to put up with all of this beer talk, got me a Sierra Nevada Porter clone kit for Christmas, and I brewed that up last week.

And in light of this new-found brew culture I create this website to write about my experiences with brewing, starting with the Sierra Nevada Clone I brewed last week.  I might even try my hand at writing a beer review or 2, as I’m always seeking out new and different beers while expanding my tasting palate.

So be sure to check back and hear all about my adventures in home brewing and journeys to the bottom a few bottles of crazy brews.

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