CCB East – “Opening Day I.P.A.” Challenge

Anxious to get out to an early lead in the Champion City Brewing “Opening Day I.P.A. Challenge”, CCB East stepped to the plate today with a recipe inspired by some classic East Coast IPAs.


Top of the order – partial mash, consisted of 2.5# of 2-row American pale malt, 10oz. of caramel 40L and 6.0# of light DME.  Hops, of course.  And White Labs WLP001.  Plus a bit of gypsum added to harden up the water.


Frozen rope!  Hard line drive to right.  Yeah, sure we had a blizzard yesterday, but hearty New Englanders just shovel out and get busy brewing (and drinking) beer.


Well-struck, in the gap… This beautiful brew kettle with built-in sight glass was a generous Christmas gift from our friends at CCB West.  (Thanks, Jon!)  Here, we held the milled grain at 153°F for 45min.  Plenty of time to watch and relax with a beer.


He gives it a ride… After raising the temp to 170°F to mash out, we sparged, added the dry malt extract (DME) and got to the business of boiling and adding hops.


Ground ball, one-hopper up the middle… Well, four-hopper, actually: we started with Horizon (for bittering), then Simcoe (for flavor), and then Centennial (for aroma).  We’ll add some Australian Topaz in a few weeks for dry-hop.  60 IBU.


And, the runner advances… After a quick cool of the wort (using the immersion chiller) and a gentle whirlpool, we ran the wort off into the carboy.


Then we aerated the wort for about a half hour.


We hit our original gravity target (with authority!).  OG 1.064 (16° Plato).  Actually got slightly higher efficiency than I’d anticipated.


And the payoff pitch… yeast in, now we wait.

So…what about you, CCB West?  Don’t get caught looking!  🙂



East vs West

TEWKSBURY, MA (Feb. 3, 2013):

The groundhog has spoken; early spring is on its way. And what time could be better for Champion City Brewing to announce its latest project – the East Coast vs. West Coast “Opening Day I.P.A.” challenge.

Call it a friendly competition, one that will be best argued over a bottle or pint. C.C.B’s brewmasters, at their geographically dispersed breweries, will compete to create a “tribute” beer. Their assignment pays homage to Champion City Brewing’s “Grand Slam I.P.A.”, the first beer brewed under the C.C.B. name back in 2005.


“Its official, the Porter and Stout era of Champion City Brewing is on hiatus,” said Jonathan Jay, Founder, Director of West Coast Operations, and Brewmaster for C.C.B. West, “Our move to the West coast lends itself perfectly to re-inventing and re-imagining the beer that started it all. It is that connection to the breweries roots and of course, the style lends itself to some friendly East vs. West competition. You never know but the West Coast version might even use some of the inventive techniques implemented during the first Grand Slam brew, like the use of Hop Teas, brewkettle overboils, and snow cooling.”

Champion City Brewing has breweries in Vacaville, CA. and Tewksbury, MA, having recently completed a brewery expansion and establishing a presence on the West coast in 2013.

Consumer feedback will help C.C.B. narrow the two beers to a single limited-edition offering available to coincide with Major League Baseball’s Opening Day in April 2013. “The Opening Day aspect of the project is really intriguing to me,” said Stephen Jay, Director of East Coast Operations, and Brewmaster for C.C.B. East, “Baseball’s roots run deep for C.C.B. And Opening Day inspires me to craft a beer that has all the hallmarks the Champion City Brewing brand is respected for, but which is still approachable enough to enjoy a few at a ballgame and still remember who the starting pitchers were.”

Champion City Brewing’s commitment to quality and spirit of innovation are at the foundation of the company’s history and continue to be a defining characteristic. Look for more updates as the “Opening Day I.P.A.” project unfolds this spring.

CCB Executive Board Meeting

After the fall out from the historic press release last week, it became necessary to get the CCB advisory board together in a neutral location to discuss the vision for CCB going forward and to set the plan for 2013 and beyond. After a long staff meeting Thursday evening in the lobby of the Springhill Suites in Virginia Beach, VA ; the brewing plans are set, the marketing team is fully aligned, the Director of East Coast Operation has already determined a bold new vision for CCB – East. (Small beers with Extract?).

Champion City Brewing expanding to West Coast, Moves East Coast facility

VACAVILLE, Calif – Dec 21, 2012 – Champion City Brewing is pleased to announce that it has chosen a site in Northern California to become the home of West Coast Operations. The site is located in California to allow for expansion and future growth into that market. As part of the expansion, the East Coast operations with be moving from our current home in Nashua, NH approx 25 miles south towards Boston into the historic brewing community of Tewksbury, MA

“We are thrilled to have found two ideal locations for the breweries continued expansion efforts,” says Jonathan Jay, founder of Champion City Brewing. “The beer culture, water quality and quality of life are excellent. We feel lucky to be a part of both communities.”

The new facility in Vacaville will add much-needed capacity for Champion City, and will allow for the quicker availability of brewery-fresh beer to consumers on the West Coast. As part of the expansion, the East Coast operations will get a face lift with a new brewhouse and increased fermentation capacity. The current bottling operation will remain and East coast beers will continue to be available in 12 and 22 oz bottles and 1/6 bbl draught kegs.

Long time Senior Assistant Brewer, Stephen Jay, has been promoted to Director of East Coast Operations. His role will expand to all day to day activities of the East Coast Brewery and as an advisory member of the board on new products, brand management and development. Stephen Jay began his career with Champion CIty Brewing at its founding in 2005. He has worked in all aspects of the brewery operation with keg cleaner, bottler, brewhouse assistant, and most recently with brand / recipe development on the critically acclaimed, Summer Sunned Haze Wit. “It was with this most recent role that he demonstrated a tenacity for all things brewing that makes this decision a no brainer. He has really shown some great things, he has the mind for brewing great beer, and that is a hallmark for Champion City, ” says Jonathan Jay. “I couldn’t be happier for him and for CCB to have him in this role”

As completion of the new brewery begins, CCB has also announced several new releases to commemorate the recent expansion. A Flanders Red brewed and blended from both breweries and possible an East Coast / West Coast IPA Throwdown.



Its getting funky in here

After 7 months of waiting, the Flanders Red that I brewed back in March is starting to form a nice pellicle. I think it has taken so long since I don’t give it enough oxygen which helps the infection grow. The aroma is awesome. I am looking forward to brewing this again in the spring and blending it as was traditional done.

Its Alive

Recipe Formulation

Working on three new beers for the winter.

RyePA – a reappearance after a nine year hiatus. A new formulation for 2012

Gluten Free Porter – Back by popular demand for those who can not enjoy traditional beers. I have an innovative idea on how to minimize the syrupy sweetness of sorghum

Mothers Milk Stout – a traditional milk stout with a twist using oats, flax, and fenugreek.

Night of Funk – Recap

Steve and I enjoyed again our yearly pilgrimage to Boston to sample some of the weirdest and funkiest beers in the world. The Beer Advocate “Night of Funk” which proceeds the larger Belgiam Beerfest every fall in Boston has become a tradition for the CCB management team. This years additional was excellent. Beyond the silly and whimsical ideas that this festival inspires, it is a great opportunity to explore the funkier side of the brewing industry. We sampled a numerous sour, barnyardy, fruity, tart, paint thinner, and just plain weird (and disgusting). For me, the best beers of the night were a pair of Berliner Weiss from Night Shift Brewing, Somer Weiss and Ever Weiss. I am not sure if I have ever met the guys from Night Shift but I am sure to seek them out in the future (they are in Everett, MA). A few other intriguing offerings were from the bastions of funk and Belgian inspired brewing aka Lost Abbey and Allagash. Cosmic Mother Funk continues to confuse me as this years version finally had some sour notes that made this beer fall flat in previous years. I am guessing that sour beers is really not were Jim Koch and Boston Beer want to move their brands so its a nice experiment but not a priority (please let me know if I am incorrect).

The surprising disappointments of the evening were Pearls of Wisdom from Cambridge and Lolita from Goose Island. I can not explain what Pearls of Wisdom is beyond a pale lager with Nelson Sauvin hops with a Brett infection aged in a bourbon barrel. The taste is of none of these things. I love Will Meyers and his team at Cambridge for the inventive beers that they produce but this one is not a winner in my mind. My little “Pearl of Wisdom” would be to avoid it. Om from CBC on the other hand was interesting and worth a second sample. Lolita suffered from what appeared to be off the chart ethyl acetate (nail polish, solventy) and it lacked that bright fruity crispness that I remember fondly from my trip to Chicago last year.

Of course, the Waffle Cabin was again there and I was able to get one of their heavenly creations. A wonderful pairing of crisp, warm and slightly crunchy waffle with some Belgian inspired funky beer creations. Overall, it was another great night and I look forward to doing it again next year.