Brewer’s Spotlight: Noonanbock

Brewer’s Spotlight: Noonanbock

As we’ve watched the professional brewing industry grow, I believe there’s been a shift towards the importance of a formal education in the science and engineering behind brewing.  In other industries an undergraduate degree can help a candidate get their foot in the door or help a lower ranking employee move their career forward.  Universities across the country have added graduate and certificate programs in brewing business and sciences; including recently the alma mater of Chris and I, The University of New Hampshire.  Personally, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the American Brewers Guild’s Intensive Brewing Sciences and Engineering (IBS&E) course held at Drop-In Brewing in Middlebury, VT on a full scholarship.  The Greg Noonan Scholarship is awarded annually to a resident of the New England states, and I was it’s recipient in 2014.  It was a true honor then to receive this valuable education that I strive to live up to everyday in my work at Idle Hands.  It’s been my goal since receiving it to give back to ensure that next prospective professional brewer can have a shot at an invaluable education.  With that in mind, I teamed up with Matt Cohen, the 2015 Greg Noonan Scholarship recipient and former Barrelmaster of Spingdale Brewing to brew a beer (actually, make that two) that would help us give back.  I am proud to present to you, Springdale / Idle Hands Craft Ales: Noonanbock and Noonanbach.

After much brain storming between the both of us, we conceived the idea to brew two different styles of beer that Greg Noonan was famously known for brewing himself using the same base recipe.  Our recipe was based off of what was the classic bock lager that was first created in the Einbeck region of German.  A simple grain bill consisting of roughly one third malted wheat and two thirds pilsner malt with just a touch of de-bittered dark roasted malt for color and a tiny bit of German Magnum hops to keep bitterness low.  After primary fermentation with lager yeast, a portion was transferred into oak barrels and dosed with mixed culture to develop the tart and fruity characters Flanders-style red ales are known for.  Fast forward about nine months, as we’re ready to start packaging the Noonanbach, I was fortunate to have Joe Connolley, General Manager of Springdale join me at Idle Hands to brew up a fresh batch of the same recipe on our system.  This portion called Noonanbock would be hopped a little bit extra with German Tettnager hops for a just a hint of spicy hops to cut though the robust body of the bock lager.

I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am to Joe and Matt for all of their help in reaching this point to raise money for a scholarship.  From giving me the time to brew at Jack’s Abbey in their constantly moving brewing schedule to helping put together these two release parties and fundraisers in MA and VT.  Release parties are going off this Friday, December 7th at 7pm with our good friends at Hugh O’Neill’s in Malden Center, and Wednesday, December 12th with The Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington, VT.  Both of the collaboration beers will be on tap along with a few surprises from each brewery.  A portion of the sales of these beers and some raffle prizes with 100% of raffle ticket sales going to the next Greg Noonan scholarship.  Who knows, maybe the money you spend that night will be helping that next great New England brewer get their start.  Wouldn’t that be neat haha.  Cheers! — Lead Brewer Brett Bauer

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