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Thursday, 06 March 2014 13:27

Something to snort about: Bolero salutes 1st year with imperial porter

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Bolero Snort is greeting its first anniversary with a flurry of activity, including the release of a commemorative imperial porter and grabbing some store-shelf presence in 16-ounce cans.

“We did 991 bottles … 991 bottles hand-filled, hand-labeled, hand-numbered, hand-waxed. It was a very long weekend of work, but we got it done,” says co-founder Bob Olson, discussing the 7.7% ABV limited-edition anniversary porter that becomes available this week.

Bolero-Porter-BottlingBob launched Bolero Snort with Andrew Maiorana during the winter/early spring of 2013. To celebrate the one-year milestone, the two took a muscled-up version of their PortaBull porter recipe to High Point Brewing, the Morris County brewery the two hired to make Bolero Snort beers. They came back with 15 barrels of Happy Buckin’ Anniversary, which, thanks to a little ingenuity, got packaged in 750 milliliter bottles over the first weekend of March.

“Andrew built a bottling line,” Bob tells Beer-Stained Letter. “He strung together four counterpressure fillers; that’s what was in the budget, as opposed to us buying some sort of fancy, expensive bottle filler to do this.”

The beer, Bolero Snort’s biggest so far, hits store shelves in the Bergen County company’s North Jersey distribution network at the end of this week.

“Eventually we want to release (the) lower-alcohol porter. This is sort of a scaled-up version of that, with a little bit of smoked malt as well,” Bob says. “PortaBull will be a year-round flagship at some point. I don’t know if we will be able to get that out this fall. Once we get into our own facility, it will be a complete year-round (beer) that’s probably going to be in the 5 to 6% range.”

The new porter is just part of Bolero Snort’s busy streak.

Last week saw production of Longhop (4.2% ABV, 35 IBU), an entry into the growing session IPA category. Longhop will be Bolero Snort’s second beer offered in four-packs of 16-ounce cans. Earlier last month, Bolero hired Iron Heart, a mobile canning company out of Connecticut, to do a run of Lucky Buck Irish Dry Stout in pint cans. The stout is Bolero Snort’s second seasonal behind an end-of-2013 draft-only run of Gingerbull Cookie. (In New Jersey, Iron Heart is probably best known for its work with Carton Brewing, which became the first Garden State craft brewer to package in cans. Eventually, all of Bolero’s beers will be in cans, with 12-ounce bottles phased out.)

Bolero-Porter-Bottling-2Bolero Snort, based in Ridgefield Park, entered the New Jersey craft beer market via contract brewing, debuting a year ago this month in a rapid fire of promotional events across North Jersey’s beer bar scene. The kickoff featured versions of Bolero’s flagship brews, Black Horn (6.5% ABV American black lager) and Ragin’ Bull (5% ABV amber lager). By summer’s end, Bolero added a rye beer to the mix, No Rye-ing in Basebull (4.2%), to have three flagships available in draft and six-packs.

Contracting High Point, best known under its Ramstein label, was a way for Andrew and Bob to nurture their brand, build some market name-recognition as they developed plans for opening their own brewery. (Bolero brews into a pair of fermenters it installed at High Point’s brewery in Butler, Morris County.)

Having their own brewery, with a tasting room, by spring 2015 is the goal, Bob says, a giant step up in terms of production: a 30-barrel brewhouse, 60-barrel fermenters.

“We have some pretty big aspirations about the size of the brewhouse and tanks,” he says. “To go from 60 barrels a month with what we’re doing at High Point, to our own place will be a very big jump.”


Read 2783 times Last modified on Thursday, 06 March 2014 14:01

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