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Tuesday, 29 July 2014 14:45

Beach Haus Brewery: 'Equipment due in Belmar in late August'

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A big delivery coming up for Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar in southern Monmouth County.

Founder John “Merk” Merklin says the six-vessel brewhouse and its complement of fermenters, brite tanks and tasting room serving tanks are scheduled to arrive Aug. 25.

The date also has some other significance for the Beach Haus folks. It’s coincidentally the same day Merk and his co-founder, Brian Ciriaco, welcomed their first commercial brew for the New Jersey craft beer market in 2010.

Since its launch, East Coast Beer Company (Beach Haus’ more formal name) has been a contract-brew company, relying on upstate New York brewery Genesee to make the Beach Haus beers. But East Coast, meanwhile, has also been turning the landmark Freedman’s Bakery into a downtown brewery with a second-floor tasting room since taking over the building around the start of 2014.

Winter and spring months were spent gutting the three-floor building at Eighth and Main streets. (Here’s a video of the demolition.)

Merk-Brewhouse-AreaAhead of the equipment delivery, work crews have been raising some ceilings, namely in the brewhouse and cellar room areas.

“That’s the biggest part of the construction, some of the steel we’ll have to do to support it,” Merk says. “As complementary as the building was, simply put, with the high-platform brewhouse that we’re going to have, we’re going to need to raise the ceilings.”

Purchased from Wisconsin fabricator W.M. Sprinkman, the brewing system consists of a six-vessel, 30-barrel brewhouse (the configuration includes a hopback), complemented by 60- and 30-barrel fermenters (including horizontal ones), brite tanks and tasting room serving tanks.

Construction, Merk says, is on track.

“There are no happy surprises in terms of reduction in timeline on things, but we’re certainly not behind, in a practical sense,” he says.

The forecast for Belmar-brewed Beach Haus beers looks the start of October, though delays are always possible. Still, Merk says East Coast is comfortable with a progress pace that has the company penciling in an Oct. 1 public opening.

“It’s a little behind where we want it to be, in a dream world,” Merk says, “in a real-world sense, it’s good timing.”

If October is a late start, it’s not without a silver lining. It offers what traditionally would be a shore-town offseason to smooth out any wrinkles in the changeover from a contract-beer company to a production brewery.

It’s familiar territory. East Coast Beer launched with Beach Haus Classic American Pilsner on Labor Day four years ago, missing a desired summertime start because of some regulatory delays.

“We’ve had some experience at this,” Merk says. “In some regards, what we may miss in terms of opportunity in the selling season, it probably gives us a little time to make sure the (patrons’) experience of coming to the brewhouse is all that it should be.

“Whether they’re coming in the summer, or coming in the dead of winter, they’re looking for a good experience.”


Read 2532 times Last modified on Thursday, 31 July 2014 13:59

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