The Brickskeller got “Harpooned” last night when company founder Rich Doyle came to share some beer from his Boston-based Harpoon Brewing Co.
Doyle plotted the company back when he was in Harvard business school so naturally his presentation began with a powerpoint presentation. We wouldn’t have seen his slides though if I hadn’t gotten up and shown him how to use the LCD projector. Turns that we wouldn’t have missed much though – the slides were just a few pages of the company’s vital stats.
Fortunately, the beer was much better than the presentation. In addition to their popular IPA and the UFO Hefeweizen, there were a few gems I had never tasted, such as the Brown Session Ale, the Peche from their limited 100 Barrel series, and the wet hop Glacier Harvest. This last one was a special treat. It’s brewed with Glacier hops picked by brewer Ray Dobens in Seneca, NY just hours before they were added to the brew, which is why this style is called “wet hopped” meaning that the hops haven’t been dried for storing. We were treated to a side by side pairing of the standard version of the Glacier Harvest and a second serving of it pumped through Randal the Enamel Animal which had been stuffed with hops picked just hours earlier and contributed by a local home hop-grower.
Rich had a few good lines:
Some people like to talk about the engineering of a beer. We like to talk about the social aspects.
If it was just a business, I would have done something else.
Let’s all take mass transit so we can have a beer.
This last line was in the context of talking about the fact that barley has doubled in price this year due to poor harvests and the increased transition of crops from barley to corn, the latter of which is being driven by demand for ethanol fuel. He continued on this note:
We’re pumping corn into our cars instead of beer into our bodies.
The fact is we’d be far better off increasing the average fuel efficiency of gas vehicles than switching to corn-based ethanol.
We’d be even better off using our ingenuity to innovate new solutions, such as the one that former Harpoon head brewer Russ Heisner is now working on – fuel produced by fermenting agricultural waste from sugar cane.