Blue Point Brewing is on one lately. This month, they announced distribution of their first ‘Hazy Bastard’ IPA in 16 oz cans; they’re canning other beers with wacky ingredients like seaweed and beach plum; they hosted an experiential marketing gig, bringing Blue Point beer and beach vibes to the Lower East Side (complete with boardwalk, relaxation pod and “underwater” bar—see photos here); and they’ll soon be opening a new production facility and brewpub in their hometown of Patchogue, Long Island.
Perhaps the most impressive of their latest endeavors, though, at least to the small group of beer nerds who got to taste it, is 1902, a “pre-prohibition lager” brewed in collaboration with Popular Mechanics magazine.
The year 1902 marks the start of Popular Mechanics, which makes the beer a sippable symbol of the publication’s 115th anniversary. The partnership came to fruition thanks to fermentation-focused senior editor (and, full disclosure: my former editor and current friend), Matt Allyn.
A beer writer and lover himself, Matt took the collaboration to heart and hands, working first with Anheuser-Busch innovation brewer, Thomas Hartman (who created the first batch of 1902 Lager at the ABI office brewery, 24th Street Hops), then with Blue Point head brewer, Dan Jansen, who ramped up the recipe for its small production and canning run.
1902 Lager: History Meets Modern Hop Obsession
The recipe for 1902 uses equal portions of 6-row and pilsner malt, plus a small amount of corn and oats to bring out that traditional touch of sweet corn, Matt told me (and I can attest to, having tasted my way through a few cans). New York hops—CTZ from Long Island—were used in the bittering charge, paying homage to New York’s status as a key hop growing region in the late 1800s.
Here’s where the hops go Pop Mech. Tradition achieved, the brewers left history behind with a triple-threat of hopping techniques: debittered leaves of Loral, a new hop varietal; lupulin powder from Citra; and concentrated hop oil. The result is an intoxicatingly herbal, floral aroma with a hint of citrus, fit for modern palates, followed by a pleasantly bitter finish.
“Blue Point brewer, Dan Jansen is a beer genius,” Matt told me. “A goal was to use as many innovative hop products as possible, while still being able to taste, smell, and appreciate them all.” Goal: achieved.
Here’s a more technical explanation from Matt:
The 6-row and pilsner malt was equal portions, the corn and oats were pretty small, just enough to get a light, sweet corn flavor. The bittering hops were CTZ from Long Island. Loral debittered leaves were toward the end of the boil. Citra lupulin powder went into the whirlpool. More citra lupulin powder and loral pellets were waiting in the primary as the wort got pumped onto it. [Blue Point brewer, Dan Jansen] likes to dry hop in primary, in his experience he gets better extraction from the heat and movement of yeast.
Watch our video here, shot by the lovely Patrick Phillips for Beer Affair at the 1902 Lager launch party on December 11, 2017.