April 22, 2019 | 54° F

Hub City Brewhouse educates all on beers, their blends and ingredients

Photo by Jeffrey Gomez |

The first Monday and second Tuesday of the month just got a little bit boozier at the Hub City Brewhouse. Last years beloved (and free) Beer 101 class has returned to the location to enchant the minds and taste buds of more beer-loving New Brunswick-ers, and I ended up being one of them this year.

Upon hearing about this event, I headed to the Hub City Brewhouse to attend the very first Beer 101 class as part of this year’s six-month series. This class is hosted by Gary Rosen, a craft beer specialist at Shore Point Distributing, who promised to provide the 20 attendees in this mellow classroom with a solid foundation upon which to build their beer educations.

Participants were Rutgers students, plain New Brunswick-based beer-lovers and coffee specialists. All of them braced for an introductory overview of both the history and ingredients of beer, as well as a beer-distinguishing tasting.

Rosen dispersed a healthy portion of beer lingo to the group and detailed the history of beer with authority and fervor. My taste buds were occupied with fried pickles while other attendees started with the imbibing and some serious fried-snacking during the strictly informational portion of the 1.5 hour class. We all let the knowledge take us over, took notes and awaited the tasting.

We discussed the ingredients of beer and the brewing process, and Rosen worked to make it as accessible as possible. He likened the fermenting to another beloved brewing process, that of tea, and offered up a bag of jellybeans to the group to demonstrate aromatics. His accessibility and personable humor guided the group throughout the class.

This discussion of the brewing process coincided with evaluating beer for color, head, flavor and mouth feel. This lead to the tasting of some delicious beers.

After the anticipation, the Hub City Brewhouse servers brought over the curated beer flights containing four different types of beers ranging in colors, tastes and alcohol levels.

The first of which was the amber ale — New Belgium Brewing Company’s Fat Tire — a sweet-tasting, full-bodied beer sporting a delectable toffee, caramel-y aroma.

The next beer in the flight was Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. This one was a dark beer — given away by the word “porter” — and was rich and interesting, but not quite my favorite of of the four.

Samuel Adams Rebel IPA was the third beer to reach my taste buds, which I enjoyed. Right away you could smell the intense hop-based pine and grapefruit aroma that this light copper-colored beverage gives off.

And the final beer was Ommegang Hennepin, a farmhouse Saison-style beer. This one packed a bit of a spicy kick with its peppery notes, and was savored with an earthy-dry finish. I’d say this one was my favorite of the four we tried.

The knowledge Rosen spewed informed my tasting of the beer, and I was able to pick up on little complexities and identify them with the information he provided, as all attendees tasted the beers together.

What began for me as simple interest and subsequent attendance to Beer 101 ended in further interest. Perhaps I will be back for another class.

Future classes over the span of the next few months investigate German and Belgian beers for the 101 class, and malt, hops and sours for the more advanced 201 class. These classes will take place every two weeks for six months: on the first Monday and third Tuesday of each month up until the end of September. A diploma is promised for attendees who make it ‘til the end.

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