Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yards splits

Yards Brewing's Tom Kehoe has dissolved his partnership with Bill and Nancy Barton. He retains the rights to the Yards name; the Bartons keep the site and equipment. Tom plans on finding a new location. (Reported by Jack Curtin and Lew Bryson.)

That's Tom Kehoe (on the left) and I at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in October the 2006 GABF: Tom Kehoe(l), Tom Cizauskas(r)
I first met Tom and then-partner Jon Bovit in Philadelphia in 1996 when I was brought on nearby as the original brewer for the Manayunk Brewing Company.

Yards Brewing was tiny back then: a cramped 2-room house, the back wall of which was supported by the earth of a hill. Open fermenters were cooled by a home air-conditioning unit. Some of the equipment had been bought from the Oxford Brewing Company of Maryland (where I had earlier worked as a brewer and then brewery manager).

But ahh, the beer - the flagship ESA (Extra Special Ale)! Distinctively fruity and piney, copper-colored, hints of spicy cedar wood, with a firm malty/toffee backbone. After some frustrating days of construction work at Manayunk, I would enjoy hand-pulled pints at the nearby Dawson Street Pub. And Tom was often forthcoming with technical help and advice.

Between the efforts of Yards and the proselytizing of beer writer Jim Anderson (now proprietor of a hotel in Scotland), cask ale could be found in many locations throughout Philadelphia. And that was 1995/96!

I wish Tom Kehoe success, wherever he may move Yards.

One esteemed brewing alumnus of Yards is Brandon Greenwood. In the late 1990s, he was the lead brewer when Tom moved the brewery to more spacious digs in Roxborough.

Greenwood, a Heriot-Watt graduate, is now the brewmaster for High Falls Brewing (formerly Genesee). In a recent World Beer Cup, his JW Dundee's Pale Bock won the gold medal for German-style Heller Bock.

UPDATE: 2007.12.20
Brandon has emailed me with this correction. Brandon was never the Brewmaster at High Falls. Dave Schlosser is the Brewmaster and the Pale Bock is his creation. Apologies!

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