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March 02, 2009 - Yards, Iron Hill Combine To Make Rare Polish Beer for Philly Beer Week
Steve Mashington of Yards Brewing Company and Justin Sproul of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant's original Newark location have joined forces to brew Yards Smoked Polish Wheat, a Grodziski-style beer for Philly Beer Week.

"As far as I know, this style has never been brewed in this country before," says Mashington, "and it is all but forgotten in its native land, Poland, as well. There are maybe one or two producers left in that country."

Mashington's desire to brew the beer, which he describes as a "smokey, slightly tart wheat beer of very low alcohol," was part of the inspiration for the Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em smoked beer event at the Yards Brewery on Friday, March 13. He read about Grodzizkis in a Michael Jackson book and originally planned to brew it on the original small Yards brewing system which will be set up in a small corner of the new Delaware Avenue brewery for just such small-batch projects but when it became clear that setting up the mini-brewhouse was at least a year in the future, he shelved the idea.

"Then, when I was at the Iron Hill Newark Cask Ale Event earlier this year, I started talking to Justin about it and how cool it would be to resurrect a dead style of beer. He got all excited and said `Let’s brew it here!' And that's just what we did."

Both brewers began researching the style, determining that no one has made it since the early 1990s. Mashington found a recipe in a home brewing book by Randy Mosher, who provided further information that he had and confirmed that NO ONE had ever commercially produced a Grodziski in the USA.

The original recipes we could find called for almost 100% smoked wheat malt," Mashington says. "Since we didn't have the time or resources to smoke 500lbs of wheat malt, we had to sort of reverse engineer this beer. Beechwood smoked malt, wheat malt and some acidulated malt highlighted the grain bill. We elected for a Kolsh/Alt yeast thinking that was probably the closest thing to a yeast strain you would find in Poland at the time. Since this beer should not be hoppy, we figured on Northern Brewer and Saaz, but in very small quantities."--JACK CURTIN