Heavyweight's Fifth Anniversary
8/14/2004

Heavyweight Brewing. To thousands of beer geeks those words mean big, bold beers many unique in their ingredients and few that fit into a style category. Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver have made this brand a recognized commodity far outside the borders of the Garden State. They have won acclaim in many venues, even the Great British Beer Festival! Recently, they have achieved what so many craft brewers have not, their fifth anniversary in business! Many say that to reach this point, you have weathered some of your biggest storms, but Tom realizes that there will be more rain on the horizon and maintains his enthusiasm for his art.
Like Willie Wonka, his imaginative ideas are brought to life in his small brewery in Ocean Twp. His fans are always awaiting the next creation and actually show up with ideas and help him brew it. Collaborative brews have been a large part of his business over the years. Perkunoís Hammer, the Imperial Porter, has been a great success story and started as a collaboration with writer Lew Bryson. Two Druids Gruit Ale was brought to him by ASN editor Tony Forder and is a regular seasonal. Stickenjab Alt was at first brewed with the NJ Assoc.of Beer Writers and has earned a spot on the flagship roster. Recently, Beer Advocate supporters helped him brew a popular Imperial Stout called B.O.R.I.S. Iím sure thereíll be many more partnerships in the coming years.
On August 14, Tom & Peggy invited all their friends to help them celebrate this milestone at the brewery and, as usual, many showed up bearing gifts of beer, scotch and food of all kinds. Added to what they already had, offered a large selection for the attendees. Despite the threat of a tropical storm looming, many familiar faces made their appearance, but also a lot of new ones arrived and some who just happened to stumble upon the gathering not realizing they had a brewery in their backyard! To the delight of the crowd, everyone got to taste just about everything that Tom has produced past and present with a few exceptions. As a special treat, Tom brewed a sahti for the occasion, a Finnish beer made with juniper boughs and crushed juniper berries. It was quite young, but very interesting. He even poured the last known supply of Triticum Bock, his wheat bock.


Sales of his bottled One Time, One Place beers, B.O.R.I.S. and Golden Idol, his Orval-style Ale, were brisk as this was the one time, one place they were available. These beers were hand-bottled in 750ml bottles and very limited in quantity. Probably never to appear again.
With his limited capacity, Tom can barely keep up, but still tries to maintain a variety with the OTOP beers. He just added two Grundy tanks to increase his storage capacity and hopes to add fermenters at some point in the future. Heavyweight has also entered the Albany, NY and Richmond, VA markets recently, putting a strain on his resources but felt that the move was a good one financially. They hope to increase their production to 700 bbl this year.
Check out their website, www.heavyweightbrewing.com, and sign up for their e-mail list and get invited to all their special events. Support your local breweries!


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