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.