DUANESBURG – Raising a glass is nothing new at any celebration, but those who want to salute Rotterdam’s Bicentennial now can do it in style with a pint of Heritage 1820 beer.
The pilsner is one of the latest creations from Back Barn Brewery in Duanesburg, created at the request of members of the Rotterdam Bicentennial Committee. Brewery owner Brenda Schworm and brew master Klaus Kuhland unveiled the pilsner Tuesday night to the public.
Jim Schaefer, town historian and Bicentennial Committee member, made the introduction between the two parties.
“We were thinking all kinds of liquor, wine, beer, distilled spirits, but we stuck with the beer,” Schaefer said at Back Barn Brewery Tuesday night. “I came out here just on a lark, met Brenda asked if they’ve ever done this?
“We would like something that is dated like early, 1820, something in the Colonial era and that got Klaus thinking.”
All the ingredients for the commemorative beer came together beginning last fall.
Schworm and Kuhland came across a farmer in Cherry Valley who asked if they had a use for a heritage hops from his farm.
“By virtue of their longevity, they are disease and mildew resistant more so than other commercial varieties,” Kuhland explained. “That’s why there is an interest in it because it is easier to grow, you don’t have to spray them as much, less to take care of, more chance that you are going to get a good crop.
“The gentleman said I am going to give you everything I got, and I’m interested can you do something with it. We put two and two together. This was a great opportunity, let’s make this beer to commemorate the Rotterdam Bicentennial and we’ll call it Heritage Pilsener.”
Kuhland requested the spelling to represent the German name of the western Czech city, Plzen, known for the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, specializing in bottom-fermented beer since 1842.
“I think this beer is very, very clean, like a pilsner should be,” Kuhland said. “It has a nice balance to it.
“It’s a nice summer type of beverage, an every person’s type of beer. You don’t have to be a craft connoisseur to enjoy this beer.”
Kuhland has been making beer since 1992 and has been a professional brewer since 2016, joining Back Barn Brewing in Feb. 2019.
The Heritage 1820 is a single run as Back Barn Brewery took all the hops available this year – all five pounds.
“It has a relatively lower alpha [acid], a soft bitterness which lends itself to the style of pilsner that I was going for, like a Bavarian, a South German-style pilsener,” Kuhland said. “It’s a little sweeter, but also maintains a bitterness balance. It’s there, but you really can’t taste it.”
Heritage 1820 is currently available at the Back Barn Brewery’s tap room in 5 and 10 oz. servings, available to-go in four-pack cans. Restaurants can get it for resale in 5-gallon kegs.
Schaefer helped create the logo – a windmill embossed on a pilsener glass.
“Rotterdam is a Dutch town, so therefore, let’s do a windmill on top of the pilsner glass,” he said. “It was just me, Klaus and Brenda at a table over there. It was like an awesome experience of creativity.”
Schaefer also had a hand in the commemorative creation.
“I actually participated in the brewing,” he said, smiling. “It was an all-day process.
“They had me pour the hops in. It was actually, kind of cool.”
The COVID-19 pandemic eliminated numerous Rotterdam Bicentennial celebrations, but hopes are high that the public will embrace the Heritage 1820 brew.
“We want to be involved with the community, we want to do things that draws into the rest of Schenectady County,” Schworm said. “We like being a part of the Ale Trail.”
For more about the Heritage 1820 pilsener visit www.backbarnbrewing.com.
Reach staff writer Stan Hudy at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @StanHudy.