Cataldo’s Harpoon 100 Barrel Series

harpoon brewing company
harpoon brewing company
John Cataldo, Harpoon Brewery

Harpoon Brewery has a special opportunity for its employees, as well as a tremendous tradition for those who love craft beer.

Each quarter Harpoon selects one person from its staff to create a 100 Barrel Series, a small batch series created by one or few, distributed by Harpoon. This past quarter Harpoon selected John Cataldo from its quality team.

“It was a real honor,” said Cataldo. “Both humbling and exciting at the same time. I really wasn’t expecting it. It was a nice surprise.”

Cataldo was asked to brew Harpoon’s Brown IPA. “I came up with a recipe and it gained popularity, everyone really liked it and they told me they were going to make it into a 100 Barrel Series,” he said.

The Brown IPA that Cataldo created was number 49, so there haven’t been too many distributed. “They were looking for some new recipes and a brown IPA was the style they were interested in,” he said. “I was given the opportunity to come up with a recipe and brew it.”

There are other avenues for recipes to reach the 100 Barrel Series. For example, each year Harpoon holds a homebrew competition among its staff. The winner of the competition is selected for one 100 Barrel Series of that year.

“That’s a really fun way, and a great opportunity for people who aren’t in production, just anyone from the brewery really to make a beer,” said Cataldo. “This was fun, it was something that was drummed up from within,” he continued about the Brown IPA. “We’d made a Brown Ale in the past, hadn’t turned it into an IPA yet. And I hadn’t had too many myself, so this was fun to do because I had to do a little bit of research into the style and its not one that is up and coming like the White IPA, which is a pretty popular style right now.”

Cataldo’s inspiration came from his desire to create a hoppy brown ale. “Sort of might be semantics to say it that way, but that’s sort of the mindset I tried to go with,” he explained. “I wanted to make a great brown-based beer first, then make it hoppy. At the same time, not going over the top with IBUs, considering I wanted to make it sessionable, with a sessionable ABV, something you could have a few pints of it and not be knocked over. That was my train of thought.”

In the recipe Cataldo used chocolate and honey malts combined with Chinook, Simcoe and Amarillo hops. “I’ve worked with honey malt a lot, I’ve used it in my homebrewing,” he explained. “It’s a nice alternative to crystal malt, so I wanted some of the sweetness, and the chocolate was to add some of that chocolate and toasty, brown malt flavor to it. It’s a little on the roastier side of the brown ale than something like a nut brown that’s a little sweeter.”

This may not be the last 100 Barrel Series for Cataldo in the upcoming year. His Quality Team has been working on a homebrew to enter into this year’s competition that they believe will be regarded as fantastic. If so, we may see another one of Cataldo’s recipes grace our palates real soon.

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