BRIDGEPORT — They may never have heard of the neighborhood, but beer lovers in Amsterdam have Bridgeport to thank for an interesting new brew now hitting the shelves of their canal-lined city.
Marz owner Ed Marszewski, who counts several Dutch brewers as friends, said his team has long sought to cultivate a partnership with the rapidly expanding Brouwerij ‘t IJ operation.
“This basically helps us kick off our new venture in Amsterdam,” he said.
On a recent visit to the Dutch capital, Marszewski’s crew supplied the local brewers with a generous helping of Falconer’s Flight hops — a variety of the bittering agent that is commonly used by American brewers but difficult to come by in Europe.
“We brought them a secret weapon,” he said.
The Dutch brewers incorporated the hops — known for supplying the grapefruit aroma often associated with American craft beer — into an original recipe that would become Bridgeport’s namesake brew. They recently completed brewing an inaugural batch of roughly 4,000 liters.
While Bridgeport Barley Wine won’t be available in America anytime soon, Marszewski said Marz brewers plan to incorporate Dutch techniques and ingredients into their own beers in the coming months.
“We’ll give these guys some new ideas and tricks, and they’ll teach us how to make their flawless Belgian-style beer,” he said.
Additionally, the Brouwerij ‘t IJ team will be using its equipment to brew several Marz recipes for retail in the Netherlands.
“We’ll probably have a bigger distribution in Amsterdam than in the U.S. for a while,” Marszewski said.
Marz Community Brewing — which bills itself as less of a traditional brewery than a community of beer aficionados — brews several Bridgeport-inspired beers in addition to providing contract brewing services to restaurants and working to cultivate an active network of local home brewers.
Bridgeport Barley Wine is 10 percent alcohol by volume and described as rich, heavy and balanced on the Brouwerij ‘t IJ Facebook page. Its label pays homage to the neighborhood’s working class character via a photograph of the Chicago River backdropped by the city skyline and an industrial-era railroad bridge.
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