December 8, 2011

TCNJ Alumni Profile

TCNJ featured Jacqui and Chip in the latest "Alumni Profile" section on the School of Business site.  Check it out!

November 8, 2011

A New Brew

Chip received a special request to brew a Belgium brown ale, Corsendonk.  Neither of us have had (or even heard of) this beer, so we had to take a trip to the liquor store to do a little R&D!

The brew went great, we can't wait to try it at the end of November!

October 24, 2011

We've Been Busy!

So much has happened since my last post, I have so much to tell you!

We're Published!
The most exciting is that we got interviewed for an article on the "Beer-stained Letter", a blog about NJ beer!  Take a look under the Oct 11 post, about half way down in the "Jersey Spotlight".  You can't miss our logo!

A Visit with Carton
Towards the end of September, we visited newly opened Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands.  We spent a few hours with Jessee, their head brewer, learning about their brewhouse (the equipment used to brew commercial beer), kegging system and day-to-day activities in the brewery.  He is so knowledgeable about the brewing process and taught us so much!  Thanks Jessee : )

The Business Plan
Our business plan is 95% finished!  We're scheduling a meeting with our primary potential investor in the next week or so.  Hopefully we'll be able to give our presentation sometime in November, keep your fingers crossed for us!

A Work in Progress...
We're still trying to get the recipe right for Rinn Duin Red Ale, we're going to brew another test batch tomorrow.  Hopefully it comes out closer to the way we want!!


September 15, 2011

A Visit to Kane!

This morning we visited newly opened Kane Brewing in Ocean Twp!  They've got a 20 barrel system (620 gallons, in non-brewing terms) and about 6,000 sq ft, very similar to what we'd like to get.  We spent a few hours with Mike Kane and his brewer Clay, asking the zillion questions that all new brewers have.  Mike was able to refer us to a few breweries in New England that are also making English Ales...I think a road trip is in our future!  It was great to see their set-up and get a feel for what our brewery may look like.

Tonight I (Jacqui) will be attending TCNJ's Business School Alumni Night in Princeton, and I'm excited to spread the word about Blackthorn to my fellow alumni, professors and faculty.  Hopefully I'll run out of business cards and meet someone who has some brewing experience to help us out.

Thanks again to Mike and Clay for spending time with us this morning!  Check them out at

August 17, 2011

Our New Beer! - Part 2

For the interim, our new beer is called "Irish Gold", but we need to come up with something more creative!  The keg was tapped in early August, and I had the first glass sitting alone on the deck.  My first thought was, "This is incredible!", but I wasn't sure if it was that good or if I was just enjoying my own, I had another.  It really was that good!  The beer was rich, malty, and so well balanced with the hops; I had to stop drinking til somebody got home to agree with me : )

The vote was unanimous, "Irish Gold" was one of everyone's favorite beers!  It didn't last long, so we've already brewed another 10 gallons that we'll keg in September.

July 7, 2011

Our New Beer!

Happy (belated) July 4th, we had a busy weekend filled with brewing!  Chip literally dreamt up a new beer that we experimentally brewed, while enjoying a few pints of Lawnmower!

While I can't tell you all of the secrets of our new brew, its an Irish style pale ale brewed with rich English malt and hops, with distinctive Irish yeast.  It should have a deep gold color with a smooth, rich flavor.

It should be ready to drink by the end of the month, so I'll keep you posted on how it turns out!


March 17, 2011

Atlanta - Not Really a Beer Town

I just got back from Atlanta on a [non-beer] business trip, and was pretty un-impressed with the local beer selection.  Coca-Cola's headquarters was right across from my hotel,  so that's the main draw for the city.

Of the beers I tried, none were like the malty, earthy brews that we're making.  This is great news, more markets where we can introduce new flavors to craft-beer fans!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 - Jacqui

March 1, 2011

A Little History...

After reading our last post, I hope you said "Rinn Duin, that's an interesting name!"  If it's not apparent yet, we're going to brew Irish (and English) style ales.  Here's some background on our names.

Where Blackthorn Came From:

The Blackthorn is an ancient Irish weapon, made from the wood of Blackthorn trees in the Shillelagh Forest, County Wicklow.  Originally used for defense against animals, the 2 foot long Blackthorn stick evolved into a club for war, with its dense knot (the root of the plant) on the end.  It is called a "bata" in Gaelic.

A Blackthorn, or Shillelagh

Because blackthorn wood is extremely hard and deadly, the English outlawed the weapon in the late 19th century. Since the Irish are so clever, they lengthened the Blackthorn to 3 ft, called it a Shillelagh and used it as a "walking stick." The modern Blackthorn is a 3 ft walking cane, usually used a decoration.

A Brief Story on Rinn Duin Castle:

The castle sits high atop Rinn Duin peninsula, stretching into the waters of Lough (Lake) Ree, in County Roscommon.  Said to be built in 1227 by Turlogh O'Conor, the castle was used to hold hostages during times of war.  In the early 1300's, Castle Rinn Duin became an integral part of the community, serving many purposes; town meetings were held there, a parish was established and the castle housed monasteries.
A current photo of Castle Rinn Duin
Some of Chip's family still lives in County Roscommon, and we can trace our lineage back to  Turlogh O'Conor.  A few years ago, Chip was lucky enough to take a trip to Ireland and visit with some of his family.  Our heritage is very rich and we’re excited to incorporate it into the brewery!

February 15, 2011

Rinn Duin Red Ale

This past weekend, we brewed our St. Patty's Day batch of (newly named) Rinn Duin Red Ale!  After finding out that our thermometer was about 10 degrees off (oops!), we recalibrated it and made some other minor tweaks to the recipe.
Now that we're mashing and sparging at the correct temps, we feel so much better!  We hit all of our temperatures (mash in, mash out, sparging) dead on, and the initial gravity is almost exactly what was predicted!  The color is an incredible deep red the taste is great!  Not too bad for a windy, brisk day in February (yep, we even brew in the snow...)

Get your pint glasses ready, St. Patty's Day is only 5 weeks away!


February 1, 2011

Our Business Plan is Born!

After months (well years) of talk and preparation, the first few pages of our business plan have been written!  We've had a very exciting start to 2011 and can't wait for the pieces to start falling into place.

Come back and visit us often, as we'll post updates on the brewery's planning process and beers we're making!