Ham and eggs, popcorn and movies, disco and roller skates, bacon and — well, everything. Some things in life are just better when paired together. Everyone has a preference as to which combination of items brings them the most joy. For David Rosenbaum, it’s beer and football.
Hailing from Andover, Massachusetts, the 47-year-old computer software salesman has only been homebrewing for three years, but already the hobby is paying off.
This past summer, Rosenbaum bested nearly 200 opponents in the second annual Samuel Adams Patriot Homebrew contest. His winning entry, an oatmeal stout, is now being served in Gillette Stadium at each New England Patriots home game this season.
Rosenbaum took news of his victory with gusto and a little automotive skill.
“I was driving when I got the call. It was very exciting news, but I managed to keep control of the car,” he said. “I called my girlfriend, my kids and my parents, e-mailed the (homebrew club) mailing list, and posted it on Facebook.”
“Then I took a breath!” he said.
Winning awards wasn’t new for Rosenbaum. He’d won some competition ribbons for his homebrew in the past, but this win was different. Something made this win taste just a little bit sweeter than most. The Pats.
“I’ve been a Pats season ticket holder since 1994, through five Super Bowls and two stadiums,” he said. “Now my beer will be served at the stadium and I can drink it in my own seat while I watch the game, knowing other fans are enjoying it too. It’s a huge thrill and honor!”
Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch was proud to add Rosenbaum’s entry to the list of available choices served at the stadium this season.
“David’s Oatmeal Stout is a delicious beer,” Koch said. “Its full-bodied, roasty character is complemented with a slight sweetness that will make (it) a perfect choice for the chilly Patriots games that we New Englanders attend.”
Rosenbaum said he entered another version of his oatmeal stout in last year’s competition, though it didn’t place. But the experience helped him fine-tune the beer into what would become this year’s best brew.
“I got feedback from the judges that it was too thin, though the flavor was good,” he said. He later tweaked the process by toasting the oats, mashing at 154 °F (68 °C) to create a smoother mouthfeel, and omitting the Irish Whiskey-soaked oak chips that were called for in the original recipe.
Rosenbaum started modestly like most homebrewers, with his first batch being an American amber extract kit. And like many first-time brewers, the first batch hit a couple of snags.
“The instructions were not specific enough on a couple of points, so I ended up with all my hops in the fermenter and then distributed in the bottles as trub,” he said. “The net result was a slightly phenolic, but moderately drinkable, beer. I shared it with some friends and they seemed to like it.”
After a few more attempts, Rosenbaum made the switch to all-grain. He still brews in his apartment kitchen on a gas stove, which he says limits him to 5-gallon (19-L) batches, but he’s adding more capabilities as often as he can.
“I’m working on converting my beer fridge into a kegerator — every homebrewer’s dream!” he said.
But when he’s not selling computer software, attending homebrew club meetings, or brewing the latest batch of bitter in his kitchen, you can bet that every Sunday through the end of this NFL season, Rosenbaum will be enjoying beer and football.
“For home games, I plan to be in my seat at Gillette cheering on the Patriots and enjoying — responsibly of course — my beer,” he said. “For away games, I’ll be watching on a big-screen HDTV with a homebrew and some friends. Either way, I’ll be wearing Patriots blue!”
Maple Ave Breakfast Stout Recipe
(5 gallons, all-grain)
O.G. = 1.069
F.G. = 1.012
8.8 lbs. (4 kg) Maris Otter 2-row pale malt
1.24 lbs. (0.6 kg) toasted flaked oats (I used Quaker Traditional)
0.83 lbs. (376 g) roasted barley
0.57 lbs. (259 g) crystal malt 80 °L
0.44 lbs. (200 g) crystal malt 120 °L
0.41 lbs. (186 g) black patent malt
0.17 lbs. (77 g) CaraPils® dextrine malt
0.41 lbs. (186 g) Chocolate Malt
2.5 oz. (71 g) Fuggle pellet hops (40.6 IBU) (45 mins)
1 tsp. Irish Moss (15 mins)
White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) yeast (starter recommended)
Step by Step
Mash at 122 ° F (50 °C) for 15 minutes, then raise temp to 154 °F (68 °C) and hold for 60 minutes (or until starch conversion is completed). Mash out at 170 °F (77 °C) for 10 minutes and begin collecting/recirculating. Collect enough wort so you will have about 5 gallons (19 L) left after the boil. Boil 60 minutes, adding hops as noted. Cool to 76 °F (24 °C), pitch yeast and ferment at 66 °F (19 °C) or so. Carbonate at 2 ATM and serve.