Mr. Harry’s Pig Tale Extra Pale Bonn Place Brewing
Well, it’s not an “IPA” because it’s not fully English... but it is a nice hybrid, “strong,” hoppy pale ale! A blend of New World hops and English malt and yeast brewed in the traditional English style, single-infusion mash.
It’s those milds that brought home two medals at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival. Mooey, a 4.8% ordinary bitter took silver in the ordinary or special bitter category. Nemo, a 3.8% English-style dark mild, earned bronze in the English-style mild ale category.
That a brewery that has been open only a year can place with two medals in two very similar categories shows that his milds are worth seeking out and clearly done right. While most are served on tap, once a week (so long as he’s not traveling), Masotto will release a cask of real ale, one that has been properly kept and cellared.
“There’s a re-education needed for some, or a right first-time exposure to the style for others,” he says. While he’s not against monkeying around with casks (like adding pumpkin spice latte flavors to some), he finds that a low ABV cask, properly naturally carbonated and served from the bar will go quickly to the growing number of regular patrons who are in on the secret. Doing it well depends on doing it right.
There’s also a nod to history. Mooey, for example, is an homage to Boddingtons, the brewery is trying to get craft consumers to get out of the IPA comfort zone and experience the pleasure in more rounded styles.
“I’ve heard from people, ‘This beer isn’t good, it’s not hoppy and strong’ and that’s not great to hear,” he says. By making alternatives to IPAS, he’s encouraging drinkers to take the same journey he once did in discovering new beers.
That’s not to say he doesn’t make IPAS or hoppy beers—he does. “We’ve made many IPAS, and they are very popular, but I’m likely going to call them double pale, strong pales, whatever they seem to me, but IPAS aren’t really done in the tradition that inspired them, so we should really be calling them American hoppy or something.”
Again, spend time with him, and Masotto, it’s clear, is a guy who thinks a lot about different things and is comfortable charging into conversations, with not only passion but well-thought knowledge to back it up.
“I am who I am, and I like to say I brew what I like, and if others like that too, that’s wonderful; we just don’t need to get hung up on labels.”
He uses New England IPA as a current example. When a brewery advertises one, customers know what they are saying. The challenge is to get them out of the predetermined mindset, which is a big challenge, and think about the beer as the sum of its parts rather than just a style name.
“It’s a stance that I take because I can. Our customers trust us and drink what we make regardless of what we call it and maybe discover something new,” he says.
It’s this attitude, the comfort of the brewery tasting room, and a true commitment to community (he’s already brewed several beers with all Pennsylvania-grown ingredients) that have quickly garnered him regulars, planned visits from out of state, and a growing list of fellow brewers wanting to collaborate.
“My mantra is family, employees, and customers. If they are happy, I’m happy. Find the balance, do the right thing, and you can achieve success.”