Ask the average high school student what they hope to be when they grow up, and “farmer” might not be a common answer — except, maybe, at John Bowne High School in Queens, where an agriculture program has been turning out aspiring growers, arborists, landscape architects and others since 1917.
Those students may prove to be important players in New York’s booming hops and farm-brewery industries — which was the impetus behind an IPA brewed at Lithology Brewing in Farmingdale a few weeks ago and which will benefit the school’s agriculture program.
Dubbed Loyal to the Soil, the unfiltered, New England-style India pale ale was produced in mid September by head brewer Manny Coelho and assistant brewer Pete Mahoney. It sprung out of a collaboration with Terrance Saporito, founder of Long Island Strong, a company that creates merchandise to promote local shopping and benefit charities. Saporito came up with the idea of the Loyal to the Soil beer series. “[John Bowne] brings in students from all over the city, and these kids are really serious about their professions,” said Saporito. “It all ties in and comes full circle.”
The beer itself has local roots: Coelho used Tahoma hops grown at the Route 27 Hop Yard in Moriches, as well as two-row barley malted upstate, for a lower-alcohol (4.2 percent) IPA with a hazybody and citrusy undercurrents. “It’s not filtered, so it’s more earthy,” than other IPAs, said Coelho.
Lithology will be pouring it for the first time at the October 26 launch party, which starts at 7 p.m., costs $25 and is limited to 100 guests. All of the proceeds from the party will go to John Bowne High School, as will a portion of sales once Loyal to the Soil is distributed, both in kegs and on tap, across Long Island. “We might eventually make [Loyal to the Soil] a collection of beers from LI breweries,” Saporito added. “But we really want this one to go well first.”
However, Coelho may have a hunch that Loyal to the Soil will be a hit: A second batch is already in the fermenter.