scalehouse_120Pubs are a dime a dozen, but brew-pubs are special.  They have a cachet that makes them stand out because you get to drink the beer in the place where it was brewed.  For the past six years the Scale House Brew Pub has offered beer on tap, served directly from the tanks behind the bar.  Now owner Steve Fazzary is taking it to the next level.  Until now his pub-made beer has been brewed from a limited selection of extracts.  Now Fazzary has installed a 2 barrel pilot plant for all grain brewing that may be the start of a major expansion for the restaurateur.

"With the all grain system we can diversify," he says. "We can tweak, mix, come up with our own formulas and tastes and color.  It's going to be a huge boost for us here.  We're going to keep the extract beers that we already make, but we're going to add a minimum of three and possibly six more beers on tap.  And down the road for retail."

Around 2006 Fazzary purchased Northeast Pizza and leased two other storefronts in the Small Mall behind Triphammer Marketplace.  He opened a laundromat in the end store, but had a special plan for the middle space.

"When I took over the pizzeria I thought I needed to do something a little different," he says.  "I thought by brewing our own beer and having it on tap at the bar it would be different from what everybody else is doing.  I learned as we went along.  I thought the malt extracts was a perfect way to get started.  Then see how you like it and then take it one step further with a full grain system.  And that's what we did."

Pizza has always gone well with beer.  The pizza parlor and brew pub offer two atmospheres, different but compatible.  The pizza side offers the typical arrangement with a counter where you order your meal, and tables spread around the room.  The brew pub offers a more intimate setting with the three signature tanks behind the bar, tables arranged closely in a warm space covered with decoupage made of newspaper articles, wine and sailing magazines, old pictures of downtown Ithaca and local places in Lansing and the Ithaca area.  They are connected by an archway so you can experience the best of both worlds.

Steve Fazzary in his new all-grain brewerySteve Fazzary in a small back room that contains a new 2 barrel all grain brewing plant that will more than double the number of beers brewed at the Scale House

Fazzary has sold about 175 barrels of beer annually from the three extract-beer tanks behind the bar, serving it in glasses and growlers directly from tank to tap.  When a tank empties it takes between seven and nine days for a new beer to be ready.  The new system is a two barrel pilot plant, capable of brewing 62 gallons at a time.  He hopes that with the added capability he can raise annual sales between 300 and 400 barrels.

He has good reason to be optimistic.  About 50 people sampled the first two-barrel batch of all grain IPA (India Pale Ale) brewed in the all-grain tanks at a release party March 28th.  The entire batch sold out in a week and a half.

Until now the brew-pub has offered a Pilsner in the winter and a Hefleweisen in the summer, plus a red ale and a double bok.  By mixing the pilsner and the double bok he also offers a black and tan beer.  The new process will allow him to offer IPAs and pale ales and blond ales and cream ales, chocolate stouts... just about any kind of beer he can dream up.  Beer made in the all-grain system will be stored in kegs, freeing the tanks for continuous production.

He purchased a manual can filler and seamer eight months ago in anticipation of canning his beer in 16 ounce cans for sale in four-packs.  Fazzary says that will help sales because the beer lasts longer in cans than in a growler.  He hopes to begin selling canned beer by fall.  Eventually he wants to keg the beer made from extract so he can brew in those tanks while serving the beer on tap.

And his plans don't stop there.  Currently the all-grain system is in a small back room behind the pub.  Fazzary intends to purchase two more fermentors, which will give him the capability of brewing two IPAs back to back and a chocolate stout or a pale ale or some other flavor.  He says IPAs are the most popular, so they will be brewed continuously.

"This is going to open up a whole new world of beers that we can make," Fazzary says.  "Next we're going to make a chocolate stout, and then we're going to make a pale ale.  We're experimenting now with a blond ale and way down the road we'll probably brew a cream ale and an IPL, which is a hoppy lager beer."

Fazzary gets his extracts from a North Carolina firm.  The grains for the new system are coming from Champlain, and smaller batches from Horseheads and New York City with some from Canada.  As the brewing piece of his business grows, Fazzary has his eye on becoming a New York State Farm Brewery, which will eventually mean getting all his ingredients in New York State.  He says that will be possible because more malt houses are starting up and hops is becoming more available in-state.  And he isn't limiting the expansion to the beer side.

"We've added a whole new gourmet slice bar for lunchtime with different types of pizzas that sometimes aren't even on the menu," Fazzary says.  "With meatball tunnels and sausage rolls and chicken parmesan rolls and Philly cheese steak rolls.  We're adding some things to the menus, cutting some things out."

scale house barPub-brewed beers are on tap including tank-to-tap beers made from extracts, and now all-grain beers brewed in the back room

Fazzary says his favorite part of brewing is tasting the final product.  But he clearly loves concocting new beers.  While building the brew-pub six years ago Fazzary experimented with recipes using a home-brewing kit at home.  His son and Corning home brewer Keith Keegan from Corning helps Fazzary brew the beer.  They are currently experimenting with a five-gallon batch of blond ale.  If it turns out well they will craft a formula for the new system.

After that?  More flavors, canning, kegs and possibly a separate brewing facility.

"If this builds we may be looking for another building for a production brewery," he says.  "But we're going to start small and see how it goes.  We'll be able to do seasonal beers for Ocktoberfest, spring time or summer time beers.  I'm really excited about it."