On a Sunday afternoon, the sound of jazz music could be heard coming from the speakers inside Doc’Z pub on Main Street, while the smell of hops and barley filled the air.
Although the pub is closed to customers on Sunday, there is still activity going on at the pub. In the back, Katie Zilkoski is brewing the beer. This week, she is preparing the pub’s seasonal Gysler’s Guzzling Cherry Amber Ale, which will be ready in a week.
According to Dr. Mark Zilkoski, Katie Zilkoski’s father and founder of the pub, this will be the third year the cherry amber ale is brewed. It began two years ago when Mark Zilkoski was visiting John Gysler’s mother in the hospital. He texted Gysler and told him if he sent him 80 pounds of cherries from his orchard, he would make Gysler’s Guzzling Cherry Amber Ale.
The next year the pub brewed the ale, Gyslers donated 100 pounds of cherries. For this year’s batch, over 200 pounds of cherries were used in the process to make the ale. In exchange for donating the cherries, the Gyslers get to drink the beer for free.
“They were very generous this year,” Katie Zilkoski said.
Besides the increased amount of cherries, there are also different parts to the actual brewing of the beer. Katie Zilkoski, who has been brewing for three years, said she steeped the barley for 45 minutes instead of an hour, in an effort to give the ale more of a cherry flavor and a “pinkish” color.
The day before brewing, six to seven of the pub’s regular customers spent several hours in the courtyard, pitting the cherries.
In addition to the cherry amber ale, the pub also brews Neubauer’s Gnarly 104, which is a pumpkin ale made from 116 pounds of pumpkin donated by Neubauer Tree Farm.
Throughout the year, the pub also lets volunteers come to the courtyard and pick the Cascade hops that are used in the brewing process. In exchange for their work, the pub lets them drink free beer.
Although it is mostly about the beer, Dr. Mark Zilkoski said that it is great to see the community come together and help make the beer.