Stories with Norm: Chapter 10 – Being a pest gets a coconut beer
2014 September 13
by Norman Miller
In 2010, I got news that excited me immensely – a brewery was opening in Worcester.
I worked in Framingham and lived in Leominster, so Worcester was pretty much the middle point between those points, so I couldn’t wait for the Wormtown Brewery to open.
I interviewed brewer Ben Roesch and co-founder Tom Oliveira at the brewery before it opened. I tried the beers and thought they were pretty darn good.
The best thing was, in those early years, whenever Wormtown had a new beer come out, they would host a beer-release party – either at Peppercorn’s in Worcester where Wormtown is (only for a little while more), or at bars throughout the Worcester area.
Probably explaining to Ben Roesch why a coconut beer made a lot of sense.
As many of you know, I’ve had a long-time obsession with someone brewing a chocolate-coconut stout. I’d mention it to pretty much any brewer I interviewed and Ben heard it more than anyone. Because the beer release parties were mostly on my way home from work, I’d get to stop at most of them and I’d have a beer or two with Ben and Tom and a few others who always went to the parties.
And, of course, I’d always bring up the chocolate-coconut stout idea to Ben. One night, I believe it was at the second-anniversary release party at the Horseshoe Pub in Hudson, I was talking to Ben about the chocolate-coconut stout when he said, “OK, I’ll brew the (expletive) thing.”
In 2012, right after my mother died and at my first book signing for “Beer Lover’s New England,” held at Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, Ben brought growlers of the chocolate-coconut stout, which he had called Norm. I was honored and touched, given to how close it was to my mother dying. It meant a lot, particularly since the beer was absolutely great.
I think Ben may regret brewing that beer. From the stories I’ve heard, it’s a horror show and a terrible cleanup after brewing, but damn it, it’s amazing. Make sure to ask Ben to brew it again this year.
The one downside to him brewing Norm is that Ben won’t listen to anymore of my great ideas. Come on Ben – an Asian pear honey wheat ale would be amazing. You don’t even need to name it after me, although Norm 2 has a great sound to it.
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