Sunday, March 6, 2016

Loving Our Local Brewers at the Craft New York Brewers Festival

I 'm impressed, as I hope you are, with the burgeoning craft brew industry in New York. There are some truly fine brews in our back yard, and a great deal of tasting to be done in order for us to sort out our favorites. So in the spirit of exploring the craftsmanship of our local brewers Saturday I struck out in search of good beer. Luckily for me this past weekend was the 3rd annual Craft New York Brewers Festival at the Desmond Hotel, with two tiers of tickets.  I chose upper tier, which also provided access to the food catered by a couple dozen or so local caterers, restaurants and pubs.There were also a group of  rare and one-off beers reserved for the VIP tier*.

Others in our region had the same idea and the event was completely Sold Out.  Wonderful!  People are getting hip to the fact that New York does good beer,  ale and stout.

The Desmond organized the event very well and of course they have excellent exhibit space so that brewers and caterers had plenty of room to serve up their finest wares.  Since the VIP ticket holders knew that we had an hour to enjoy the food and drink with a smaller crowd we were pretty much all at the door by 4pm. Everything was set up and ready for us, and so we all played out our various strategies for enjoying as much as possible of what was on offer.

Since the VIP tickets were issued to a smaller group, there was plenty of time to talk with brewers and get the inside story regarding the beers and other aspects of their brewing.  That's a lot of the fun for me, since I'm discovering that brewers are sort of half business people and half artists.  And all around they seem to be a jolly bunch.

One of the first people I met was a man who grows hops in his yard as a hobby and is starting to make connections with breweries who like what he produces.  He had some hops in a box and I was curious regarding exactly what the taste of a hop is.  So I munched it.  I mean, what is a festival for if you're not going to try things you'd never think of trying? It was sort of  mind bending and I now understand what the hops contribute to the overall brew.

The food was very good and complemented the beer.  The beer was superb.  I'm no beer snob, just learning about what is out there but I had all delicious and intriguing beers that had yards and yards of flavor.  The prize for the most weird was the Peanut Butter Porter  - oh yeah, I know how it sounds.  It took me awhile to wrap my head around it, but it holds a place in my heart.  Another superb example was the Water Street Brewery Strong Ale.  That one was a pleasure I will seek out again.

I'm not sure how long this link will last, however a run down of the breweries and caterers is here:

As good as it was, I'm happy to know that this annual festival is only one of lots and lots of festivals and other opportunities to get out there and try some wonderful brewskies. Go and support the people who work hard to produce the most delightful beers possible.


*VIP Tickets included the following rare on one off beers: Farmhouse Brewery –The Sour Evangelist, Sour Tomatillo Gose, Upstate Brewing -Double IPA, Empire Brewing Company –Two Dragons, CH Evans – Rum Barrel Aged Poor Soldier Porter, Olde Saratoga Brewing – Saratoga Kolsch Aged in Chardonnay Barrels, Crossroads Brewing – Black Rock Stout, Saint James Brewery – Bottled Conditioned Apple Ale “Pomme” Made with apples from Long Island, Erie Canal Brewing – Amber Waves of Grain American Pale Ale & Locktender IPA, Shmaltz Brewing Co – Funky Jewbelation, Coney Island Brewing – MerMAN Imperial Pilsner, Saranac – Barrel Aged Imperial Rye Porter, Four Mile Brewing – Reap Series featuring all NYS hops and malts, Greenport Harbor Brewing– Cuvaison 2015 and Canard Noir (Black Saison), Browns Brewing – Barrel Aged Imperial Brown Ale,Wolf Hollow Brewing Company – District 6 IPA with a special “trifecta” addition of local hops from RockinHops: Chinook, Centennial, and Columbus, Prison City Brewing – Passion Fruit Sour,Binghamton Brewing – Xocolatl Aztec Porter, Good Nature Brewing – Bier De Marc, Communtiy Beer Works – Smoke Rauchbier, The Brewery at CIA/Rare Form Collaboration – Ludicrous Speed Winter Pale Ale – an unfiltered golden pale ale brewed with lemon peel and juniper berries, Southern Tier – Grand Arbor – a limited release Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale brewed with Local NYS Maple Syrup,Wolf Hollow Brewing –  District 6 IPA Cask with a fresh Centennial hop from “Rockin Hops” a local hop grower, Adirondack Brewery – Firkin of Ryan’s Irish Red with wood chips soaked in irish whisky, Rushing Duck – Dog’s Bollocks, a barrel aged barleywine from 2014, Lake Placid Pub & Brewery – Imperial Smoked Porter, Brooklyn Brewery – Improved Old Fashioned the latest barrel aged BQE Series, 

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