Tag Archives: New York Brewery

Brooklyn Beer School

brooklyn brewery

One of the perks of being “The Craft Beer Girl” is making friends in the beer industry. One of the perks of making friends in the beer industry is having the opportunity to attend special craft beer events. Brooklyn Beer School is one such event. Periodically, Brooklyn Brewery invites industry members (distributor reps, bar owners, etc.) to come down to Brooklyn and learn more about the history and culture of the brewery and a little about beer in general.

Located at 79 North 11th Street in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Brewery has been at the center of a cultural and gastronomical renaissance, taking place in Brooklyn over the last 20 years. We arrived on a Thursday afternoon, greeted by Steve Hindy, president and co-founder. The tasting room is simple, a large warehouse with concrete floors. We grabbed a beer and sat at picnic tables while Steve told us the story of how he, a foreign correspondent, and his neighbor Tom Potter, a banker at the time, came to start the brewery 25 years ago. To hear stories of Steve’s time in Beirut, and of his other experiences as a journalist, I am inspired. Enchanted by his sense of adventure and nostalgia, like falling in love.

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Visiting Saranac Brewery

Last week I traveled out to Utica, NY to visit the Matt Brewing Company, home to Saranac beer. As the second oldest family-owned brewery in the country, and the oldest in New York State, the Matt Brewery is rich with history. As soon as you enter the tour center at 830 Varick Street, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a museum. Originally the bottling works of the brewery, the tour center was designed and decorated back in the 60’s, by Walter Pfeiffer – a leading Victorian architect at the time. The room, featuring high-ceilings and Italian tile floors, is filled with Victorian-era antiques… Certainly not the type of decor that I’m used to seeing at a brewery!

The tour begins with a history lesson as our guide points out a display case full of old bottles and cans representing the numerous products and brands produced at the brewery over the years. From the first 1888 Lager made by The West End Brewing Company, founded by F.X. Matt the same year, to the current line-up including Saranac Beer & Soft Drinks, Utica Club, and a number of other specialty products for smaller breweries. Recently ranked the 12th largest* brewery in the United States, and 6th* out of the top 50 US Craft Breweries, the Matt Brewing Company has a lot to be proud of.

saranac brewery tour

More About Visiting Saranac Brewery…

Custom BrewCrafters Haunted Brewery

Still looking for something to do for Halloween? This Saturday, October 27, from 5pm-9pm the brewery at Custom BrewCrafters will be “bewitched” with all sorts of mischief and mayhem! Take the Haunted Brewery Tour to catch a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes when the night crew is on duty. What really goes into the craft beer you know and love?

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2012 Flour City Brewer’s Fest

What: 2012 Flour City Brewers Fest – Beer Festival & Tasting Event

When: September, 21, 2012 6-9pm (VIP ticket holders enjoy early admission at 5pm)

Where: Frontier Field, 1 Morrie Silver Way, Rochester, NY, 14608 (map)

Buy Tickets at: http://fcbrewfest.com/tickets.php

FCbrewerfest logoA long-standing part of the Rochester, NY beer community, Rohrbach Brewing Company has been hosting the annual Flour City Brewers Fest since 1995. I spoke with brewery owner, John Urlaub, about the growth of the festival and in the local craft beer community. With more than 20 years in business, Rohrbach Brewing is an O.G.* in the Rochester beer scene. “The craft beer community has exploded in Rochester,” said Urlaub, “we’ve seen more growth in the past 2 years, than we did in the 18 years before that… The local community here really embraces and supports craft beer, and they love to talk about it!  It’s really cool.”

The first brewers fest was held at Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, NY and hosted only a dozen or so breweries.  Since then, the festivities have been moved to Frontier Field in downtown Rochester, and the list of participating breweries has more than tripled in size. Urlaub adds, “Today, people are coming to the Brewers Fest hoping to find their new favorite… Back then, we were just trying to get people to try a flavorful beer!”

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Saranac Hop Harvest 2012

saranac-hop-harvest

The sun feels hot on my back as the sticky bines cling to my fingers. It’s calm and meditative work, picking hops by hand, no doubt very much the way it was done years ago, when these heirloom varieties were first harvested.  Fresh resinous smells waft up towards my face, as I watch the hop cones drop into the basket in front of me, one by one. I look around at smiling faces, long tables lined with volunteers, all happy to be a part of the harvest.

harvesting hopswrobel farms - bridgewater, nybushel of hops

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Sherwood Inn: Saranac Summer Beer-B-Que

The following is a guest post, written by a good friend of mine, Ryan Conaughty.  I met Ryan while he was studying for his Masters in Creative Writing at SUNY Brockport.  He’s taught me a lot about craft beer and has been a huge supporter of this site since it’s inception.  If you enjoy his writing, I recommend checking out his bike journal titled, TransAm Blues, wherein he tells the story of the time he rode his bicycle across the whole freaking country, by himself.  He’s a great writer, a great friend, and he knows a whole lot more about beer than I do.  Enjoy!

sherwood inn

The Sherwood Inn sits on the northern shore of Skaneateles Lake, an emblem of vintage class and elegance. It’s a gorgeous building; beautifully simplistic. It stands with subtle dignity, a testament to the days of nickel beers and horse-drawn carriages. To me, it represents a lifestyle we lost somewhere along the way: one without constant and immediate technological distractions that rip us away from each other while pretending to connect us. The Sherwood Inn is a building that reminds me of the good old days that we easily forget about and then wish that we could somehow get back.

the good old days

The lighting is soft and low inside the Inn. The bar in the tavern is old and comforting. It’s dark and there’s a low murmur with the sounds of clinking glass and bottles. It’s one of those bars you walk into and you can feel the stories emanate from the scratches and scuffs in the gloss of the wood. It feels as though you’ve stepped back into the past and it feels completely natural to be there. Outside, the sun is slipping out of the sky toward the horizon and people are beginning to sit down for dinner. There is a small table with various NY cheeses: sharp, smoked, creamy, it’s all beautiful. I see servers walk past me with balsamic onion and goat cheese tartlets and another with bacon wrapped dates. There is a large table with cold bottles and cans of Saranac Blueberry Blonde, Summer, and Pale Ale that people are helping themselves to.

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TAP NY 2012 – the Saga Continues…

TAP-NY-2012

Sunday morning started early.  We had forgotten to close the curtains in the hotel room so we were up with the sun and ready for another round… after a few Advil and a cup of coffee of course.  Breakfast was our first order of business.  After stopping at 4 ATMs we finally found one with cash and were able to procure a couple of bagel sandwiches and some iced coffee. (Pro Tip: Mountain Bagels & Cafe doesn’t take plastic.)  From there it was back to the Forrester to await the arrival of the other brew crew members that were joining us for day two.

More About Day Two at TAP NY 2012…

TAP NY 2012 – Day One

TAP-NY-2012

We woke much earlier than normal for a Saturday, anxious for the long awaited journey that lie ahead.  Bleary eyed and in desperate need of coffee, we loaded “Blue” (our trusty pickup truck) with two days provisions and hit the road…  We arrived in Hunter, NY just before noon and checked into our room at the Forrester Lodge.  From there it was just a short walk (score!) to our final destination — the TAP New York Craft Beer & Fine Food Festival.

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