20170425

New Brews News: Pale Sour from Ommegang

Brewery Ommegang this month will release a new year-round beer called Pale Sour. It is a 6.9% ABV mixed fermentation sour beer developed by Ommegang's brewmaster Phil Leinhart and the master blenders at its sister brewery, Liefmans, in Oudenaarde, Belgium.

Pale Sour begins with a mixed culture fermentation in open copper vats then is aged over several months in stainless tanks. Blenders mix new batches with older ones until the flavor balance they're looking for is achieved.

The beer is available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles and on draft at the brewery beginning this Saturday, April 29. It also will be available from some Ommegang retailers.

Brewery Ommegang is located at 656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown. Phone: (607) 544-1800.

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Another brewery/brewpub on the drawing boards in Troy

Site of proposed brewery/brewpub at Congress St. and Pawling Ave. (Photo by Google Earth)
Troy may be getting yet another craft brewery operation.

A partnership seeking to convert a former church into a brewery and brewpub  has submitted a request to the City Zoning Board for a use variance/special use permit to allow for "a parking deficiency related to the creation a brewery/brewpub with an approximate occupancy load of 200 people."

Then site is 560 Congress Street, near the intersection with Route 66 (Pawling Avenue). The applicant is Louis Emory, a Troy resident.

The building, which backs up on the Poestenkill Falls on a hill above downtown, had been home to the Mt. Ida Community Baptist Church that recently closed. It is adjacent to the pocket park known as the Col. Albert Pawling Memorial Park where a statue of the city's first mayor was installed last April.

The Zoning Board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, May 2, in the City Hall chambers in the Hedley Building.

Currently, the city is home to a lineup of craft breweries and/or tap rooms and beer gardens that includes Brown's Brewing Co., Rare Form Brewing Co., the recently-opened Beer Diviner, a recently-reported brewpub project in a former North Central warehouse at 669 River Street, Wolff's Biergarten downtown near the Green Island Bridge, The Hill at Muza European-style beer garden off Congress Street, and a variety of pubs offering a long list of brews including the 32-tap array at Finnbar's Pub.

Go here for a list of the craft breweries operating in the Greater Capital Region.
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A proposal for a true 'Upper Hudson Valley Beverage Trail'

A rough outline of a proposed beverage trail
When do efforts to capitalize on local pride and promotion fall short of what could be achieved by broadening one's scope? We may find out if two state lawmakers from the Greater Capital Region are successful in getting state help to promote craft beverage production in a small slice of the area.

The Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce is working with State Sen. Elizabeth Little (R-Queensbury) and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) on just such an initiative. They would like to designate a regional craft beverage and winemaking trail for Warren and Washington counties under a state Department of Transportation (DOT) program. What it would entail is placing signs along state roadways directing motorists to craft breweries, wineries and distilleries, as well as including such a trail in the state's advertising and marketing of the craft beverage industry.

The effort is being buoyed by Travelocity and The American Distilling Institute recently putting the Glens Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area in its new index of top 10 small U.S. metro areas for craft spirits tourism.

All of which looks fine at first glance. But, at second glance the plan could be considered myopic.

The area already is covered by the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail, a collection of  more than a dozen wineries and tasting rooms plus affiliate businesses in Warren, Washington, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties. That existing cooperative venture could become so much more with the right vision and support.

New York State has long labored under the financially redundant and often conflicting burden of having too many school districts, stand-alone fire and police departments, hamlets-within-villages-within-towns, and on and on. Perpetuating such a failed organizational model by championing such cumbersome constructs in an alcoholic beverage industry that is undergoing a boom in all categories seems quite unwise.

Consider, around the state we already have beverage trails that bump up against each other, sometimes creating some confusion when promoting cooperative events. Do we need more of that? I suggest the lawmakers might expand the scope of their current intent. Rather than simply adding another entity to the mix, they could seek DOT and state marketing assistance to go beyond the small area now being targeted and helping the Upper Hudson Wine Trail become the Upper Hudson Beverage Trail and attracting as many wineries, breweries, distillers and cideries as  possible in the true "Upper Hudson" area.

The idea is not far-fetched. Whereas New York once had just a handful of wine trails, today it has 21 -- 15 that are wineries-only, 6 that include brewers and distillers under the "beverage trail" rubrick.

Most beverage trails have partnerships with a variety of hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants, tour vehicle companies, and craft food artisans that offer enticements to tourists. Imagine the promotional clout available to a well-formed beverage trail that stretches a manageable 60-plus miles from Albany and Rensselaer counties to the south to Lake George to the north.

So, Senator Little and Assemblywoman Woerner, care to discuss?

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20170422

Common Roots' new tanks triple size of its current ones

New tanks at Common Roots (photo provided)
How big are beer tanks these days? Well, in the case of Common Roots Brewing Co. in South Glens Falls, just compare the size of their new 60-barrel stainless steel tanks with the size of the truck delivering them in the photo above.

The tanks arrived Thursday from Fronhofer Design LLC of nearby Cossayuna, Washington County. They are three times the size of Common Roots' current cellar tanks. They were paid for by part of a $100,000 grant to the family-owned brewery as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council awards.

The brewery was founded by the father-son team of Bert and Christian Weber in 2013 and makes Belgian-inspired brews. It is located at 58 Saratoga Avenue. Phone: (518) 409-8248.

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20170420

City Beer Hall cooking dinner at Common Roots Brewing

Beer-and-food pairing dinners usually are held at restaurants. Here's one going in the other direction.

Common Roots Brewing in South Glens Falls will be hosting such an event, called "An Evening of Wild beers," cooked by visiting staff from Albany's City Beer Hall.

The five-course dinner, set for 6 p.m. next Tuesday, will feature food paired with Common Roots’ special sour and barrel-aged beers, some exclusive to the event. Reservations, priced at $60 including tax and tip, must be purchased in advance online.

Common Roots is located at 58 Saratoga Avenue. Phone: (518) 409-8248.
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20170417

Cornell planning craft beer roundtable seminar

Cornell University will host a two-day CHR Craft Beer Roundtable seminar for people involved, or who want to be involved, in the craft beer industry.

The event, scheduled for Sunday, April 30, and Monday, May 1, will include speakers and specialty panelists from Cornell's School of Hotel Management and its SC Johnson College of Business as well as other colleges, representatives of several leading craft brewing companies, the Brewers Association and the New York State Brewers Association.

Discussion topics include:
• Deepening the Customer Connection: Sharing Your "Authentic" Story
• Beer Ratings, What Does That Mean?
• What Shall We Call Our Beer?
• The Old College Try: How Can the Collegiate World and the Beer Industry Benefit From One Another?
The full agenda and list of participating speakers is available online, as is registration information.
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20170413

Brewers Association takes aim at classless beer names

From Food & Wine
No more Batshit ale.

Drinking a couple brews is known to lower people’s inhibitions, but when it comes to naming beers, the Brewers Association (BA) wants its members to keep their wits about them. This week, the trade group for small and independent brewers announced it no longer would allow beers with offensive or sexist names to be marketed using the association’s intellectual property.

Importantly, the Brewers Association runs two of the world’s most prestigious beer competitions, the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup.

The BA’s new policy effectively prevents offensively named beers from displaying any medals won at these competitions in their marketing materials. Additionally, though the BA says these beers can still be entered in its competitions, if one happened to win, the victory will not be publically acknowledged. “If a brewery with an offensive name or label were to win an award, we would not read that name from the stage,” said Bob Pease, BA president and CEO.
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20170410

Beer Diviner tops the field in IPA tasting event

The Beer Diviner, a Rensselaer County nanobrewery, won a taste-off among 10 India Pale Ales brewed in the Capital Region that was part of the 6th annual Hudson Valley Hops Festival.

The Saturday event, held at the Albany Institute of History & Art, was judged by a trio of  Albany professionals -- Dimitrios Menagias of The City Beer Hall, Tess Colins of McGeary's, and Kevin Tighe of the in-development Bistro Americain. They gave owner/brewmaster Jonathan Post's IPA 80 of a possible 90 points.

Finishing in second and third places, respectively, were Chatham Brewing (74) and Adirondack Brewery (71).

Other IPAs were entered by S&S, Brown's, Shmaltz, C.H. Evans/Albany Pump Station, Clemson Bros., Green Wolf, and Rip Van Winkle.

The Beer Diviner has a taproom and market at 461 Broadway in Troy (518-729-0200) and a brewery and taproom at 243 Bly Hollow Road in Petersburgh (518) 210-6196.
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20170408

Raindancer renovation embraces demand for tap craft beers

Raindancer expands bar seating. (photo provided)
From the Amsterdam Recorder
AMSTERDAM -- With 37 different beers on draft, it doesn’t matter if someone prefers dark and roasted over fruity and sour flavors when stopping for a drink at he Raindancer. They can even check the BeerMenus app before headed in to see every style available on the menu that night.

Walter Porath, operations manager, said... “We were dabbling before and now we are full fledged in" the craft beer scene. “It’s definitely worked, we’ve had tremendous feedback from the customers. They love it just as much as we do.”

Porath said renovation ... nearly doubled the size of the bar [adding] 23 seats to the bar area. He said the customer size in the bar has increased. “It was seats that we would only fill when it was a banquet and when it was a banquet large enough to fill that room,” Porath said. “We had that opportunity to fill that seat every day or several times a week.”
Go here for the full story on changes at the 37-year-old restaurant.
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20170406

New World, Rare Form teaming up for pairing dinner

Chef Ric Orlando prides himself on using as many local ingredients as possible in his meals at New World Bistro Bar in Albany. So, why not go local for the accompanying beverages?

He will host a multi-course dinner featuring beer from Rare Form Brewing of Troy at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 17. Reservations, which are required and may be made by calling New World, are $65 pr person.

New World Bistro Bar is located at 300 Delaware Avenue. Phone: (518) 694-0520.

The menu:


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20170405

Davidson Brothers successor supports 'Wild Whisker' contest

The initial event for the new Lake George Beer Hub picks up on one its predecessor, the Davidson Brothers Brewery, had championed.

On April 8, the company will host the 3rd annual "Wild Whiskers Beard Contest," a fundraiser for the Chapman Historical Society in Glens Falls. Given the current beard mania, plenty of entries are expected.

The public event will have a live radio broadcast via WEQX, barbers and tattoo artists on site, a food truck, and plenty of beards. The $5 door fee will be donated to the Chapman and cover the first beer. Contestants for the contest may register in advance or at the door for a $20 fee.  Full contest details are available online.

The Lake George Beer Hub is located at 1043 State Route 9 in Queensbury. Phone: (518) 223-0372.
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RS Taylor & Sons Brewery to open Saratoga tasting room

Site of new RS Taylor brewery tasting room.
RS Taylor & Sons Brewery of Washington County, is expanding into downtown Saratoga Springs.

An announcement made today said, "We have leased a 1,600-square-foot space in Congress Plaza. This will be the second RST tap room and will feature 12 taps of our small-batch farm-brewed beer, as well as a curated selection of quality farm-brewed beers from other parts of New York State."

Congress Plaza already is home to such businesses as Three Vines Bistro & Bar, Purdy’s Discount Wine & Liquor, I LOVE NY Pizza, Kinjo Japanese Steakhouse, and Empire Wok.

The brewer plans to implement its cask ale program at the new venue, scheduled for an early June opening, featuring hand-pulled draughts on a beer engine. In addition to pint sales on premise, growler fills will be available for off-premises consumption  as well as 32-ounce growlers filled fresh.

Says R.S. himself on Facebook, "Now the hard work begins. It's just a vanilla box right now, but we have a farmhouse chic vision in our heads."

RS Taylor operates on Misty Bleu Farm in the Town of Hebron, Washington County, which was acquired by the Taylor family in 2011. The facility consists of 50 acres of fields, hardwood stands, protected wetlands and 600 feet of cascades on Taylor Creek, which ultimately finds its way to the Battenkill. The main house, cottage and tap room were built in 2015.

The brewery and taproom, which offers a limited food menu, are open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Phone: (518) 209-0474.

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20170404

'Night At the Brewseum' moves to Canfield Casino venue

The 6th annual "Night At The Brewseum," a multi-purpose fundraiser, is set for Friday, April 21, at the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs. It formerly had been held at the New York State Military Museum.

The craft beer, wine and food tasting event will feature beers and ciders from local and regional craft brewers and a variety of food from local restaurants. Tickets, at varying price points for active-duty military, designated drivers and the general public, are available online or at the Military Museum, 61 Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs.

Proceeds will be used to support local sight, hearing, diabetes, and youth programs supported by the Saratoga Springs Lions Club, as well as the military history and outreach programs of the Friends of the New York State Military Museum.

The Canfield Casino is located in Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs.
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City Beer Hall planning Hudson Valley pairing dinner

City Beer Hall
The City Beer Hall in Albany is planning a "Best of 2016 Hudson Valley Beer Dinner" that involves three craft breweries and a cidery.

The four-course meal, priced at $50 per person, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, April 17. Reservations may be made online.

The dinner will feature the Suarez Family Brewing, Equilibrium Brewery, Hudson Valley Brewery, and Graft Cider. Suarez, located in Columbia County, was ranked No. 10 in the "Best New Brewers in the World" category, according to results of the annual RateBeer Best competition released in January. Equilibrium is from Middletown, Hudson Valley from Beacon, and Graft from Newburgh.

City Beer Hall is located at 42 Howard Street at Lodge in downtown Albany. Phone: (518) 449-2337.
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20170403

Britain's oldest pub given a reopening church blessing


You're looking at real history here. Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, which dates to the 11th Century, is the oldest pub in Britain. Originally, it was the pigeon coop for the adjacent St. Albans Cathedral and still is connected to the landmark church by tunnels from the pub cellar that were used by monks.

Both are in the city of St. Albans, located in Hertfordshire, about 20 miles north-northwest of London.

The ancient pub (you can read its history here) recently underwent some cellar refurbishing and installed a new bar made of oak, and when it reopened this week Richard Watson, the sub-dean of the cathedral that is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain, showed up to offer a two-minute-long blessing of the establishment and the 16 different ales it offers.

As part of the blessing, Watson quoted from the writings of Brigid of Kildare, a 10th Century Irish saint:
“I would like to give a lake of beer to God, I would love the heavenly host to be tippling there for all eternity.

“I’d sit with the men and women of God there, by the lake of beer, we would be drinking good health together and every drop would be a prayer.”

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20170401

State grant helps Ithaca Beer Co. set up canning line

Canned craft beer is growing in New York State. Among the most recent examples are news that Brown's Brewing Company of Troy is taking that route, and this week the Ithaca Beer Company announced it has taken delivery of canning equipment that will allow it to do likewise -- and you are helping pay for it.

The 20-year-old company recently received a $175,000 state economic development grant, funded by taxpayers, to build its canning line. This comes about two years after its original plant was expanded to accommodate a bottling and canning operation.

It is expected that Ithaca will begin canning its signature Flower Power IPA sometime this month, according to marketing director Gregg Stacy. He said it will be available in six and 12 packs of 12-ounce cans. By Memorial Day, he said, Ithaca Beer will be offering Apricot Wheat in 12-ounce four packs.
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20170327

Brewpub part of latest Troy warehouse renovation project

A brewpub and apartments are targeted for this former paint factory.

Another brewpub is in the works as part of a multi-use renovation of yet one more former warehouse in Troy, a city known for such conversions and for a growing number of such drinking establishments.

This one is located in the North Central neighborhood at 669 River Street, on the north side of the street between Middleburgh and North streets. If all goes well with the estimated $2 million project -- still in the conceptual stage, but expected to also include 13 apartments and/or offices on the upper floors -- it will join the neighboring The Hangar On the Hudson event and concert space and The Ale House as part of an embryonic entertainment neighborhood.

But, even if all the necessary permitting goes through quickly, don't get ready to drop in for a cold one anytime soon. The company that handled the sale of the 30,000-square-foot brick structure advertised it as "without heat, electric, plumbing and in need of serious repair and rehabilitation. It is not a property for an inexperienced builder/developer/users." At one time, the building was home to the William Connors Paint Manufacturing Co.

The city's Zoning Board recently approved an application from a Cohoes business entity called 669 River Street LLC for a major variance for parking. And, the full project is on the Planning Board's Wednesday agenda. The LLC is a partnership of Mike Phinney and John Haynes, who are partners in The Local Pub and Teahouse in Saratoga Springs, and Brian McCandless.
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20170326

Hill Farmstead Brewery hires Otter Creek's brewmaster

Mike Gerhart
The Vermont brewery named by the influential website RateBeer the world's best brewery three years in a row has enlisted an iconic brewmaster from another Vermont company.

Mike Gerhart, the brewmaster at Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury, has joined the Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro Bend, according to the Burlington Free Press.

Gerhart is seen in cartoon form on most Otter Creek Brewing labels and cans with long hair, a tie-dye headband, a VW bus and his dog. Gerhart also was brewmaster at the Shed Brewery in Middlebury.

Hill Farmstead's next release, scheduled for Wednesday, is Birth of Tragedy: Kochere, an imperial porter brewed with honey and aged in apple brandy barrels on Kochere coffee from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia.

"We have chosen two barrels of Birth of Tragedy as the base for this single origin coffee experiment," the company said in  an announcement. "After aging for 20 months in apple brandy barrels, we conditioned the beer atop Ethiopian Kochere coffee beans sourced and roasted by The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen, Denmark.  These friends long ago changed our worldview as to what coffee could be.  After months of bottle conditioning, the beer is ready for release."

It will sell for $20 for the 375ml size, limit 1 per person. The brewery's bottle release policy is available online.
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20170325

Queensbury country store seeks OK to serve wine, beer

From The Post-Star
QUEENSBURY -- Stores may soon be allowed to serve wine and beer in the neighborhood commercial zones in response to a proposal from The Cleverdale Country Store. ...

The store owner is considering ways in which the store could serve its wine and locally brewed beers, which are sold by the bottle there now. She envisions visitors sipping on a new deck, enjoying the outdoors.

"We're not considering being a tavern by any means," said owner Meghan Cesari. "I just want to serve beer and wine with lunch and dinner. There will be no bar in here."

She asked the town about the zoning restrictions and learned that she wouldn't be allowed to serve alcohol unless the zone changes. But she got support from the board for her proposal.
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20170324

Erie Canal theme for Hudson Valley Hops event

"Beer & The Eric Canal," marking the bicentennial of the groundbreaking for the historic waterway, will be the theme of the 6th annual "Hudson Valley Hops" event.

The celebration of the history of brewing in the region and of today’s craft beer industry will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at the Albany Institute of History & Art. Admission is $35 or $30 for museum members in advance by calling (518) 463-4478 extension 412, or by going online. Prices are $5 higher at the door.

In addition to offering samples of local craft beers, the event will include talks by beer historians and brewing experts, an exhibition of historic beer artifacts and photographs, and a tasteoff of IPAs from such regional breweries as Brown's Brewing, The Beer Diviner, Argyle Brewing, Chatham Brewing, C.H. Evans/Albany Pump Station, Green Wolf Brewing, Rare Form Brewing, Rip Van Winkle Brewery, Shmaltz Brewing, and S & S Brewery.

The Albany Institute is located at 125 Washington Avenue in downtown Albany.
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Brewery LaHoff development just waiting on the weather

Site of the in-development farm brewery. (Photo provided)
If the weather and all other factors cooperate, the next brewery to open in the Greater Capital Region will be in Coxsackie. Well, Climax, to be specific.

At what will be called Brewery LaHoff, they're waiting for a warm spell so some concrete can be poured at the Vedder Road site just off Route 81. This recent photo shows the current condition of the venue.

The company was incorporated in Greene County in November 2016 by Andre Latour, who will be owner and brewmaster of the four-barrel brewery located on an old dairy farm and orchard site. Latour tells me the brewery and tasting room "is going to be located in one of the existing barns on the property. I don't have an exact age of the barn. It is believed to be about 117 years old. A hop yard also is in the plans, and we intend to clean up the existing orchard on the property and plant some new trees."

Latour began the process about 11 months ago with site engineering, zoning and local review. Construction began in late fall should be wrapped up within the next two months, and the brewing system should be arriving by June.

"Originally, I was shooting for a September 1 opening," LaTour said, "but it might not be until mid to late Fall. It will just depend on the licensing approvals."

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20170320

Troy's Bootleggers planning a slammin' brunch event

The title isn't grammatical, and its different versions can be confusing, but it does sound tasty.

It's the "Brunch & Brew's Fest 2" at Bootleggers on Broadway in Troy.

(Or, Bootlegger's, or  Bootlegger's Bar & Grill, depending on where you look it up. Please, guys, pick one, drop the apostrophe, and end the angst.)

Tickets for the event, available online, are $40 in advance or $45 at the door when it begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 8. The lineup of attractions includes an all-you-can-eat brunch, unlimited sampling of beers from more than a dozen breweries including Brown's Brewing, Lake Placid and Ommegang; mimosas, a Bloody Mary bar featuring Pick Six vodka, and various other drinks samples.

Bootleggers, founded in 2011, is located in the historic Hendrick Hudson Building at 200 Broadway in downtown Troy. Phone: (518) 874-4475.

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20170319

New Catskills brewery project plans July debut

Crossroads Brewing under construction (photo provided)
The Crossroads Brewing Company, which  has been operating as the brew house and restaurant 21 2nd St. in Athens, will open for business in Catskill this summer.

21 2nd St. was opened at the former home of the Brooks Opera House in October 2009  by Ken Landin and Janine Bennett.

The brewery construction has begun in the former Columbia-Greene Media printing press building by Dimensions North of Catskill, and a Fourth of July opening of the tap room is being projected by the owners.

The expansion will have the capacity to hold 10,000 barrels compared to the 900-barrel brew house in Athens, and will allow Crossroads to market and sell its products to adjacent states.

Go here for the full story on the project.

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Livingston Co. business contest sparks craft beverage boom

Livingston County, NY, entered 2017 with a grand total of one craft brewery and one cidery. That is about to change, big time.

In an effort to take advantage of the alcoholic beverage industry boom and create jobs in the county of some 65,000 residents a business plan competition called "Brew In Livingston" was created by the county's Economic Development Office. It also was intended to create a craft beverage trail to promote business cooperation and potential tourism.

On Friday, seven winners were announced. Four of them each will receive $35,000 microenterprise grants for furniture, fixtures, and equipment, as well as a one-year membership to the New York State Brewers Association, and free tax assistance from EFPR Group, a Rochester tax accountancy. The four are:
The county also will work with three others to seek additional funding, They are:
The effort is being funded by $185,000 in state grants announced Friday  by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The grants were awarded by the state through the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council and the region's Finger Lakes Forward economic development initiative.

The funds also will help establish a Brewing Microenterprise Program in Livingston County which will begin with four local businesses that will create 16 fulltime jobs and leverage $400,000 in additional resources from across the region.

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Glens Falls Brew Fest creates 'Taps & Apps' prequel

You've heard of "after parties," of course, but what about a "before party"? There's one coming up in Glens Falls.

It's a 50-ticket "Taps & Apps" event that will be held on Friday, March 31, the day before the annual Glens Falls Brewfest. It's a craft beer and seven-appetizer tasting put together by Mean Max Brew Works and the SUNY Adirondack culinary program. It will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Queensbury Hotel, 88 Ridge Street. Tickets are on sale now at Mean Max, 193 Glen Street.

Then, from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 1, also at the Queensbury, the Glens Falls Brewfest will offer tastings of beers, wines and ciders from regional and and national producers although a list of participating makers has not yet been revealed. Tickets, available online, are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. Proceeds benefit Adirondack Theatre Festival and the Feeder Canal Alliance.

In addition to the beverages, live music will be provided, along with free food samples while supplies last from SUNY Adirondack, Davidson Brothers Restaurant & Brewery, 190 Grille + Cinema, Cooper's Cave Ale Company, Carl R's, and the host hotel.
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20170317

Century House, Brown's teaming up for pairing event

A pair of longtime Capital Region food-and-drink purveyors is teaming up for a craft beer tasting and food pairing event.

The Century House will host the event in cooperation with Brown's Brewing Company of Troy at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21. Reservations, which are required, are available at $52.50 plus tax and tip, by calling (518) 213-0958 or emailing Monica@TheCenturyHouse.com.
The four-course menu:
• Pretzel-crusted halibut, mustard risotto, fava beans, paired with Brown's Vienna Lager
•  Duck confit, smoked duck breast, grain salad, arugula, paired with Brown's cherry raspberry ale BBQ sauce, paired with Brown's Cherry Raspberry Ale

• Pan-seared wild boar chops, fried cheddar polenta, grilled fennel salad, apple gastrique, paired with Brown's Oatmeal Stout

• Spice cake flavor timbale chocolate cheesecake, paired with Brown 's IPA
The Century House is located at 997 New Loudon Road (Route 9) in Latham.
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20170310

New Schenectady brewery sets official opening date

Hauling in the tanks (Photo provided)
The in-development Great Flats Brewing project in Schenectady is almost ready to open.

Owner Harry Whalen has announced it will officially open on Sunday, March 25, three months after moving its new tanks into the facility.

Great Flats is named for the aquifer that supplies its water and, indeed, water for the entire city. Whalen's focus is on creating American styles ales and lagers.

Whalen selected a former vehicle service garage at 151 Lafayette Street to turn into a farm brewery. That space became available when Crossfit 518 moved its operation to North College Street. It is recognizable by the glass rollup doors left over from its garage incarnation.

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20170309

Craft brewing trailblazer opens own Rockland County brewery

Jeff O'Neil
From Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Jeff O'Neil, the man behind Ithaca Beer's textbook Flower Power India pale ale and other genre-bending wild ales, is a pioneer in New York State craft beer. He's responsible for changing the way a lot of people looked at and enjoyed craft beer. ...

O'Neil, 42, who started at Ithaca Beer in 2002 before moving on to Peekskill Brewing, recently opened his own brewery, Industrial Arts Brewing, in Garnerville, Rockland County.
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Brown's Brewing Co. moving away from bottled beers

North Hoosick brewing facility
From the Times Union
The new German-made Leibinger canning equipment that [Brown's Brewing Company owner Garry Brown] recently installed in the North Hoosick warehouse that brews his beers has a $1.2 million price tag and is a big shift for both his company and craft beer in the Capital Region.

Most beer produced in the region is immediately placed in kegs (for distribution or for the brewery's own use) or bottled in brown glass. Brown's plans to use bottles only for special releases. The move to cans is pricey, but the benefits of canned beer has appeal for brewers and customers.

"Cans are like a mini keg. They keep our product fresher for longer," says Kelly Brown, Garry's wife and business partner. Garry Brown cites more positives about cans: They have a longer shelf life than bottles and let in less light and oxygen (helping to keep beer fresh), are cheaper to ship because they are lighter than bottles, easier to store and are more environmentally friendly than bottles, as they require less resources to recycle.
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'TAP NY' craft beer fest ready for its 20th anniversary event

The 20th annual "TAP NY Craft Beer and Food Festival" is set for the weekend of April 29-30 at Hunter Mountain.

To this point, 77 New York breweries already have registered for this anniversary event, and more are expected. That lends support to the organizers' claims that the event not only is the largest craft beer festival in New York, it is the largest single-state craft beer event in the nation.

Food also is a featured component of the event. In addition to the usual array of hand-passed hors d'oeuvres, soups and sandwiches, the food theme for this year's event is "hot dog creations from ball parks across the country."

Four cups and medals in 12 different categories are on the line for the brewers. Competition is divided into Hudson Valley breweries and breweries from all over the state.

The cups winners in 2016:
F.X. Matt Memorial Cup (state's best craft brewer) -- Big Ditch Brewing Company of Buffalo
Matthew Vassar Brewers Cup (best Hudson Valley craft brewery) -- Crossroads Brewing Company of nearby Athens, Greene County
Governors' Brewers' Cup (best craft beer in state) -- Union Station Belgian Quad from C.H. Evans Brewing/Albany Pump Station
John  Calen Memorial Award (best brown ale in state) -- Hometown Brown Ale from Steuben Brewing Company if Hammondsport
Tickets, with a variety of prices depending on the packages purchased, are available online. Hunter Mountain is located in the Village of Hunter in Greene County. From the Greater Capital Region, take the Thruway south to Exit 21 (Catskill), turn left after exit and go about two miles to Route 9W, take 9W south to Route 23A, then 23A west to the venue. Click here for directions from other starting points.

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Interesting lineup for Greene County's first restaurant week

Most cities and areas have a restaurant promotional event of some sort, and now the Northern Catskills will, too. Interestingly, a large number of participants brew their own craft beers.

The inaugural "Greene County Restaurant Week" has been scheduled for Friday, March 24, through Sunday, April 2, with participating restaurants offering fixed three-course menus for $20.17. Each will offer an appetizer/entree/dessert meal for the special price, plus tax and tip.

At this point, 19 restaurants have signed up, including venues in Windham, Catskill, Athens, West Coxsackie, Hensonville, Leeds, and Hunter. More restaurants may be added as the date draws closer. Meanwhile, here is the verified list from the Greene County Chamber of Commerce:
  • The Stewart House
  • Gracie's Luncheonette
  • Hunter Mountain Brewery Kitchen & Craft Beer
  • Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company
  • Bistro Brie & Bordeaux
  • La Conca D'Oro
  • Chalet Fondue
  • Creekside Restaurant & Bar
  • Bistro 27
  • Paul's Pizza & Italian Restaurant
  • Pomodoro's Italian Eatery
  • Chicken Run Family Restaurant & Steak House
  • Hammo's Brewpub & Lodge
  • Hagar's Harbor Bar & Restaurant
  • Vesuvio Restaurant
  • Cave Mountain Brewing Company
  • The New York Restaurant
  • Crossroads Brewing Company
  • Rive Gauche Bistro

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Cuomo: Reforms saved alcohol industry $15M in five years

Cuomo at one of his beverage summits
Governor Andrew Cuomo's office has been mentioning advances in the state's alcoholic beverage industry in bits and pieces over a series of speeches and announcements in recent weeks (here, here and here, for example). On Wednesday, they put it all together.

An announcement from Cuomo's administration said New York's craft beer, wine, cider and liquor manufactures have saved nearly $15 million since a series of regulatory reforms and incentives were put in place since 2012 in an effort to boost the industry.

Cuomo said the savings during a five-year period followed the state's decision to expand a production tax credit and cut a labeling fee. Cuomo has championed craft alcohol makers as an example of a local, sustainable industry that can spur tourism and agriculture. He says he wants the state to continue to find ways to support local breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries as the thirst for locally made alcoholic beverages continues to grow.

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20170307

State's craft brewers unveil new app for the consuming public

The craft beverage industry in New York State not only is growing in the number of businesses involved, it also is growing in the sophistication of getting its message out.

On Saturday, I reported on the unveiling of a new website by the New York State Distillers Guide. Today, the topic is a new iOS/Adroid app from the New York State Brewers Association (NYSBA) that can be downloaded from the iTunes Store.

The state currently is home to 326 licensed craft breweries, the most since Prohibition, that in total represent a $4 billion impact that is the fourth highest of any state. The app has what the NYSBA refers to as "a hyperlocalized focus." Its key feature is an incentives-based "passport" program encouraging consumers to discover and visit local breweries across the state. Among the features:
• Users can acess discounts at breweries, T-shirts, regional posters featuring original artwork by local designers, plaques and so on. The Passport is valid for a year from the time of a user's first passport stamp.

• A map of every brewery in the state.

• A beer and brewery rating system.

• Updated information on breweries' beers on tap, events and hours.

• The ability to organize one's own brewery tours.

• A label-scanning tool for beer style suggestions.

• Photo booth and social media integration.

• Craft beer educational tools and style guide.
"As the number of breweries in New York State continues to grow, we wanted to create an exciting app with a passport program to reward users based on the number of breweries they visit throughout the state,” said NYSBA Executive Director Paul Leone. “It was also essential to make it easy for users to locate every brewery, either through a statewide map, regional maps, or simply by locating the breweries ‘nearby’, no matter where they are in the state.”

The NYSBA was cofounded in 2003 as a promotional and legislative proponent for New York's breweries, microbreweries, brewpubs and brewing-affiliated businesses.
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Arts Center unveils adult-beverage events series

An arts facility may not be the first place you think of when it comes to learning about adult beverages, but if that facility is The Arts Center of the Capital Region, it's true.

The Troy venue has just released a lineup of such events. Reservations may be made online for each.
Beer 101: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21 --  Craig Gravina, author of the book "Upper Hudson Valley Beer," will guide participants through the many styles of beer available locally from Brown's Brewing and others. And, they can make their own pretzels to go along with the samples. Reservations are $25 per person.

Cake Decorating & Cake Batter Martinis: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 -- Learn basic cake decorating skills during a Food Network-style class while sipping cake batter martinis, giving participants the opportunity to have their cake and eat it and drink it, too. Reservations are $35 per person.

Collage & Tom Collins: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 20 -- The mood will echo the TV series "Mad Men" with participants flipping through early-1960s issues of Life and Look magazines. Caroline Corrigan and Ira Marks of Upstate Collage Night will guide the creation of throwback advertising while the class sips Tom Collins cocktails. Reservations are $35 per person.
The Arts Center of the Capital Region is located in downtown Troy at 265 River Street on Monument Square. Phone: (518) 273-0552.
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20170301

VT wings-and-home brews/wines making bold promises

Beer and wings are an American pairing tradition, which bodes well for the Southern Vermont Wings and Winter Home Brew Festival scheduled for next month.

The event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at the Masonic Temple, 504 Main Street, Bennington, VT.

A lineup of local restaurants will offer their wings for judging, and home brewers and winemakers from the region will showcase their products. Prospective producers can get registration details online.

How many will attendees get to sample? According to event organizers, "We will literally have nearly 100 styles of beer, cider and wine to sample."

Reservations, which are limited, are $30 each and now are available online.
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Argyle Brewing increasing capacity, adding new taproom

New equipment arrives at Argyle Brewing Co. (photo provided)
Argyle Brewing Company is only three years old, but it already is in expansion mode. Not only have owners Chris Castrio, Rich Thomas, and Matt Stewart this week installed a larger brewing system in the Washington County facility, they are working on opening a new taproom in the former Cambridge railroad station in the spring. The current taproom at the brewery has remained open during the upgrade.

The new brewing system, made locally by the Fronhoffer Tool Company, is expected to reduce Argyle's brewing time from 24 hours to six, and will double the available fermenters. The operation has been of limited capacity because of its 3.5-barrel tank. The new one is 15 barrels.

Argyle Brewing, which operates under a state farm brewery license, is located at 1 Main Street in Greenwich. Phone: (518) 692-2585.

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Craft beverage trail planning 'Drink Schenectady' event

The Capital Craft Beverage Trail will be leading to Schenectady next month, when "Drink Schenectady" shows off  a wide range of local craft beverage makers' products.

The event will run from 2 to 6 p.m. (VIP admission at 2) at the Schenectady Armory, 125 Washington Avenue. Live music, food vendors and games are included.

Tickets are available now online. General admission covers four hours of tasting plus a souvenir glass. VIP admission includes an extra hour of tasting. All proceeds for the event go to benefit the Capital Craft Beverage Trail Association.

Scheduled producers:
  • Albany Distilling Company
  • Nine Pin Cider 
  • C.H. Evans Brewing 
  • Albany Pump Station 
  • Druthers Brewing Company 
  • Helderberg Brewery 
  • Helderberg Mountain Brewing Company 
  • Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery 
  • The Beer Diviner 
  • Wolf Hollow Brewing Company 
  • Brown's Brewing Company 
  • S&S Farm Brewery 
  • Altamont Vineyard and Winery 
  • Common Roots Brewing Company 
  • Crossroads Brewing Company 
  • Chatham Brewing 
  • Upstate Distilling Company 

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20170226

Wolff's Biergarten gets a surprise visitor at Troy location



Apparently a motorist was confused upon hearing a new drive-in restaurant had opened "just over the bridge" in Troy.

The problem is that the new restaurant is a Sonic Drive-In, and the location is in a shopping complex just east of the Collar City Bridge. What we see here is a Wolff's Biergarten, just east of the Green Island Bridge about six long blocks from Sonic. And, it does not offer drive-in service.

The impromptu "visit" occurred around 3:30 on Saturday afternoon. Luckily, no one was injured, despite how scary these photos by owner Matt Baumgartner appear.

Baumgartner at least had an upbeat take on the accident, commenting on Facebook, "Apparently our patio is so beautiful that people get distracted and drive right into it!"

Other, undamaged Wolff's locations are in Albany, Schenectady, and Syracuse.
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20170223

NY'S craft beverage branch shops top the 100 mark

The Beer Diviner Tap Room & Market in Troy
The growth in the number of wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries in New York State in recent years has been well documented. But, news of one niche in the industry has often gone unnoticed. Governor Andrew Cuomo took care of that today.

Speaking in New York City, the governor announced that the number of craft beverage manufacturers operating off-site branch stores has increased to 105 locations in 35 counties statewide, 32 of them in just the past year.

“The demand for New York’s world class beer, wine, cider and spirits continues to grow, and by supporting the expansion of craft beverage businesses, we are able to connect locally grown products to more customers than ever before,” Cuomo said. “These off-site stores are allowing these small businesses to enter new markets, create new jobs, and increase revenues to support the growth of local communities across the state.”

Under Cuomo, the state has overhauled its Alcoholic Beverage Control laws, including provisions to expand branch store privileges to all farm-based beverage manufacturers and permit craft beverage businesses to open up to five additional retail locations outside their manufacturing facility with no additional licensing fees.

The law now allows farm-based beverage producers to sell any farm-produced wine, beer, cider and spirits by the bottle and by the glass, host tastings, open restaurants, operate gift shops, and manufacture and warehouse their products at these branch locations.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The agricultural industry has seen an incredible boost from our state’s craft beverage producers who are proudly sourcing their ingredients from New York farms and meeting their customers’ demands for a unique and diverse selection of beverage products that are locally made. Thanks to the Governor’s continued commitment to this sector, we’re clearly seeing more businesses open and expand, which is helping to grow our local economies and spotlight New York agriculture.”

New York now has more than 600 farm wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries, an increase of more than 65% since 2010.

A chart showing branch shops statewide is available online. The 10 branches in the Greater Capital Region and their locations include:
  • Hudson Brewing, Hudson
  • Old Klaverack Brewery, Philmont, Greene County
  • Hudson Chatham Winery, Tannersville, Greene County 
  • Albany Distilling Company, Troy
  • The Beer Diviner, Troy
  • Upstate Distilling, Saratoga Springs 
  • Swedish Hill Winery, Saratoga Springs
  • Capoccia Vineyards & Winery, Schenectady
  • Lake George Distilling Company, Lake George
  • High Peaks Distilling Company, Lake George

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Albany beer shop rebranding, adding Saratoga bar

New Pint Sized location with logo superimposed
Beer lovers in the Capital Region may not be familiar with the name Pint Sized, but that is about to change.

August Rosa today announced he is rebranding Brew, his original 209 Lark Street, Albany, business  with that name even as he prepares to open a second location of Pint Sized, a small craft beer bar and bottle shop, at 489 Broadway in Saratoga Springs.

Rosa is taking advantage of the current Saratoga Craft Beer Week to announced his new venue, targeted for an early spring opening, and he selected the new name to effectively describe the size of the bar.

"Pint Sized is probably going to be the smallest bar in the area presenting guests with a unique and cozy craft beer experience. It’s got to be one of, if not THE, smallest bars in the Capital Region," Rosa says.

It will have 12 beers on tap, available by the glass or growler. There also will be a wide selection of brews to purchase for off-premise consumption. Product will be sold broken up as single units, packaged, or as mix-six packs with a $3 discount. There also will be a small wine list and a rotating menu of light fare foods.

“It’s going to be tight,” Rosa said, “but patrons will experience something truly unique here. The small nature of the space lends itself to creativity. An additional benefit is a constantly rotating fresh inventory and a requirement to make every square foot count. There is no room for sub-par product.”

Rosa also said the original Albany location will add a bar for on-site consumption "down the road."
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20170219

Did anyone attend the 'Gathering of the Cideries'?

Here's a look at the crowd visiting the Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany on Saturday for the 3rd annual 'Gathering of the Cideries" celebrating the burgeoning New York State cider scene. (Nine Pin photo)

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Lake Placid restaurateur Ed Kane eulogized by officials

Ed Kane at work
Ed Kane, founder and owner of the Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood Company and the Great Adirondack Brewing Company, died on January 14 at the age of 86, and this week the community said its goodbyes, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Kane, a native of Brooklyn and a former U.S. Marine, joined the Lake Placid food-and-beverage scene in 1982 when he purchased The Artist’s Cafe at 1 Main Street in the village.

 “I’m certainly going to miss him for all of the years he would step out of his office and walk around Mirror Lake,” Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall said Tuesday at the village board meeting. “I remember seeing him every day making that walk around the lake. He was religious about that. And certainly our sympathies go out to his family.”

Village Trustee Art Devlin added, “He was one of Lake Placid’s colorful characters. Lake Placid is known for having quite a few. He’s a good guy who cared about Lake Placid and wasn’t afraid to get up and speak his mind, which a lot of people aren’t always inclined to do. He’s certainly going to be missed.”

Fred, Willie and Rob, the sons of Ed and Joan Kane, continue the family tradition at the steak and seafood restaurant on Main Street, which they opened in 1987, and the brewing company, established in 1998. The family operated the Artist’s Cafe until 2001.

In keeping with Ed's wishes, there is no formal service, but the family said it will celebrate his  life in the spring, and his cremains will be placed in the Sussdorff Family Cemetery in Port Kent.
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20170216

Report: Taste NY program helped triple sales in 2016

The state's Taste NY program created to promote the state's food and beverage industries is three years old. So, how is it doing?

Sales of those items nearly tripled in 2016, according to an analysis just released by Governor Andrew Cuomo's office, surpassing what it says was his goal of doubling sales of participating businesses in one year.

Total gross sales of New York products from Taste NY stores, cafés, bars, concessions and events topped $13.1 million last year, the highest annual sales in the program’s brief history.

“Taste NY continues to connect New York’s world-class farmers and food and beverage producers with New Yorkers hungry for locally made goods, as well as those across the nation and around the world who crave the high quality of Empire State-made products," Cuomo said. “These sales numbers are proof positive of Taste NY's success and we will continue investing in this program to help create jobs and spur economic growth in businesses and communities across New York."

The sales increase in 2016 was supported by the addition of four new Taste NY stores and cafés. In addition, the first-ever Taste NY Bar was opened at Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and the New York Islanders hockey team. A second later was opened at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater.

New York products also are offered on 13 Amtrak trains and at five minor league baseball stadiums in the state, and at dozens of major events around New York. Cuomo's 2017-18 Executive Budget proposes support for Taste NY at new welcome centers across the state.

The budget proposal also includes expanding the sale of alcoholic beverages in certain venues, such as movie theaters, an effort to provide a boost to the state’s craft beverage industry, although Cuomo's message does not limit that to New York products as an earlier speech seemed to indicate.  In addition, Cuomo has proposed the launch of a first-ever "New York Craft Beverage Week" and a new grant for craft beverage producers to engage in joint marketing campaigns and enter products in national and international competitions.

Richard A. Ball, state agriculture commissioner, says, “Taste NY has given consumers an opportunity to better understand what the State has known all along -- our local food and beverage companies are truly second to none.  Because of the strong, positive response to the Taste NY brand, agricultural producers and small businesses in every region of the state are growing, expanding their operations and adding jobs, and helping to strengthen the State economy.” 
   

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