20170623

Morrisville State's brewery partner open for business

From the Oneida Dispatch
MORRISVILLE -- Morrisville State College partner Good Nature Farm Brewery is officially open for business.

Good Nature, a homegrown and family-owned craft brewery and tap room founded in 2010, has partnered with the college through the START-UP NY program, which creates tax-free areas associated with colleges and universities across the state in order to spur economic growth.

The partnership aligns with Morrisville State College’s implementation of a new food technology four-year degree program featuring three concentrations: brewing science and technology, agricultural marketing and food science. The curriculum will include 10 brewing courses, which will educate students on first-hand practical business experience with a large-scale production brewery. 
... The Morrisville State College Brewing Institute, located at the Copper Turret Restaurant and Brewhouse, will serve as a laboratory for students in the new program. ...
Go here for the full story.

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170622

Bill would make NYS beverage tastings fully sales-tax-exempt

A bill passed by both houses of the State Legislature has been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to give licensed breweries, distilleries, and cideries the same sales tax exemption for tastings that wineries now have.

The bill would allow the exemption even if vendors he state Senate and Assembly have passed a bill charge for the tasting. Under current law, any wine, beer, cider, or liquor tasting that is provided free of charge is exempt from having to impose the state sales and use tax. However, wineries are granted a sales tax exemption even if they charge for the tasting.

“As the number of breweries and distilleries increases across New York, including many farm-based operations, we must ensure that we provide a level playing field for those in the industry,” said Erie County Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, (R-C-I). “Right now, these businesses don’t enjoy the same sales tax benefits provided to wineries. That’s not fair to them or their customers.”
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170621

Neighbors file suit to block golf course brew pub project

From The Saratogian
HALFMOON -- Two couples living near the Fairways of Halfmoon golf course have taken legal action to prevent the course from adding a brew pub.

 Joseph and Donna Micklas and James and Maria Hopeck filed the lawsuit ...against the Halfmoon Planning Board and the Fairways of Halfmoon LLC, 17 Johnson Road, in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County.

The Micklases live on Raylinsky Lane and the Hopecks live across from the golf course on Johnson Road. The golf course is owned by developer Bruce Tanski though he was not listed in the legal action.

The two couples seek to annul the Planning Board’s approval May 8 of the plans for a 1,967-square-foot addition for the brew pub and its accompanying special use permit. The legal action comes 10 weeks after a public hearing was held on the project at which both Joseph Micklas and James Hopeck spoke. Both men expressed displeasure with the plan, saying it would put a commercial business in an A-R (agricultural-residential) zone. Micklas pointedly questioned whether this particular business at this location fit the town code requirements for special use permit consideration. After minor revisions to the plan, the application was approved with a 6-1 board vote on May 8. The lone vote against the approval was board member John Higgins.
Go here for the full story.

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170620

Update: World of Beer may resurface at Crossgates Mall

UPDATE (6/0/17): If the corporate website isn't just a tease, the World of Beer chain appears to be returning to Crossgates Mall in Guilderland. The "locations" website page says "REOPENING SOON!" on what it calls its "Albany" location.

(Originally published 7/23/16)

Headline: Crossgates closing only latest for World of Beer

Any time a pub or restaurant quietly closes and doesn't announce plans for a renovation, reopening, or anything else, that is not a good sign.

So, one must assume World of Beer, the chain tavern in Guilderland's Crossgates Mall, is gone from this market. As evidence, the doors are locked, the phone doesn't work, the website, Facebook page, and Twitter account haven't been updated in months.

When Times Union food blogger Steve Barnes tried to find out what is going on, he was stonewalled, saying, "An employee at the mall’s information desk told me the closure was sudden and they have been instructed to say that World of Beer is 'closed temporarily.' A World of Beer staffer who emailed me wrote, 'We can’t get an answer as to when or even if it will reopen'.”

WOB, which leans heavily on its 500-beer selection and live musical performances in its marketing, has opened more than 70 locations in 20 states since its first spot debuted in Tampa, FL, in 2007. The Crossgates location opened its doors in June 2014. However, its closure shouldn't be a shock. My research reveals that in the past 18 months or so, abrupt closings of WOB locations have taken place in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood; in St. Petersburg, Land O Lakes, and Jacksonville Beach, FL; in Austin and Dallas, TX; in Columbus and the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, OH; in Milwaukee; in the Seattle suburb of Renton; in Denver, and in Ann Arbor, MI. And, that's what I found in less than 10 minutes of searching.

Most of the shuttered spots had been open only about two years on average. As recently as six months ago, CEO Paul Avery didn't say anything about closing any locations when he bragged in an interview with the industry website Brewbound:

"2015 was an excellent year of growth for World of Beer, as we have not only met but exceeded our goal of robust growth and in adding quality franchise partners. ... Last year’s success has set us up for another promising year, and we look forward to expanding the World of Beer brand to new markets nationwide and overseas in markets such as China, India and the Philippines.”
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Update: Cuomo's alcohol-at-the-movies bid appears to be DOA



Beer and wine are sold in this California theater where clip-on trays also holds food items.
UPDATE 3 (6/20/17): State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters Monday he opposes on safety grounds Gov. Andrew Cuomo's idea of expanding alcohol sales in movie theaters. That statement effectively scuttles Cuomo's pitch, first made in January, since no piece of legislation can make it to the floor for a vote without the endorsement of the speaker.

UPDATE 2 (4/12/17): Governor Andrew Cuomo's push to allow all movie houses in the state to sell alcoholic drinks failed to get enough support in the Legislature to become reality. Neither the Republican-led Senate nor the Democrat-led Assembly included it in their budget proposals, and the final budget passed over the weekend did not include any provisions for the measure. Current state law prevents movie theaters from selling such beverages unless the venue also serves restaurant-style food and has tables to go with every seat.

UPDATE (1/20/17): In one of his budget speeches this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would propose granting approval for movie theaters to serve wine and beer, as well as incentives to encourage them to be sure those are New York State products. The catch -- and isn't there always a catch with government? -- is that Cuomo's actual paperwork reveals that such service would NOT be restricted to wine and beer, and there is no provision for incentives for using state products.

(Originally published 1/18/17)

In New York State you can sip a beer or a glass of wine while watching a standup comic perform live, listen to a lounge singer-pianist or a jazz quintet, or even stroll through a gallery to see an art collection or hear a speaker. If alcohol-friendly Governor Andrew Cuomo has his way, you'll be able to enjoy the same beverages while taking in a movie.

There is a small handful of movie houses in the state allowed to sell such beverages now, a result of a succesful 2011 lawsuit filed by Nitehawk Cinemas seeking such a privilege, but they must have table seating and offer a full restaurant menu. Hardly the same as sitting in your neighborhood moviehouse and sloching back into a comfy overstuffed seat while you take in the latest version of the "Hunger Games" franchise, and hardly a sufficient-sized venue to handle crowds for first-run films.

During his budget address delivered publicly on Tuesday, Cuomo said that in addition to dozens of revenue and regulation recommendations, "We also had a proposal that would allow alcohol and beer to be sold in movie theaters. And, it would be joined with an incentive program, to incentivize the movie theaters to sell New York wine and beer."

If successful, the proposal would be just another step in a long series of moves by the governor to aid the state's wine/spirits/brewing industry by simplifying regulations, expanding tax credits, creating promotional programs, and speeding up licensing.

“It is a very big industry for us," Cuomo said. "We have developed it, it’s going gangbusters, anything we can do to encourage it. It’s especially successful in Upstate New York."
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

New Finger Lakes casino debuting signature IPA

New signature IPA (photo provided)
The del Lago Resort & Casino hasn't even fully opened yet, but it already has its own signature craft beer.

The Seneca County facility has teamed up with CB Craft Brewers of nearby Honeoye Falls, south of Rochester, to create del Lago Summer IPA that will debut this week at the casino. The gaming portion of the complex opened in February near Waterloo off Thruway Exit 41. Its 225-room hotel and spa are scheduled to open on Friday, July 1, several weeks ahead of schedule.

CB Craft Brewers, which this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary, already had been producing house beers for bars, restaurants and other venues that do not have their own brewing equipment. The new IPA (India Pale Ale) will be served on tap starting at 6 p.m. Thursday in The Vine, the casino's entertainment venue.

"The vision for del Lago Resort & Casino has always been to embrace and promote all that the region has to offer, including local breweries, wineries, businesses and tourist destinations," general manager Jeff Babinski said in a statement.

Del Lago is one of the three full-service, non-Indian casinos that have opened in Upstate in the past seven months, including joining the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady and Tioga Downs in Nichols, west of Binghamton. The $440 million facility has 1,980 slot machines and 99 gaming tables.
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Cuomo unveils new 'Excelsior Cup' craft beer competition

That didn't take long. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a strong and continually-pushing cheerleader for New York State's craft adult beverage industry, cooked up a Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge  in May. It involved five breweries' products in a taste-off involving a celebrity judging panel. That, it seems, was just the start of his competitive juices.

On Monday, Cuomo's office announced that this year's New York State Fair will host its first professionally judged contest for commercial beers -- the New York State Craft Beer Competition, with the top brew earning the Governor's Excelsior Cup. The statement said the aim is to promote the state's fast-growing beer industry in New York, which now has more than 340 breweries, the most since before Prohibition.

The commercial beer contest will be new to the Fair, which already hosts a homebrew competition as well as commercial and amateur wine contests. It will award gold, silver and bronze medals to the beers judged best in 20 categories, Cuomo said. Categories will include standards pale ale and lager along with a variety of and niche styles.

Judging will take place July 29 in Rochester, coordinated by the New York State Craft Brewers Association. It is open to any craft brewer located in the state. Brewers may enter more than one variety of beer. Each entry is $45. Details and entry instructions are available online.

The Excelsior Cup winner and other medal winners will be displayed in the Horticulture Building at the Fair, which this year will run  from August 23 to September 4. There  also will be a sampling booth and daily Taste NY wine and beer seminars.
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Distilleries to get by-the-glass sales OK for other drinks

New York's craft distilleries will be allowed to sell beer, wine and cider by the glass if Governor Andrew Cuomo, as expected, puts his signature on a bill passed by both house of the State Legislature this week.

Currently, farm distilleries may sell beer, wine and cider only by the bottle and not for on-premises consumption. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. George Amedore and Assemblymember Patricia A. Fahy, is an expansion pf a 2016 bill that allows New York’s farm cideries, wineries and breweries to serve other New York-made alcohol on premises.

“We cannot express how much the passing of this bill means to us,” said John Curtin, co-founder and co-owner of the Albany Distilling Co. and vice president of the New York State Distillers Guild.
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170607

Pushback on brewers' tasting rooms may hurt craft movement

From Forbes.com
Grumblings are growing louder and legislation that limits direct beer sales out of tasting rooms is getting passed.[around the country] ...

Though breweries work in partnership with their distributors and retailers, they also compete against them when they construct tasting rooms and pubs that might draw hundreds of customers every day of the week.
Go here for the story.

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

New Lake George Beer Hub is in full operation

• From NYupstate.com
By Don Cazentre
QUEENSBURY -- A big new "beer hub" is gearing up this summer to boost growth for two breweries in different parts of Upstate New York.

The Lake George Beer Hub is in the town of Queensbury between Lake George and Glens Falls. It's producing beers for two separate breweries -- Cooperstown Brewing Co., of Milford near Cooperstown, and Davidson Brothers Brewing Co., founded in Glens Falls.

The hub -- with a big brewhouse and tasting room -- was built by Davidson Brothers in 2014. It now is owned and operated by a third company, Northern Eagle Beverages, a beer distributor located in Oneonta. Old Slugger Pale Ale from Cooperstown Brewing Co., produced at the Lake George Beer Hub. Old Slugger Pale Ale from Cooperstown Brewing Co., produced at the Lake George Beer Hub. ...

"The bottom line is we can produce more beer for both Cooperstown and Davidson Brothers and better manage the production efficiently (at the beer hub)," said George Allen, Northern Eagle's president. The Lake George Beer Hub had its grand opening last week.
Go here for the full story.

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170605

Little ol' Wolf Hollow Brewing enjoys a growth spurt

Wolf Hollow tasting room (photo provided)
The Wolf Hollow Brewing Company just got bigger.

The microbrewery, located on Route 5 in West Glenville, this morning took delivery of a pair of new 15-barrel fermentation tanks, effectively doubling its production capacity within a few weeks when the new equipment goers online.

The additional equipment is part of a $120,000 expansion-and-improvement plan that co-owner Peter Bednarek describes this way:

"As many of you know, we have been talking about our expansion project for a while now and kept using the word 'soon.' Well, this morning 'soon became a reality.' ...  Along with these new tanks there have been some other projects going on around the brewery you may also have noticed. Last week, we put in a brand new septic system, which you can still see right now when you pull into the parking lot on the left side. This new system will allow us to handled the scaled-up beer production.

"Another project that most have not seen is the new keg refrigerator that has been constructed in the back barn. This fridge is now home to the 200+ new kegs that arrived on the truck along with the fermenters this morning and also soon will be operational to help store all the new beer. "

Wolf Hollow has been working with four seven-barrel tanks. The expansion will enable it to broaden its portfolio from 12 to 16 brews. In addition, expanded tasting rooms will be added. Currently, they are limited to  Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The facility is located at 6882 Amsterdam Road. Phone: (518) 214-4093.
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170602

Update: Barge-shipped beer tanks to be delivered Saturday

Fermentation tanks en route to Rochester.
UPDATE (6/2/17): The first shipment of Chinese-manufactured beer fermentation tanks measuring 20 feet wide by 60 feet tall today was sitting on an Erie Canal lock just outside the suburban  Rochester town of Gates. They are on schedule for delivery, and are expected to be loaded onto flatbed truck on Saturday and moved five miles to their destination, the Genesee Brewing Company in downtown Rochester.

Despite media and public interest in the project, several state and local politicians have expressed displeasure with the brewery using state economic development funding for the purchase of tanks they claim could have been made in-state. Go here for that story.

(Originally published 5/22/17)

HEADLINE: Beer fermentation tanks moving via the Erie Canal

Even the weakest student of geography knows it's a shorter distance from China to Rochester if you don't go by way of Albany (and if you're traveling the traditional easterly route). But, it's a different story if you're delivering beer fermentation tanks.

The first three of a dozen 20-by-60-foot tanks being shipped from the manufacturer in China to the Genesee Brewing Company in downtown Rochester is now on the way. Their first domestic stop was at the Port of Albany, where they were placed on barges because they are too large for conventional movement by rail or truck. Then it was goodbye high tech, and hello Erie Canal.

The barge passed through the Waterford locks at the eastern terminus of the waterway just off the Hudson River opposite Troy on Friday. The westbound trip had temporarily been delayed by a high water level caused by heavy rains.

The tanks are part of Genesee Brewing's $40 million expansion project. If you're interested in tracking -- and maybe observing -- any of the trip as some people have been doing, here's the schedule for the first shipment of tanks:
May 23: Tanks will proceed to Niskayuna to Scotia to Rotterdam Junction/Glenville to Cranesville to Amsterdam to Tribes Hill

May 24: Tribes Hill to Randall to Canajoharie to Fort Plain to Mindenville
May 25: Mindenville to Little Falls to Frankfort to Utica

May 26: Utica to Rome to New London

May 27: New London to Brewerton to Baldwinsville

May 28: Baldwinsville to Mays Point to Clyde to Lyons

May 29/30: Lyons to Newark to Palmyra to Macedon to Pittsford to Henrietta; Tanks arrive at 150 Lee Road in Rochester
By way of comparison with the $40 million project, the idea of the 363-mile-long Erie Canal was authorized in 1817 by the New York State Legislature with a  budget of $7 million. It was completed in 1825.

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170601

Chatham Brewing debuts in-house food service today

Chatham Brewing today debuted a new line of food offerings in its taproom.

It has been serving food from the Hudson diner Grazin' for some time, but now is serving a small in-house menu from what it is calling the Main Street Kitchen as a nod to the complex's  location.

The Asian-style dishes were devised for the taproom by the neighboring People's Pub, and include such items as double fried Korean wings, Korean shaved beef sandwich, and vegetable ramen. The menu is available online.

The brewery’s cafe will be open daily except Tuesday: from 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, noon Friday through Sunday. Food service will close an hour before the tasting room does.

Chatham Brewing and Main Street Kitchen are located at 59 Main Street in the village. Phone: (518) 697-0202.
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170526

Buffalo brewer creates signature beer for restaurant group

Here's a good example of synergy.

A Buffalo area brewery is partnering with a bi-coastal restaurant group to make a signature beer for sale in its New York State restaurants.

42 North Brewing Company is brewing Cayuga Wheat, using New York State wheat malt and the Cayuga grape, which is native to the state.

The beer was first served at Patina 250, the group's restaurant in the Delaware North building in downtown Buffalo, headquarters of the Delaware North Co. which has a majority interest in the Patina Restaurant Group.

With the expanded distribution, Cayuga Wheat now is available on tap in Patina restaurants in New York City at Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and elsewhere. It also is available at Patina 250 and 42 North's taproom at the brewery in East Aurora.

Overall, Patina has 57 upscale restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Florida, California, and Japan.
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170522

Beer fermentation tanks moving via the Erie Canal

Fermentation tanks en route to Rochester.

Even the weakest student of geography knows it's a shorter distance from China to Rochester if you don't go by way of Albany (and if you're traveling the traditional easterly route). But, it's a different story if you're delivering beer fermentation tanks.

The first three of a dozen 20-by-60-foot tanks being shipped from the manufacturer in China to the Genesee Brewing Company in downtown Rochester is now on the way. Their first domestic stop was at the Port of Albany, where they were placed on barges because they are too large for conventional movement by rail or truck. Then it was goodbye high tech, and hello Erie Canal.

The barge passed through the Waterford locks at the eastern terminus of the waterway just off the Hudson River opposite Troy on Friday. The westbound trip had temporarily been delayed by a high water level caused by heavy rains.

The tanks are part of Genesee Brewing's $40 million expansion project. If you're interested in tracking -- and maybe observing -- any of the trip as some people have been doing, here's the schedule for the first shipment of tanks:
May 23: Tanks will proceed to Niskayuna to Scotia to Rotterdam Junction/Glenville to Cranesville to Amsterdam to Tribes Hill

May 24: Tribes Hill to Randall to Canajoharie to Fort Plain to Mindenville
May 25: Mindenville to Little Falls to Frankfort to Utica

May 26: Utica to Rome to New London

May 27: New London to Brewerton to Baldwinsville

May 28: Baldwinsville to Mays Point to Clyde to Lyons

May 29/30: Lyons to Newark to Palmyra to Macedon to Pittsford to Henrietta; Tanks arrive at 150 Lee Road in Rochester
By way of comparison with the $40 million project, the idea of the 363-mile-long Erie Canal was authorized in 1817 by the New York State Legislature with a  budget of $7 million. It was completed in 1825.

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170521

Newburgh Brewing's taproom gets No.1 nod in NY online poll

The Newburgh Brewing Company taproom (photo provided)
Rankings are, as one might put it somewhat less crudely than usual, like rectal orifices. Everyone has one. The latest in New York State's beer world is a list of "best" taprooms by the influential website RateBeer.com.

The Newburgh Brewing Company was voted the "top tap room" in New York State in an online poll. As we all know by now, while online polls are popular, they are fraught with statistical inaccuracies. Nevertheless, they do offer some measure of popularity.
Christopher Basso

The brewery has been around only since 2012. Its top-selling product is a cream ale, one of its four original beers. It is made by brewmaster Christopher Basso, a graduate of both Boston University and the French Culinary Institute who began his brewing career at the Brooklyn Brewery.

The taproom is located in the brewery facility at 85 Colden Street in Newburgh, a block west of  the Hudson River. Hours: Wednesday, 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight. Saturday, noon to midnight. Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (kitchen closes at 4 p.m.)

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170518

2 brewers tie for win in Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge

UPDATE 3 (5/18/17): There is no winner in the inaugural Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge. There are two. Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown and Roscoe Beer Co. of Sullivan County tied for top honors among from among five finalists at the tasetoff Wednesday night in Manhattan. The others were the Genesee Brewing Co. of Rochester, Prison City Pub & Brewery of Auburn, and Southern Tier Brewing Company of Chautauqua County.

UPDATE 2 (5/15/17): The office of Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced the top five finalists in the inaugural Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge. The winner will be chosen Wednesday. The finalists, listed alphabetically: Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown;  Genesee Brewing Company, Rochester; Prison City Pub & Brewery, Auburn;  Roscoe Beer Company, Roscoe; Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood.

UPDATE (5/13/17): Well, now we know who else will be on the judging panel for the Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge recently announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The first person the guv appointed was himself. On Friday, he revealed who will be joining him -- former Buffalo Bills football star Thurman Thomas, who owns a bar at the Batavia Downs horse track; celebrity chef Mario Batali; Noah Kaufman, an editor at Food and Wine magazine, and Anne Becerra, a writer and beer director for the Treadwell Park beer hall in New York City. 

(Originally published 5/3/17)

Every one of the state's 321 craft breweries has its fans, so it will be interesting to see how large voter turnout is for the "Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge." That's the latest state government effort under its Taste NY program advocating for the state's food and beverage producers.

Then public will decide which five breweries make it into a taste-off by filling out an online ballot. Then, on a June date to be announced a judging panel led by Governor Andrew Cuomo will conduct a blind taste in Ndew York City and select a winner.

News of the contest comes right on the heels of the 20th annual TAP NY competition at Hunter Mountain, an event that decrees the best brewers and brews in the state. It has nothing to do with the Taste NY program.

If you need a refresher course on the many breweries located in the Greater Capital and environs, here is a list. I keep the geographic definition rather loose, given the propensity of people in this area to travel a bit to attend the many drinks and food shows and festivals with which it abounds. Thus, certain nearby parts of the Adirondacks, Catskills and Cooperstown area are include.
  1. Adirondack Pub & Brewery, 33 Canada Street, Lake George
  2. Argyle Brewing, One Main Street, Greenwich
  3. Artisinal Brew Works, 41 Geyser Road, Saratoga Springs 
  4. Battle Hill Brewing Co., 4 Charles Street, Fort Ann
  5. Beer Diviner, 461 Broadway, Troy, and 243 Bly Hollow Road, Petersburg
  6. Big Slide Brewery & Public House, 5686 Cascade Road, Lake Placid 
  7. Big Tupper Brewing, 12 Cliff Avenue, Tupper Lake
  8. Brewery LaHoff, 50 Vedder Road, Coxsackie (to open this year)
  9. Brewery Ommegang, 656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown
  10. Brown's Brewing Co., 417 River Street, Troy, and 50 Factory Hill Road, North Hoosick
  11. Cave Mountain Brewing Co., 5359 State Route 23, Windham
  12. Chatham Brewing, 59 Main Street, Chatham
  13. C.H. Evans Brewing/Albany Pump Station, 19 Quackenbush Square, Albany
  14. Common Roots Brewing Co., 58 Saratoga Avenue, South Glens Falls
  15. Cooper's Cave Ale Co., 2 Sagamore Street, Glens Falls
  16. Cooperstown Brewing Co., 110 River Street, Milford  
  17. Council Rock Brewery, 4861 State Highway 28, Cooperstown
  18. Crossroads Brewing Co., 21 Second Street, Athens
  19. Davidson Brothers Brewing Co., 184 Glen Street, Glens Falls
  20. Druthers, 381 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, and 1053 Broadway, Albany
  21. Dutch Ale House, 255 Main Street, Saugerties
  22. Great Adirondack Brewing Co., 2442 Main Street, Lake Placid
  23. Great Flats Brewing, 151 Lafayette Street, Schenectady (to open this year)
  24. Green Wolf Brewing, 315 Main Street, Middleburgh
  25. Hank Hudson Brewing, The Fairways of Halfmoon, 17 Johnson Road, Mechanicville
  26. Helderberg Brewery, Carey Institute for Global Good, 100 Pond Hill Road, Rensselaerville 
  27. Helderberg Mountain Brewing Co., 141 Warners Lake Road, East Berne
  28. Honey Hollow Brewing Co., 376 East Honey Hollow Road, Earlton
  29. Hudson Brewing Co., 99 South 3rd Street, Hudson
  30. Indian Ladder Farmstead Brewery and Cidery, 342 Altamont-Voorheesville Road, Altamont
  31. Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, 813 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid  
  32. Mad Jack Brewing, The Van Dyck Lounge,237 Union Street, Schenectady
  33. Mean Max Brew Works, 193 Glen Street, Glens Falls
  34. Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., 131 Excelsior Avenue, Saratoga Springs 
  35. Paradox Brewery, 154 Route 9, Schroon Lake 
  36. Racquette River Brewing, 11 Balsam Street, Tupper Lake,
  37. Rare Form Brewing Co., 90 Congress Street, Troy  
  38. Real McCoy Beer Co., 20 Hallwood Road, Delmar
  39. Red Shed Brewery, 817 Butterbowl Road, Cherry Valley
  40. Rip Van Winkle Brewing, Angela's Italian Bistro & Brewery, 4545 NY Route 32, Catskill
  41. R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery, 3602 County Route 30, Salem
  42. Serious Brewing Co., 116 Caverns Road, Howes Cave
  43. Shmaltz Brewing Co., 6 Fairchild Square, Clifton Park
  44. Sloop Brewing, 1065 County Route 19, Elizaville
  45. S&S Farm Brewery, 174 Middle Road, Nassau
  46. Steadfast Beer Co., 90 State Street, Albany
  47. Suarez Family Brewery, 2278 Route 9, Livingston
  48. Wolf Hollow Brewing Co., 6882 Amsterdam Road, Glenville

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170516

30+ makers to offer tastings at Brattleboro Brewers Festival

More than 30 brewers of beers and cider have signed up to participate in the 6th annual Brattleboro (VT) Brewers Festival set for the May 27.

In addition to more than 100 different brews for sampling, live music, various food vendors, and a line of prizes and raffles will be included.

The outdoor event will be held rain or shine at VABEC Field off Old Guilford Road in Brattleboro. Parking will be available at the Brattleboro Union High School on Fairgrounds Road, with   shuttles running all day.  The only parking at the event is for drivers with a handicap parking permit.

Early bird ticket sales, priced at $25 online only, end this Wednesday. Other ticket information is on the same site.

The participating brewers:
  • 14th Star Brewing
  • Allagash Brewing Co.
  • Amherst Brewing
  • Angry Orchard Cider
  • Brown's Brewing Co.
  • Champlain Orchards Cidery
  • Citizen Cider
  • Downeast Cider House
  • Element Brewing Co.
  • Foolproof Brewing
  • Goodwater Brewery
  • Hermit Thrush Brewery
  • Jack's Abby
  • Long Trail
  • Lord Hobo Brewing
  • Magic Hat
  • Matt & Harry's Hard Cider
  • New Belgium Brewery
  • Northshire Brewery
  • Queen City Brewery
  • Samuel Adams
  • Switchback Brewery
  • The People's Pint
  • The Traveler Beer Company
  • Trout River Brewing Co.
  • Truly Spiked & Sparkling
  • Two Roads Brewing Co.
  • Von Trapp Brewing
  • Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery
  • Woodchuck Hard Cider
  • Woodstock Inn Brewery

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170515

Update 2: 5 Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge finalists picked

UPDATE 2 (5/15/17): The office of Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced the top five finalists in the inaugural Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge. The winner will be chosen Wednesday. The finalists, listed alphabetically: Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown;  Genesee Brewing Company, Rochester; Prison City Pub & Brewery, Auburn;  Roscoe Beer Company, Roscoe; Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood.

UPDATE (5/13/17): Well, now we know who else will be on the judging panel for the Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge recently announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The first person the guv appointed was himself. On Friday, he revealed who will be joining him -- former Buffalo Bills football star Thurman Thomas, who owns a bar at the Batavia Downs horse track; celebrity chef Mario Batali; Noah Kaufman, an editor at Food and Wine magazine, and Anne Becerra, a writer and beer director for the Treadwell Park beer hall in New York City. 

(Originally published 5/3/17)

Every one of the state's 321 craft breweries has its fans, so it will be interesting to see how large voter turnout is for the "Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge." That's the latest state government effort under its Taste NY program advocating for the state's food and beverage producers.

Then public will decide which five breweries make it into a taste-off by filling out an online ballot. Then, on a June date to be announced a judging panel led by Governor Andrew Cuomo will conduct a blind taste in Ndew York City and select a winner.

News of the contest comes right on the heels of the 20th annual TAP NY competition at Hunter Mountain, an event that decrees the best brewers and brews in the state. It has nothing to do with the Taste NY program.

If you need a refresher course on the many breweries located in the Greater Capital and environs, here is a list. I keep the geographic definition rather loose, given the propensity of people in this area to travel a bit to attend the many drinks and food shows and festivals with which it abounds. Thus, certain nearby parts of the Adirondacks, Catskills and Cooperstown area are include.
  1. Adirondack Pub & Brewery, 33 Canada Street, Lake George
  2. Argyle Brewing, One Main Street, Greenwich
  3. Artisinal Brew Works, 41 Geyser Road, Saratoga Springs 
  4. Battle Hill Brewing Co., 4 Charles Street, Fort Ann
  5. Beer Diviner, 461 Broadway, Troy, and 243 Bly Hollow Road, Petersburg
  6. Big Slide Brewery & Public House, 5686 Cascade Road, Lake Placid 
  7. Big Tupper Brewing, 12 Cliff Avenue, Tupper Lake
  8. Brewery LaHoff, 50 Vedder Road, Coxsackie (to open this year)
  9. Brewery Ommegang, 656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown
  10. Brown's Brewing Co., 417 River Street, Troy, and 50 Factory Hill Road, North Hoosick
  11. Cave Mountain Brewing Co., 5359 State Route 23, Windham
  12. Chatham Brewing, 59 Main Street, Chatham
  13. C.H. Evans Brewing/Albany Pump Station, 19 Quackenbush Square, Albany
  14. Common Roots Brewing Co., 58 Saratoga Avenue, South Glens Falls
  15. Cooper's Cave Ale Co., 2 Sagamore Street, Glens Falls
  16. Cooperstown Brewing Co., 110 River Street, Milford  
  17. Council Rock Brewery, 4861 State Highway 28, Cooperstown
  18. Crossroads Brewing Co., 21 Second Street, Athens
  19. Davidson Brothers Brewing Co., 184 Glen Street, Glens Falls
  20. Druthers, 381 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, and 1053 Broadway, Albany
  21. Dutch Ale House, 255 Main Street, Saugerties
  22. Great Adirondack Brewing Co., 2442 Main Street, Lake Placid
  23. Great Flats Brewing, 151 Lafayette Street, Schenectady (to open this year)
  24. Green Wolf Brewing, 315 Main Street, Middleburgh
  25. Hank Hudson Brewing, The Fairways of Halfmoon, 17 Johnson Road, Mechanicville
  26. Helderberg Brewery, Carey Institute for Global Good, 100 Pond Hill Road, Rensselaerville 
  27. Helderberg Mountain Brewing Co., 141 Warners Lake Road, East Berne
  28. Honey Hollow Brewing Co., 376 East Honey Hollow Road, Earlton
  29. Hudson Brewing Co., 99 South 3rd Street, Hudson
  30. Indian Ladder Farmstead Brewery and Cidery, 342 Altamont-Voorheesville Road, Altamont
  31. Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, 813 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid  
  32. Mad Jack Brewing, The Van Dyck Lounge,237 Union Street, Schenectady
  33. Mean Max Brew Works, 193 Glen Street, Glens Falls
  34. Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., 131 Excelsior Avenue, Saratoga Springs 
  35. Paradox Brewery, 154 Route 9, Schroon Lake 
  36. Racquette River Brewing, 11 Balsam Street, Tupper Lake,
  37. Rare Form Brewing Co., 90 Congress Street, Troy  
  38. Real McCoy Beer Co., 20 Hallwood Road, Delmar
  39. Red Shed Brewery, 817 Butterbowl Road, Cherry Valley
  40. Rip Van Winkle Brewing, Angela's Italian Bistro & Brewery, 4545 NY Route 32, Catskill
  41. R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery, 3602 County Route 30, Salem
  42. Serious Brewing Co., 116 Caverns Road, Howes Cave
  43. Shmaltz Brewing Co., 6 Fairchild Square, Clifton Park
  44. Sloop Brewing, 1065 County Route 19, Elizaville
  45. S&S Farm Brewery, 174 Middle Road, Nassau
  46. Steadfast Beer Co., 90 State Street, Albany
  47. Suarez Family Brewery, 2278 Route 9, Livingston
  48. Wolf Hollow Brewing Co., 6882 Amsterdam Road, Glenville

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170513

Update: Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge judges unveiled

UPDATE (5/13/17): Well, now we know who else will be on the judging panel for the Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge recently announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The first person the guv appointed was himself. On Friday, he revealed who will be joining him -- former Buffalo Bills football star Thurman Thomas, who owns a bar at the Batavia Downs horse track; celebrity chef Mario Batali; Noah Kaufman, an editor at Food and Wine magazine, and Anne Becerra, a writer and beer director for the Treadwell Park beer hall in New York City. 

(Originally published 5/3/17)

Every one of the state's 321 craft breweries has its fans, so it will be interesting to see how large voter turnout is for the "Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge." That's the latest state government effort under its Taste NY program advocating for the state's food and beverage producers.

Then public will decide which five breweries make it into a taste-off by filling out an online ballot. Then, on a June date to be announced a judging panel led by Governor Andrew Cuomo will conduct a blind taste in Ndew York City and select a winner.

News of the contest comes right on the heels of the 20th annual TAP NY competition at Hunter Mountain, an event that decrees the best brewers and brews in the state. It has nothing to do with the Taste NY program.

If you need a refresher course on the many breweries located in the Greater Capital and environs, here is a list. I keep the geographic definition rather loose, given the propensity of people in this area to travel a bit to attend the many drinks and food shows and festivals with which it abounds. Thus, certain nearby parts of the Adirondacks, Catskills and Cooperstown area are include.
  1. Adirondack Pub & Brewery, 33 Canada Street, Lake George
  2. Argyle Brewing, One Main Street, Greenwich
  3. Artisinal Brew Works, 41 Geyser Road, Saratoga Springs 
  4. Battle Hill Brewing Co., 4 Charles Street, Fort Ann
  5. Beer Diviner, 461 Broadway, Troy, and 243 Bly Hollow Road, Petersburg
  6. Big Slide Brewery & Public House, 5686 Cascade Road, Lake Placid 
  7. Big Tupper Brewing, 12 Cliff Avenue, Tupper Lake
  8. Brewery LaHoff, 50 Vedder Road, Coxsackie (to open this year)
  9. Brewery Ommegang, 656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown
  10. Brown's Brewing Co., 417 River Street, Troy, and 50 Factory Hill Road, North Hoosick
  11. Cave Mountain Brewing Co., 5359 State Route 23, Windham
  12. Chatham Brewing, 59 Main Street, Chatham
  13. C.H. Evans Brewing/Albany Pump Station, 19 Quackenbush Square, Albany
  14. Common Roots Brewing Co., 58 Saratoga Avenue, South Glens Falls
  15. Cooper's Cave Ale Co., 2 Sagamore Street, Glens Falls
  16. Cooperstown Brewing Co., 110 River Street, Milford  
  17. Council Rock Brewery, 4861 State Highway 28, Cooperstown
  18. Crossroads Brewing Co., 21 Second Street, Athens
  19. Davidson Brothers Brewing Co., 184 Glen Street, Glens Falls
  20. Druthers, 381 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, and 1053 Broadway, Albany
  21. Dutch Ale House, 255 Main Street, Saugerties
  22. Great Adirondack Brewing Co., 2442 Main Street, Lake Placid
  23. Great Flats Brewing, 151 Lafayette Street, Schenectady (to open this year)
  24. Green Wolf Brewing, 315 Main Street, Middleburgh
  25. Hank Hudson Brewing, The Fairways of Halfmoon, 17 Johnson Road, Mechanicville
  26. Helderberg Brewery, Carey Institute for Global Good, 100 Pond Hill Road, Rensselaerville 
  27. Helderberg Mountain Brewing Co., 141 Warners Lake Road, East Berne
  28. Honey Hollow Brewing Co., 376 East Honey Hollow Road, Earlton
  29. Hudson Brewing Co., 99 South 3rd Street, Hudson
  30. Indian Ladder Farmstead Brewery and Cidery, 342 Altamont-Voorheesville Road, Altamont
  31. Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, 813 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid  
  32. Mad Jack Brewing, The Van Dyck Lounge,237 Union Street, Schenectady
  33. Mean Max Brew Works, 193 Glen Street, Glens Falls
  34. Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., 131 Excelsior Avenue, Saratoga Springs 
  35. Paradox Brewery, 154 Route 9, Schroon Lake 
  36. Racquette River Brewing, 11 Balsam Street, Tupper Lake,
  37. Rare Form Brewing Co., 90 Congress Street, Troy  
  38. Real McCoy Beer Co., 20 Hallwood Road, Delmar
  39. Red Shed Brewery, 817 Butterbowl Road, Cherry Valley
  40. Rip Van Winkle Brewing, Angela's Italian Bistro & Brewery, 4545 NY Route 32, Catskill
  41. R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery, 3602 County Route 30, Salem
  42. Serious Brewing Co., 116 Caverns Road, Howes Cave
  43. Shmaltz Brewing Co., 6 Fairchild Square, Clifton Park
  44. Sloop Brewing, 1065 County Route 19, Elizaville
  45. S&S Farm Brewery, 174 Middle Road, Nassau
  46. Steadfast Beer Co., 90 State Street, Albany
  47. Suarez Family Brewery, 2278 Route 9, Livingston
  48. Wolf Hollow Brewing Co., 6882 Amsterdam Road, Glenville

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170511

In-development Fort Orange Brewing embraces local history

Building materials arrive at the Albany renovation site. (photo provided)
It seems we're talking about a new craft brewery joining the Greater Capital Region scene on a weekly basis or even more often. (Go here to see the latest list.)

Fort Orange Brewing will open in the fall at 450 North Pearl Street in Albany's Warehouse District with a nod to local brewing history, both in its name -- the same as one from the 1800s -- and its location -- a site near where its antecedent operated during the city's 19th Century brewing heyday.

Even the logo is an acknowledgement to local history, incorporating the shape of the original Dutch settlement called Fort Orange -- which became the English settlement of Albany -- in its logo.

The original Fort Orange Brewing operated from1882 to 1888 on Broadway. The new brewery will rise in a 7,400-square-foot former warehouse not far from the Druthers brewing company's Albany facility. (Druthers' original is in Saratoga Springs.)

The new brewery is from three Castleton residents who have been brewing together and decided to go commercial. They are John Westcott, a technical support manager at KeyBank; Jim Eaton, a recruiter for Siena College, and Craig Johnson, works for the architectural/engineering firm EYP.

They have purchased a 7-barrel system and, Westcott tells me, they "are looking to have four to six of our beers on tap at all times.  We will have a taproom in the facility and offer flights, pints and growler fills. We plan to have two IPAs, a sweet/hoppy pale, and pilsner on tap for our opening.  We will also be brewing several pilot batches for opening, like a stout, red ale, and blonde." 

 
Marker shows new brewery location. (Google Earth)

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170509

Gloversville nano pads local brewery scene count

Stump City partners, from left, Casey Oare, Matt Sherman and Nick Sherman. (photo provided)
And, we have yet another small brewery in the Greater Capital Region.

The newcomer is Stump City Brewing. which just held a grand opening ceremony at its brewing and taproom facility, located at 521 West Fulton Street Extension in Gloversville. That brings to 49 the number of breweries of all sorts in the area.

The nanobrewery was created by Nick Sherman, Matt Sherman, Casey Oare and Jerry Sherman, all of Gloversville, financed in part by $13,000 raised through an IndieGoGo online funding page. It has been in soft opening mode since January, limiting its customers to those who contributed to the fund, but now will be open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. each Saturday.

The quartet explains the one-barrel brewery's name and motto "From the Ground Up" this way: "The name Stump City is a historical name of the area before it was incorporated as Gloversville. The proximity of hemlock forests to supply bark for tanning made the community a center of leather production early in its history. Prior to that Gloversville had been known as 'Stump City' because of the large number of trees that had been cut down. ...

"Our motto has a personal meaning as well as relating to the beers that we make. We put so much work into the [business] and wanted to do as much of the work ourselves. We did a large majority of the work with some help from friends and family and truly built the brewery and taproom from the ground up. The other half of it is our dedication to ingredients that we put in the beer. We source as much as possible from New York Farms allowing us to be call a farm brewery." That designation requires 90% of ingredients be produced in the state. Currently, it sources hops from Goderie’s of Johnstown and malt from Germantown.

Stump City currently sells beer on tap, or in refillable growlers, with no canned or bottled products.

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170506

Labatt honoring its history with multi-purpose Buffalo facility

1939 Labatt delivery truck -- red with gold lettering. (Ken Goudy Collection)
John Kinder Labatt
Buffalo is about to get a new beer-centric attraction. Labatt USA, part of North American Breweries, has announced plans to open the John Labatt House, a facility that will include a small test brewery, a restaurant, and company headquarters.

The project is part of the $10 million redevelopment of a five-story warehouse in the city’s Cobblestone District by Pegula Sports and Entertainment.

Plans call for the restaurant to function as a space for beer drinkers to taste, experience and even influence new beer development for Labatt by offering feedback on what they sample there. The test brewery will develop and test new products prior to introducing them to the market.

The new headquarters is projected to open in the fall of 2018, with the restaurant and brewery opening in the months to follow.

The project's name can be seen as an honorific for the Labatt Brewing Company's history of being headed by men named John. The Irish-born John Kinder Labatt (1803-1866) founded the brewery. Under his son John Labatt  (1838-1915), it grew to be Canada's largest. Then, John Sackville Labatt (1880-1952), one of his nine children, took over and ran it for decades.

Since 1995, the company has been part of a whirlwind of mergers that dominated the industry. It was purchased that year by the Belgian brewer Interbrew. In 2004, Interbrew merged with the Brazilian brewer AmBev to form InBev. In 2008, InBev merged with American brewer Anheuser-Busch to form Anheuser-Busch InBev (abbreviated AB InBev), and last year a $100 billion merger between AB InBev and SABMiller closed.

So, Labatt now is part of the ridiculously named Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, merfifully trading as the simplified designation BUD on the New York Stock Exchange.
• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

20170503

Vendor lineup unveiled for Saratoga Brewfest

Organizers today released the lineup of participating brewers for the 7th annual Saratoga Brewfest, set for May 20 at the Saratoga Race Course.

General admission tickets ($45) include three hours of craft beer sampling, live music entertainment, and a souvenir sampling glass. VIP tickets ($60) include and extra hour of sampling, a food voucher, and  commemorative hat. Both are available for online purchase.

The vendor list of breweries and cideries:

10 Barrel Brewing Co.
Bend, OR

21st Amendment Brewery
San Francisco, CA

Abbaye de Leffe
Belgium

Dinant, Namur Abita Brewing Company
Abita Springs, LA

Adirondack Brewery
Lake George, NY

Anchor Brewing Company
San Francisco, CA

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Boonville, CA

Angry Orchard Cider Company
Cincinnati, OH

Artisanal Brew Works
Saratoga Springs, NY

Avery Brewing Co.
Boulder, CO

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
San Diego, CA

Battle Hill Brewing Company
Fort Ann, NY

Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards
Lafayette, NY

Update: Argyle Brewing opens its second tasting room today

New equipment arrives at Argyle Brewing Co. (photo provided)
UPDATE  (5/3/17): Argyle Brewing Company today opened the doors and the taps to its second tasting room, located in the former train depot in Cambridge at 6 Broad Street. Hours are the same as it the brewery tasting room: 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays; 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

(Originally published 3/1/17)

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.

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

State's Taste NY program creates craft beer challenge

Every one of the state's 321 craft breweries has its fans, so it will be interesting to see how large voter turnout is for the "Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge." That's the latest state government effort under its Taste NY program advocating for the state's food and beverage producers.

Then public will decide which five breweries make it into a taste-off by filling out an online ballot. Then, on a June date to be announced a judging panel led by Governor Andrew Cuomo will conduct a blind taste in Ndew York City and select a winner.

News of the contest comes right on the heels of the 20th annual TAP NY competition at Hunter Mountain, an event that decrees the best brewers and brews in the state. It has nothing to do with the Taste NY program.

If you need a refresher course on the many breweries located in the Greater Capital and environs, here is a list. I keep the geographic definition rather loose, given the propensity of people in this area to travel a bit to attend the many drinks and food shows and festivals with which it abounds. Thus, certain nearby parts of the Adirondacks, Catskills and Cooperstown area are include.
  1. Adirondack Pub & Brewery, 33 Canada Street, Lake George
  2. Argyle Brewing, One Main Street, Greenwich
  3. Artisinal Brew Works, 41 Geyser Road, Saratoga Springs 
  4. Battle Hill Brewing Co., 4 Charles Street, Fort Ann
  5. Beer Diviner, 461 Broadway, Troy, and 243 Bly Hollow Road, Petersburg
  6. Big Slide Brewery & Public House, 5686 Cascade Road, Lake Placid 
  7. Big Tupper Brewing, 12 Cliff Avenue, Tupper Lake
  8. Brewery LaHoff, 50 Vedder Road, Coxsackie (to open this year)
  9. Brewery Ommegang, 656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown
  10. Brown's Brewing Co., 417 River Street, Troy, and 50 Factory Hill Road, North Hoosick
  11. Cave Mountain Brewing Co., 5359 State Route 23, Windham
  12. Chatham Brewing, 59 Main Street, Chatham
  13. C.H. Evans Brewing/Albany Pump Station, 19 Quackenbush Square, Albany
  14. Common Roots Brewing Co., 58 Saratoga Avenue, South Glens Falls
  15. Cooper's Cave Ale Co., 2 Sagamore Street, Glens Falls
  16. Cooperstown Brewing Co., 110 River Street, Milford  
  17. Council Rock Brewery, 4861 State Highway 28, Cooperstown
  18. Crossroads Brewing Co., 21 Second Street, Athens
  19. Davidson Brothers Brewing Co., 184 Glen Street, Glens Falls
  20. Druthers, 381 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, and 1053 Broadway, Albany
  21. Dutch Ale House, 255 Main Street, Saugerties
  22. Great Adirondack Brewing Co., 2442 Main Street, Lake Placid
  23. Great Flats Brewing, 151 Lafayette Street, Schenectady (to open this year)
  24. Green Wolf Brewing, 315 Main Street, Middleburgh
  25. Hank Hudson Brewing, The Fairways of Halfmoon, 17 Johnson Road, Mechanicville
  26. Helderberg Brewery, Carey Institute for Global Good, 100 Pond Hill Road, Rensselaerville 
  27. Helderberg Mountain Brewing Co., 141 Warners Lake Road, East Berne
  28. Honey Hollow Brewing Co., 376 East Honey Hollow Road, Earlton
  29. Hudson Brewing Co., 99 South 3rd Street, Hudson
  30. Indian Ladder Farmstead Brewery and Cidery, 342 Altamont-Voorheesville Road, Altamont
  31. Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, 813 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid  
  32. Mad Jack Brewing, The Van Dyck Lounge,237 Union Street, Schenectady
  33. Mean Max Brew Works, 193 Glen Street, Glens Falls
  34. Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., 131 Excelsior Avenue, Saratoga Springs 
  35. Paradox Brewery, 154 Route 9, Schroon Lake 
  36. Racquette River Brewing, 11 Balsam Street, Tupper Lake,
  37. Rare Form Brewing Co., 90 Congress Street, Troy  
  38. Real McCoy Beer Co., 20 Hallwood Road, Delmar
  39. Red Shed Brewery, 817 Butterbowl Road, Cherry Valley
  40. Rip Van Winkle Brewing, Angela's Italian Bistro & Brewery, 4545 NY Route 32, Catskill
  41. R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery, 3602 County Route 30, Salem
  42. Serious Brewing Co., 116 Caverns Road, Howes Cave
  43. Shmaltz Brewing Co., 6 Fairchild Square, Clifton Park
  44. Sloop Brewing, 1065 County Route 19, Elizaville
  45. S&S Farm Brewery, 174 Middle Road, Nassau
  46. Steadfast Beer Co., 90 State Street, Albany
  47. Suarez Family Brewery, 2278 Route 9, Livingston
  48. Wolf Hollow Brewing Co., 6882 Amsterdam Road, Glenville

• Go here for Notes On Napkins
• Go here for Dowd On Drinks
• Go here for Dowd's New York Wines Notebook