Monday, May 22, 2017

New alcohol study: Other studies full of flaws

From the New York Daily News
There’s no shortage of studies claiming that moderate wine drinkers have healthier hearts. Same goes for light consumption of other sorts of alcohol. But a new deep research dive into the topic basically says to put a cork in it. Investigators found little evidence to support the earlier booze-is-good-for-you findings.

That’s the takeaway of a new study in the Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs. Researchers sifted through 45 previous studies and found flaws in the methodology.
Go here for the full story.
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Imbibeable Cartoonery

A gallery of artwork honoring those who draw conclusions. 



• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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 to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Update 3: 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 to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

'Bounty of the Hudson' festival coming up in June

Fans of Hudson Valley wines, or anyone looking for a first exposure to them, will find more than 20 wineries represented at the annual "Bounty of the Hudson" next month.

The rain-or-shine, festival style event is set for Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11, at the Ulster County Fairgrounds.

In addition to wine tastings, it offer samplings of fresh local produce, cheeses, honey, baked goods and foods from local restaurants.

Tickets, available online, cover a souvenir Shawangunk Wine Trail glass, sampling at each of the attending wineries' booths, and an afternoon of live music. The event, open only to persons 21 or older, will run from noon to 5 p.m. both days. A one-day tasting ticket, good for either Saturday OR Sunday, is $30 purchased in advance, plus fees. A limited number of tickets will be available at the gate for $40, including tax. A general admission ticket for designated drivers is available in advance for $10, plus fees and at the gate for $15, including fees. Each ticket is valid for one day of the event.

The Ulster County Fairgrounds is located at 249 Libertyville Road in New Paltz.
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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 to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Upper HV Wine Trail plans 'Wine & Cheese Weekend'

The Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail's summer season will get into high gear with a "Wine & Cheese Weekend" on Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11.

The event is an exclusive one for UHVWT Passport holders. Details on how to instantly get a passport are available online.

Each participating winery will offer three wine tastes paired with three cheese samples, the combinations varying from venue to venue. The participants:
  • Adirondack Winery 285 Canada Street, Lake George
  • Amorici Vineyard, 637 Colonel Burch Road, Valley Falls
  • Ledge Rock Hill Winery, 41 Stewart Dam Road, Corinth
  • Oliva Vineyards, Saratoga Farmers’ Market, 105 High Rock Avenue, Saratoga Springs
  • Swedish Hill Winery, 441 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
  • The Saratoga Winery 462 Route 29, Saratoga Springs
  • Thirsty Owl Outlet & Wine Garden, 184 S. Broadway, Saratoga Springs
  • Victory View Vineyard, 11975 State Route 40, Schaghticoke
The self-guided tour can begin at any of the venues, and include as many stops as desired.
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

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 to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Saturday, May 13, 2017

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 to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Former Schenectady tavern-restaurant demolished

The former City Squire. (Daily Gazette photo)
The former City Squire tavern and restaurant in Schenectady is not just merely dead, it's really most sincerely dead, as the coroner of Munchkin Land might put it.

Demolition workers tore down the longtime business this week to make room for the construction of a new two-story building that will house an Irish-style spot called the City Squire Ale House under new ownership.

Go here for the background stories on the transition. And, for an album of excellent close-up photos of the demolition, go here to visit The Daily Gazette website.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Friday, May 12, 2017

State's drinks producers being spotlighted in NYC bash

Mixologist Melissa Markert will host a VIP cocktail session. (photo provided)
The state's always-expanding push to market its wines, spirits, ciders and brews will ramp up anther notch at a New York City event on Wednesday, May 24.

The multi-level event, with separate programs for the public and the trade, is titled "TasteNewYork - A New York Craft Beverage Experience." The venue is Pier A Harbor House at 22 Battery Place in lower Manhattan. It is part of the state's TasteNY program.

Two ticket options are available for the public event: the VIP Experience beginning at 6 p.m. and general admission tickets for 6:30 p.m. admission. The VIP option will include an exclusive cocktail demonstration and tasting in the 
Commissioner's Bar with Melissa Markert of Dead Rabbit, one of New York City's currently trendiest bars. She will use local ingredients and New York craft beverages to build cocktails.

Among the beverage providers will be Saratoga Brewing, Saratoga Spring Water, and Shmaltz Brewing Company from the Capital Region.

Details of the event, the participating vendors, categories for the trade and the public, and ticket purchasing are available on the event website.
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Finger Lakes tops list of best U.S. wine regions to visit

Thrillist, the online media brand covering food, drink, travel and entertainment, convened a panel of sommeliers to pick "Best Wine Regions to Visit In the U.S." They came up with 11 of them, and tops on the list is the Finger Lakes.

Here's what Thrillist had to say:
"No. 1. Finger Lakes, NY.

Must-hit wineries: Get a history lesson at Dr. Frank's before hitting Ravines or Hermann J. Wiemer. Perhaps we spoke too soon when we named the Finger Lakes the most underrated place in New York. This southern region of the Empire State is an like an SEC football team to sommeliers (that is, a powerhouse), except it actually deserves to be in everyone's top five.

"There are a lot of up-and-coming wineries there," says [panelist Daniel] Toral, "and better restaurants keep opening, as well." In fact, since the region started blowing up a few years ago, there are now over 100 wineries in the area. And the best part? It hasn't been overtaken by tourists and developers yet so there won't be horrendous crowds to fight when you visit the famous gorges at Watkins Glen State Park in the morning, and then head to the venerable birthplace of East Coast winemaking -- Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars -- later in the day." 
You can read the evaluations of the other 10 regions by clicking here.
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Local wine to flow at Finger Lakes art fest and competition

A reception by Hazlitt's Red Cat Cellars will be among the attractions at the 6th annual Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition & Festival.

The art-centric festival will run from Tuesday, June 6, through Sunday, June 11. The wine tasting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7. Wines will be poured from various Canandaigua Wine Trail wineries.

The festival itself, held under the auspices of the Ontario County Arts Council, will feature as many as 45 artists from across the country who have been invited to the area to paint scenes of Canandaigua and the Finger Lakes. An exhibition and sale will be held on the final day of the event at the historic site Sonnenberg Gardens.

Details of the festival are available on the event website.
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Thursday, May 11, 2017

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 to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Adirondack Wine & Food Festival vendors list unveiled

The full list of vendors for this year’s Adirondack Wine & Food Festival has just been released.

The event, to be held on the weekend of June 24-25 at the Charles R. Wood Festival Commons in Lake George Village, has sold more than 1,000 advance tickets, and a crowd of more than 6,000 is anticipated.

"This festival celebrates the bounty of amazing craft beverages and locally made foods that New York has to offer, and we’re excited to report that we will have more vendors and variety than ever before,” said Sasha Pardy, co-owner and president of the festival’s presenting sponsor, Adirondack Winery.

At this point, the vendor list has more than 80 vendors, including 23 wineries, eight distilleries, four breweries, three cideries, 23 artisan food vendors, six  specialty vendors, eight food trucks, a local restaurant and a weekend full of culinary demonstrations provided by the SUNY Adirondack culinary students.

Vendors, ticket information, and other details of the festival are available on the event website.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Troy venture an eclectic tap room and curiosity shop

The doctor will see you now. Well, not right now. And not the actual doctor. But, there will be a number of things to remind you that a new business in the Victorian rowhouse at 45 2nd Street in downtown Troy once functioned as a doctor's office.

The premises are being converted into a venture  called Elixir 16, what creator Megan Reavey and boyfriend David Linen of Collar City Renovations describe as a "bottled beer emporium, tap room and curiosity shop." They're hoping to have a soft opening in June, serving drinks and specialty foods as well as home-entertaining items.

“It was the building’s history as a doctor’s office that inspired the name, Elixir 16, as a nod to the elixirs that doctors prescribed around the turn of the last century, the magical potions often promising to induce love, eternal life and to turn metals into gold,” Reavey said in an interview with The Record.

She said the renovation process on the building they bought last year has uncovered a variety of medical paraphernalia accumulated over a century of use, some of which will be incorporated into the business's decor.

You can access the full interview online.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Gloversville nano pads ever-expanding local brewery scene

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.

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Surprise! Southern Comfort has no whiskey, but soon will

From The New York Times
When the Sazerac Company bought Southern Comfort from the liquor conglomerate Brown-Forman last year, the business motivation was clear. “If you and I ended on a desert island and there was a bottle of liquor, there’s an even-money chance it would be Southern Comfort,” Mark Brown, the chief executive of Sazerac, said... .

Southern Comfort has long borne a double-edged reputation as being both famous and infamous. The blend of spirits and fruit and spice flavorings is a storied brand, with roots that are believed to go back to the 19th Century, and it can be found in nearly every bar in America. Yet it is widely regarded as the drink of unwise youths and undiscriminating palates. ...
Kevin Richards, the new senior marketing director for Southern Comfort, admitted as much, saying that when Sazerac bought it, the brand was “in danger of losing a lot of relevance in the mind of consumers.”

Sazerac hopes to reverse that. A new-and-improved Southern Comfort will hit the shelves in July, with a redesigned label and bottle. Flavored versions like Lime Comfort and Caramel Comfort will be phased out. But, most important, Southern Comfort will get back the one ingredient that many people have long assumed it contained: whiskey.
Go here for the full story.
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Monday, May 8, 2017

When news breaks ...

... it's really broken. The Times Union website today posted this headline as breaking news:

Beer, cider help Taste NY triple revenues

So, what's wrong with that? Only that the story is three months old.

I know that because I wrote about it back in February when the Cuomo administration released the numbers on the program.
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Saturday, May 6, 2017

'Liquor wall' appears about to fall in Florida

From Florida Today
TALLAHASSEE, FL -- The long-standing liquor wall, which was been around since Prohibition ended, is facing the wrecking ball under a bill headed to Governor Rick Scott’s desk.

After two days of debate, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Senate’s bill (SB 106) by one vote. It is the first time since at least 2000 that a bill in the House has been decided by a [single] vote, according to Lobbytools, a service that tracks Florida bills.

The bill allows grocery stores, big box retailers and other stores to sell liquor in the same space as other products. Currently, liquor must be sold in a side store separated by a wall.

“Any debate that includes the topic of alcohol is going to be tense and contentious,” said State Rep. Bryan Avila. “This issue is one that I feel is not a religious or social issue, it is one of an outdated policy.”

... Florida would become the 28th state to allow the sale of liquor alongside wine and beer. 
Go here for the full story.
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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.
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Friday, May 5, 2017

Bombay Sapphire: A case of accidental overproofing

This is one batch of Bombay Sapphire Gin that will become a collector's item if Canadian officials are unsuccessful in rounding up all the bottles.

A nationwide recall of a particular batch of Bombay Sapphire has been issued after Canadian health authorities discovered a batch of bottles containing gin that is 77% alcohol -- in other words, a phenomenal 154 proof! By law, the maximum proof is 80.

Bacardi, parent company of Bombay and other brands such as Grey Goose, Martini, St. Germain and Bacardi rums, said that as many as 6,000 Bombay Sapphire 1.14-liter bottles may be affected, and were sold only in Canada. They bear the number "L16304." All have been recalled.

In a news release, Bacardi said, "The over proofproduct inadvertently entered the bottling line during a short period of time -- [up to] 45 minutes -- when [workers] were switching from one bottling tank to another bottling tank." It also said the recall was launched after "an isolated consumer complaint and subsequent quality assurance checks."

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has warned consumers to throw away the bottles or return them to the place of purchase.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New York entries rack up 9 'bests' in Pacific Rim

New York wines earned a tremendous nine "Best of Class" awards and other top honors in the recent Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in San Bernardino, CA.

The honors went to entries from:
  • 21 Brix Winery
  • Americana Vineyards
  • Black Willow Winery
  • Coyote Moon Vineyards
  • Fulkerson Winery
  • Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars
  • Merritt Estate Winery
  • Pellegrini Vineyards
  • Penguin Bay Winery
  • Swedish Hill Winery
  • Thirsty Owl Wine Company
  • Wagner Vineyards
Go here to visit a searchable database detailing their entries and full results in all categories.

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Wagner earns 'best of' in San Diego Wine Challenge

Ann Raffetto
Ann Raffetto, the longtime winemaker at Wagner Vineyards Estate Winery and one of the few female head winemakers in the state, has racked up a few more plaudits.

Wagner's 2014 Caywood East Vineyard Riesling took "Best Dry Riesling" honors en route to being named "Best of Show White Wine" at the San Diego Wine Challenge.

The Caywood East was rated at a platinum-level 95 points by the judges. And, although not achieving "best of" status, Wagner's 2015 Dry Riesling was awarded a gold medal with a score of 91.

Raffetto has been making wine at Wagner since 1983, working with co-winemaker, John Herbert until he retired in 2013.

Wagner Vineyards Estate Winery and Wagner Valley Brewing Company are located at 9322 State Route 414 in Lodi, Seneca County. Phone: (607) 582-6450 and (866) 924-6378.


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Anthony Road entry goes gold in French competition

Anthony Road Wine Company's 2013 Art Series Riesling took a gold medal at the 20th annual Riesling Du Monde, a high-end competition held at the Palais des Congrès in Strasbourg, the capital of France's Alsace province.

The entry from the Seneca Lake winery was the only American wine to win a gold in the competition. It is a product of spontaneous fermentation, with 0.47% residual sugar. Art Series carries a suggested retail price of $28.99 for the 750ml bottle.

Anthony Road Wine Company is the outgrowth of a farm founded in 1973 by John and Ann Martini when they planted their first five acres of grapes. It is located at 1020 Anthony Road, Penn Yan, on the west side of Seneca Lake. Phone: (800) 559-2182 or (315) 536-2182.
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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.
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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

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hard cider brew fest planned in Steuben County

If cider and beer are your thing, the 2nd annual Cider Creek Hard Cider Brew Fest in Steuben County may be of interest.

The event will include tastings of about 40 different ciders and brews, along with camping facilities, live music and fireworks, running from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, My 13, at the event's namesake farm venue.

Cider Creek was founded three years ago in Boston by Kevin and Melanie Collins, but they moved the operation to his family's farm shortly after.

Early bird and VIP tickets already are sold out, but general admission tickets still are available at $40, or $10 for designated drivers.

Cider Creek Hard Cider is located at 6459 Cunningham Creek Road near Canisteo, northwest of Corning. Directions are on the website.
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