Sunday, March 13, 2016

NY Brewers Assn. does festival well

   The craft brewers of the Empire State put on a nice event March 5 in Albany; squeezing into the courtyard and some side rooms in the Desmond Hotel near the airport, they had close to fifty breweries pouring.  No tokens--the four ounce sample glass could be filled as many times as the consumer wanted.  A couple of notable aspects:
   --Farmstead breweries: enacted in 2012, this law offers incentives to build a brewery that uses at least 20% hops and 20% barley grown in the state (these percentages rise to 90% over the next decade). Several of these operations that were opening this year came to the festival pouring adventurous brews.  Over a hundred farmstead brewers have now been licensed--they do not have to be actual farms or growing their own ingredients.
   --Malting companies. 
Upstate New York may have a passable climate for growing barley (its a lot like England or Germany) but farmers shifted to other crops long ago.  Malting operations are another new business in the craft boom, as brewers, both the farmstead types and conventional brewers who want that local tag, look for local grains.  The festival had aspects of a trade show, as the booth of this malter from Buffalo shows, with samples on display for brewers to scratch and sniff.
Over the past few years of visiting family in this area, I have seen several of the established brewers in the capital region: Brown Brewing in Troy, C.H. Evans in Albany, Ommegang in Cooperstown, Schmaltz in Clifton Park. Saw these at the festival, also more recently met folks like the Davidson Brothers crew, the Mad Jack brewers in Schenectady, and the Druthers breweries in Saratoga and Albany.  A good time.
(Visited 03/05/16)

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