Buffalo Beer Week Day 1: Let the Madness Begin

14390895_10154396327852527_3630104493628899030_nAs Milhouse Van Houten once famously said, ‘we’re through the looking glass here people.’ And so we are, as today is finally the day – the official kickoff to the 2016 Buffalo Beer Week. And there are plenty, and we mean PLENTY, of things to do today.

First off, let us extend a massive thank you to Big Ditch Brewing for getting things underway last night at the 2nd Annual Brewers Shuffleboard Tournament. The team from 42 North won the trophy this year FYI, but the highlight of the night was the debut of the Wise PA, a fantastic memorial beer for the late Kevin Wise, a beer that he would have surely been proud of. It features big juicy citrus, potent hops and fragrant tropical fruits. You need to have this beer.

But anyways, we digress. On to tonight.

Come out and celebrate the official kick-off to Buffalo Beer Week at an intimate Meet the Brewer night at the Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle beginning at 5pm. Over 15 of your favorite WNY breweries will be on hand serving their latest offerings, including 12 Gates, 42 North, Big Ditch, Blackbird Cider Works, Chateau Buffalo Cider, Community Beer Works, Ellicottville Brewing, Flying Bison, Four Mile Brewing, Old First Ward Brewing, Gordon Biersch, Hamburg Brewing, Pearl Street, Resurgence Brewing, Rusty Nickel, Southern Tier Brewing and Woodcock Brothers, plus award-winning a-la-carte pierogi will also be available. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Torn Space Theater. There is no cover for the event.

New York Beer Project is releasing their latest beer, a fresh wet-hopped ale named Beer Project Buffalo Ale, which is only available at the brewery. And speaking of beer releases, 42 North will have a special cask tapping at 7pm and Gordon Biersch will have a firkin of their Belgian IPA with Passionfruit.

thinkstockphotos-187470743The WNY Fall Beer Festival is going down at Woodcock Brother Brewing, which features 14 different fall seasonal brews from 13 local breweries and two local ciders. From 6-11pm, go out and drink your fill of Hamburg – Oktoberfest, 4 Mile – Wet Hop Ale, Southern Tier – Warlock, 12 Gates – Cherry Vanilla Wheat, Old First Ward – Coffee Oatmeal, Resurgence – Autumn Saison, Ellicottville – Fall Festival, NYBP – Wee Heavy, Flying Bison – Bisonfest, Big Ditch – Cinnamon Apple, Woodcock Bros – Cocktoberfest and Wet Hop IPA (IPA w/ WNY Chinook hops), Barker Brewing – German Feist Bier, Leonard Oaks Estate Winery – Steam Punk Cider and Blackbird Cider Works – Buffalo Bluegrass Bourbon Barrel Aged 8% Cider.

And finally, another e vent to sink your teeth into is the Calling Copenhagen Tap Takeover at Aurora Brew Works, featuring nothing but Copenhagen beers, including many offerings from Mikkeller, To OL, Beer Here and Amager. Grab more info here.

Keep it locked to www.buffalobeerweek.com for more daily blog posts regarding all of the beers, all of the events and all of the happenings going on throughout Buffalo Beer Week.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column for The Public. He can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com.

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Buffalo Beer Week Eve: 3 Events To Attend

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Well, today is the day. It’s finally here. While today is only technically the preview to the seventh annual Buffalo Beer Week, there are still some options for you and your beer drinking schedule. Well, not options so much, because if you plan your time right, you can hit everything. And you’ll be a hero.

First up on today’s docket is the Buffalo Beer Week Eve celebration at Thin Man Brewery, featuring the headliner – a cask of Does Anyone Remember Laughter? IPA with Mosaic hops. On tap you can also enjoy a number of Singlecut favs, including Does Anyone Remember Laughter? IPA, Weird & Gilly IPA, 18 Watt Session IPA, Raspberry Kim Sour Lager, Brett Kim Sour Lager and Billy Full Stack IPA. Everything tapped at 3pm.

Then head over to Big Ditch Brewing Company for the 2nd Annual Brewers Shuffleboard Tournament as 11 local breweries square off on the shuffleboard table. Defending champs Woodcock Brothers Brewing have earned a bye in the first round as has Resurgence Brewing, Four Mile Brewing and Big Ditch, while 42 North Brewing takes on New York Beer Project, Community Beer Works battles Pearl Street and Old First Ward and Gordon Biersch meet. This event will also feature the debut of Wise PA, brewed for late beer blogger Kevin Wise and the result of the largest beer collaboration in Buffalo history. Sales of the memorial beer will go to benefit the Wise family.

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And as added incentive, this from Big Ditch President Matt Kahn on Wise PA, “Beer geeks, hopheads, Buffalo brewing appreciators, and friends of Kevin will love this beer. Kevin himself would have loved it too. Flavors of orange, passion fruit, melon and mango abound.” So, there’s that.

Additionally tonight, for you bike enthusiasts, East Aurora’s 42 North Brewing will take part in the EA Tour de Hops, a slow roll bike ride starting at Chain Ring Rhythm.  The ride takes you around the village and back to 42 North for the official after party. Gather at Chain Ring on Main St. (EA) at 6pm, and ride begins at 6:30pm. Bike helmets and lights are recommended.

Keep it locked to www.buffalobeerweek.com for more daily blog posts regarding all of the beers, all of the events and all of the happenings going on throughout Buffalo Beer Week.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column for The Public. He can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com.

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MyCity Brew Taps Andrew ‘Drew’ Hardin For Final Selection Event

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Community Beer Works’ own Andrew ‘Drew’ Hardin has been tapped by MyCity Brew to help with their final beer selection event, announcing that the veteran brewer will formulate and brew four test beer samples for their final selection event.

If you didn’t know, MyCity Brew want to brew the ultimate Buffalo beer and need your help. They are asking Buffalo beer fans to cast their vote for their favorite beer style, choosing from up to four options from a list that includes Lagers, Malt-Forward Ales, Hop-Forward Ales, Porters & Stouts, Sour/Wild Ales, Belgian/French Ales or German Ales.

Hardin admits that hbuffalo-beer-week-funnel_orige was intrigued by MCB’s unique approach after being introduced to the guys via a mutual friend.

“I was first introduced to the MCB guys through Dave Rivers at Kegworks,” Hardin explains. “He said he knew a couple of guys that had a concept to do a sort of crowd-sourced-style selection of what beers Buffalonians want to drink and then wanted to give the people what they want and produce said selected beer. I met with Jonah [Epstein] and had a discussion on what the format was. He told me that they would be doing a set of public polls via the Internet and social media to be followed by a ballot box-style campaign at local bars and retailers to get a full spectrum of votes and opinions on what style of beer should be brewed. This is where I came in.”

If you aren’t familiar with Hardin’s beer work then perhaps it’s time for a trip to Community Beer Works to sample his wares. He’s also been tasked to serve as a consultant for the forthcoming SATO Brewpub, opening soon in the Dun Building in the former Soundlab.

“They needed some help on the recipe development and technical brewing side of things,” he adds. “Being a brewer myself, the information the MCB crew has collected is very relevant to me. As with any business, market research is huge. I have spoken with a bunch of Buffalo’s beer drinkers at bars and watering holes all over the city but it’s really hard to take that collected info and have it right in front of your face. The MCB crew has done just that. This is a truly unique approach14212103_1772005459724884_2146381282921455689_n to the production and marketing of craft beer.”

Hardin also gave a little peak behind the curtain and offered a bit of detail of just exactly what he will be doing.

“I will be preparing four different variations of the final selected style of beer for their final selection event (date to be announced). Once the votes are in, the info is tallied and Buffalo’s choice is made, I will do my very best to use my skills as a professional brewer to create for the people of Buffalo and the MCB crew a beer that will be exactly what Buffalo’s beer drinkers want to imbibe.”

“After the MCB guys are happy with the recipe I will kindly hand my recipe over to them to produce where and when they see fit.”

You can vote for what you’d like to see brewed at www.mycitybrew.com. And just a heads up, Buffalo Beer Week is the final time you can cast your vote for the first round. Round 2 of voting begins October 3.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column for The Public. He can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com.

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Announcing Buffalo Beer Week 2016

Buffalo, NY – – Buffalo Beer Week is back and bigger than ever! Kicking off Thursday night September 22nd and running to Sunday, October 2nd, Buffalo Beer Week will feature lots of unique events at the best bars, pubs, restaurants, breweries, and other craft beer destinations throughout the Buffalo-Niagara region.

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Come one, come all! Hundreds of events in dozens of venues accross the entire Buffalo Niagara region ~ celebrating diversity and inclusivness under the Big Tent of Buffalo Beer!

The 10-day lineup features events such as farm to table beer and wine dinners, tastings at your local pub and a huge ticketed special events and nearly everything in between.  The overarching
theme for the 2016 Buffalo Beer Week is “Big Tent Buffalo” celebrating the inclusiveness that the craft beer scene in Buffalo and the greater community embraces and exemplifies. We encourage venues to plan events that highlight and promote inclusiveness across a broad range of potential boundaries that have historically divided us — culture, gender, ethnicity, religion, politics, etc. All are welcome and there’s plenty of room in the big tent of craft beer for all of us!

The initial schedule of events will be made available to the public on BuffaloBeerWeek.com by September 1, and additional events will be added to the lineup as Beer Week approaches. Brochures containing the list of events will also be available at participating Beer Week venues throughout Western New York in the weeks leading up to Beer week.

About Buffalo Beer Week: Buffalo Beer Week promotes Buffalo’s growing craft beer culture by sponsoring a ten-day festival in Erie and Niagara counties that attracts beer tourism, fosters knowledge of our regional brewing heritage, and serves as a showcase for Buffalo’s breweries, restaurants, pubs, and other craft beer destinations. Visitwww.buffalobeerweek.com for event details.

About The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association: The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association exists to unify the Buffalo Niagara craft beer community in order to increase regional sales of craft beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness, consumer education, and to monitor and assure a thriving craft beer and brewing industry within the Buffalo Niagara Region. For more information about the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, including membership, please visithttp://buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.org

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Announcing the 3rd Annual Buffalo Brewers Festival!

by Willard Brooks

JOIN THE PARTY!

3rd ANNUAL BUFFALO BREWERS FESTIVAL CELEBRATES GROWTH OF WESTERN NEW  YORK’S CRAFT BEER SCENE


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The third annual Buffalo Brewers Festival, the only festival in our region hosted by and for local craft brewers, takes place Saturday, June 18, from 3-7pm, at Outer Harbor. The event is sponsored by the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association.

The festival will feature more than 40 breweries, including all 20 local breweries such as 12 Gates, 42 North, Big Ditch, Community Beer Works, Ellicottville Brewing Company,
Five and 20 Spirits and Brewing, Flying Bison, Four Mile, Old First Ward, Gordon Biersch, Hamburg Brewing Company, New York Beer Project, Pan Am Grill &
Brewery, Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, Resurgence Brewing, Rusty Nickel Brewing, Southern Tier Brewing Company and Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company as well as cameos from Buffalo RiverWorks and Thin Man Brewery, and guest brews from Smuttynose, Abandon Brewing, Three Heads Brewing, Ommegang and Ithaca Beer Company. In additional to our perennial Meet the Brewer Tent (more below), new this year will be special feature tents including a NYS Cider Tent, a Farm to Pint tent and an Ontario Beer Tent.  A full beer list can be found soon at buffalobrewersfestival.com.

The Brewers Festival
celebrates all things local, not just beer. Local farmers and chefs, food trucks will also be on hand. We will have Oshun Seafood, The Whole Hog Truck roasting a T-Meadow Hog, Gourm Asian Bistro, The Cheesy Chick, Frank’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, and more to be announced soon. There will be vendors selling beer-centric wares. Also on hand will be the Buffalo Beer League, WNY Brews podcast and all our media sponsors.

MTB_BBFThis year there will be a single Meet the Brewers session. Our third iteration of MTB at the Brewers Festival, we present an interactive taste experience with five local brewers paired with the cheeses of Vermont Farmsteadvermont_farmstead. Local cheese purveyor Michelle Stevens, of Buffalo Cheese Traders, along with the cheesemakers from Vermont Farmstead, will present a collaborative cheese & beer pairing between the brewers and the cheesemaker. This is an experience that will leave you wondering why you ever thought that any other beverage would pair better with cheese than beer brewed right here in Buffalo. This is not to be missed.

“The Buffalo Brewers Festival is more than just a beer fest,” Resurgence Brewing’s Jeff Ware says. “It’s really a celebration of Buffalo. Great beer, great food and a great new venue at the Outer Harbor this year. What better way is there to enjoy a summer day?”

BBF_2015_tasterTickets can be purchased at buffalobrewersfestival.com and soon at Aurora Brew Works, Consumers Beverages, Kegworks, Premier Gourmet and many local breweries (to be announced soon).

There are various types of tickets available, including Brewer’s Fest GA Ticket ($40, includes ALL beer tastings from over 40 breweries from 4-7pm), Brewer’s Fest Ticket (early admission – $49, includes all beer tastings from over 40 breweries from 3-7pm) and Designated Driver Ticket ($15, available at gate, valid 3-7pm, ticket price includes admission to the event and a free bottle of water. Tasting glasses are not provided to designated drivers).

The main reason to come out to this fest is that is the only festival that is both by and for local breweries. The food and beer is local – the brewers, chefs are here and this is a focused example of awesome events that on the Buffalo waterfront. This highlights the dynamic and scenic aspect of re-energized Buffalo’s beer culture at a very fair price.

For more information, please visit buffalobrewersfestival.com or BuffaloNiagaraBrewersAssociation,org.

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From Their Farms Straight To Your Pint Glass: Examining All the Beer at the 3rd Annual Farm to Pint Festival

FarmToPint_BeerTasting2016_Poster (2)By: Brian Campbell

Farm to Pint is more than some marketing gimmick or sales ploy and it’s not a passing fad either. It’s a lifestyle, a locavore movement that affects more people than perhaps you might realize. From farmers and maltsters to hopsters and brewers, the farm to pint ethos permeates all levels of the brewing supply chain.

And what a simple concept this is – supplying local ingredients to local breweries. Why not use what’s grown here to brew ‘local’ craft beer? From local farms to local breweries to local patrons – the farm to pint idea is maddeningly simple and nonetheless important. While this ideology creates fresh, locally sourced beer, it also creates jobs, revenue that remains in our area and also, and perhaps most importantly, it creates a sustainable and viable infrastructure for future generations.

And what better way to celebrate the idea of thinking local and drinking local than at the 3rd Annual Farm to Pint, presented by the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association and Hamburg Brewing Company, which takes place Sunday, May 15, 12-8pm, at Hamburg Brewing (6553 Boston State Road, Hamburg). 2016 marks the third consecutive year the brewery will play host to Farm to Pint.

The free event features nearly 20 beers from Western New York breweries, which effectively shine the spotlight squarely on our area’s farmers, maltsters and hop farmers alike, such as Niagara Malt, NY Craft Malt, East Prairie Hops and Domoy Farms. A number of specialty beers, including many brewed specifically for Farm to Pint, will be available for purchase from 12 Gates Brewing, 42 North Brewing, Big Ditch Brewing Company, Community Beer Works, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Five and 20 Spirits & Brewing, Flying Bison, Four Mile Brewing, Gordon Biersch, Hamburg Brewing, New York Beer Project, Old First Ward, Pearl Street Brewery/Pan Am Brewery, Resurgence Brewing Company, Rusty Nickel Brewing, Southern Tier Brewing Company and Woodcock Brothers.

Locally raised meat and vegetarian grilled skewers will also be available for purchase throughout the day.

From goses and wild ales to saisons and pale ales, the 3rd Annual Farm to Pint is shaping up to be the best yet. Here is a look at what beer awaits you on May 15:

Hamburg Brewing Blackberry Gose (3.8% ABV): A traditional German-style sour featuring primarily NYS grown wheat and 2 row malt, brewed with blackberries, coriander and Mediterranean sea salt.

Community Beer Works Frank (4.6%): Zeus, Centennial and Zythos hops are used to maximize hop aromas and flavors such as zest, pine and citrus in this pale ale.

Resurgence Brewing Cucumber Saison (4%): A saison dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace, which imparts notes of green tea and dill pickles. It’s aged on cucumbers and made with wheat and Munich malt from NY Craft Malt in Batavia.

Flying Bison Seneca Saison (5.3%): Made with 100% NY Craft Malt (2 row, malted wheat and rye), homegrown Chinook hops and Newport hops from Niagara Vines and Bines.

42 North Brewing F2P Berliner Weisse (3.5%): An all-NY beer made with wheat and barley malt from NY Craft Malt and Erie County-grown Newport hops. Expect light sour tartness and lemonade-like citrus flavors.

Four Mile REAP Vol. III Wheat Ale (4.4%): A hoppy wheat ale brewed with locally sourced red wheat.

Pearl Street Brewing / Pan American Brewing Lackawanna Lager (5.2%): A light lager brewed with Niagara Craft Malt pilsner malt, which adds a cracker character to the beer.

Old First Ward Therapy Pale Ale (4.8%): This aggressively hopped pale ale features cascade hops and malt from Niagara County.

12 Gates Brewing Sweet Orange Summer Ale (4.7%): Made with 90% from NY Craft Malt, Sweet Orange Summer Ale features orange peel that adds a refreshing splash of citrus.

Woodcock Brothers N 425 Pilsner: A light pilsner made with locally grown Newport and Czech Saaz hops.

Ellicottville Brewing Sky High Rye IPA (5.5%): Rye IPA featuring rye from NY Craft Malt that utilizes a variety of hopping methods to obtain a juicy Mosaic-forward blend.

Southern Tier Brewing Back Burner Barleywine (10.5%): A barleywine-style ale made with local blackstrap molasses and maple syrup.

Big Ditch Brewing Niagara Wild (4%): Belgian-influenced wild ale featuring local pilsner malt and hops from Niagara Malt and as well as wild yeast and bacteria collected from WNY.

Five and 20 Spirits and Brewing Rye Pale Ale (5.2%): Brewed using rye malt for a spicy grain character with moderate hop additions using American hop varietals for a spicy, citrus flavor and aroma.

Rusty Nickel Hard Red Saison (6%): A French-Style saison with malt from NY Craft Malt blended with wheat and pilsner malts from Niagara Malt.

New York Beer Project Saison With Cherries: A saison created with malt from Niagara Malt and a healthy dose of sour cherries.

Gordon Biersch Pilsner (Cask): Traditional Czech-style pilsner hopped with Cascade hops from Niagara Hops.

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Big Brewing at Southern Tier

Brewing in Western New York has grown exponentially in the last few years, but none have attained the notoriety that Southern Tier Brewing Company has. Best known nationally for their autumnal offering, Pumking, Souther Tier’s brewmasters are more than a stable of one-trick ponies. Their tantalizing recipes run the beer gamut, from rich stouts to bright IPAs to complex Belgians and everything in between.

Recently, Southern Tier entered into a partnership with Victory Brewing, a Pennsylvania brewery with a 20-year history. Together, the two Northeastern, mid-sized powerhouses have joined forces as Artisanal Brewing Ventures. This union marks an exciting time for brewing in WNY as it expands Southern Tier’s financial security, and also its capacity, making the two veterans of the craft beer market one of the country’s largest craft producing companies.

Nathan Arnone, Southern Tier’s brand manager, has been with the company for more than a decade. He’s been on board for all of the growth and innovation that the brewmasters at Southern Tier has produced, and he is excited about the opportunities this union will bring. “It came about when Sara and Phin DeMink, founders of Southern Tier Brewing Company] wanted to build this brand of like-minded breweries and so they’ve formed Artisanal Brewing Ventures, looking for other breweries that were about our size, and had similar values and determination. Victory was one of the first breweries that came to mind at the time. We’ve always admired their packaging and of course they have great beer. Another thing that made them a great fit is style—we have primarily ales at Southern Tier, but they’re on the other end of the spectrum. They do a lot of lagers, and they do them really well.”

“We’ve already been talking with Bill Covalesky [founder of Victory Brewing] about collaboration beers, and exchanging best practices, ideas, and the institutional knowledge that comes with two decades of brewing.”

“We’re also working on a shared distribution department. Expanding further into the Pittsburgh market is a big deal for us, and we’ve already set up a small office in North Carolina to push sales into the Southeastern states. We’re working toward establishing a small brewpub in Charlotte, which would mimic ours here in Lakewood.”

Teaming up with Victory is certainly big news for the region, and Western New York will soon be able to reap the benefits. Southern Tier’s fifth annual Public Day will be held in conjunction with American Craft Beer Week. On Sunday, May 15, Southern Tier will open their grounds from noon to 4pm, welcoming beer lovers to enjoy some of Southern Tier’s favorites, like Pumking, Choklat, Mokah, Hop Sun, Harvest, Grand Arbor; but also special beers that Southern Tier produces throughout the year. In addition to these selections, Victory Brewing will be bringing some beer of their own beer for attendees to sample. “We have no idea what they’re bringing,” Nathan admitted. “It will be a complete surprise—but a good one.”

In total, Southern Tier will offer 42 selections of their most popular beers, as well as their most funky. “We’ve been experimenting with sour beers, so we’ll have some of those available. One that we’re starting to brew on Monday is called Cherry Gose; it’s an imperial sour ale brewed with tart cherry juice from Singer Farm Naturals in Niagara County. It’s a crazy red color—absolutely gorgeous. We’ve got some test batches of a new IPA that we’re working on that hasn’t left the building yet. That’s really a really tasty beer brewed with a bunch of new hops.”

Southern Tier will also join the Buffalo Niagara Brewer’s Association in their Farm to Pint festival, which will be held at Hamburg Brewing Company on May 15 from noon to 8pm. They’ll be sending their Backburner—a barleywine brewed with maple syrup produced by a local sugar shack.

The future looks bright for Southern Tier as they head into the ABV era. This summer, beer lovers can expect several Southern Tier favorites to be available in cans. “We’ll have IPA and Tangier in 12-pack cans by the beginning of May, and in June, we’ll be releasing 2XIPA in 16-ounce cans. We’ll also be releasing a pilsner that we’ve been testing—it’s really great. I think it’s one of the best craft pilsners on the market.”

Is there anything in store for the fall? “We’re barrel-aging Pumking right now in rum barrels,” Nathan confessed (and the nation rejoiced).

The growth of Southern Tier and their commitment to quality has been a high water mark for brewing in Western New York. As the region’s brewers continue to move forward, creating innovative recipes and developing quality and consistency, it is fantastic for the area to have a giant’s shoulders to stand upon. A rising tide lifts all boats, and the fleet of Western New York’s brewers is certainly working diligently to meet the mark.

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3nd Annual Farm-to-Pint Event Returns to Hamburg Brewing Company

by Brian Campbell

(See Beer List at bottom of this article and by clicking here)

FarmToPint_BeerTasting2016_Poster (2)The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association & Hamburg Brewing Company present their 3rd annual Farm to Pint (F2P) celebration of beer created exclusively from locally sourced ingredients. The event features 20 beers by WNY breweries and showcases WNY farmers, maltsters,and hop farmers like Niagara Malt, NY Craft Malt, East Prairie Hops and Domoy Farms. Locally raised meat and vegetarian grilled skewers available for purchase throughout the day. The event is free and open to the public.  Hamburg Brewing Company, 6553 Boston State Road in Hamburg, Sunday, May 15 from 12-8pm.

“F2P celebrates Buffalo Niagara’s exciting new growth of hops and small grains farming which has given local brewing companies the ability to produce craft beer from local sources right here at home,” said Willard Brooks, Chairman of the BNBA Board of Directors. “The addition of so many independent, locally owned breweries is truly making Western New York a real tourist draw for craft beer and food enthusiasts alike.”
The limited edition brews that will be available for purchase include brews from 12 Gates Brewery, 42 North, Big Ditch Brewing Company, Community Beer Works,  Ellicottville Brewing Company,  Five & 20 Brewing & Distilling, Flying Bison,  Four Mile Brewing,  Gordon Biersch, Hamburg Brewing, New York Beer Project, Old First Ward,  Pearl Street Brewery, Resurgence Brewing Company, Rusty Nickel Brewing, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Woodcock Brothers.

John Russo, owner of Hamburg Brewing Company, the site of Farm to Pint for the third straight year, says that an event such as this is an important one because ‘the idea of farm to pint is more than just beer.’

“It’s important to use locally grown ingredients because it supports those around us who do grow local ingredients and to let the consumer know ‘Hey, this stuff was grown down the road,’” Russo says. “It’s for the same reason people purchase food at farmers markets, fresh locally grown product. It’s also not just about hops and barley. This region is great for extracting maple sap from trees and making the commonly known maple syrup! We want to promote Farm to Pint because it draws attention to a topic that is sometimes overlooked when it comes to beer. Most people do not realize that you can make beer from ingredients grown in your own backyard. The idea of farm to pint is more than just beer. It’s a fun way to interact with those who make up the different steps it takes to get the liquid in your glass.”

The growth in the craft beer industry is supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s farm brewery bill, which calls for designated “farm breweries” to use, until the end of 2018, at least 20 percent NYS hops and 20 percent of all other ingredients in their beer, a number which rises to 60 percent from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2023 and 90 percent from January 1, 2024. Both Hamburg Brewery and Old First Ward Brewing are now designated as “farm breweries.”

Russo says that HBC brews a handful of beers throughout the year that utilize the best of what NYS sourced ingredients have to offer.

“Hamburg Brewing uses local ingredients as often as they are cost effective and available,” Russo says. “We have a beer called the “House Dressing” that is available year round. We also do a wet hop beer every hop harvest where we pick hops grown locally and on site here in HBC’s half acre hop yard and brew with them within 48 hours. Beers like this provide great hop flavor and aromatics due to the extra oils on the plants when picked. In addition to these beers, we have our annual Farm to Pint event beer debuting on May 15th. That beer is made 100 percent NYS ingredients!”

Farm to Pint will be held at Hamburg Brewing Company, located at 6553 Boston State Road in Hamburg, on Sunday, May 15th from 12—8pm. In addition to all of the beer, there will be locally raised meat and vegetarian grilled skewers available for purchase throughout the day. The event is free and open to the public.

“People should come check out Farm-to-Pint for a variety of reasons,” Russo says. “The first is of course that there is beer, but also there will be the people responsible for getting it into your glass. There will be brewers and representatives from 11 different WNY region breweries, hop farmers, barley farmers, maltsters, local chefs, etc. In addition to that, nowhere else will you be able to try all of these locally grown beers in the same place. It really should be another fun day at Hamburg Brewing.”

Beer List

  1. Hamburg Brewing Blackberry Gose (3.8% ABV): A traditional German-style sour featuring primarily NYS grown wheat and 2 row malt from NY Craft Malt, brewed with blackberries, coriander and Mediterranean sea salt.
  2. CBW Pale Ale A mellow malt base consisting of a portion of Niagara Malts and hops from the pacific northwest
  3. Resurgence Brewing Cucumber Saison (4%): A saison dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace, aged on cucumbers – made with wheat and Munich malt from NY Craft Malt.
  4. Flying Bison Seneca Saison (5.3%): made with 100% NY Craft Malt (2 row, malted wheat and rye), homegrown Chinook hops and Newport hops from Niagara Vines and Bines.
  5. 42 North Brewing F2P Berliner Weisse (3.5%): An all-NY beer made with wheat and barley malt from NY Craft Malt and Erie County-grown Newport hops.
  6. Four Mile REAP Vol. III Wheat Ale (4.4%): A hoppy wheat ale brewed with locally sourced red wheat.
  7. Old First Ward Therapy Session Pale Ale (4.8%): This aggressively hopped pale ale features cascade hops and malt from Niagara County.
  8. 12 Gates Brewing Sweet Orange Summer Ale (4.7%): Made with 90% from NY Craft Malt, Sweet Orange Summer Ale features orange peel that adds a refreshing splash of citrus.
  9. Woodcock Brothers N 425 Pilsner: A light pilsner made with locally grown Newport and Czech Saaz hops.
  10. Ellicottville Brewing Sky High Rye IPA (5.5%): Rye IPA featuring rye from NY Craft Malt that utilizes a variety of hopping methods to obtain a juicy Mosaic-forward blend.
  11. Rusty Nickel – Hard Red – French Sasion – (6%) French saison using a blend of wheat from Niagara Malt and NY Craft Malt as well as pilsner malt from Niagra Malt
  12. Southern Tier Brewing Back Burner Barleywine (10.5%): A barleywine-style ale made with local blackstrap molasses and maple syrup.
  13. Big Ditch Brewing Niagara Wild (4%): Belgian-influenced wild ale featuring local pilsner malt and hops from Niagara Malt and as well as wild yeast and bacteria collected from WNY.
  14. Five and 20 Spirits and Brewing Rye Pale Ale (5.2%): Brewed using rye malt for a spicy grain character with moderate hop additions using American hop varietals for a spicy, citrus flavor and aroma.
  15. Rusty Nickel Hard Red Saison (6%): A French-Style saison with malt from NY Craft Malt blended with wheat and pilsner malts from Niagara Malt.
  16. New York Beer Project Saison With Cherries: A saison crafted with malt from Niagara Malt and sour cherries.
  17. Gordon Biersch Pilsner (Cask): Czech-style pilsner dry-hopped with Cascade hops from Niagara Hops.
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Pilsners: A Buffalo Renaissance By Way of Germany and the Czech Republic

Two Beers

By: Brian Campbell

Pilsners come in all shapes and sizes. From the soft and floral bitterness of Czech (Bohemian) styles to the spicy hop flavors of classic German (Bavarian) styles, pilsners are often a delicate, crisp and thoroughly refreshing beer. And no matter what pilsner comes to mind upon mere mention of the style, be it Pilsner Urquell, Firestone Walker’s Pivo Pils or Victory Beer’s Prima Pils, it would be difficult to ignore Buffalo’s current renaissance with the centuries-old style. Unless you live under a rock of course, then it would be relatively easy to be obvious of it.

A number of local breweries are contributing to pilsners’ reawakening, including 42 North, who’s Illumination Bohemian Pils was one of the first to revitalize the local pils market.

“It is a beer of subtlety where the brewing process plays a huge role in the success of the beer,” 42 North’s Chief Brewing Officer Clay Keel says. “Many of the complex flavors of traditional Czech styles actually comes from a decoction mash process that essentially boils a portion of the grain multiple times to, among other things, create some complex maillard products coming through in the beer as toffee, caramel, or toasted bread. As much as we can, we mimic this process at 42 North to try and get that flavor into our Illumination Pils. Generally speaking, trying to make a ‘lighter’ beer style without
sexy hops, 50 lbs of malt per keg, or flavor additives is a challenge. I’m a brewer because I like challenges. I suppose that’s why I like brewing them.”

Three Glasses of Beer on a Table in Pub.

And the local pils offerings do not stop there; quite the opposite in fact. There are so, so many to choose from, including Gordon Biersch’s Czech Pils, Old First Ward’s Czech Mate, Community Beer Works’ Dreizehn, Flying Bison’s Polonia Pils, Resurgence Brewing Company’s Blanc Czech, Southern Tier Brewing’s Pilsner (see also Eurotrash Pils), Pan American Grill and Brewery’s Lackawanna Lager (see also New Zealand Pilsner, which should be out in May) and Pearl Street’s German Pilsner, their new spring seasonal offering brewed with a blend of noble hops including spalt, saaz, and tettnang.

“I think that when craft beer started becoming more popular, pilsner was a bad word,” Pearl Street’s Chris Herr says. “We were doing everything to dissociate our brands from the macro breweries, and a pilsner was something your buddy drank while mowing his lawn. We were busy brewing IPAs, stouts, ambers, porters, wheats and even sours before realizing that we were collectively skipping one of the hugest styles of beer in the market, but it really wasn’t my goal as a craft brewer to be competing to make a better pilsner than one of the big guys. Pilsners are difficult to make, not to mention, the longer production time (8 weeks for a lager vs 3 weeks for an ale), and until recently they were mostly just fizzy pale versions of flavorless beer. Once we realized that we can brew a full flavored, highly hopped and yet delicate pilsner, the doors opened for a lot of us.”

“Pilsners also make a great gateway beer,” he adds. “Most people who are scared of trying new craft beers don’t seem to care about how hoppy they are, just what color they are, so they’re a great way to trick non craft beer drinkers in to drinking a hoppy beer that’s ‘light’.”

Even non-breweries are getting in on the act as the latest entry into the 716 family of pilsners was brewed collaboratively between Big Ditch Brewing and Toutant restaurant. The Czech-style pils will be made available at their joint one-year anniversary party, Tuesday, May 17 (6pm-12am) at Big Ditch.

“[Toutant’s] James [Roberts] confessed that he is a big fan of crisp and refreshing pilsners, and I agreed,” Big Ditch’s Matt Kahn says. “Plus, I know that we get lots of drinkers here looking for something light and entry level in terms of flavor. Our Czech-style pilsner should come in at 4.8% with a nice crackery malt bite and a floral and spicy hop character.”

Tall glass and mug of light beer with ears barley

“We both love the style and we especially struggle to find a beer that pairs well with our food and a big glass of bourbon,” Roberts adds. “The crispness and refreshing traits of a sessionable Pilsner/lager style beer would not only cut the fatty-ness and spice of our food but meet a need for entry level lighter beer as our clientele expands past the inner circles of Buffalo foodie supporters.”

You know what pairs best with a pint of local pilsner? Sunshine and warmer weather, both of which seem to have finally found their way to our fair city. So, get off the couch, grab a fresh pils and make your way to any one of Buffalo Niagara’s recently opened beer gardens and patios. You’re welcome in advance.

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Stout: Thick, Heavy & Dark Happiness In a Glass

image1By Erik Wollschlager

With two solid weeks of spring weather, it seems that winter will not relinquish its icy grip on Buffalo. While it is easy to lament the return of the cold temperatures and grumble about digging the snowbrushes out from the depths of our basements, there is also reason to celebrate. The falling temperatures may have Western New York staring helplessly to the sky, but the wise. Buffalonian knows that the greatest treat for the blustery weather is a stout poured thick, heavy, and dark, and at its freshest – from taps of the brewers that brewed it. Thankfully, our local brewers love to brew fantastic stouts that rival even the best imports.

Since Resurgence Brewing’s soft open, their Sponge Candy Stout has dominated the tongues of Buffalo’s dark beer drinkers. It is a unique brew that uses sponge candy shavings from a local chocolatier. The beer is medium bodied with hints of caramel and chocolate. It’s not as sweet as the name might indicate, but the creamy sweetness finds a good balance with the bitter malts used. Resurgence also has their Chipotle Cinnamon Stout on tap – like a spicy hot chocolate to start your parade morning right. If you’re more in the mood for some hops with your coffee flavors, try Take the Black Trail, a black coffee IPA – innovative, fresh, and delicious.

Downtown Buffalo is home to Big Ditch Brewing. Big Ditch offers their winter seasonal Vanilla Oatmeal Stout. Traditionally full bodied, the oatmeal stout is a meal in a pint glass, and this stout is just that. The bitter chocolate flavors balance lightly with the house-made vanilla extract to produce a very drinkable stout. Also on tap is Towpath, Big Ditch’s imperial stout. At 9.4%, Towpath is just right for hauling tugs down a canalside road.

On the outskirts of the city, nestled behind the beer garden at Gene McCarthy’s is Old First Ward Brewing. OFW’s HO Stout is an amazingly full oatmeal stout. Like a deep, rich cup of coffee, this stout is shockingly enjoyable in its bitterness. HO would make a great base for roasting your corned beef brisket, and would pair incredibly with the salty cut.

Heading south, Hamburg Brewing’s Oatmeal Milk Stout is a full and sweet brew. The sweetness comes from the milk sugars used in fermentation, and the full body from the oatmeal used in the wort. OMS is a winter seasonal, so Hamburg has also bottled their imperial stout. Grounded is available in local grocers and bottle shops around Western New York.

Also adorning the shelves of your local grocery store is the jewel of Cattaraugus County, Ellicott Brewing Company’s Imperial Chocolate Cherry Bomb. Rich and sweet, this beer is a bomb indeed, in that the 8.2% ABV hides behind the cherry flavors. This is definitely a beer to share with friends after a night on Holiday Valley’s slopes. EBC also has several other stouts available in their taproom, and each are worth stopping by for.

The Woodcock Brothers Porter is a wonderfully chocolate treat; the beer is smooth and creamy with little of the bitter smokiness that porters sometimes lean toward. This brew is great with a meal or dessert, and is perfect for the slight chill that remains in the air as spring thaw begins.

Flying Bison’s Spot Coffee Stout is another WNY version of an imperial stout. The body is thinner than the others, with burnt cocoa and strong coffee flavor. Brewed with Buffalo’s favorite coffee, this imperial is available in four-pack bottles.

If you find yourself northeast of the city, Woodcock Brothers is pouring their Orange Chocolate Stout, which is a tasty brew created with chocolate malts and orange peel – a must have for St. Patrick’s Day, but also to fill any growler for upcoming holiday dinners.

If you have your eyes on another prize, closer to the end of the month, and you’re hoping for a basket full of Reese’s finest offering, it is suggested that you head south of the city to Olean, where newcomers Four Mile Brewing have their Peanut Butter Stout available. Happiness in a glass comes in many varieties, but surely, few as happy as this one – even if it is missing the jelly.

Despite the freezing temperatures, the Buffalo River has shed its icy skin and the swift current has returned to full strength; so flows the steady outpouring of Buffalo’s deepest and darkest beers. With each of Jack Frost’s jabs at your nose, fight back with a swig of the old sod. The cold weather may have worn out its welcome, but the Queen City knows how to ward of the icy fingers of a relentless winter – elbow to elbow at the nearest oak, with a dark pint and a warm smile.

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