Thin Man’s Hop Pants Joins Recent Memorable Buffalo Beer Releases

From 42 North Brewing’s Premeption New England IPA to Big Ditch Brewing’s 363 IPA and Old First Ward Brewing’s #Smashtag IPA, Buffalo has been blessed with some world class beer releases over the last week or so. Add one more to the list as Thin Man Brewery will release their first ever (solo) canned beer, Hop Pants DDH IPA. You can purchase it at Thin Man on Saturday, January 20 at 11am.

The 6.4% beer is a double dry hopped IPA brewed with English Ale yeast and Azacca, Citra & Simcoe hops, imparting notes and flavors of pink grapefruit, pineapple, melon and pine. This is the next iteration of the Hop Pants IPA line, which features IPA’s brewed with different ingredients.

“It’s not crazy hazy,” Thin Man Head Brewer Rudy Watkins says of Hop Pants, “it’s got a nice little haze going on with lots of pink grapefruit, pine, citrus and all that kind of fun stuff.”

“The original idea behind Hop Pants was to have a series of beers where we were always changing out the hops and always releasing a new beer, sort of the same way Firestone Walker does with their Luponic Distortion IPA series and Stone Brewing does with Enjoy By. This is pretty different from the original Hop Pants we released last year. It’s been a long time since we released a Hop Pants; it’s always fun and exciting to bring something back. It’s also a fun beer name that lends itself to a really fun label. And it’s fun to say.”

Watkins says that he isn’t necessarily nervous or concerned by releasing another canned IPA in the wake of other releases such as Preemption and 363. He says that he is too worried about saturation, because the Buffalo market has shown that it can handle all of these releases.

“It doesn’t make me nervous, although I certainly lost some nights of sleep worrying whether or not it would work. I’d say I’m more excited than nervous because this release will give us the opportunity to get a whole bunch places that we have not gotten before. One week everyone can drink the awesome beer that 42 North released, the next week everyone can drink the awesome beer that we released and then the following week everyone can drink the awesome beer Resurgence Brewing released and it just keeps going.”

Hop Pants will be on sale for $13.99 per four pack (16oz. cans) with a limit of one case per customer.  Thin Man has approximately 85 cases to sell, according to Watkins. He adds that some of the usual retail suspects around town should receive some as well, including Village Beer Merchant, Brewed & Bottled, Aurora Brew Works, etc.

“I’m super excited. It’s the first time I have ever dealt with a canning line. The guys from Revolution Canning out of Geneseo were great. It’s going to be a fun day.”

In addition to Hop Pants, Thin Man will also be tapping a pair of new beers for the special occasion. DDH Something Or Other (6.4%), a DDH IPA, a beer bursting with pink grapefruit and pine from Simcoe hops, complimented by melon & lemon notes and Other Truths (6.4%), a DDH Sour IPA, which Thin Man describes as ‘grapefruit juice’ that combines experimental hops and an IPA base to take the New England IPA to the next logical step by adding acidity to the mix.

As for the future, Watkins says that while some of Thin Man’s regular offerings might end up in cans down the road, it makes more sense to make these releases a special thing. “Expect more double dry hopped hazy things, more fruit sours. I would love to have a reasonable priced hoppy Helles or something like that, just something you can crush in the summer. I’d love to get a big Imperial Stout with coffee or coconut into cans. We don’t have a specific schedule. It’s pretty wide open at this point.”

For more information about the impending Hop Pants can release, visit the Facebook event page.

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

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Our Southern Tier Pumking 2013-17 Vertical Experience

The year was 2014 and I found myself in Syracuse visiting my sister-in-law who was living there for work at the time. We happened to go shopping for food for dinner, well my wife did at least, and I bolted for the beer aisle. After grabbing a bottle of Middle Ages X Double IPA, I was in the mood for some Southern Tier Brewing Pumking, so I nabbed a bottle of the 2014 vintage, along with a bottle of the 2014 Warlock Imperial Stout. And as I grabbed those bottles, as fate may have it, two bottles of 2013 Pumking just happened to be sitting on the shelf.

And that’s when it hit me – a five year Pumking vertical would be a great idea.

After also grabbing a Rumking, or Rum Barrel Aged Pumking, in 2014, I grabbed a bottle each of the next few years until 2017, when my five year vertical idea was complete. So, a few Buffalo Beer Leaguers got together to see how this annual favorite held up over the last half decade.

The 2013 Pumking featured incredibly mellow pumpkin flavors, strong notes of buttery graham crackers, pumpkin and spice on the nose. Some thought it was ‘too buttery’ and another BBLer said it was soft, adding ‘butter, beam me up.

The 2014 vintage had even more spice and pumpkin notes but was less buttery than the 2013. The 2014 Rumking had notes of nutmeg and cinnamon, with one taster noting that it was reminiscent of honey mustard pretzels pieces and another saying that it ‘tastes like pumpkin water.’ Finishing off 2014, the Warlock was silky smooth and creamy and the best of the bunch.

2015’s version of Pumking was the most defined and least muddled of the entire vertical. It was crisper and less overly sweet, and not as buttery, though some notes of buttered graham cracker came forward towards the end. There was more pumpkin and more warming booze. One taster noted that it was ‘starting to taste more and more like Pumking.’

The 2016 Pumking was sweeter with less booze with graham cracker aromas, more sweet pumpkin notes and some caramel notes.

And finally, the 2017 Pumking opened with an all graham cracker nose with more subtle booze notes. It was not buttery whatsoever.

The Pumking vintages that were aged longer than three years seemed to fall off for the most part and weren’t as good as the newer ver sions of the beer. This vertical was a fun experience, but if I were to plan another, I would probably do a vertical of the Warlock. Actually, now that I type that out and see the words sitting in front of my face, I think I’m going to do that. We’ll see you in another five years.

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

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Buffalo Beer Buzz: New Beer at Community Beer Works & Resurgence, Drink Beer for Free Merch at 12 Gates, Join MyCity Brew’s Final Tasting Panel

Two New Community Beer Works on the Horizon

Community Beer Works will release two new beers in the coming week. First, they will tap a Chocolate Malted Milkshake, a 5.9% milk stout with a ton of chocolate malt and chocolate extract with a load of victory malts added to give the beer a malted flavor. Look for that tasty pastry stout on January 19 at 3pm. Then, on Jan. 21, as part of their Sunday Test Batch Series, the brewery will debut a 5.3% pale ale that was brewed with orange peels, hibiscus, and rose hips. CBW also has a collaboration with Syracuse’s Empire Brewing coming out soon.

Last Chance to Taste MyCity Brew’s Ultimate Buffalo Beer

There’s still some time remaining to win a spot at MyCity Brew’s Final Selection Event, which takes place on January 23. During this last week before their final selection event, MyCity Brew be filling all of their remaining taste testing roles with people that ‘like’ their Facebook page. Once you’ve done that, just shoot MCB a quick message and say “done!” If you’ve already liked their Facebook page, send them a message to be entered. MyCity Brew are working with 12 Gates Brewing to brew a Dunkel (Dark Lager). The beer will be named Byson Brown, after Mayor Byron Brown.

Resurgence to Release Bottles of Imperial Milk Sponge Candy Stout

Resurgence Brewing will be selling bottles of their Imperial Milk Sponge Candy Stout on January 20 at noon. This 10% brew features decadent aromatics & flavors of rich milk chocolate, caramel, and toffee. The addition of lactose sugar gives it a creamy mouthfeel and a huge sweetness as flavorful as any box of chocolates. Resurgence uses real Watson’s Sponge Candy clippings to make this stout, so feel free to give this one in lieu of chocolates along with flowers for a gift this Valentine’s Day. This is perfect beer to share with a loved one or enjoy on your own.

Earn Free 12 Gates Merch by Just Drinking Beer

If you use the Untappd app to keep track of all the beer you drink, then you can earn free merchandise from 12 Gates Brewing.  You will earn the first level of the badge with your first check-in and the next level of the badge every fifth check-in following (level two will be earned at the fifth check-in, level three at the tenth check-in, etc.). You will earn a free sticker at level 1, koozie at level 10, pint at level 20, trucker hat at level 30, tee shirt at level 40 and a $25 gift certificate at level 50.

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

 

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Festivals, Beer Weeks and Cross Border Collaborations: 2018 is a Year for Beer Events

If 2017 was a banner year for Buffalo craft beer, then 2018 is shaping up to blow it out of the water. The usual suspects return – Farm to Pint Week, Buffalo Brewers Festival and Buffalo Beer Week – but 2018 is bolstered by the return of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitation, which this year moves from Consumer’s Pub at the Park to New York Beer Project, and the debut of the Can-Am Beer Festival, a first-of-its-kind cross-border beer festival that marries the best area breweries with the best Ontario breweries.

After taking a year off, the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational returns in 2018 with a new home at New York Beer Project on Saturday, February 17 (3-6pm). The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational brings together leading brewers from around the area and breweries from neighboring cities and states for a celebration of local craft beer brewed in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Not only will you have the chance to sample a number of limited edition and rare beer, you will also have the chance to interact with the brewers themselves.

Only 400 tickets are available for the BNBI and on sale now for $45. Your ticket includes a commemorative glass, a $5 voucher good for any of the beer themed plates from the New York Beer Project menu, and access to 50+ creative craft ales and lagers. The BNBI sold out in 2016, so purchase your tickets here.

The first annual Canadian-American Beer Festival, featuring 20 Ontario-US collaboration brews and 20 WNY-ON collaboration beers, take place April 7, 2018, in Niagara Falls, New York at The Conference and Event Center . The new cross-border beer fest will see owners and representatives from 34 craft breweries from across Southern Ontario and Western New York collaborating on special one-off craft beers, which will be unveiled for the first time at the 2018 festival.

For the Can-Am Fest, Beaus Brewing, Block Three, Brimstone, Cowbell, Flying Monkeys, Grand River, Great Lakes Brewing, Lock Street Brewery, Niagara Brewing Company, Niagara College Teaching Brewery, Niagara Oast-House, Nickel Brook Brewing, Railway City Brewing, Redline Brewhouse, Royal City, Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. and Wellington Brewery comprise the Ontario brewery contingent, while Four Mile Brewing, Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing, 12 Gates, 42 North, Big Ditch, Buffalo Brewing Company, Community Beer Works, Ellicottville Brewing, Flying Bison, Hamburg Brewing Company, New York Beer Project, Resurgence Brewing, Southern Tier, Thin Man, West Shore Brewing Company, Windy Brew and Woodcock Brothers will represent the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Farm to Pint Week, a week-long celebration of the growing farm-to-table, and farm-to-glass, movement in the worlds of both food and drink, returns May 12-20. Brews made by local breweries made from locally grown and produced malts and hops will be showcased all week, starting with the Farm to Pint Expo at Pizza Plant. From there, the 5th annual F2P tap takeover takes place at Hamburg Brewing Company and the Full Circle Fest happens the following weekend at 42 North Brewing Company. Throughout the week, multiple F2P tap events around the region will also take place. Visit http://buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.org/events/f2p-week for more information.

The 5th Annual Buffalo Brewers Festival, which takes place Saturday, June 23 (3-7pm), will make its return to Canalside. The summer festival features all local WNY breweries, various farm-to-pint brews, a New York State cider tent, Ontario beer tent and guest breweries from the world over. In addition, locally sourced food, local chefs & food trucks and a Meet-the-Brewer tent with brewer-lead food-beer taste experiences will also be a part of the festival. For more information, visit www.buffalobrewersfestival.com.

The ninth annual Buffalo Beer Week, a 10-day celebration of everything the Buffalo-Niagara craft beer scene has to offer, returns from September 14-23. The 2018 lineup will feature dozens of events, from tastings at your local pub to ticketed special events and nearly everything in between. The beer-centric week promotes Buffalo’s growing craft beer culture throughout Erie and Niagara counties, which attracts beer tourism, fosters knowledge of regional brewing heritage and serves as a showcase for Buffalo’s breweries, restaurants and pubs. Look for more information at www.buffalobeerweek.com.

Stay tuned to www.buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.com for further details on these events as well as to get all of the latest information on the Buffalo craft beer scene.

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

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Drink Local, Drink Better: The Buffalo Beer League’s Favorite Buffalo Beers of 2017

As ambassadors of Buffalo beer, we at the Buffalo Beer League drank our fair share of locally crafted goodness last year. Whether it was at one of the year’s many killer events, from the Buffalo Brewers Festival to Buffalo on Tap, during Buffalo Beer Week and Farm to Pint Week, or during one of our many trips to a brewery, we imbibed on many a memorable brew in 2017. And we’d like to share those offerings with you.

2017 was yet another banner year for Buffalo beer. From the openings of Riverworks Brewing at Buffalo Riverworks, Pressure Drop Brewing in the Barrel Factory, SATO Brewpub, West Shore Brewing in Clarence and the 42 Below Barrel Room at 42 North Brewing to the expansion of Buffalo Brewing Company and milestone anniversaries for Pearl Street Brewing, Community Beer Works and Woodcock Brothers Brewing, this last year featured a number of notable local beer happenings. And that’s not even to mention big beer news like 12 Gates Brewing teaming up with 103.3 The Edge for a new beer and New York Beer Project partnering with Perry’s Ice Cream for a series of new ice cream inspired beers.

And now, without further ado, I present Buffalo Beer League’s Favorite Beers of 2017. I, along with fellow BBL co-founder Scott McMillan sat down over a few cold ones to hash this list out.

12 Gates Brewing Company – Mountains of the Moon IPA, Resting Peach Face Berliner Weisse (Community Beer Works collaboration)

42 North Brewing Company – The Wanderer White Wine Barrel Aged Sour, Enforcer Mandarina DIPA

Big Ditch Brewing Company – Packet, FIP, Gin Barrel Aged Beautiful River

Buffalo Brewing Company – 1817 DIPA, 1976 Grodziskie

Buffalo Brewpub – Buffalo Breakfast Stout

Buffalo RiverWorks – Rejuvenator IPA, NYS Rye Pale Ale

Community Beer Works – Thick & Sticky DIPA, Milkshake IPA, Banana Split Milkshake Hefeweizen

Ellicottville Brewing Company – Oak Aged Pants DIPA, 219 Series: Tart IPA

Five and 20 Spirits and Brewing – Barleywine, Imperial Stout

Flying Bison Brewing Company – Juice Caboose IPA, Funky Vintner Saison, Low Gear Session IPA, Oaked Juice Caboose IPA

Four Mile Brewing – Pale Ale

Gene McCarthy’s Brewery & Kitchen (Old First Ward Brewing) – #Mashtag IPA, Toke Smoked Rye Lager, Citra Maxima (SATO Brewpub collaboration)

Gordon Biersch – Barrel Aged Winterbock

Hamburg Brewing Company – Honey Ale with Black Currants, Tax Relief IPA

New York Beer Project – Thee Barleywine

Pan Am Grill & Brewery – Single Hop Nugget IPA

Pearl Street Grill & Brewery – Liquid Courage Imperial Stout

Pressure Drop Brewing – Space Monkey Double IPA

Resurgence Brewing Company – White Wine Barrel Aged Head in the Clouds DIPA, R&D Cryo IPA, Imperial Pumpkin

Rusty Nickel Brewing Co. – Spot on the Naughty List Sour Saison

SATO Brewpub – Urban Samurai IPA, Winter Samurai IPA

Southern Tier Brewing Company – Phreshie IPA

Thin Man Brewery – Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Forever Cordial, DDH No Pressure IPA

Westshore Brewing Company – Historic Rail Pale Ale

Windy Brew – Red Cream Ale, PTSD IPA, Bohemian Pilsner

Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company – XPA 9, Galaxy Mosaic XPA, Barrel Aged Belgian Rye w/Brett & Tart Cherries

With 2017 now in the books, 2018 is already shaping up to one hell of a ride for local beer. In addition to the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational returning, along with tent pole events like Buffalo Beer Week, Buffalo Brewers Festival and Farm to Pint Week, 2018 will also host the inaugural Can-Am Beer Festival. Beyond that, MyCity Brew will release their long-awaited ultimate Buffalo beer, Big Ditch is expanding their brewing capabilities, Community Beer Works is moving to a new location and opening a new three-story brewpub in Niagara Falls, Frost Brewing and Stillhouse Brewing are on the horizon, plus who knows what else will pop up. Now is a great time to be a fan of Buffalo beer.

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

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Buffalo Beer Buzz: Lots Of New Beer From Big Ditch, 42 North, New York Beer Project, Southern Tier Brewing

Big Ditch to Release Lock IPA Series #3: 363, Fresh Deep Cut Cans

Following in the footsteps of Packet and FIP, the third installment of Big Ditch Brewing’s Lock IPA Series, 363, will be released January 13 (12pm). Named for the number of miles the Erie Canal stretched when originally constructed by hand in the early 1800’s, 363 features notes of tropical fruit, mango, and pineapple thanks to Azacca, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Zeus hops, which add loads of dank, citrusy hop aroma and flavor. 363 will be sold in 4-packs of 16oz. cans for $13.99. A fresh batch of Deep Cut Double IPA cans will also be for sale (16oz. cans for $14.99).

Battle the Cold with 42 North’s New Spiced Stout and Scotch Ale

42 North Brewing are doing their part to help us battle the extreme cold with the release of Good in the Snow Spiced Stout, a collaboration with Brooklyn’s Kings County Brewing Collective, and Ben Nevis Scotch Ale. The former, on tap now, features cinnamon, vanilla, and chocolate aromas with Ancho and Pasilla chilies that add raisin/plum flavors backed by some heat. Ben Nevis, to be tapped on January 20 (12pm), is named after the highest mountain in the British Isles located in Scotland. Expect flavors of caramel, honey, toast and some dark fruit notes. Both are available for growler/crowler fills.

New York Beer Project to Tap Perennial Favorite

New York Beer Project’s Red Velvet Cake Ale, their annual favorite that sold out in four days last year, will return to taps on January 11 (5pm). As a result, NYBP scaled this year’s batch to 15bbls, though they stress it still won’t be around for very long. This Belgian Specialty Ale features caramel and vanilla on the nose and a light toffee and caramel sweetness with notes of milk chocolate and a tinge of pepper and vanilla to round out the flavor profile. Don’t sleep on the Red Velvet Ale, because if you do, chances are you’ll miss out.

Southern Tier Brewing Launches New IPA Series

Southern Tier Brewing are launching a new IPA series, the Science in the Art Collection, with the first release being All Is Well at the Station, an unfiltered Double IPA. Clocking in at 80 IBUs and featuring Amarillo, Chinook, CTZ and Simcoe hops for big citrusy, stone fruit & earthy character with a dank edge, AIWATS is a remarkably drinkable double IPA as the malt bill leaves just enough residual sweetness to perfectly balance its hoppiness. Available for a limited time beginning January 8, this is the first of six very limited releases within the Science is the Art Collection.

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

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Drink What the Brewers Drink: WNY Brewing Scene Insiders Reveal Favorite Beers Of 2017

Over 6,000 breweries were in operation in 2017, according to the Brewers Association, 98 percent of them small, independent craft brewers, who contributed an eye-popping sum of $67.8 billion to the US economy, up 21.7 percent from 2014. Or is other words, 2017 was quite the year for beer.

From the rise of New England IPA’s, Milkshake IPA’s and Double Dry Hopped everything, a number of instant classics came from right here in the 716. Big Ditch Brewing Company’s Packet and FIP, 12 Gates Brewing’s Mountains of the Moon, Flying Bison Brewing’s Juice Caboose, Thin Man Brewery’s DDH No Pressure and Bliss; and the list goes on and on. But it’s not just the hoppy stuff either, Buffalo-Niagara brewers are also cranking out world class stouts (Big Ditch Towpath, 12 Gates Grave Concerns, Resurgence Brewing Imperial Sponge Candy Stout and Thin Man’s Forever Cordial among them).

The Brewers Association also reports that craft brewers were responsible for more than 456,373 full-time jobs, a 7.5 percent increase from 2014. Those small and independently owned and operated breweries also donated $73.4 million to charitable causes, a total that is up $71 million from 2014.

We spoke with a number of Buffalo beer luminaries, including a number of our friends from the scene as well as brewers and brewery owners and personnel about their favorite beers from the past 365 days, whether it be their own, other local offerings or non-local beers. Spoiler alert – there’s a lot of love for local beer ahead.

Rudy Watkins, Head Brewer, Thin Man Brewery: “There is so darn much great beer out there these days that the setting I drink in has more of an impact than ever on my memory of the beer. I was lucky enough to head out to the Yakima Valley in Washington during hop harvest & had a pint of abso-freaking-lutely stellar Bale Breaker Bottom Cutter DIPA at the brewery, which happens to be situated in the middle of a gorgeous hop field. On that same trip I was lucky enough to drink the Hair of the Dog/De Molen/Shiga Kogen collab, Side By Side. It’s an amazing Imperial stout/Barleywine/Black IPA blend. I had some great, funky as hell Spanish cidres with Thin Man’s crew while sitting in the shadow of a massive foudre at Anxo in DC. Oh, and of course a well-aged bottle of Vapeur’s Saison De Papaix. The first beer I shared with my wife when we started dating, the beer we drank the night I proposed & now the beer we shared the day we closed on our new house.”

John Domres, Owner, Buffalo Brewing Company: “Favorite non-local beer – Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine. Favorite non-Buffalo Brewing Co. local beer – Flying Bison Juice Caboose. Favorite beer from Buffalo Brewing Co. 1817 Triple Dry Hopped Double IPA Version 2.”

Josh Dziomba, Owner, West Shore Brewing Company: “For my favorite beers this year I am going to just focus on the WNY beer scene. Personally, my two favorite beers that we have released this year were our Americanized English Pale Ale (which will be given a proper name going forward when it re-releases), our take on an English Bitters that we gave a unique American spin on with a lot of Citra hops. Second was the Dark Frontier Black IPA collab we did with 12 Gates Brewing as a special for Buffalo Beer Week. This was a great beer that came out in a very small release. Outside of our brewery we have had some truly awesome beer locally this year. Ones that stick out were #Mashtag IPA from Old First Ward, Mountains of the Moon from 12 Gates (2 great examples of a NEIPA), Milkshake Pale Ale from Community Beer Works and Citmo from Resurgence Brewing. There were others but these just stuck out as I was putting pen to paper. I can’t wait to see what Buffalo puts out in 2018.”

Jeff Ware, Owner, Resurgence Brewing: “It is certainly a good time to be a beer drinker! With local beer options exploding everywhere, I find myself exploring new beers where ever I go. If you get the chance, I would certainly pencil in some breweries on your next trip. It is really interesting to experience taprooms/ interpretations of beers in different markets as each make it their own. If nothing else you will get to share a pint with some great people along the way. Some favorites of my 2017 travels were Green Bench in St. Pete, Angry Chair in Tampa, Charles Towne Fermentory in Charleston, Exhibit A, Treehouse, Jacks Abby in the Boston area, Bissell Brothers, Maine Beer Company in Portland, Maine, Indie Ale House, Bellwoods in Toronto. As for Buffalo, there is a lot of very good beer being made across WNY. Explore them all and find your favorite offerings from each!”

Clay Keel, Chief Brewing Officer, 42 North Brewing: “My favorite 42 North beer of 2017 was certainly the Wanderer Sour Blonde; easily the best sour beer I’ve been a part of producing. I look forward to many more coming out of our new barrel house, 42 Below, and it’s nice seeing that beer on tap in the best beer bars in NYC. I also deeply enjoyed the NEIPA pilot batches we brewed this fall and look forward to releasing cans of the first big batch from those pilots in January called “Preemption.” As for the best beers I’ve had from other breweries this year I’d have to say 2×4 DIPA on draft from Melvin and Christmas Bomb Stout from Prairie were two of my personal favorites.”

Paul Alessi, Head Brewer, Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing: “[On behalf of] the entire Five & 20 production crew, our personal favorite from our own supply would be the Rhiskey Business, a Rye Pale Ale aged in our very own Five & 20 Rye Whiskey barrels. Some of our local favorites were the Resting Peach Face from 12 Gates & Community Beer Works, a sour Berliner Weisse and Towpath (2017), a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout from Big Ditch Brewing. Also around the area, Balaclava IPA, an American style IPA from Lavery Brewing (shout out to the Lake Erie Ale Trail) and Juice Bomb, a New-England IPA from Sloop Brewing. Last but not least, Breakfast Stout, an Imperial Coffee Stout from Founders Brewing, and Rye Rebellion, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Rye Stout from Full Pint.”

Justine Powers, Marketing and Events Coordinator, 42 North Brewing: “My favorites from 2017 have been Wicked Weed Black Angel, a black sour ale aged on tart cherries in bourbon barrels, Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Tremens, a Belgian strong pale ale (you could say this is my favorite every year honestly) and 42 North Asylum Porter. I go through phases with our beer, for six months I’ll only drink the Borderland IPA, then the next six months it’s primarily the Asylum. Honestly, I think all of 2017 I’ve been on an Asylum kick!”

Matt Kahn, Owner, Big Ditch Brewing: “Let’s keep it all NYS this year and start with non-locals: A2 Dubbel from Transmitter, Sno Klouds by The North, Riot in Upstate by Upstate Brewing and Prison City, East vs West IPA (Version 5) by Iron Tug and DDH Mylar Bags by Other Half. And locals! Urban Samurai by Sato Brewpub, Funky Vintner by Flying Bison, THEE Barleywine by New York Beer Project, Vagabond by 42 North and B(lac) Magic by CBW.”

Andrew Pentheros, Marketing/PR/R&D Director, Woodcock Brothers Brewing: “Seems like the New England IPA really just dominated the scene in 2017, especially in the Northeast. In doing market research to learn about this style, its variations, costs, production, marketing and everything that’s made it the behemoth style it is, it’s impossible to not keep coming back to Treehouse. Over the summer they opened a new production facility that more than tripled their output, brewing on a 60bbl and 30bbl system. In the span of a couple months shoots their projected bbl’s per year up to over 30,000 and they basically only do this distinct style of IPA. They throw in a stout here and there and others styles from time to time, but 90% of their production brews are New England IPA’s. The scale and volume of these beers, along with still having lines of hundreds of people at a time and servicing 2-3k people four days a week is just amazing. The quality of the beers has not changed at all and their production has been as steady and streamline as it was when they had less than a third the output volume. All of their hoppy beers are at the top of the list of world class, full of intense, unique flavors that are completely balanced and nuanced and also have a signature flavor. It’s tough to make these style IPA’s, it’s tough to keep quality consistent and it seems like, even at the massive scale they do it, nobody does it better than Treehouse.”

Matt Redpath, Head Brewer, Woodcock Brothers Brewing: “Alesong: Touch of Brett: A nice balanced beer. Really good brett character without being overbearing. Very drinkable and easy. Loved it. Zero Gravity: Green State Lager: In the land of super hopped IPA’s, Zero Gravity has been producing really great quality beers out of Vermont. GSL is a really good Pilsner, evenly balanced and perfectly drinkable. Melvin IPA: Melvin has been doing a really quality IPA for a long time. I’ve always enjoyed it, but came back to it this year. It’s a refreshing hoppy, clean west coast style that I have a soft spot for because it reminds me of home.”

Scott Shuler, Head Brewer, 12 Gates Brewing: “Buffalo, Western New York, and New York in general are putting out some exceptional beers now so all but one of my favorites hail from NY. My only out of state beer is The Kriek from De Garde in Tillamook, Oregon. This beer is balanced with tart from the cherries and light oak from barrel fermentation. Local standouts are Niagara Lager from Woodcock (it is just a pleasant beer all around), Minky Boodle from Thin Man, #Mashtag from OFW, Prison City Riot Down Under, The Whale from CBW, and Juice Caboose from Flying Bison. From 12 Gates I really enjoyed the Hermetic IPA and Mountains of the Moon.”

Chris Herr, Head Brewer, Pearl Street Brewery/Lafayette Brewing/Riverworks Brewing: “Well it was our first year of having Riverworks Brewing open, and the Rejuvenator IPA over there is one of my favorite beers we brew. Green Tea beer always finds a spot on my kegerator at home from Pearl Street, and I love the super hoppy Czech Pilsner we do at Pearl in the spring. Lafayette had some fun ones this year with Teddy’s Tripel and my personal fav Terminiator IPA. From other breweries, I found myself drinking a lot of Founders All Day IPA this summer, as well as Hayburner from Big Ditch, which seems to be everywhere these days (congrats guys!). I wish I had found more time to travel around to the other local guys this year but running three breweries makes it a little tough!”

John Sullivan, Director of Sales – WNY & PA, Southern Tier Brewing: “Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout, Peak Organic Fresh Cut Pilsner, Firestone Walker Leo vs. Ursus, Other Half The Other Day, Duvel (always makes the list!), Southern Tier Brewing Nu Skool IPA (a staple in the fridge!) and Southern Tier Choklat (“RIP”).

Sara Gromek, Buffalo FSR, Southern Tier Brewing: “Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, Southern Tier 2xSmash, Other Half Broccoli and Daydream and Big Ditch Packet.”

Nathan Arnone, Brand Manager, Southern Tier Brewing: “Community Beer Works That IPA, CBW Pun Intended, Hamburg Brewing Blackberry Gose, Resurgence Brewing Loganberry Wit and Southern Tier Thick Mint.”

Scott McMillan, Co-Founder, Buffalo Beer League: “There were so many great local beers in 2017. We loved 12 Gates Mountains of the Moon, Big Ditch Gin Barrel Aged Beautiful River, Pressure Drop Brewing Space Monkey DIPA, Buffalo Brewing 1976 Grodziskie, Flying Bison Funky Vintner Saison, New York Beer Project Thee Barleywine (Anniversary Edition) and SATO Brewpub Winter Samurai, just to name a very small few. We have a lot more though in mind!”

Chris Townsell, Head Brewer, Buffalo Brewpub: “For 2017, I’d have to say my favorite beer isn’t one I’d normally gravitate towards. Buffalo Breakfast Stout was a collaboration the Brewpub did with 12 Gates this fall. The beer turned out amazing and had awesome reviews! To me, it tasted smooth at first, but it was an entirely different beer after it warmed up. The oatmeal, coffee, chocolate, maple syrup & whiskey (all local ingredients) came to the forefront. So much flavor! For me, the success of the beer was a bonus. It was a fantastic learning experience. Scott Schuler and the gang over at 12 Gates aren’t normal, but I can’t wait to do this again with them! Cheers to more great beers 2018!”

2017 was pretty great for local beer, and with a number of potential openings and new faces on the horizon, 2018 looks to be even better.

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

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Countdown to 2018: Where to Drink on New Year’s Eve

While looking back and taking stock of your 2017 and making resolutions for 2018 are two

of the biggest tasks on your New Year’s Eve to-do list, the task at the top of that list is figuring out just where in the city you are going to celebrate the onset of the next 365 days. Luckily for you, you live in Buffalo, so the possibilities and options for reveling are nearly endless. And, even luckier for you, we have done all of the leg work and compiled the best parties that are going down on December 31 and put them all right here for your fingertips to easily peruse.

Whether you like craft beer (duh), craft spirits and cocktails, ball drops or keg drops, there is something going on for any type of reveler. Check out our comprehensive list below, and if you see a link, click it, because it will being you to an event page and/or page to purchase tickets.

42 North Brewing: Annual Keg Drop in either the brewhouse or the biergarten, live music with Falling Rock from 9pm-12:30am and Bier de Brut (Bier de Champagne) on tap. Free.

Big Ditch Brewing: Four drink tickets (beer, wine or mixed drinks), limited release beer releases throughout the night (The Tower 2017 American Barleywine, Tiramisu Milk Stout, Peanut Butter Brownie Milk Stout, DDH Hayburner IPA on cask), food stations & hand passed appetizers, DJ spinning all night, photobooth with free prints and party favors & noisemakers. $70. Designated Driver tickets available for $50, includes everything except the drink tickets. Wristband will get you unlimited soda and coffee all night.

Brewed & Bottled Craft Beer Shop: Stop in for a beer and watch the ball drop on TV. Complimentary snacks will be offered and beer will be flowing all evening. Free.

Buffalo Riverworks: Champagne toast, hats & noisemakers, hors d’oeuvre stations at 7pm, dinner stations at 8:30pm, cash bar from 7pm – 8pm, full bar included from 8pm – 12am, dessert Station at 10pm, live music. $75 single or $135 couple.

Lockhouse Distillery: Entertainment provided by DJ Rick Jameson. Music, champagne toast at midnight, light appetizers, and more balloons than is reasonable, special cocktail menu and champagne / sparkling wine glass and bottle specials all night and more, with a champagne station for quick refills. Black tie optional. $5.

New York Beer Project: Dance the night away as NYBP’s resident house DJ plays the best music of 2017 in the Floor Two Indoor Biergarten & Party Bar, which will be open until 2am. Free.

Resurgence Brewing: Open bar from 9pm-1am (including beer, wine and cocktails), exclusive beer release, a Belgian Blonde Ale, light buffet with passed hors devours, s’mores station, champagne toast at midnight, complementary cigars in the biergarten (limited quantity), Polaroid photo station, cornhole, games and more. $100.

Rusty Nickel Brewing: Music, games, and fun for everyone at this 50’s themed party. Fully catered, open bar includes RNBC beer, NYS wine, NYS mixed drinks, cider, mixologies, a full line of non-alcoholic beverages including craft sodas, specialty toast at midnight, one of a kind keg drop, 50’s music and recent hits jamming all night. $60.

SATO Brewpub: $7 pours of Elyx Rose Gold Geisha Punch, $7 Elyx Mules, $2 off any cocktail with Absolute Elyx, $1 off SATO’s Kantan Sour and Shudo-In dubbel (kick either beer and win a prize), late night food menu including ramen. Wear your best copper/rose gold attire, mention this event and get a free drink. Free.

West Shore Brewing: Live music will be provided by AJ “AppleJack” Tetzlaff between 7-10pm. They will also be tapping a new session IPA at 6 before the music starts and will have their newest IPA, the Green Flyer, a New England inspired DDH IPA that comes in at 6.85% and uses heavy amounts of Citra, Mosaic and Vic Secret. December 30. Free.

Make sure you get out and grab something locally made to celebrate the New Year, but above all else, please drink responsibly and be safe. And if you drink, please don’t drive. If you need a ride home, try Lyft. New users can download the Lyft app and use the promo code ‘BNBA’ to receive four $5 credits towards rides.

From all of us here at the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association and the Buffalo Beer League, happy new year and thank you for a killer 2017. Let’s make 2018 even better, shall we?

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

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Buffalo Beer Buzz: Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational, Brew a Beer at 12 Gates, Thin Man Gets Filthy With Mikkeller NYC, 42 North Taps New Barrel Aged Sour

Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational Moves to New York Beer Project

The collective craft beer minds of the Buffalo-Niagara region will showcase their true brewing acumen at the second ever Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational, featuring scores of rare, one-off and specialty beers brewed right here at home. The event will take place on February 17 (3-6pm) at New York Beer Project. A finalized beer list will be available soon. Tickets are on sale now at Eventbrite.com ($45). Guests will receive a commemorative glass, a $5 voucher (good for any of the beer themed plates from the NYBP menu) and access to over 50 beers. Only 400 tickets will be on sale.

Have Your Beer Brewed At 12 Gates Brewing Company

If you think your favorite homebrew has what it takes to win the first annual Taste of Buffalo Homebrew Competition, then you can have your favorite recipe brewed at 12 Gates Brewing! The winning homebrew will be brewed at 12 Gates and served at the 2018 Taste of Buffalo’s 35th birthday party. You can register at HomebrewTasteofBuffalo.com starting on January 2 (through January 20, $5 per entry). The contest is open to residents of the five counties of Western New York only and entries in only select beer categories listed in the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines are welcome.

Thin Man, Mikkeller Brewing NYC Team Up for Winter Classic Beer

Thin Man Brewery has teamed with Mikkeller Brewing NYC to brew a limited edition beer for the 2018 NHL Winter Classic, Filthy Flow IPA, brewed with Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic and Galaxy hops. The beer pays homage to both teams, the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers, who will meet in hockey’s annual outdoor game. Filthy Flow will be available on draft throughout Buffalo at Thin Man, Allen Burger Venture, Coles, Colter Bay and Moor Pat. The beer will also be available for purchase in 16oz. cans during the Winter Classic at Citi Field in New York City on January 1.

42 North Tap Latest Sour From 42 Below Barrel House

42 North Brewing is showcasing the latest creation from their 42 Below Barrel House, The Runaway Cherry Barrel-Aged Brett Sour (5%). This new sour started out as Treaty Farmhouse this past August before being transferred to a BlackBird Cider Works Chardonnay barrel (60 gallons worth) with a special Brettanomyces strain for three months. The beer was then aged for an additional two weeks on locally-sourced tart cherries. The end result is very dry and refreshing with a soft complexity balancing cherry flavors and Lacto sourness and Brett funk. Look for this one on tap at 42 North while supplies last.

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

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Buffalo Beer Buzz: Christmas Cookies & Beer at Pearl Street, New Year’s Eve at Breweries, Next Woodcock XPA, Mead, Wine and Beer at Buffalo Brewshop

Why Wouldn’t You Pair Holiday Beer and Christmas Cookies Together?

You know what pairs perfectly with Christmas cookies? Not milk – beer. Introduce yourself to the marriage of cookies and beer at the 3rd Annual Christmas Cookie and Beer Party at Pearl Street Brewery on December 20 (5pm). Taking place in Brawler’s Deli (basement of Pearl Street), the event pairs freshly made Christmas cookies with local holiday spiced beer, including 42 North Brewing’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown Ale, Big Ditch Brewing’s Fresh Baked, Community Beer Works’ Alpaca Holiday Sweater Porter and Pearl Street’s own Gingerbread Cookie Brown Ale. Bring in a dozen homemade Christmas cookies and get a free flight!

 

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at These Breweries

The dawn of a new year calls for parties and party these breweries shall! Ring in the new year at Resurgence Brewing (9pm); $100 ticket includes open bar from 9pm-1am, an exclusive beer release, buffet and champagne toast, Brewed & Bottled in Lewiston (8pm), 42 North Brewing (12pm), who are literally dropping a keg in the brewhouse (or biergarten weather pending) and will have live music from Falling Rock (9pm), New York Beer Project (9pm), who will have a DJ spinning all night and Big Ditch (8pm); $70 ticket includes 4 drink tickets, food stations and beer releases all night.

Woodcock Brothers to Debut Galaxy DDH XPA for Christmas

Woodcock Brothers Brewing will release their next XPA, Galaxy Double Dry Hopped XPA, just in time for Christmas, on December 23 (12pm). Kettle hopped with Mosaic, Citra, Amarillo and Galaxy and double dry hopped with Galaxy, this new version brings tropical, juicy and dank aromas, mango, guava, tangerine and pineapple flavors with soft mouthfeel and minimal bitterness. 12 Pack Jack will perform 12-3pm and there will also be a cask version of the beer available. Free logo beer-can glasses to all those who purchase a case (limit 1 case). Galaxy DDH XPA will also be distributed throughout Western New York.

Mead, Homebrew and Craft Beer, Oh My at Buffalo Brewshop

Mead, craft beer and shopping will join forces at Let’s Do Wine and Buffalo Brewshop on December 17 (12pm), who are hosting a Wine, Beer and Mead Tasting and Shopping extravaganza featuring mead from the recently opened Lilly Belle Meads and beer from Buffalo’s newest brewery, Pressure Drop Brewing. There will also be wine to sample as well as beer and wine gifts from vendors such as Beer Belly Jelly. Let’s Do Wine and Buffalo Brewshop are also currently running a Christmas sale on scores of wine and beer making kits, accessories and much, much more. Come sip and shop!

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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.

 

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