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

by Brian Campbell
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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.”

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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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Announcing the 3rd Annual Buffalo Brewers Festival!

by Willard Brooks

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JOIN THE PARTY!

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

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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The Brewers Invitational Podcast

By Scott Panfill of WNY Brews

TBI_WNYBREWS

Check out the WNY Brews live podcast from year one of The Brewers Invitational -> WNYBrews.com/episode18

The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association (BNBA) presented in 2016 for the first time The Brewers Invitational at Pettibones Grill in Coca-Cola Field on Saturday, April 2nd. Attending were all 20 local breweries and 10 guest breweries showing off  new and experimental flavors!  It seemed to be the “year of the sour” with 1o examples  (see here for the TBI2016_BeerMenu).

Trust me when I say you should listen to the end.  The Buffalo Beer League and Willard Brooks of the BNBA stopped by the WNY Brews table and talked to any brewer who walked by.

The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association really put on a great event!
Spread it around!

 

 

 

 

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The Brewer’s Invitational

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A beer festival featuring specialty one-off beers from your favorite local breweries as well as breweries around the globe. 20 specialty brews made by the members of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association and 10 beers from 10 guest breweries. Ticket includes a buffet of old school pub food kicked up a notch. Come and meet the brewers up close and personal and sample some very special beers. Very limited tickets. Brought to you by the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association and Pettibones Grille.

Tickets available at Buffalo Bisons Box Office, all Consumer’s Beverages locations,  Premier Gourmet, Kegworks, and most local breweries. A limited number of designated driver tickets are available for $15 when accompanied by regular ticket holder(s) and includes food, soft drinks and water. Designated driver tickets may be purchased over the phone by credit card and will be mailed to you – call (716) 846-2057 to place your order.

  1. 12 Gates Brewing Company — DoubleGate Double IPA
  2. 42 North Brewing Company — Bière de Champagne
  3. 42 North Brewing Company —  Farmhouse Sour
  4. Big Ditch Brewing Company — Chocolate Gose
  5. Blackbird Cider Works — Dabinett
  6. Blackbird Cider Works — Buffalo Bluegrass
  7. Community Beer Works —  Pun Intended (Spring Gose)
  8. Ellicottville Brewing Company — St. Caberlicious Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
  9. Five and 20 Spirits and Brewing  — Barleywine
  10. Flying Bison Brewing Company  — Barrel Aged HERC Barleywine
  11. Four Mile Brewing  —  Red Arm Ale
  12. Gordon Biersch  — Double IPA
  13. Hamburg Brewing Company   — Tart Simpson
  14. New York Beer Project   — Full Circle Saison
  15. Pan Am Grill & Brewery  — Grapefruit Terminator IPA
  16. Pearl Street Grill & Brewery — Street Brawler Oatmeal Stout on Nitro
  17. Resurgence Brewing Company  — Sour is Love (Cider Creek Collab)
  18. Southern Tier Brewing Company  — Rhein Cabal (Kettle Sour with NYS Riesling Juice )
  19. Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company  — Maple Smoked Porter
  20. Brewery Ommegang  — Bourbon Barrel Aged 3 Philosophers
  21. Brooklyn Brewery  —  Hand and Seal 2015 Barleywine
  22. Victory Brewing Company  — XX Imperial Pilsner Anniversary
  23. Great Lakes Brewing Company  — Big Ditch/Great Lakes Collaboration Great Big Steve Doppelbock
  24. Three Heads Brewing  — Big Head Stout
  25. Ithaca Beer Company  — Anniversary 18 Baltic Porter
  26. Saranac Brewery  — Hoppy Hour Hero DIPA
  27. Beaus – All Natural Brewing  — Bogfather Imperial Gruit
  28. Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales  — Madrugada Obscura  Sour Stout
  29. Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales  — iO Saison.  Saison w/ rose hips, rose petals and hibiscus.
  30. Rohrbach Brewing Company —  Oxford Pale Ale, English Pale Ale
  31. Rusty Nickel Brewing Co. —Sour Slice O Havens
  32. Abandon Brewing Company  — American Wild Ale

Plus complimentary food provided by Pettibones Grille including:

  • Antipasti Display with salad, cheeses, meats, and dip
  • Specialty Slider Bar (Burgers, Fried Bologna, Crab Cakes, Veggie Burgers) with unique accoutrements
  • Shrimp & Pasta
  • Special surprises from Barrel & Brine
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Resurgence Brewing @ The Brewer’s Invitational

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On April 2, the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association will be holding their first Brewer’s Invitational at Pettibone’s Grill inside Coca-Cola Field. Area brewmasters have worked diligently through the winter to create some of the most unique and innovative beer Buffalo has experienced. Resurgence Brewing Company’s Dave Collins recently took some time to speak about his latest collaboration with Cider Creek Cidery, Sour Is Love, a Kettle Soured Cherry Cider Berlinner Weisse, which Resurgence will be pouring at the Brewer’s Invitational.

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BNBA: Tell us how Sour Is Love came together.
Dave Collins: I started with a base kettle sour beer before cider and tart cherry juice were added, seven barrels. What you do is extract all the oxygen out, fill the kettle with CO2 and cool it down to 110 degrees, which is where lacto wants to live (‘It’s anaerobic so you can’t have any oxygen in there,’ he added). After I cooled it down to 110 I bubbled CO2 through and once I was confident the entire kettle was filled with that CO2, I pitched in the Greek yogurt, which has four different organic lactobacillus cultures. After the beer was transferred into the fermenter, the cherry cider was added and the beer/cider concoction was fermented together. From there, a Saison Brett yeast strain (cultured at Cider Creek) and Wit Ale yeast (cultured at Resurgence) was added to the brew.

BNBA: How would you describe Sour Is Love to someone who may not have had it yet?
Collins: It’s nice and tart and has a great acidity to it. The kettle sour character and the lactobacillus give you a really nice tartness on the side of your tongue. You can expect a sour tart cherry flavor, bright carbonation and a nice body and mouthfeel. It also has a lot of puckering tartness to it. Really, in all honesty, it’s what you would expect a cherry cider Berlinner Weisse would taste like.

BNBA: Any more collaborations with Cider Creek in the future?
Collins: For what we are calling All the King’s Horses, we took some of our The Don Imperial Saison, aged it in Elijah Craig barrels and added some of Cider Creek’s cider and re-fermented it with Brett, so it is going to be super weird.

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The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association thanks Dave for taking the time to speak with us.

A limited amount of tickets can still be purchased for $39. In addition to all of the beer, your ticket also includes a buffet of old school pub food ‘kicked up a notch.’ You can purchase tickets at Buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.org, Buffalo Bisons Box Office, all Consumer’s Beverages locations, Premier Gourmet, Kegworks and at local breweries. A limited number of Designated Driver tickets are also available ($15 when accompanied by regular ticket holders) and includes food, soft drinks and water. Designated Driver tickets may be purchased over the phone at (716) 846-2057 by credit card and will be mailed to you.

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Hamburg Brewing @ The Brewer’s Invitational

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On April 2, the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association will be holding their first Brewer’s Invitational at Pettibone’s Grill inside Coca-Cola Field. Area brewmasters have worked diligently through the winter to create some of the most unique and innovative beer Buffalo has experienced. Hamburg Brewing Company’s John Russo recently took some time to speak about the event and give a quick State of the Brewing update.

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BNBA: As we approach Hamburg’s third anniversary in 2016, how are things at the brewery? What changes for the better have you seen over the years?
John Russo: Things are going well at HBC in our young tenure. We’ve just about approached the 2.5 year mark of brewing beer in WNY and our team couldn’t be more excited about the future. We have noticeably seen changes in everyone’s tastes around Buffalo as better beer has made a positive impact on many aspects of people’s lives.

BNBA: Why do you think an event like The Brewers Invitational is important?
Russo: I think an event like the Brewer’s Invitational is important for the hardcore beer drinkers to see what local brewers are up to. I think all the brewers around are making some great beer and this gives us the chance to showcase some styles that aren’t typically for the masses nor readily available by the breweries.

BNBA: You’re bringing Tart Simpson to the Brewers Invitational. Can you tell us a bit about the beer?
Russo:  We are bringing a beer called Tart Simpson to the Invitational. It is our first go at a kettle sour in the form of a low bodied beer with mild malt complexity and some fun hops such as Galaxy…and of course a bit of bacteria.

BNBA: This is your first entry into the sour beer genre. Why the decision now to brew a sour?
Russo: We decided to brew Tart Simpson after many discussions on the topic and ultimately by finding a slot in the production schedule.

BNBA: Are there more sours in the pipeline at Hamburg?
Russo: Maybe…

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The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association thanks John for taking the time to speak with us.

A limited amount of tickets can still be purchased for $39. In addition to all of the beer, your ticket also includes a buffet of old school pub food ‘kicked up a notch.’ You can purchase tickets at Buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.org, Buffalo Bisons Box Office, all Consumer’s Beverages locations, Premier Gourmet, Kegworks and at local breweries. A limited number of Designated Driver tickets are also available ($15 when accompanied by regular ticket holders) and includes food, soft drinks and water. Designated Driver tickets may be purchased over the phone at (716) 846-2057 by credit card and will be mailed to you.

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Flying Bison @ The Brewer’s Invitational

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On April 2, the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association will be holding their first Brewer’s Invitational at Pettibone’s Grill inside Coca-Cola Field. Area brewmasters have worked diligently through the winter to create some of the most unique and innovative beer Buffalo has experienced. Flying Bison Brewing Company’s Tim Herzog recently took some time to speak about the event and give a quick State of the Brewing update.

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BNBA: How is the brewery adapting to its relatively new digs on Seneca Street?
Tim Herzog: Our building is purpose built, so the production area runs great; the sampling room is ever evolving due to weather, holidays, seasonal beers, etc. It is fun to meet our customers and see what beers they like.

BNBA: What about an event like The Brewers Invitational is exciting to you?
TH: The more intimate setting allows for real conversation with real beer drinkers….not a bad view of the field either.

BNBA: What can beer drinkers expect from the barrel aged version of HERC C-130 Barleywine?
TH: It was aged in a second use bourbon barrel. Not much bourbon, but nice toasty notes with a hint of vanilla. Nearly six months of aging has made for a nice blend of flavors on a big rich beer.

BNBA: What is it about the HERC that lent itself to barrel aging?
TH: The big flavor and alcohol content of HERC make a perfect aging beer. Some of our friends have held bottles for 5 years. HERC stands the test of time.

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The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association thanks Tim for taking the time to speak with us.

A limited amount of tickets can still be purchased for $39. In addition to all of the beer, your ticket also includes a buffet of old school pub food ‘kicked up a notch.’ You can purchase tickets at Buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.org, Buffalo Bisons Box Office, all Consumer’s Beverages locations, Premier Gourmet, Kegworks and at local breweries. A limited number of Designated Driver tickets are also available ($15 when accompanied by regular ticket holders) and includes food, soft drinks and water. Designated Driver tickets may be purchased over the phone at (716) 846-2057 by credit card and will be mailed to you.

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Pearl Street Brewing @ The Brewers Invitational

chrisOn April 2, the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association (BNBA) will be holding their first Brewers Invitational at Pettibone’s Grill inside Coca-Cola Field. Area brewmasters have worked diligently through the winter to create some of the most unique and innovative beer Buffalo has experienced. Head brewer of Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, Pan-American Grill, and soon to be Buffalo Riverworks, Chris Herr, recently took some time to speak about the event and give a quick State of the Brewing update.

BNBA: How are things at Pearl Street, The Pan-American Grill, and Riverworks?
Chris Herr: Things are great!  Even with the new additions to our Buffalo brewing family, Pearl Street and Pan Am saw stable numbers through last year, and we just opened our newest location at Buffalo Riverworks, which will be hosting a brew fest called Thawfest on April 8th– the first festival in the area to feature beer, wine, and spirits all produced right here in Buffalo!  We’re continuing to refine our processes and draft lists at Pearl and Pan Am, while building out the brewery at Riverworks- our most ambitious project yet, with us building a brewery inside of the grain silo’s painted like a giant 6-pack.  We’re hoping to be producing beer there by the end of the summer.”

BNBA: This is a new festival this year. Tell me what excites you about it.
Herr: I like the sound of this Brewers Invitational- it’s a great way to let our cities incredibly creative brewers come up with some specialty beers to bring to an event, and show case them to a small and enthusiastic crowd of local drinkers.  I have a feeling some of the beers that will be premiered at this event will end up on draft at some of the breweries in town.  Truly a chance for the craft consumer to bump elbows with the people that are making their new favorite beers.

BNBA: Can you please describe the beer that you be presenting at the Brewer’s Invitational?
Herr: We are bringing Street Brawler Oatmeal Stout on nitro from Pearl Street- this is our house made, year round offering of Oatmeal Stout, but for this event we carbonated and pour it with nitrogen which adds the classic “Guinness” style head and cascading pour.  The different gas adds a new dimension of flavor, letting the malt and oatmeal flavors come through more.

From Pan American Grill and Brewery we are bringing our house made Terminator IPA, with grapefruit.  By adding grapefruit zest, juice, and some natural flavoring, the character of the strong American hops are accented and balance with the grapefruit perfectly.  Not your standard fruit beer- this one is for the hop lovers!

The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association thanks Chris for taking the time to speak with us.

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