Buffalo Beer Buzz: Pressure Drop/West Shore collab, SATO/Pearl Street Brut IPAs, Stillhouse Rebrands, new Southern Tier Imperial Gose

Pressure Drop, West Shore Get Sketchy With New Collab

Pressure Drop Brewing and West Shore Brewing have a new collaboration in the tanks, an IPA named Sketchy. The new brew, which should be ready the first week of May, clocks in around 6% ABV and is brewed with a blend of Centennial, Mosaic and Simcoe hops. Pressure Drop Head Brewer Karl Kolbe says that Sketchy ‘should be fruity dank and super crisp.’ Once released, Sketchy will be available at both Pressure Drop’s taproom in the Barrel Factory and at West Shore in Clarence. West Shore Brewing also recently released a Dampfbier, another collaboration, this time with Niagara Teaching College.

Pearl Street, SATO to Wage War at Battle of the Bruts

Pearl Street Brewery and SATO Brewpub are bringing Brut IPA’s, a style that originated in San Francisco, to Buffalo. This new style uses an enzyme to break down sugars so the beer is lighter than water, then hopped for flavor and aroma, to create something of a hop champagne. On April 27th at SATO (4:30-7:30pm), both Pearl Street’s Brut IPA, brewed with Cascade and Centennial hops (final gravity of 1.000 – equal to water) and SATO’s Brut, which used Hallertau Blanc and Citra hops (final gravity of .996 – lighter than water), will be on tap. The event is free.

Ellicottville’s Stillhouse Brewery Rebrands as Steelbound

Stillhouse Brewery and Distillery, which is set to open in Ellicottville in the new few months, has rebranded as Steelbound Brewery and Distillery in an effort to avoid any brand confusion in the market. “In an effort to avoid any confusion with a similarly named product in the market we’ve made the decision to rebrand ourselves as ‘Steelbound Brewery And Distillery,’ a name that conveys strength and unity, qualities that are strongly displayed within our team,” the brewery said in a statement. “Please bear with us during the transition and thank you for your support!” For more information, visit www.steelboundevl.com.

Southern Tier to Drop Next Installment of Fruited Sour Series

Following in the footsteps of their Imperial Blueberry Tart Ale, Imperial Cherry Gose and Imperial Concord Grape Gose, Southern Tier Brewing is set to release Imperial Peach Gose, an 8.3% imperial gose brewed with peaches, cardamom, chamomile and coriander. It features a sour aroma, with peach pulp and tart and fruity notes of peach and stone fruit that are balanced by sweetness of peaches and herbal qualities. Imperial Peach Gose will be available on April 23. Southern Tier will also release The Psychic Laser Unfiltered Double IPA, the next installment of their Science is the Art Collection, on April 30.

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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Big Ditch Introduces Newest Member of Lock IPA Series Family

Big Ditch Brewing’s vaunted Lock IPA Series is set to grow by one with the introduction of the fourth installment, Dibble, named after Lockport canal engineer Orringh “Orange” Dibble, who invented a horse drawn crane for removing debris out of the Erie Canal during its excavation. The new beer will be released on April 21 (12pm) in 4-packs of 16oz. cans for $13.99.

Following in the footsteps of Packet, Fip and 363, Dibble is brewed with Hallertau Blanc, Amarillo and Simcoe hops and features bright orange and grapefruit aroma and flavor, with just a hint of bitterness, and a slight earthy and floral finish.

“Like all of the Lock IPA series, Dibble has excellent hop flavor and aroma with muted bitterness which makes it very drinkable, but it’s also unique and different from all the other beers in the series too,” Big Ditch President Matt Kahn says. “This beer uses London Ale III as the yeast strain, which contributes some earth and floral notes to the typical citrus profile. I find this beer extremely balanced, with the overriding character being orange marmalade and spice.”

This is the scaled up version of Innovation Series: Dave’s New England-style IPA, a beer from the mind of Big Ditch’s Dave O’Connor, 3rd shift Lead Brewer extraordinaire. This beer was one of the true standouts at the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational this past February at New York Beer Project. It featured a nice soft finish with a hit of melon.

“This beer is the culmination of several years worth of development; a beer our 3rd shift lead brewer Dave O’ Connor made at home and gave to his fellow brewers in winter of 2016,” Kahn adds. “We thought it was like drinking fresh grapefruit juice at the time. It took several pilot batches at our brewery to dial it in a bit better before making it to production scale.”

In addition to Dibble, Big Ditch will also have a fresh batch of Deep Cut Double IPA cans on sale (4-packs of 16oz. cans are $14.99) and a new pilot beer, Innovation Series: Berry Sour 1.0, which is brewed with oats and lactose, co-fermented with Big Ditch’s house ale strain and house lacto strain and dry hopped with Mosaic hops. It features strong blueberry and strawberry flavors, but still tastes like a nice sour beer. There will be limited quantities available of this beer (no growler fills).

For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2193814064273063.

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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Community Beer Works Readies Massive New Brewery

It was only a matter of time before Community Beer Works, a l ocal beer institution that was once Buffalo beer’s best kept secret, moved on from their humble and quaint Lafayette Street brewery. After helping to revitalize the Niagara Corridor thanks to the great beer they have been brewing since 2012, CBW has their eyes on helping to rejuvenate another Queen City neighborhood as they ready their massive new headquarters inside a nearly-century old building at 520 Seventh St.

CBW’s President Ethan Cox says that he hopes to open the doors at the new brewery space in mid to late May, optimistically, or early June at the latest. The new space features a long bar set in a spacious 7,000 square foot area where tentative plans call for bartop and communal tables as well as plenty of room for seating. There’s also a clear windowed garage door near the brewery’s front entrance that peers out into the neighborhood, though Cox says they aren’t sure what exactly they will have in the way of a patio out front.

“I don’t really know what we are going to do in terms of a patio out front, but it will probably be pretty minimal,” Cox says. “We might just put some grass out there so it could be a space where you can actually sit in the grass.”

Up a small set of stairs sits another seating area, which leads into a conference room/multi-use lounge area and manager’s office on the other side. There’s also a kitchen that will offer a simple menu full of three or four main items, including burgers. There’s also an order window (similar to Voodoo Brewing’s Erie, PA location).

In addition to plenty of taps offering their own brews, the new bar will also offer a liquor/cocktail list featuring local spirits, as well as red and white wine. Cox says that the brewery will offer beer cocktails as well. “I like a good Manhattan from time to time so if you really want a Manhattan here you don’t have to leave,” he says.

Off the back corner of the main taproom space sits one of the space’s most unique features, an open air patio/courtyard. Cox says a mural will be painted on the outside wall of courtyard, which will feature tables, outdoor seating and a fire pit. “I’m excited about this space too, especially when it’s nice outside and we can just sit out here,” he adds. What’s unique about this area is that it was once enclosed, but the roof was so distressed that it needed to be completely torn off, so Cox said they decided to create an outdoor area in the process.

The bar will feature approximately 20 lines with multiple taps dedicated to CBW’s core brands – Whale, Frank, That IPA and Iroquois – flanking about 10 taps of seasonal and one-off brews. “We should effectively have about 15 beers available at any given time,” he says. There will also be a television on the wall behind the bar for breaking news, sporting events or what have you.

On the brewing side, CBW is upgrading to a three vessel, 20 barrel brewhouse, which was made for CBW by SMT from Virginia. “It’s 100 percent American made, which is something that was very important to us.” The brewhouse also features a 10 barrel wooden foeder, which CBW purchased two years ago at the Craft Brewers conference.

“We will have a mix of 20 and 40 barrel fermenters, enough to give us a capacity of about 5,000 barrels when we open,” Cox says, “which is about what Big Ditch’s capacity was when they opened. I expect that we will grow pretty rapidly from there. We think we have enough space for enough tanks in here to get up to about 20,000 barrels.”

In the brewhouse there is a small mill room, where the CBW brewing team will mill their grain, a sizeable cold room for cold beer storage, a shipping/receiving area with a dock, which Cox was quite excited about, an area for packaging and canning, brewer’s office and dry storage.

Cox explains that the final decision came down to two different locations and they ultimately decided on the 520 Seventh St. location due to its historical significance and the chance for CBW to help revitalize another Buffalo neighborhood.

“In January 2016, we had this building on offer to us and another project over on Florida Street, and I thought both locations were really cool,” Cox says. “I liked this location geographically a little better, and I liked the history of this spot a lot better, because that building [a currently vacant 5-story building next to the brewery] was built originally as a malthouse. I thought that was a good fit. The malting company was called the Schaeffer Brothers and they were not very big. This became a chocolate factory after that.”

“This neighborhood also felt like it was more in need and would be more accepting. It also got us a little closer to downtown, which I also liked. So, in the end we settled on this one of the two and we have never looked back.”

Now for a bit of bad news. Once the 520 Seventh St. facility is open and operational, retails operations at the Lafayette taproom will be closed for a period of time. Cox adds that they will reopen once they feel that they have things under control at the new space, possibly only on Fridays and Saturdays at first with the possibility of adding additional hours as needed.

“We will keep brewing there because, for here, for our other accounts, we’re going to want to continue to have shorter brew lengths available. We’re not going to want 20 barrels of every beer we brew. So we will continue to make use of that facility for smaller batches to feed the taproom here and some other places as well.”

Cox says that he would like to make some improvements to the Lafayette space as well in time, including adding a second bathroom, adding more space and creating a more user friendly environment all around.

The story of Community Beer Works is a true testament to the power of Buffalo beer. What was once one of Buffalo’s smallest breweries is set to become one of its biggest, all thanks to four little ingredients – malt, water, hops and yeast. CBW is proof positive that there is something special brewing in the Queen City.

For more information on Community Beer Works, please visit http://www.communitybeerworks.com.

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 Four Mile & Five & 20, Full Circle Fest at 42 North, Righteous Dude Back at New York Beer Project

Four Mile Polynomial Pale Ale #15 to Debut This Week

The newest version of Four Mile Brewing’s Polynomial Pale Ale, their flagship rotating hop series IPA, will debut on April 17. #15 features a blend of Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and CHF Blend hops to create notes of sweet malty biscuit, piney dryness, tropical fruit, stone fruit, melon and citrus. “A polynomial is an expression consisting of variables. The variety of grains and hops in this batch, along with our constant passion to create beauty, results in this delicious brew,” Four Mile says. The brewery has also just released Haze 4 Dayz New England IPA, a collaboration with Grand River Brewing.

Tickets on Sale for 42 North’s Full Circle Festival

Tickets are on sale for 42 North Brewing’s Third Annual Full Circle Fest, Saturday, May 19 (2-6pm). As part of Farm to Pint Week, Full Circle Fest features beer tastings from over a dozen local breweries, live music with The Observers Three, and a pig roast. General admission tickets ($30) include beer samplings, pig roast and souvenir glass, while VIP tickets ($40) include special access to a first ever barrel-aged beer section at 42 Below Barrel Room, beer samplings, pig roast and souvenir glass. Hurry through, because this event has sold out the past two years. Purchase tickets at Eventbrite.

Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing Release Grape Lakes Wheat

Just in time for the warmer months ahead, Westfield’s Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing have released Grape Lakes American Wheat, brewed to be light with an addition of NY Concord Grape juice to impart a rose-like color and a balanced fruit flavor. Expect aromas of berries and grapes with a wheaty and bready backbone. Head on down to Five & 20 on April 27 to celebrate the beer release at their next Barrel Room Jam with Abby & Pat Doyle of Gem City Revival. The special event, which takes place 5:30-8:30pm, will emanate from Five & 20’s barrel room.

Righteous Dude Double IPA Returns to New York Beer Project

Righteous Dude, the Double IPA that kick started an entire family of big beers (Righteous Dudette, Righteous Uncle Olaf, Righteous Cousin Vinny) makes its return to New York Beer Project on April 19 (5pm). Aggressively hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe, and Cascade hops, the Dude boasts a dank hop profile on top of juicy orange and tropical fruit with notes of peach, mango and grapefruit as well as hints of resin and pine. And since it seems like we will never break out of these colder temps, an 8.8% DIPA might just be what we all need right about now.

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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Salute Spring with a Saison on National Saison Day

Whether you like your saisons spicy and peppery, clean and fruity or tart and crisp, this is one beer perfect tailored perfectly for pulling back the shades, drawing the blinds and opening your doors and windows as you try to imagine the putting the doldrums of another never-ending Buffalo winter behind you.

Saison, French for ‘season’ and its alternative title, Farmhouse Ale, refers to the tiny farmhouses that dotted the landscape of southern Belgium, where the style originated (the beer was also served to those who worked at said farms). This beer style is typically crisp, complex, fruity, spicy, sometimes tart and/or sour and light-bodied, clocking in around 4.5% – 8.5% ABV normally. Suffice to say, this is a beer to toast the warmer weather that will hopefully be flooding our region sooner rather than later. We said hopefully.

When it comes to food, rustic beers call for rustic foods, and French cuisine is a great choice for the style. Think roasted chicken, bouillabaisse and fish, or pair with lighter salads and a variety of cheeses, including fresh Asiago, Colby, Fontina, Gorgonzola and Parmesan. You also can’t go wrong pairing a saison with Asian or Middle-Eastern dishes.

Here are ten examples of Saison/Farmhouse Ales that you can get your hands locally, either from the brewery itself or one of our area’s many bottle shops.

Hamburg Brewing Small Town (5.2% ABV): Banana, Belgian yeast, clove and bubblegum all play a role in Hamburg Brewing’s Small Town Belgian-Style Saison Ale, one of the cleaner and crisper saisons you’ll find here locally. And at 5.2%, it perfect for your next session.

Resurgence Brewing Blood Orange Saison (6.3%): As you would expect, Resurgence’s Blood Orange Saison is dominated by juicy oranges, though the beer also features lemon and tropical notes. It’s subtly tart and quite easy drinking. Hit your local beer vendor and bring home a six-pack as Resurgence recently launched the popular style in cans.

Gordon Biersch Saison (6.6%): A traditional saison brewed to style with notes of pear, dry banana, cloves and bright, citrusy hops. It’s also a bit bitter but still refreshing nevertheless. Pairs well with a soft German pretzel and spicy mustard.

Ommegang Hennepin Farmhouse Saison (7.7%): As one of the foremost respected representations of the style in the world, Ommegang’s Hennepin is a full bodied beer, chock-full of coriander, orange peel, clove and banana. While you shouldn’t let its ABV scare you off, Ommegang also brews Glimmerglass Spring Saison, which clocks in at a more approachable 5.40%.

42 North Brewing Treaty Saison (5.9%): Named in honor of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which brought about the end of the War of 1812 and opened up the Great Lakes region to American expansion, Treaty Saison is an authentic Belgian-style dry and tart saison featuring a simple grain bill and limited spice additions, with notes of light fruit and lemongrass.

Allagash Saison (6.1%): A recommended beer for novices of the style, Allagash’s Saison Ale is nothing if not pleasant. Black pepper, lemon zest, lemongrass and tangerines all find room on the tongue. Not overpowering in anyway but not lacking in anyway either. Enjoy this while spring cleaning.

Firestone Walker Opal (7.5%): Slightly tart and refreshing, Firestone Walker’s Opal Dry Hopped Saison pours a golden hue with notes of orange zest, tropical and stone fruit before finishing quite like a dry white wine. A nice balance of earthy, funky, hoppy and dry.

Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont (Vieille Provision) (6.5%): The classic flagbearer of all saison/farmhouse ales, Brasserie Dupont’s Saison Dupont was named “the Best Beer in the World” by Men’s Journal in 2005. It is a fan-favorite and must-drink for those who have not partaken. This classic example offers dry white grapes, hay, subtle funk and light pepper. If you haven’t yet, try this one immediately.

Dogfish Head/Stone Brewing/Victory Brewing – Saison Du Buff (6.8%): This collaboration from Stone, Dogfish Head and Victory (the 2016 version was brewed at Stone for the first time since 2012 after being brewing in Dogfish Head in 2014 and Victory in 2015) features locally harvested sage, lemon thyme, rosemary, parsley, leading to a pleasant dry and bitter herbal taste.

Niagara Oast House Saison Farmhouse Ale (6.5%): One of the more underrated saisons that is readily available in the Buffalo-Niagara region (right up the road in Niagara-on-the-lake). Overtones of citrus, green apple and herbal spice. Biscuit malts, lemon and grass with some noticeable barnyard qualities. This saison is yeasty, though surprisingly light on the palette.

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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Big Ditch Brewing Expands, Adds More Capacity to Brewhouse

Hayburner, Deep Cut, Fip, Packet, Excavator, you know the names, you love the beer. The problem is, Big Ditch Brewing was running out of the room necessary to keep a consistent stockpile of fresh beer, a problem satiated by a recent expansion that involved the addition of two new 60 barrel fermenting tanks, their fourth expansion project in under four years. The good news is, Big Ditch can now brew and store more beer, which means more great beer for all of us. It’s a win-win.

The brewery was at approximately 14,000 barrels capacity before the addition of the new tanks and now sit at around 17,000 barrels, or approximately a 20% increase in space. Factoring in yield and other factors, the total numbers will be less.

“It will be enough to allow to us to grow this year a little more comfortably,” says Big Ditch President Matt Kahn, who admits that he still believes things will be a little tight come summertime. “But it would have been impossible had we not added these tanks.”

Big Ditch started discussing adding more tanks to their brewhouse last summer when they began running into an issue of declining space to put beer. Kahn says that they just plain ran out of room and needed to revise their process moving forward.

“Sometime during last summer we were really running into problems where we just couldn’t churn out batches fast enough,” Kahn says. “Basically it was due to having some batches stuck in tanks. As of late summer we had 11 fermenters, and it takes about two weeks to turn around a batch, which means we could fill up about five tanks a week, which a lot of times would be fine but not always. If we wanted to do three batches of Hayburner, and two different other things, say a seasonal or Low Bridge or Excavator, or a one-off of something, we just could not get it all through and we were just getting stuck. We’d have to brew, shut down and wait a day until the batch is ready and then we’d empty that tank and start up again. It was on and off like that.”

       

Kahn and the rest of his brewing team decided that they could not go into another summer utilizing that process. “If we want to continue to make beer at the same rate or more next year we have to start looking at adding more tanks.”

“Last summer we decided that if we wanted to continue to grow and max out what we can do at this facility, we put together a project to maximize our resources. We looked at the layout and thought that we could add in two more fermenting tanks, which definitely makes it more crowded in the brewhouse, but it’s still workable for us.”

He adds that in the process of deciding on adding more tanks, they discovered some inefficiencies in their brewing system, something they corrected with some new brewhouse pieces. To address some issues with carbonation, they installed a new inline carbonation system.

“We were doing what most breweries our size do and transfer beer into a tank and carbonate it in the tank, which could take up to a few days to do. That would slow things down. We’d come in in the morning and be ready but the beer wouldn’t be carbonated yet, which would cause us to be down for a whole day waiting sometimes, so that was inefficient for us. There were other little things that we had, like our water system was shared between the brewery and our packaging room, which meant we could brew or wash kegs but we couldn’t do them at the same time.”

To address the carbonation side of things, they installed a new inline carbonation system, which takes carbonation from around two days down to five hours. “That helps us to optimize things.” Big Ditch also worked to optimize their beer transfer process and installed a new cleaning unit.

“Another thing that we did was we measure the flow rate from the mash tun to the kettle now, which we didn’t use to do. A lot of breweries our size come with what’s called a grant, which is basically like a sight glass where you can see the liquid going through, so you try and control the levels and valves, so we have been using a grant for forever, now we got rid of that. Now we just have a flow meter there so we can optimize how fast we transfer beer over so we can get a nice, uniform transfer, which has increased our yield around 2%, which is nice.”

“They’re all little things, but they pay off over the course of a year.”

As far as remaining space at their current location, Kahn says it’s a concern, because thanks to this latest expansion and some other things he has in mind, they are basically out of space. With Resurgence Brewing and Community Beer Works announcing major expansions to new spaces, does this mean that Big Ditch could join them?

“We can’t grow anymore at this site,” he says. “We will see how it goes this year and from there we will decide what we are going to do next. It’s just too soon to say. It’s a big choice to go up from here. I’m not sure if we are ready to do that yet.”

“We’re gonna make a lot of beer this year,” Kahn says, which should be music to all of our ears.

For more information on all things Big Ditch, visit http://www.bigditchbrewing.com/.

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 7 Favorite Moments (In Beer Form) of the Third Annual Thawfest

While snow and unseasonably cold temps linger in the forecast in the coming days and weeks, Thawfest, the annual celebration of the onset of spring through beer, wine and spirits, had me thinking of the warmer months to come. Though admittedly it didn’t work out all that well since a band of driving snow pushed in towards the end of the festival, coating walkways and roads alike, which led to some slips and falls, but we won’t name names. It’s just not gentlemanly. Still, it was warm inside Riverworks as the local adult libations flowed freely, early and often.

A lot of great beer was consumed and I, along with fellow Buffalo Beer League founder Scott, also had the chance to spend some time with some of our best beer friends, both old and new. We imbibed on some nice bottles and casks in the VIP section (we also need to mention how good the food was), in-between pours of Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Bourbon and even some Honeoye Falls Distillery La Cascade Rouge Absinthe (yes, Thawfest’s VIP is no joke). We drank some advance previews of One-Eyed Cat Brewing’s beer (shout out to our friends Patrick and Sara) and even got the scoop on some big news for them to come (I’m not at liberty to say, I swear, just keep an eye out), and laughed over beers with SATO Brewpub’s Drew Hardin, Pressure Drop’s Karl Kolbe and Pearl Street’s Chris Herr. In short, it was a great time.

All in all we sampled just over a dozen beers, we narrowed our Best Of list to just seven, yes, seven, beers. Thankfully we took a lot of pictures and took a lot of notes. So, without any further ado…

12 Gates Brewing Pomegranate Gose (Cask): Fresh pomegranate juice with the slightest hint of tart and salt. This was refreshing.

Pearl Street Brewery Cranberry Pineapple Wild Ox Wheat (Cask): The pineapple came through very well, while the cranberry was subtle yet necessary. Overall, this was a nice, balanced beer.

SATO Brewpub Justin’s Milk Stout: A touch of smoke that was ever so slight. Sweet coffee with cream. It had a nice mouthfeel with a good roast character. A hell of a first brew from now former SATO brewing intern Justin.

Rusty Nickel Brewing / Lock Street Brewing Do You Have Anything To Declare? Maple Toffee Milk Stout: Thick maple candy flavors with a great creaminess   to it. Very drinkable for the style at only 6.5%. This one would probably be great for breakfast. Don’t judge us.

Community Beer Works So It Goes West Coast IPA: The first official new beer from CBW/Hydraulic Hearth Head Brewer Vandra Ruppel, a crystal clear new school take on a West Coast IPA. Nice crisp finish with big hits of citrus and resinous pine.

West Shore Brewing Citra-Chinook IPA: This hop blend worked out seriously well. This IPA opened with bright citrus notes that led to a big dank finish. This should satisfy fans of both East Coast and West Coast IPAs.

Brickyard Brewing White Bronco New England IPA: As Scott said, ‘its amazeballs,’ and one of the best beers we had at Thawfest, hence its appearance here. This is the latest, and greatest in our opinion, batch of White Bronco – incredibly soft and bursting with all of the tropical fruit. There’s a reason this isn’t the first Best Of list that Bronco has made.

If you missed Thawfest this year, we apologize, but there is always next year, and we assume Thawfest 4 will be bigger and better than this year (if possible). And come next April, we’ll see you all in the VIP section so we can do this all over again.

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: Rusty Nickel to Expand, 3 New Community Beer Works Collaborations, MyCity Brew Returns to 12 Gates, Saison Day at Thin Man

Rusty Nickel Eyeing New Taproom Space Downtown

Rusty Nickel Brewing, whose headquarters is in West Seneca, is expanding their operations downtown, to 36 Broadway to be exact. Plans call for the brewery to share a space with southern-style eatery Jaz and Jack’s and tentatively have 36 taps, in addition to locally produced spirits and wine, available in a new taproom. The brewery says that they are currently renovating the space to add their own personal touches, though they are being careful to stay true to the 19th century building’s history. There is no timetable for opening. You can visit the brewery, currently located behind Ebenezer Ale House.

Community Beer Works to Release Trio of Collaborations

Community Beer Works has been busy in their collaboratory (their word, not ours) as of late, churning out delicious concoctions with a trio of local and regional breweries. On April 14 (12pm), CBW is releasing cans of Power Ballad Double IPA, a collab with Big Ditch Brewing (750ml cans, $10 (limit 4)), and Combined Grind, a Coffee IPA collab with Rochester’s Swiftwater Brewing (16oz 4packs, $17, individual cans, $5). Highly Suspicious, a tropical IPA that was brewed with Prison City, will be released on April 20 (750ml cans, $12 (limit 4)). It’s time to stock up on great local beer.

MyCity Brew’s Byson Brown Returns to 12 Gates

If you missed out on MyCity’s Brew / 12 Gates Brewing Byson Brown test batches a little while back at World of Beer, then you are in luck because some extra batches of the beer will be available at 12 Gates on April 9 (4pm). Taste each of the four test batches (flights are $10) and see why Buffalo selected test batch #2 as their choice for the Buffalo’s Byson Brown Dunkel. This will be the only opportunity to taste the beer until the first full-scale release. Test batches will be on tap all week until the kegs are kicked.

Celebrate Saison Day 2018 at Thin Man Brewery

On April 14, raise a glass of farmhouse ale as Saison Day returns to Thin Man (only one of two locations in New York State hosting the event) for a fifth year (11am). Portland, Maine’s Allagash Brewing is bringing a number of their best saisons to Buffalo for the occasion, including Astrid (fermented with Brettanomyces, aged in Aquavit barrels), Belfius (blend of spontaneously fermented beer and saison), Fluxus 2017 (mixed-fermentation saison ale brewed with rhubarb), Interlude 2016 (barrel aged saison), Interlude 2017, Saison, Saison Gratis (open-fermented saison hopped in Allagash’s coolship) and Shiro’s Delight (Interlude aged on Pluerries and plums).

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: Hazy IPA Can Release at Thin Man, New Beer at New York Beer Project, Anticipated Returns at Flying Bison & Community Beer Works

Thin Man to Release Trial by Wombat NEIPA in Cans

The hazy IPA can releases in Buffalo keep coming, this time courtesy of Thin Man Brewery who are dropping Trial by Wombat New England IPA in cans on April 7 (11am). Trial by Wombat is brewed with Galaxy, Simcoe and Citra hops and 30% malted oats for flavors of white peach, pineapple, papaya and tangerine. In addition, Thin Man is also dropping Haze Potato Chips, a collaborative hazy IPA brewed in partnership with Ireland’s Lough Gill Brewery, which was brewed with Nelson Sauvin, Citra Cryo hops and red potatoes to boost the haze. Expect notes of peach, gooseberry and citrus.

New York Beer Project, Perry’s Get Heroic with Latest Ice Cream Beer

New York Beer Project and Perry’s Ice Cream are proving that not all heroes wear capes with the latest release in their beer-ice cream partnership – Superhero Sour, the first sour of the series, based on the Super Hero ice cream, on April 5 (5pm). Brewed to feature flavors of cherry, lemon and raspberry in Super Hero ice cream, $1 from every pint purchased will be donated to all the superheroes at Oishei Children’s Hospital. The partnership between NYBP & Perry’s, which was recently extended, has raised over $10,000 for Oishei through the sales of their first five ice-cream themed beers.

Flying Bison’s Juice Caboose Returns to Taps, Bottles

One of Flying Bison’s most beloved beers, Juice Caboose IPA (7.5%), will make its return on April 5. The juicy IPA will be available on draft at the brewery and in bottles around town. The only change to the recipe is Sorachi Ace hops replacing Dr. Rudi hops, to go along with Amarillo, Citra, Cascade, Centennial, Galaxy and Ekuanot. Expect flavors of honeydew, pineapple, mango, papaya and citrus. Flying Bison will also release a special Dortmund-style lager brewed for their Half Way to Oktoberfest Party on April 7 (12-4pm). Tickets are $20 and include 2 beer tokens and live music.

Two Community Beer Works’ Beers Make Their Return This Week

It’s hard to believe that it’s already time for Rutherford B. Haze (5.4%), a cherished staple of the Community Beer Works family of beers, to make its return. A Belgian-style wheat beer, Rutherford B. Haze pours hazy gold with Trappist yeast from Westmalle, wheat, and Slovenian hops creating a lighter, refreshing beer. It returns April 6 (3pm). CBW will also release another batch of Banana Split Milkshake Hefeweizen (4.8%) on draft and in cans on April 7 (12pm). If you didn’t know, this is a traditional hefe conditioned on 40lbs of strawberries, organic vanilla beans with added lactose and chocolate.

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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First It Was Filthy, Now It’s Funky: Thin Man, Mikkeller NYC Keep the Flow Going

Remember Filthy Flow IPA? Chances are you have fond memories of the Thin Man Brewery / Mikkeller Brewing NYC concoction. If you have been among the hordes clamoring for its return, you’re going to want to find a seat at the bar at Thin Man on Saturday (March 31), for the release of Funky Flow, a 100% Brett relative of Filthy Flow. You asked for it, and now it’s back, well sort of. It goes on tap at 11am.

Funky Flow (6.3% ABV) is a 100% Brett IPA brewed with Simcoe, Citra and Galaxy hops that’s a play on Filthy Flow. It features the same grain bill (just a little less of it) and the same hops with some tweaks to the recipe here and there.

“It kind of takes you on a journey,” Thin Man Head Brewer Rudy Watkins says, “it’s juicy at first then moves kinda West Coast-y, and then the funk starts to pop with unripe pear and complex fruit/hay notes.”

Funky Flow continues Thin Man’s collaborative work with Mikkeller NYC, and Watkins reveals that this beer has some pretty great things in store for it if all goes to plan. He adds that he is hoping to head out to NYC to brew with Mikkeller again in the future, so it would seem that this partnership is far from over.

“We had been talking about another collab with Mikkeller NYC since brewing Filthy Flow back in November,” Watkins says. “I got an email from Jim [Raras, Executive VP/Brewer of Mikkeller NYC] asking if we would be interested in doing a beer they could have at their opening (they just opened last week) and also to send to Denmark for Copenhagen Beer Week and the Copenhagen Beer Celebration. They liked the idea of a Brett IPA so we decided to run with the theme!”

Along with Funky Flow, Thin Man will also debut Sonnyboi Session IPA (4.8%) this weekend, a crushable IPA featuring American hops with pine, citrus and light caramel notes. And as if drinking good beer isn’t enough, a portion of each glass sold will go to benefit Rock Autism.

Funky Flow is a draft only release (growler/crowler fills welcome), but if you’re in the mood for a canned Thin Man IPA, then you won’t have to wait long as Trial by Wombat New England IPA will be released in cans on April 7 (11am).

“Trial by Wombat is a New England IPA featuring Galaxy hops from Australia,” Watkins says. “There also some Simcoe and Citra hops with 30% malted oats, a ton of pilsner malts and some other fun stuff. It’s insanely dry hopped as well for big peachy, pineapple-y and orange-y juicy goodness.”

Trial by Wombat is the definition of soft with a very well-rounded finish, with flavors of juicy white peach, pineapple, papaya and tangerine and big citrus aromas.

In addition to TBW, Thin Man is also dropping Haze Potato Chips, a hazy IPA brewed in partnership with Ireland’s Lough Gill Brewery. This one was brewed with Nelson Sauvin and Citra Cryo hops with red potatoes added to boost the haze. Notes of peach, gooseberry and citrus pop from this juicy NEIPA.

For more information on the Funky Flow release, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/165398607480735/. Head over to https://www.facebook.com/events/212822549466768/ for more on the Trial by Wombat can release.

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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