Farm-to-Pint: New York State Brewers Go Local – Q&A with Aaron McLeod and Chris Holden

Last week, the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association held their First Annual Farm-to-Pint Brewers Symposium, hosted by Flying Bison Brewery. This was a free event open to BNBA member brewing professionals.

“We wanted to put on an event that not only showcased farm-to-pint craft beer, but also advance the knowledge among industry professionals,” said Willard Brooks, co-chair of Farm-to-Pint week. “When you get brewers together like this, it can get a little competitive!”

The event was an opportunity to meet with Farm-to-Pint experts from across the state. Featured speakers included Aaron McLeod, Director of the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food and Beverage, Chris Holden, Owner, Crooked Creek Hop Farm and President of Hop Growers of New York and Jason Sahler, Owner, Strong Rope Brewery, Brooklyn, New York. All three shared their insights and experiences into the Farm-to-Pint industry in New York.

“This is a great opportunity for our Buffalo brewers to learn more about New York State ingredients,” said Ted Hawley, Owner, New York Craft Malt. “They can talk directly to people involved in the industry and share success stories among themselves.”

I got the chance to sit down with Aaron, Chris and Jason and they share some of their wisdom with me as well.

What is Farm-to-Pint and what does it mean to you?

Chris: Farm-to-Pint is just the beginning of a local/regionalization of ingredients that can be sourced in the areas of which those ingredients grow well. With New York State being a great place to grow hops and malt, I feel that events like this are the pathway to future success for both the breweries and the Farms and them working together for generations to come.

Jason: For a brewer it means a couple of things. First, I can let my customers know where the ingredients come from for a specific beer we’re brewing. We’re 100% Farm-to-Pint at Strong Rope. What they’re consuming comes from New York State, not from halfway across the US or halfway around the world. Second, it means you have to make the beers that go best with the ingredients that you’re using. That doesn’t mean you can’t make an IPA. It just means that you need to optimize the flavor of your ingredients. Further down the road, I think we’d all like to see beers that are unique to what our region has to offer. That is our own version of the New England IPA.

From left to right: Jason Sahler, Chris Holden, Aaron McLeod at the First Annual Farm-to-Pint Brewers Symposium

Why is it important to New York State?

Chris: There are a lot of farms in NYS that are looking to diversify into new industries. Whether they’re dairy, grain, fruit or vegetable farmers, there’s a lot of farmers taking notice of the different craft alcohol industries that are currently looking to source locally. These industries have the ability to support many farms in the region and give them the ability to thrive under the current market and leave a lasting impression for ours and future generations.

Jason: From an economic perspective, the state is investing heavily in this space. Both craft beer and farming are huge industries in New York. Brewers have more incentives to use local ingredients and local farms have incentives to produce high quality ingredients for those brewers. For this to continue to grow, we will have to continue to strengthen the partnership between brewers and farmers.

Where are we on the path to adoption?

Chris: Across the state, the adoption level varies. Most of the farms and companies that have started or expanded since 2012 are still too small to do a lot of self promotion and expose themselves to the 100’s of producers across the state. As they begin to grow and expand, this will help with that exposure level and also help the craft producers to realize that they can confidently source locally for high quality products for the foreseeable future.

Aaron: Demand for local malts is increasing steadily.  There are a number of factors driving this demand. First, with such dramatic growth in the number of craft breweries in New York, brewers need to find ways to be distinct and competitive. Second, craft brewers pride themselves on being independent, and by using craft malt they support other small and independent businesses and farms. So like Chris said, this is Craft Connecting with Craft. Finally, on a broader scale, there is increasing interest in locally produced products. Consumers are keen to know where their food and drink comes from. Craft malt fills the production gap for locally produced brewing materials.

Jason: We’re still pretty early in the adoption phase. There are many breweries starting to produce beers using New York State ingredients, but the threshold levels are still pretty low. We’ll see adoption increase in the next couple years as brewer’s with farm licenses will have to increase their usage of local to meet their requirements. But, as we’ve been saying all along here, it will really take off as the ingredients are uniquely New York. That is, you’re not using New York grown Cascade hops, but rather some as-yet-named hop that is grown natively in New York and produces great beer.

Farm-to-Pint Brewers Symposium attendees quaffing beers and listening intently

What are the challenges to more breweries adopting Farm-to-Pint?

Chris: On the hop market side, the main challenge is variety and or experimenting. With the surge of New England-style IPA’s, certain hops have stolen the show and of course these are hops unobtainable for the hop farmers in New York State to grow. The other challenge is keeping up with demand with these styles, so experimenting can be very difficult for the craft breweries to learn and or experience different combinations of hops from different regions in the state and see what the different regions can produce with their unique terroir.

Aaron: Generally, craft malt is more expensive; up to four times the price of bulk commercial malt due to their smaller scale of production. But craft maltsters are adding a lot of extra value to command this price, whether it be locally sourced grains, hand-crafting, artisan or traditional methods, small batch, innovative, etc.

Smaller breweries are more flexible and can adapt to work with different raw materials. For example, the winter barley varieties grown in New York are lower protein than the standard spring varieties grown in the Western US. As a result, the malt has lower enzymes, more like a UK style pale malt. Still very high quality, just different. By modifying their mashing program (using a multi-step infusion) a brewer can achieve very good results.

Jason: I think from a brewing perspective, it’s all about a willingness to dive in and take part in something that’s bigger than your brewery. Yes, the malt is more expensive. Yes, there are hop limitations. And no, you can’t charge more. But you can stand behind great locally sourced and produced beer that represents New York. I look at it as a challenge to my skills as a brewer.

Symposium attendees sample and share Farm-to-Pint Beers from breweries across New York State

Who is doing Farm-to-Pint well?

Chris: Across the state we see multiple breweries thriving using the farm-to-pint model and even using 100% NYS ingredients. Breweries like Strong Rope Brewery (Brooklyn, NY), Plan Bee Farm Brewery (Poughkeepsie, NY), Newburgh Brewing Company (Newburgh, NY), Steuben Brewing Company and The Brewery of Broken Dreams (Hammondsport, NY) and Grimm Artisanal Ales (Brooklyn, NY). Here in Western New York, there are also a number that have taken advantage of the growing hop industry and have worked on using as much NYS ingredients as possible and also doing a few 100% NYS Beers. They would include Big Ditch, Four Mile, Rusty Nickel, Five and 20 and 42 North, with more to follow I’m sure!

Aaron: Here is a great example of traceability: Most craft malthouses can point to the exact field where their grain is grown and name the farmer who grew each batch. For example, From the Ground Brewery in the Hudson Valley uses grain that is grown and malted within 10 miles of the brewery!

Jason: I’d like to think we are (laughs).

Biographies

Aaron McLeod has been involved with malting and brewing quality testing and research for nearly 15 years and is currently the Director of the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food and Beverage.  The Center provides quality testing for beer and brewing raw materials such as barley, malt and hops. Aaron is also a member of the Technical Committee of the American Society of Brewing Chemists and presents frequently on topics related to malting and brewing science and quality testing methods.

Jason Sahler is the owner and brewer of Strong Rope Brewery in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Originally from Rochester, New York, Jason has lived in Brooklyn for the last 15 years and graduated from New York University with a degree in Sustainable Development. Jason is dedicated to promoting New York ingredients and travels extensively throughout New York state, working with malt, hop, and beer producers from the Southern Tier, to the Adirondack Region, to Long Island’s North Fork. Strong Rope Brewery recently transitioned to 100% New York ingredients for all their beers.

Chris Holden is the owner of Crooked Creek Hops Farm, which operates on the Holden family farm going back to the early 1800’s. Chris is also the Manager of the New York Hop Guild and President of the Hop Growers of New York.

www.buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.org/f2p
https://www.hartwick.edu/about-us/centers-institutes/center-for-craft-food-and-beverage/
http://www.crookedcreekhopsfarm.com/
http://strongropebrewery.com/

Story contributed by BNBA Marketing Chair Clint Perez

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Riverworks Partners with Buffalo Sabres Legend for Biggest Beer Release Yet

Riverworks Brewing have teamed with NHL Hall of Fame goalie and Buffalo Sabres legend Dominik Hasek on a special new beer, The Dominator Czech Pilsner, marking their first time ever in cans and their biggest beer release to date. It’s also a partnership for a good cause as $1 from the sale of each can will be donated to Hasek’s foundation, Hasek’s Heroes, which gives kids under 15 the opportunity to learn to skate and to play hockey, free of charge.

The Dominator will be released on May 23 at 11am. The beer will be exclusively available at Riverworks and will retail for $14.99 per 4-pack ($7 per single can (on-site consumption)) with no limit. There is a possibility that it could go to retail in the future. There are around approximately 270 cases available. Riverworks also plans to have t-shirts and other Dominator merchandise available.

The beer is brewed with Czech Saaz and Tettnang hops, which help to impart a hearty, malty body with a touch of spice and light hops. It features a smooth, clean finish.

“Since Dominik lives in the Czech Republic, we figured a Czech Pilsner would be the natural choice,” Riverworks Brewing Head Brewer Chris Herr says. “Plus when we told Dominik that we wanted to brew a Czech Pilsner, he said he loved the style, so we went with it. And to keep it authentic, we brewed Dominator with imported grain from the Czech Republic, Czech Saaz and Tettnang hops. It tastes great and pairs great with pizza.”

Herr says that The Dominator is doubly exciting for him and the entire Pearl Street family because it marks the very first time they’ve canned any of their product at any of their locations – Pearl Street, Riverworks or Lafayette Brewing.

“This is very special for us because this is our first time canning a beer, ever. This is our 22nd year of brewing beer at Pearl Street and this is the first time we’ve canned a product. We’ve never canned a beer in all these years at Pearl. It’s really special for me because I’ve been the head brewer here for ten years and this is the first time I’ve ever had one of my beers available in a can.”

The Dominator also marks the first release of a bigger beer series dedicated to giving back to local charities as they help to Rebuild Buffalo, One Pint at a Time, a phrase they’ve recently readopted as their company slogan.

“It’s going to be part of a larger theme of beers we’re doing that will help to benefit those people that help to support our company’s larger goal of rebuilding Buffalo one pint at a time. If you actually look on the bottom of the can, it actually says ‘Rebuilding Buffalo, One Pint at a Time.’ We’re hoping this will be the first of a whole series with local Buffalo celebrities and foundations that are part of our goal of rebuilding. We think it’s going to be really cool. We’d love to partner with maybe Jim Kelly, Josh Allen, Jack Eichel, or whoever is interested in working with us. If their general message is to help build the city up, then we want to work with them and we want to donate to their foundation. Maybe a Habitat for Humanity beer would work.”

A limited number of cans are stamped with the saying ‘No Goal,’ because if you’re a Sabres fan, I don’t need to explain it to you. “We had to have a few cans that said ‘No Goal,’ because those of us who remember, remember,” Herr adds.

Herr explains that Riverworks’ Director of Operations, Sean Green, who previously ran Hasek’s Heroes for 10 years, was a major catalyst for The Dominator happening in the first place. “We had this idea where we wanted to can a beer, partner with a local celebrity and make it matter. Dominik was our first choice and he was totally into the idea because he has never had a beer brewed in his name before. At the end of this, we’re hoping to have about a $5,000 to Hasek’s Heroes.”

Herr adds that the brewery hopes to can some of their other beer in the near future as well, in addition to their ‘Rebuilding Buffalo’ series.

“I’m making a really hard push for us to get back to our roots,” Herr adds of their general message. “We opened the Hotel Lafayette, which was slated for demolition, paired with Rocco Termini and put $52 million into renovating that building back in 2011. Then we opened Riverworks, a $37 million project, which allows us to be able to do this. Now that we’re starting to see this change in the area, we want to give back and support other foundations that are part of this goal. We paired with Buffalo Waterkeeper and are opening a new restaurant near Tesla called Riverbend, a $6 million renovation project to benefit the river and help rebuild the waterfront. We think this is an important message.”

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/RiverWorksBuffalo/.

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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Resurgence Brewing to Open New Home in Old First Ward in June

Resurgence Brewing are readying their massive new home in the Old First Ward, which they plan to open to the public early next month. Located at the historic Cooperage complex (55 Chicago Street), the space features a two-story taproom, kitchen, banquet spaces for parties of all sizes, open-air beer garden, rooftop patio and so much more. Central Rock Gym, a rock climbing and fitness facility, is currently open at the property and plans call for a distillery to open in the future.

There is a large vault and double-sided fireplace original to the Cooperage that sit near the entrance to the taproom, both of which the brewery decided to leave in. The entrance area will also house a lounge with a couch and seating, retail area with beer to-go and brewery merchandise, host stand, and waiting area.

From there, you can enter into the taproom, which can see out into the brewhouse on one side and the beer garden on the other. There will be high top tables down the middle of the room, low top tables off to the side and half tables coming off the wall, as well as a handful of televisions (there will also be a TV upstairs and one outside).

Resurgence Brewing Owner Jeff Ware says that he wanted the new taproom to have the feel of a major metropolitan city, just without any of the pretentiousness.

There are two bars, which will ‘function as one long bar’ according to Ware, with tap towers (12 taps on each, with 10 more taps upstairs) behind each and barstools lining the bar. The taproom will feature chandeliers and colorful furniture, a design element Ware calls ‘Buffalo chic.’ “We want you to feel like you’re walking into a swanky Los Angeles hotspot, but you can go in with cargo shorts and a t-shirt. So nice, but not fancy.”

“You’ll be sitting here at the bar and we can see out into the brewhouse through all of these windows,” Ware says. “All of the windows are functional, so we can open all of them up and you can effectively be in this space. For beer, we’re looking at about 14-16 beers on tap at any time. We don’t want to be a place with 50 beers on tap. If we have a gap in production, we’ll bring on a guest beer.”

There will be a kitchen nestled in the corner of the taproom. “We will be doing a full kitchen and a full bar with cocktails, wine and liquor. The kitchen will feature a limited menu with around 10-15 items. We’re thinking like gastropub style dishes, like a few styles of chicken wings for example. We won’t have a ton of items, but what we do we will do really, really well.” Resurgence is planning the ability to order food from your phone, and you will receive a text when your food is done and ready to be picked up.

The beer garden will sit in-between buildings, and will feature strung lights, tables, a trio of firepits (one seven foot and two three foot), as well as access to not only Resurgence’s taproom, but also the neighboring gym and distillery.

“My whole thing has always been, I want people to be in the brewery itself,” Ware says. “This building was vacant for 30 years before we moved in and I don’t think it would have lasted through another winter. It was in really rough shape and it cost a lot more than I thought to fix up, but that’s cool with me because this space has a story behind it. It was a Cooperage; they were the company that made materials for the companies that made barrels. It’s a really fun thing to be able to bring this building back to life.”

And, just as Ware wanted, you can literally sit in the brewery. Sitting off the taproom is another full service seating area inside the brewhouse with tables and a full-length drink rail separating the brewhouse from the dining area. Directly on the other side of the rail sits the dedicated in-house canning line.

Heading upstairs, you’ll walk past a massive elevator shaft original to the building, before entering the banquet space, complete with bathrooms, kitchen and a bar. There’s a conference room that will double as party space for smaller events as well as for the brewery’s sensory/tasting panels. The banquet area has room for about 300-400 in total, including the mezzanine section off the main banquet room that overlooks the brewery. The space will be open to the public if it is not booked by a private party, though some portion of the space should be open to the public at all times. There is also a rooftop patio off of banquet area that will make for some of the best brewery views in the entire city.

“This is my favorite part of the taproom,” Ware says of the mezzanine space. “This is really the perfect tie-in of both the old and the new. Standing up here with a pint overlooking the brewery, it makes you feel like you are actually standing in the brewery.”

As for the brewhouse, Resurgence’s new houses a number of oversized 60bbl fermenters, which makes for easier processing for dry-hopping. Their opening capacity will be about 15,000bbls, though Ware doesn’t believe they’ll hit that mark the first year. “We’re looking at probably around 10,000bbls in 2020. We can pretty much double what we are doing in Buffalo just by being able to have the beer itself available. We should probably get to about 5-6,000bbls just in Buffalo alone. We will have the ability to double a lot of our current batches.” Resurgence was operating at 3,000bbl at their Niagara Street home. “We’ve been hovering around that 3,000bbl mark since we opened over there. The first year we did around 1,500, and by year two, we added all of the tanks we could add. We were fluctuating around 2,700-2,800bbls.”

“We didn’t want to rush this process. We wanted to make sure that it was the right product and the right experience in the right area. And that’s what this space is for us. We first identified that Old First Ward was our market and where we knew we wanted to go. I have had my eye on this building for a long time. Putting everything together and making sure everything worked took a long time. This capacity is a little bit bigger than what we were working with so we can do everything more efficiently. So, for example, instead of brewing Resurgence IPA four times a week, we can now brew it once a week. And that’s what I’m really excited about, we’re just scaling appropriately.”

Ware says that they left themselves with the option to get bigger in their new space if they choose to, or possibly take on some contract brewing. “I think a lot of breweries are going to be in the situation we were in. We now have all of the tools to make clean, well-processed beer and make it affordably and really high quality.”

The increased capacity also allows Resurgence to up their footprint in additional markets. In addition to launching in Rochester, Ware says that their beer could enter Syracuse and Albany, and possibly New York City.

The plan is for Resurgence’s current Niagara Street home to remain open as well. Ware says that one tower at the taproom will feature all of their small-batch and experimental beers and the other tower will feature their favorite local beer from other breweries. Ware adds that if there were to be any major renovation/reconstruction projects at Niagara Street, the space could close for a time over the winter, but nothing is definite as of now.

“We’re trying to make this our forever home,” Ware says of 55 Chicago Street. “And if we somehow outgrow this, we’re going to have a pretty big party.”

For more information, please visit https://www.resurgencebrewing.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: HofBrauHaus Buffalo to Open, Riverworks Teams with Sabres Great, Brewers Festival Tickets on Sale, Big Ditch, New Belgium Collab Release

HofBrauHaus Buffalo Announce Grand Opening This August

After a number of false starts and setbacks, HofBrauHaus Buffalo, an authentic German beer hall located at 190 Scott Street inside the former Upstate Milk building, has announced that they plan to open this August. The brewery revealed that after ‘clearing a major financial hurdle,’ their remaining brewing equipment will arrive from Bavaria in about 8 weeks and that construction will resume in the meantime. “It is with a confidence tempered by the patience and prudence learned over the last year that we officially announce: Hofbrauhaus Buffalo will be opening in August 2019!” They will be hiring new staff soon.

Riverworks Brewing Teams with Buffalo Sabres Legend on New Beer

Riverworks Brewing have partnered with NHL Hall of Fame goalie and Buffalo Sabres legend Dominik Hasek on a special new beer, The Dominator Czech Pilsner, which will be released on May 23 at 3pm. $1 from the sale of each can will be donated to Hasek’s Heroes, which gives kids under 15 the opportunity to learn to skate and to play hockey, free of charge. The beer is brewed with Czech Saaz and Tettnang hops, which impart a malty body, light hops, clean finish and subtle spice. The beer is available at Riverworks and will retail for $14.99 per 4-pack.

Tickets on Sale Now for 2019 Buffalo Brewers Festival at Canalside

Tickets are on sale for the 2019 Buffalo Brewers Festival, June 22 (2-6pm) at Canalside. Thanks to a partnership with the New York State Brewers Association, the festival will be a little different this year, as a number of NYS breweries, including Finback, Prison City and Singlecut, will join all your favorite local breweries. Tickets, which are available at EventBrite, are $35 (Advance General Admission), $55 (Advance VIP Ticket) and $15 (Designated Drivers). VIP tickets include one hour early entry (2pm) and access to exclusive VIP beers. There will also be food trucks and pint sales immediately after the festival.

Big Ditch to Release New Belgium Collab, Folly IPA, This Week

Big Ditch Brewing will release Folly IPA, a new collaboration with New Belgium Brewing, on May 24 at noon. The latest entry into Big Ditch’s Lock IPA Series features Appalachian Wheat from Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, NC, New Belgium’s second home, in addition to Galaxy, Amarillo, and experimental HBC-522 hops, which yield a drinkable IPA with tropical, stone fruit, and citrus. This beer celebrates the presumed folly of people with great vision, including New Belgium co-founders Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch and those behind the original plans for the Erie Canal. Folly was brewed May 2 at Big Ditch.

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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What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been: MyCity Brew Set to Officially Release Byson Brown Dunkel

After years of preparation, crowd-sourcing and voting, MyCity Brew are finally set to unveil their finished product, Byson Brown Dunkel, a beer named after Mayor Byron Brown, who personally endorsed the name. Byson Brown will officially release May 17 at Pizza Plant Transit (5pm), where the beer will be available exclusively for a week.

The first 15 people in the door get a Byson Brown t-shirt and MCB owner and operator Jonah Epstein will be on hand every day pouring samples and doing giveaways. The beer will be rolled out from there to a number of addition locations (more information, including dates and locations, on those releases coming soon).

It seems like it was forever and a day ago that we all gathered at World of Beer on a cold and rainy night (it was last January) to cast our vote for MyCity Brew’s ultimate Buffalo beer. Epstein explains that many a hurdle arose in the process, including the fact that he did not want to rush a beer market for the sake of getting one out.

“There were plenty of hurdles along the way that added up to cause such a long delay,” he says. “Starting off, I knew I didn’t want to just rush a beer out into the market. Since the concept of the MyCity Brew relies on the community to choose our beer, I had to be sure we collected a representative and reliable sample of votes. It took about a year of losing my voice talking to people at just about every beer festival in WNY, but we collected nearly 10,000 votes by the end, and I think we ended up with the right beer for Buffalo.”

That World of Beer event produced MCB’s final beer choice, a Munich Dunkelweizen. The beer was selected from four test batches that were brewed at 12 Gates Brewing.

“Once we had decided on a dunkel, we had to work out the recipes for the final selection event. Not being an expert brewer myself, I searched around for a brewer who could formulate the four variations of the chosen dunkel. Eventually, I met with the crew at 12 Gates and was thrilled to hear they were willing to take care of the recipe development and test batches (they killed it). We also had a name suggestion contest, which took a few months on its own until we found one that was meant to be: The Byson Brown Dunkel, which was endorsed by Mayor Brown.”

Epstein also explains another major reason for the lengthy delay was licensing. The fact that he also had trouble finding a brewery with enough available capacity to brew the beer didn’t help matters either. Epstein settled on Rochester’s CB Craft Brewers because he couldn’t find a brewery locally that had enough available space. They didn’t have the tweak the recipe either, which was important.

“After the final selection event, one of the main reasons for the delay was dealing with licensing from the SLA. I seriously underestimated the time that would take to get licensed, which ended up being over a six-month process. At the same time, we were dealing with trying to find the right brewery to fit our needs. Unfortunately for me, I found that most of the breweries I approached were running very close to capacity. So, it took a good amount of searching before we landed on CB Craft Brewers. They were able to scale up the recipe to fit their large-scale system without any change in taste from the beer that was chosen at our final selection event. This is definitely the beer Buffalo asked for. So, the relationship worked perfectly for us. Brand label approval was the last hurdle – the process is slightly different for contract brewers and it took us more than a couple of tries to get the application exactly right. But, I did get the green light last week on that so we’re good to go!”

If you didn’t attend that afore mentioning tasting event at World of Beer, you can expect Byson Brown to be ‘a well-balanced, crisp lager,’ Epstein says.

“Picture the drinkability of your favorite light lager, with just a little bit more flavor and backbone. It’s a dark lager, so obviously the color is darker than what you might expect from a typical lager, but the mouthfeel is as light and crisp as any. More than anything, this is a really great middle of the road, go-to beer for anyone in Buffalo to get into: drinkable enough for the masses, but some real flavor for craft beer drinkers. And that’s exactly what we were going for by letting Buffalo choose their own beer.”

Epstein adds that Byson Brown Dunkel will be available initially on draft only at select locations around town, though it should be released in cans by the end of summer.

I, for one, am quite looking forward to tasting the final product. It’s been a long time coming certainly, and Epstein deserves some modicum of respect for sticking with this despite setback after setback. And there’s something so inherently Buffalo about MyCity Brew’s saga – overcoming hardships and picking yourself up by your bootstraps after getting knocked down consistently – and there is anything this city loves and thoroughly embraces, it’s an underdog.

For more information, please 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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Five & 20 to Now Offer Popular Lim Wit Radler In Cans

Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing will release their popular season offering Lim Wit Radler in cans for the first time ever at the brewery on May 16. It will also be available at select retail locations the following week. It had previously only been available in bottles and on draft. It will be available to-go in 6-pack 12oz. cans ($11) and by the case (24 cans, $44). Singles cans ($2.50) cans also be purchased for on-site consumption at the brewery.

Lim Wit Radler, a light & refreshing hazy blonde hefeweizen blended with lime, is brewed with NY Pale malt, malted barley and malted wheat, NY Cascade and Perle hops, traditional hefeweizen yeast and Bitterman’s A Very Friendly and Cordial Lime all natural cocktail syrup.

“This beer is a hazy, golden wheat ale, highly carbonated with a semi-thick white head,” the brewery says of the beer. “Lim Wit has an aroma that starts like a traditional hefeweizen with notes of banana and clove, and it finishes with a light lime. It also has banana and clove flavor to begin, finishing with a slightly tart lime and a lightly refreshing mouthfeel.”

Lim Wit cans will be released during Five & 20’s first Pint Night of the season. The event will feature draft specials, food by Bird, and (a good chance of) live music. Last call for sales is at 8pm (close at 8:30). No outside alcoholic beverages or food allowed. Pint Nights will continue every Thursday 5-8 pm through September. Bird will be open Thursdays-Sundays from noon-close (fiveand20.com for hours).

Then, on May 19, Five & 20 will hold their Sunday Sesh with the Division Street Machine (1-4pm), a relaxed Sunday afternoon featuring live, local music. Bring a chair or blanket, invite your family and friends, and sit back and enjoy the sounds while sipping a beer or wine from Mazza Wines. The Division Street Machine is a four-piece band hailing from Northeast, PA, playing an eclectic mix of relate-able original music with a funky blues feel.

“This [Lim Wit] is our take on the traditional Radler, a light and refreshing ‘beer cocktail,” Five & 20 adds of Lim Wit.

For more info, visit https://www.facebook.com/fiveand20.

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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Say Goodbye to ‘Game of Thrones’ with Brickyard Brewing’s Wild New Brew

Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen…after eight long years we will finally find out who will sit on the Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms as Game of Thrones is set to air its final episode this Sunday night. Lewiston’s Brickyard Brewing are looking to enhance all of our viewing experiences with the release of Don’t Make Me Add You To The List, a beer as wacky and wild as the hit show has been for the better part of the last decade.

Brewed with loads of Galaxy hops and then triple dry-hopped with Galaxy, Nelson and Vic Secret, Don’t Make Me Add You To The List New England IPA is like a ‘bomb of white peach, pineapple, and sticky fruity resin,’ according to Head Brewer John Paul Metter. The beer is naturally colored bright green and dosed with edible glitter. The beer is “named for everyone’s favorite faceless girl hell bent on revenge (aka Arya Stark) and inspired by burning ships and exploding septs,” the brewery adds.

Limit is two crowlers per person ($13 each or two for $25) and there is very limited availability. Crowler release takes place Saturday at 11am with limited draft hitting taps beginning Friday at 4pm.

Meeter says that he brewed Don’t Make Me Add You To The List to resemble wildfire, a highly flammable and explosive liquid that burns green, which Tyrion Lannister used to destroy Stannis Baratheon’s fleet at the Battle of the Blackwater during the War of the Five Kings at King’s Landing (yes, I am admittedly a massive fan of the show).

“Everyone was talking about it – at work, at the bar, in the kitchen,” Meeter says. “It’s hard to deny the cultural impact that show has had (as terrible as it can be at time). And I figured it would be fun to make a beer that looked like Wildfire. That scene with Cersei and the Sept was pure evil, and I loved it.”

For more info, visit Facebook.com/BrickyardBrewingCompany. The final episode of Game of Thrones airs this Sunday at 9pm on HBO.

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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Hamburg Brewing is ‘Just Having Fun’ with New IPA Series

Hamburg Brewing are looking to have some fun with their new IPA series, Just Saying, a relaunch of their Just Saying New England IPA from this past winter, which has been revamped into a rotating IPA series with a new hop bill planned for each volume. The first installment in the series, Just Saying… Volume 1: We’re Having Fun Dammit!, is available now on draft and in cans in the taproom ($13.99 per 4-pack 16oz. cans). The 7.5% hazy IPA features four different malts and Citra, Palisade and Simcoe hops with a healthy amount of oats.

I’ve tried the beer, and can honestly say it is one of the best, not just hazy, IPA’s the brewery has created to date. There’s an initial touch of green to it that fades rather quickly, opening up a rather potent bouquet of tropical fruit – mango, peach, tangerine, bright citrus, etc. It’s incredibly smooth with a beautiful soft finish to it, making it a dangerous brew at 7.5%. Take it from me, you’ll drink three or four of them in relatively quick fashion and not realize it until it hits you.

The name, in addition to being a rebranded and reworked beer with the same name, as the brewery explains, comes from a phrase that can often be heard at the brewery, especially from Owner John Russo. Not to mention it keeps in line with the brewery’s idea of keeping things light and fun.

“‘Just Saying’ is a phrase famous inside the walls at HBC – and is one you’ve likely used yourself!” the brewery explains. “‘We’re Having Fun, Dammit!” is said with a hint of irony. We invite you to laugh at yourself in those moments where stress is at an all-time high – everything that can go wrong, does – and DAMMIT you just need a drink! Remind yourself to grab a cold one and then you really will be having fun. Cheers!”

Hamburg’s Taproom Manager Matt Piazza says that he is ‘super pumped and excited’ about the new beer. “It’s about drinking beer and having fun. It doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. We just want everyone to have a lot of fun with this beer. The branding is like nothing we’ve ever done before, so we’re very excited to put this out there.”

Hamburg’s Marketing Manager Ashley Jachimowicz explains that the new branding approach comes from a carefree and cheerful place, while looking for something the brewery had not yet done with their packaging.

“When the idea of this rotating IPA series first came about, we were brainstorming different ideas and the idea of ‘just saying’ came about because it’s something people throw into conversation all the time, so it’s a light hearted, fun approach to things,” Jachimowicz said. “And the ‘we’re having fun dammit’ is a little satirical as well. The idea of a comic book theme came to mind, and honestly did not plan this around The Avengers – it just happened to work out with the timing. But that’s what we were going for – something really fun and different from Hamburg’s typical branding. It’s a bit more loud, fun and light hearted.”

She adds that the next entry into the Just Saying Series will follow the look of Volume 1, with a few minor tweaks. Hamburg is looking to release a new Just Saying beer each quarter; Volume One will be released for three months, then Just Saying… will rotate to a new IPA for Volume Two, Three and Four. Piazza adds that each new beer in the series should be hazy and juicy, like the first entry, and should fall inside the 7-8% ABV range.

Just Saying… Volume 1: We’re Having Fun Dammit, which was canned just this past Monday, was the smoothest canning run the brewery has ever had, Piazza adds.

Craft beer is meant to be fun, and let’s face it, we can all stand to add a little more fun into our lives, can’t we? I’m just saying.

For more info, visit Facebook.com/HamburgBrewingCompany.

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: MyCity Brew Beer Release, Kegs & Eggs at Resurgence, Brickyard’s New ‘Game of Thrones’ Beer, Southern Tier’s Public Day

MyCity Brew Set to Officially Release Byson Brown Dunkel

After years of preparation, crowdsourcing and voting, MyCity Brew are finally set to unveil their finished product, Byson Brown Dunkel, named after Mayor Byron Brown, who personally endorsed the name. Byson Brown will officially release May 17 at Pizza Plant Transit (5pm), where the beer will be available exclusively for a week. The first 15 people in the door get a Byson Brown t-shirt and MCB owner and operator Jonah Epstein will be on hand every day pouring samples and doing giveaways. The beer will be rolled out from there to a number of addition locations (more information coming soon).

Resurgence Brewing’s Kegs & Eggs Returns This Weekend

What’s better than a fresh beer with your breakfast? Resurgence Brewing are rolling out over a dozen new brews to pair with your gourmet breakfast sandwich at the latest Kegs & Eggs, May 19 (11am). The beers available are Imperial Oreo Cookie & Imperial Caramel Coffee (both made from the Brew Geek Series Base Stout), Blueberries and Cream Stout, Raspberry Chocolate Stout, Banana Foster Stout, Nutella Stout, Margarita Gose, Watermelon Gose, Strawberry Rhubarb Sour, Curuba Sour (Banana Passionfruit) and Ginger Shandy, as well as casks of Fruited Sour IPA (1/2 Citmo IPA and 1/2 Sour with Mango) and Strawberry IPA.

Brickyard Brewing to Release Beer for ‘Game of Thrones’ Series Finale

Brickyard Brewing are releasing a new beer to help take the edge off of the impending loss of Game of Thrones, a beer they’re calling Don’t Make Me Add You To The List, a juicy New England IPA named in honor of Arya Stark and brewed with 100% Galaxy Hops, naturally colored bright green and then dosed with edible glitter. Limited draft of Don’t Make Me Add You To The List will be available on May 17, with crowlers to go going on sale the next day beginning at 11am. Limit two per person. $13 each or two for $25.

Eighth Annual Public Day Coming to Southern Tier Brewing Company

Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Public Day 2019, the eighth installment of the annual celebration of all thing Southern Tier Brewing beers, a full day of music, food and beer featuring dozens of Southern Tier beers, including all of their standard releases, seasonals and one-off varieties, as well as their 2X series, Blackwater series, and many limited releases, takes place at Lakewood’s Empty Pint on May 18 (12-6pm). The event will feature dozens of Southern Tier beers on tap, spirits and craft cocktails from Southern Tier Distilling and live music and food. The event is free and open to the public.

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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6 Can’t Miss Beers to Seek Out During Farm to Pint Week

As you well know, beer consists of only a few core ingredients – hops, malt, yeast and water – all elements that are vital to producing that delicious liquid that fills your pint glass on a daily basis. Local farmers, all of whom will be spotlighted during Farm to Pint Week, which takes place May 11 – 19, produce those ingredients, so it’s time to put them all front and center and recognize them for their contributions to our beer scene.

Nearly two dozen local beers that were created with 100% locally sourced New York State ingredients will be available over the course of the next week, not only at your favorite taprooms, but also around town at your local watering holes, like Mr. Goodbar and both Pizza Plant locations. And while you should really go out of your way to try as many F2P beers as you possibly can, there are a few that are surely must-try in my opinion.

42 North Brewing – 42 North NYS Sour IPA: Two things 42 North brews very well are sours and hazy IPAs, so what would happen if you put both together in one beer? I’m not entirely sure, but I definitely want to find out. It’s described as having ‘pleasant hints of tropic melons and sweet cream.’ Sign me up.

Eli Fish Brewing – El Guapa Gose: If this margarita-style gose is anything like Lafayette Brewing’s Gose Cuervo, then I am on board. Plus, I haven’t had all that many Eli Fish beers, and I’m a fan of the gose style, so I’ll be looking for this one.

Flying Bison Brewing – Best Bitter: An old school style that not many breweries around these parts are partaking in brewing, a good bitter goes a long way in my book. And if Flying Bison does anything better than most, it’s brew old school beer styles to perfection. I’ll take a pint please.

New York Beer Project – The One New England IPA Version 5: I personally thought The One v.4 was the best of the series and one of the best IPA’s New York Beer Project has made yet, so I’m incredibly excited to see what they do with v.5.

Resurgence Brewing – West Meets New England IPA: I’ve loved most of what Resurgence has produced under their R&D IPA Series, so I’m looking forward to the next installment here. Plus, with that beer name, I’m conjuring thoughts of a dank and hazy IPA full of overripe fruit and a nice hop bite.

West Shore Brewing – Green Flyer New England IPA: One of the best New England’s in our beer scene that no one is really talking about. I can’t wait to be able to order multiple pours of this beer as I do not often get the chance to get my hands on it. And it has only gotten better each time it’s been in my glass, so that’s something to definitely look forward to over this next week.

For more information, please visit www.BuffaloNiagaraBrewersAssociation.Org/F2P.

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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