By Don Cazentre
Here’s a beer that matches some Jewish ‘shtick” with a little clowning around: Shmaltz Brewing Co., of Clifton Park, north of Albany, produced a collaboration with Clown Shoes Brewing of Ipswich. It’s a mashup of Shmaltz’s Jewbelation 11 with Clown Shoes' Billionaire Barleywine. They call it Shoebelation (of course). They also call it a “big and badass” collab. The beer is aged two months in Wild Turkey barrels, and weighs in at 11%. It’s available in limited quantities, and will probably work well aged a bit more in your cellar and opened in winter.
The Lake George Beer Hub – formerly the Davidson Brothers’ production brewery – is officially open for business. The 50-bbl brewhouse and tasting room in the town of Queensbury between Lake George and Glens Falls, brings together two upstate breweries who share a common brewing system. The brewery produces beers for Davidson Brothers and Cooperstown Brewing, both of which use the British-inspired Peter Austin brewing system with open fermenters and Ringwood yeast. The Lake George Beer Hub is owned by Northern Eagle Beverages, a distributor in Oneonta, not far from Cooperstown. Northern Eagle had bought Cooperstown Brewing in 2014, after it had been shut down following facility problems. Northern Eagle then entered an agreement to buy the big production brewery near Lake George from the Davidsons last year. John and Rick Davidson continue to own and operate their brewpub in downtown Glens Falls, which opened in 1996. "The bottom line is we can produce more beer for both Cooperstown and Davidson Brothers and better manage the production efficiently (at the beer hub)," said George Allen, Northern Eagle's president. The Lake George Beer Hub had its grand opening in early June.
It was a grand spectacle: A set of giant beer tanks making their way down the Erie Canal, across Upstate New York from Albany to Rochester, with thousands of cheering fans coming out to see them – and many raising a toast along the way. The dozen 20-foot by 60-foot fermentation tanks, too big to travel by truck, arrived in early June at the Genesee Brewing Co. in Rochester as part of a $49 million renovation and modernization project. The modernization project will take about five years to complete. Meanwhile, Genesee Brewing Co.’s parent, North American Breweries, has dropped its line of Dundee Ales & Lagers – except for J.W. Dundee’s Honey Brown, which it had previously spun off into a separate brand. The Dundee lineup started with Honey Brown and included beers like Michael Shea's Irish Amber and several named for traditional beer styles such as Dundee IPA, Porter, Nut Brown Ale etc. In the 1990s, it was Genesee Brewing Co.'s attempt to get into the craft segment of the beer market. More recently, in 2012, the company opened the Genesee Brewhouse in a building adjacent to its big brewery on St. Paul Street in Rochester. The success of the Genesee Brewhouse Pilot Batch Series beers – like its Salted Caramel Chocolate Porter, Scotch Ale and the recent Helles Bock and Orange Honey Cream Ale – contributed to the decision to discontinue Dundee, said brewery spokeswoman Mary Beth Popp. Likewise, the continued interest in what Genesee calls its "German heritage" specialty beers, like Genesee Bock and Genesee Octoberfest.
Now celebrating its 20th year, CB Craft Brewers in Honeoye Falls, south of Rochester, has always made the production of beers under contracts for bars, restaurants and other brewers, mostly in western New York, a major part of its business. In June, it secured its first “resort” contract: It debuted del Lago Summer IPA for the new del Lago Resort & Casino near Waterloo, at the north end of Cayuga Lake. The beer, on tap at the casino’s event venue, The Vine, is a light golden IPA, about 6.5%, with citrus and tropical aromas from the Galena and Citra hops and an addition of orange peel. Also for its 20th anniversary, owner Mike Alcorn introduced a new beer under its own brand, CB's White Fox Belgian White Ale, a crisp and refreshing beer aimed at drinkers of Blue Moon and Shock Top. It also has a new variety pack, called Cast of Characters. That 12-pack features White Fox along with Caged Alpha Monkey IPA, Bonobos Session IPA, MacBubba Scotch Ale and Night Owl Cream Porter.