Happy Friday everyone! I’m going to try to get in the habit of posting about my Green Challenge every Friday to kind of check in with how we’re doing with it! This week I haven’t been doing any drinking since my half marathon is on Sunday and I’m not going indulge in alcohol until it is over! 😉
Sunday after my 12-miler I did have a beer: Rare Vos, a beer brewed by the Ommegang Brewery in Coopertown, NY! From their website, “Lift the glass to your mouth and enjoy the aroma of spicy orange blossoms. Taste, and the pleasant mellow flavor of caramel malt glides easily into a dry, hop finish.” I didn’t taste any orange blossoms or caramel…but it was a pretty good beer!
I have a lot of trouble telling beers apart. For example, all light colored beers taste the same to me…I really need to drink more different types of beer to learn to distinguish the flavors.
But that’s where Chris comes in! Since he is doing this challenge with me, he’s going to write about the beer aspect, so here he is:
We are fairly lucky to have a wide variety of breweries here in New York State that not only offer local choices, but great tasting local choices at that. For anyone who is joining us in our challenge, here is a little mini-guide to purchasing local beer in the Capital Region. I’ll start with a few of my favorite New York breweries.
Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY – These guys are probably my favorite for a couple of reasons. First, they brew in the Belgian style, which I find to be incredibly flavorful and aromatic, not to mention pretty strong. They were recently bought by Duvel, a Belgian company that also purchased Budweiser. However, all of Ommegang’s beer comes from their brewery in C ooperstown. All of their beers are fit to drink, but I have two particular favorites: Rare Vos and Three Philosophers. The Rare Vos is a Belgian Amber Ale that pours a great head and a great floral/fruity aroma. It’s great to drink at almost any occasion and goes great with pub foods. The Three Philosophers is a Belgian Quad Ale which is very dark, malty and strong, with a hint of fruit. It is a great after-dinner beer and pairs up beautifully with chocolate. When next summer rolls around, you will definitely find me drinking Ommegang’s Witte (Belgian wheat beer with citrus and clove) and their Hennepin Farmhouse Saison which has wonderful fruit and spice. You can now find Rare Vos on tap at many local establishments.
Saranac (Matt Brewing Company) in Utica, NY – Probably the best thing about Utica aside from the Boilermaker. Saranac/Matt Brewing may be local but it is an incredibly large brewery in that they actually brew both Magic Hat and Lake Placid beers at their facility. They have a wide variety of beers, my favorites of which are the Octoberfest, Vanilla Stout, and for hop lovers, their IPA and Pale Ales have a good bite. Any place worth its salt around here will have Saranac on tap.
Lake Placid in Lake Placid, NY – So there’s not just skiing in Lake Placid. Their Ubu ale is one of the finest local beers I have tried. It’s an English Strong Ale which great dark malty character. It goes great with meats that can stand up to its bold flavor.
Brown’s Brewing in Troy, NY – What I love about beer is that usually the best breweries also have restaurants with really good food. Brown’s is located in Troy along the river, sort of similar to the Pump Station here in Albany. They have a great brunch menu and one of the best beers I’ve ever had, the Whiskey Porter, which is, as you might have guessed, a Porter aged in bourbon barrels. It has the dark, richness of a Porter with the bite and sweet/burn of whiskey. It’s a great combination.
Pump Station/C.H. Evans in Albany, NY – Probably the most dependable place to get a drink and bite to eat in my book. A great menu of fare including great priced burgers, onion rings, sweet potato fries and more. Plus, their beer is top-notch. Their Kick-Ass Brown is a great brown ale that pairs with almost anything and their Belgian Strong is a great evening sipping beer. What’s more is they have a great happy hour and offer huge growlers for purchase.
Now, you might be wondering where to get all these local beers. Brown’s beer is available at Hannaford, as is Ommegang. Hannaford also is local-friendly because the one I go to on Central Avenue has a local beer section, which I think its really cool. You can only get Pump Station beer at the brewery, but I would highly recommend it because it’s great beer and supports a great local establishing.
Another option is to head into Oliver’s Beverage and check out the local section or ask the workers for some recommendations on New York beers. Do yourself a favor and pick up a sampler from any local brewery (usually a 12 pack of 3-4 different kinds) or recycle a 6-pack carton and mix and match your own, which Oliver’s allows you to do. You can see that if you choose to join us on this challenge, you will have no problem finding plenty of great NY beers to drink over the course of the year. Plus, you can feel good that you’re supporting local business, local people and local tastes.”
Now, I can try to tell you a bit about the New York wines I have. Although, I’m not going to go as in depth as Chris because I haven’t tried most of them yet. I have about six bottles of it sitting on my counter, waiting for my training to be over so I can enjoy it. 🙂
My most recent purchases include a bottled of Mulled Wine (perfect for the holidays, best served hot!) from White Springs Winery located in the Finger Lakes. The sample I tasted at the festival was delicious and I can’t wait to have on Thanksgiving. The taste reminded me of the spices of the holidays.
There are also two bottles of wine in my “collection” from the Adirondack Wine Tasting Room! My two bottles of wine include Strawsling (strawberry riesling), and Blue Twilight (blueberry shiraz). Their wine is made on site at the winery, however, their grapes come from California vineyards. Does this still count as a NY wine? I’m not sure. Thoughts?
A reader also contacted me about another local winery! Julie wrote: “Just wanted to suggest a local winery to you since you posted that you will be drinking state-produced wine in an effort to be more green. A few months ago a friend of mine took me to the Saratoga Winery (www.thesaratogawinery.com) & it was really fun to do a tasting there. They make the wine locally & the grapes come in from the Finger Lakes region (if I remember correctly). Anyway, it’s owned by a husband & wife who are very sweet.”
I can’t wait to check out the Saratoga Winery! For a year I have to only drink and purchase New York wines, so this submission was fantastic…thanks Julie!
Previously, I purchased two bottles of wine at the Troy Farmer’s Market in the spring by Cascade Mountain Vineyards in Amenia, NY. I bought the Harvest Rose, which was a semi-dry and fruity tasting wine. It was one of my favorites! I also got the Summertide, a delicious light and sweet white wine, perfect for those summer evenings! I really enjoyed this one as well. I paired it with an eggplant flatbread pizza I made one night and it was fantastic.
Well, I hope this post wasn’t too much of an information overload, but I hope it can be sort of a guide for those of you following along with my challenge, which I hope you all do! 🙂