New York state has been lacking in locally grown ingredients for
brewers for quite some time. It takes creativity and hard working
people to realize we have the ability to brew beers with local flavor,
The hop situation in New York state has been a topic in the brewing
community for the last few years. We have had no hop market to speak of
in the last 150 years. The Pacific Northwest has been the dominant hop
producer in the United States since the repeal of Prohibition, but
Central New York was once a powerhouse in this industry, and for quite
Empire Brewing Co., 120 Walton St., has become committed to
using and sourcing as many local ingredients as we possibly can. It is
widely known that many of our menu items consist of local organic meat,
eggs, cheese and vegetables. Finally, we can add our beer to that list.
We have recently introduced a beer called Empire State Pale Ale
made with 100 percent, New York state, certified organic Cascade hops
from Foothill Hop Farm in Munnsville. It is an American Pale Ale, light
in body and color, but full of New York hop flavor and aroma.
Terroire. The hops have a beautiful floral, citrus and
grapefruit characteristic that is typical for the style, but unlike any
that I have ever brewed or tasted before. Fresh beer with fresh hops.
You have to taste it to experience the terroire.
We are also producing a unique beer that has a local flavor with a local ingredient. Called Deep Purple,
it is made with New York state-grown Concord grapes from the Growers
Cooperative Grape Juice Company in Westfield. It is a wheat beer with
concord grape concentrate added to the beer prior to fermentation.
The result is a purple beer, hence the name “Deep Purple,” with a
huge grape aroma, but a surprisingly tart, dry finish. It has an easy
drinkability and pairs nicely with soft creamy cheeses.
Terroire is all around you in Central New York if you just
look for it. These two beers prove that. Eat Where You Live. Drink
Where You Live!
• You gotta love Magic Hat for keeping the fun in the beer
business. Like its Utica competitor Saranac, the South Burlington,
Vt.,-based brewer keeps things fresh with seasonal ales and playful
names. Witness their latest releases, Wacko, Blind Faith and Odd Notion. The three comprise Magic Hat’s Summer Scene Variety 12-Pack, along with tasty standby #9.
Like the aforementioned Empire State Pale Ale, hops is the name of
the game in Blind Faith, a light amber India Pale Ale with a remarkable
touch of hoppiness in every bottle. If the bite of a hops-heavy brew is
too much for your tongue, then give Wacko a try. It’s a crisp summer
seasonal with beet juice color that belies its mellow, pale ale flavor.
Then there’s the fruity Odd Notion, flavored with cloves and ground
Magic Hat’s Summer Scene 12-pack is available from now until Aug.
30. To find a variety pack near you, visit www.magichat.net/sipcode.
Give Me a Riesling
May is Riesling Month throughout the Finger Lakes (more on the extravaganza in the May 12 issue of The New Times), and to kick off the celebration, the New York Wine & Culinary Center’s fourth annual Rendezvous with Riesling will be held Thursday, May 6, 7 to 10 p.m.
At this walk-about tasting, guests can sample Rieslings and other
wines from 40 New York state wineries paired with local cuisine. At the
same time, a special Riesling demonstration and dinner will take place
during the event. The culinary center is located at 800 S. Main St.,
Rendezvous with Riesling tickets cost $45 and can be purchased at www.nywcc.com or by calling (585) 394-7070.
• Also, next weekend’s Keuka in Bloom, along the Keuka Lake Wine Trail,
brings wine and spring lovers out for samples of vintages,
herb-inspired foods and a special gift of a flower and herb, both
potted for you to take home. Tour all eight wineries and return home
with great wines, great recipes and 16 different plants. The wineries
are open Saturday, May 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, May 16, 11
a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $35 for singles, $50 per couple, with a
designated driver discount. Visit www.keukawinetrail.com or call (800)
Lose the Loaf
May is Celiac Awareness Month, and Pamela’s Products, an award-winner creator of gluten-free baking mixes and ready-made baked goods, is launching a Gluten-Free Challenge Weekend.
Celiac disease afflicts one in 100 Americans and, because it affects
the walls of the small intestine, can lead to malnutrition if not
treated. Leading up the challenge weekend, May 22 and 23, consumers are
encouraged to eat one gluten-free item a day.
Helpful tips are available to those who register at
www.gogfchallenge.com, leading up to the challenge weekend. Gluten
exists in wheat, rye and barley, so most commercially produced breads
and baked goods contain it. However, with recognition of the condition
of celiac, gluten-free products are becoming more prevalent in grocery
stores, and most eligible products are now labeled “gluten-free.”
Just Say Oui!
New to the Syracuse area, though not widely distributed, is the Chabaso Baker Classic Baguette,
made by the New Haven, Conn., bread baker. The baguette, what many call
“French bread,” costs $1.99 and is available at three area Save-A-Lot
stores: 500 Butternut St., 220 S. Geddes St., and 356 W. First St.,
Fulton. Fear not; the bread must be of some quality because for the
past six years, Chabaso Bread has been selected “Best of Connecticut”
by readers of Connecticut magazine.
A real gem: Opal apples provide a taste treat, but only through May.
Decent tasting apples are hard to come by this time of year, considering that they’re remarkably out of season. At area Price Choppers, you’ll find a new variety that’s a yummy apple-a-day treat. Opal
apples, originally from Europe, have found their way to an American
orchard, and then exclusively to Schenectady-based Price Chopper. The
yellow apple, a cross between a golden delicious and topaz apple,
tastes crunchy and sweet and proves resistant to browning after it’s
sliced, making it perfect for salads. But act quick; the Opal apple is
available only until the end of May.