(local) beer is worth traveling for…

(Apologies if you are receiving this again.  There have been some technical shenanigans of my own making – my phone and I have had words and it hopefully will not happen again.  A goddess woodchuck hunter helped me restore the content.  Now back to business.)

Traveling for local beer.  Wait, is that a contradiction???

An alumni from my university recently listed his guiding philosophy/quote as this gem from Benjamin Franklin: Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Man after my own heart.

We bought our growlers maybe 6 years ago when sitting at Spotty Dog, drinking various North East beers that they had on tap. Loving the containers in and of themselves, nevermind that they stored beer, we first bought a small one, then soon after bought the large one as well in case we wanted more. What better way to drink beer in the back yard!

A couple of weekends ago, we packed our growler and took the new Hudson-Athens ferry across to Athens.  I’m a little sensitive when on boats and other moving vehicles (I can’t read a map while moving) so I was worried that the ferry trip might not set me up well for a night of drinking.  It was a smooth trip – no fear!  Our goal was Crossroads Brewing Company in Athens, a brewery that opened up over a year ago.  If you take the Hudson-Athens ferry across ($10 round trip) on a Friday or Saturday night, you get views like this:

Crossroads has friendly service and a great selection of good beer.  Like them on Facebook to keep up with what they have on tap in a particular week.  Over the winter there was a food truck parked outside serving good food; yesterday they posted that their new kitchen has just opened.  Welcome Chef Paul!  Crossroads is  a couple blocks straight up from the ferry – an easy field trip from Hudson, and it’s so lovely to not drive after a beer (or two).  Their doors are open for you:

If you don’t want to cross the river, you can travel up 66 to visit Chatham Brewing.

Bring your growler during Saturday Growler hours (11am – 5pm most Saturdays, except when they’re out winning awards) and fill ‘er up with whatever they might be brewing that day – like them on FB to keep up with any changes in hours.  Luckily in Hudson, Chatham Brewing has started coming to us on Saturday mornings at the Hudson Farmers’ Market.  Come early for best selection; they often bring a soda as well.  AND, they’ve begun bringing seafood.  What’s better than clams and beer – well, except maybe a Loaf pretzel and beer???   A recent story in the Register-Star indicated that they have just about outgrown their garage just off Main Street and they might have to relo – so stay tuned.

For other little day trips: if you like the C.H. Evans ale that you’ve tried at Spotty Dog, you can go to the source up at the Albany Pump Station.  I’m partial to the Kick-Ass Brown myself.  There’s also Brown’s Brewing Co., a huge brewpub up in Troy (you can also find this beer at Spotty Dog occasionally as well).  Or, in the opposite direction, Keegan Ales is serving up Mother’s Milk and others in Kingston.

Closer to home, I’ve just read that someone is seeking the zoning OK in Red Hook to open a small brewery.  More choices!

But if you want to take a bit of a road trip, I recommend booking yourself a room and traveling out to Cooperstown to visit Brewery Ommegang.  This is one big gorgeous brewing operation.

Try to arrive at the Brewery, just outside of Cooperstown ( approx. 2 hours from Hudson), say, shortly before lunch.  Find out their tour schedule, buy a ticket to the next one, and then be sure to stay for lunch.   The food is well-paired to the beer, and you can do flights so you don’t miss anything.  But to really try all of their beer, stay to the end of the tour where they give you a small glass and you can stand there and taste everything.  By the end the glass might slip out of your hand…

Ommegang set up the operation in this location because in the 19th century, hops was a major crop in the area.  And, there was access to clean water.  While they are a relatively huge operation amongst our local producers, one of the big reasons that I like them is because they have joined in the battle for clean water.  Ommegang is not happy with the possibility of fracking; for more on this subject, read here, here and here.

But you know what I love about beer?  The people who make it have a sense of humor.

They’re brewing men at Crossroads???

They’re just teasing

There has probably been more than one beer emergency…

Need some historical background?  If you’re in NYC between now and early September, be sure to check out Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History at the NY Historical Society.

Remember, Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.  With so many upstate beer options we can be very happy!


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