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Speaking of Excellent Small Producers

January 9, 2015

What does it take to be a confident drinker? It means that I don’t need a national spirits writer to sample Harvest Spirit’s Cornelius Applejack to tell me it’s excellent. I know it’s excellent. And if some trained nose can’t sniff that out, that’s okay. Tastes vary. The country is a big place and there are so many craft spirits. Plus the market for applejack is minuscule.

Now, should this product that I’ve known and loved since the first day it was available to the public get national acclaim, I’ll proudly share the news. But it won’t make the spirit any better. It’s been great all along.

We are quite lucky living in the Capital Region. We are surrounded by great small producers of all kinds of things. Are they the best of the best of the best? No. But that’s a crazy high bar. Actually, though, one could make an argument that Delaware Phoenix is the best absinthe distillery in the U.S. Her stuff is amazing. But I digress.

The point I was trying to make is that sometimes people don’t realize how good we’ve got it until an outsider comes along and shows us. This time that outsider happens to be Paste magazine.

Thanks to Carlo DeVito for forwarding me the link. He and his wife Dominique own the Hudson-Chatham winery, which just so happens to be on the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail. It was that trail that was recently topped a list of five great drinking trails across the country.

Whoa. So we’re right up there with the Oregon distillery trail and the Kentucky Bourbon trail? Far out. You should read the article, but here’s the blurb on why our little corner of the world made the list.

Considered the best multi-beverage drinking trail in New York State, the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail meanders between the Hudson Valley and Berkshire Mountains. Sample award-winning wines made from locally grown fruit, craft beers and a locally distilled vodka made from 100 percent apples. When you get hungry, there are plenty of produce stands and artisanal baked goods and cheeses available along the way.

It may not be the longest trail, but it’s a diverse one. And even though Chatham Brewing is no longer on the official list of members, that doesn’t mean you can’t stop in and see what they’re doing while you’re in the neighborhood.

If you do happen to get out and visit the south east corner of our region, I’m still hoping to hear some feedback about The Flammerie, which recently opened in Kinderhook. It’s the newer restaurant of the excellent looking Black Forest Flammkuchen truck, which as far as I can tell stays lower in the Hudson Valley.

Congratulations to the trail. And congratulations to us. We’ve got great things here and people elsewhere are starting to take notice.

One last thing of note, the trail plays host to the Hudson-Berkshire Wine & Food Festival in the spring. You want a local wine and food festival? You’ve got a local wine and food festival. Mark your calendars now. May 23 and May 24 will be here before you know it.

Have a great weekend.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2015 11:26 am

    You won’t tolerate calling red lentil hummus “hummus” but you are ok with calling an apple brandy that is objectively not applejack “applejack?” Are we being selectively fussy? I remember you mentioned you were aware of the false title in a previous post, but where is the outrage?

  2. January 15, 2015 11:22 am

    Now if our chefs could take some of those truly good products and get them on the local restaurant menus we’d have the beginning of a truly good food scene…
    [fingers and toes duly crossed].

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