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Cheers For Beers from Here

August 3, 2018

Mrs. Fussy recently told me that I ruined beer for her.

That’s a lot of guilt to put on one man’s shoulders. But it’s okay. I can take it. And I also understand where she’s coming from. Plus, it means more beer for me.

The last part is mostly a joke. Because when there is something I enjoy, I want to share it with others. However, it was too much sharing that led us into the tragic waters we’re in right now. Beer became this fancy thing that demanded glasses beyond the standard shaker pints, and much of it smelled like pineapple and other tropical fruits.

Heck, the fetishizing of beer has gotten to me too. Which isn’t to say that I’m not tempted to drive into Vermont to pick up some beers that are hard to find locally, or to stalk the Instagram feeds of local beer stores and bars to learn about their newest arrivals.

It’s easy to get carried away. And sometimes it’s good to remember that we’ve got some great easy to find—and easy to enjoy—beers right in our backyard.

I’ll spare you the complete rundown of local breweries, because that would be exhausting. The regional craft beer hype machine is no joke. I’m still not entirely sure exactly how it functions, but there are always a few regional breweries and brews that capture the hearts and minds of local enthusiasts.

My hunch is that the hot beer of the moment is driven by some combination of scarcity, quality, and the style du jour. Although you could also probably swap out “scarcity” for “price-to-value ratio” which can be seen in the runaway success of Sloop Juice Bomb. And novelty has to be added into the mix, because people seem to be hot on the new new brewery nobody has ever heard of before.

But I digress.

Earlier this week, Ben from Chatham Brewing came out to Lansing Farm, and thoughtfully paired some of the ten year old brewery’s offerings with the food from Field Notes. It was fantastic. All of the beers were flavorful and went well with their respective dishes. If you read the Yelp reviews of the event carefully, you can see these pairings made beer fans out of non beer drinkers.

While I’ve had some of Chatham Brewing’s beer before, I’ve never had so many of them in a row. For the most part I’ve had their beers at festivals, and while I’ve always enjoyed them, few have stuck out from the pack.

That’s the trouble with beer festivals. Although to be fair, it happens with wine too.

Beverages with delicacy, balance, and grace end up getting washed out by the powerful, assertive, and bombastic. I’ve had amazing wines served to me at tasting festivals, and I’ve found them to be boring. But in reality, they are far from boring.

Those beverages with big showy flavors may be impressive in short bursts, but you might not be able to drink a full glass of them with dinner. Or, if you do, the drink might eclipse anything you might be eating.

The Chatham Brewing beers Ben brought to the event, with their relatively lower ABV, played incredibly well with other flavors. Which isn’t to say they are wimpy. They are not. They have distinct stylistic character and flavor. That Mos’ Citra was delicious, and I loved how the brightness of it complemented the Field Notes Mexican-style street corn.

What I’m trying to say here, is that perhaps for the first time, I was able to have a much deeper appreciation for Chatham Brewing. And now, I really want to visit their brewery. It feels like I’ve been looking for beers like these for awhile: something good, well made, and not too heavy. This was a great rediscovery for me.

Speaking of great local breweries, I got something interesting in my email this week.

Apparently our old friends from Great Flats Brewing in Schenectady have recently won some awards. Actually, they won 3 medals in the 2nd Annual New York State Craft Beer Competition.

Bronze: Awarded for Great Flats’ “Dunkel Bock” in Category 2, Amber and Dark Lagers
Silver: Awarded for Great Flats’ “Raspberry IPA” in Category 24: New York State Beer
Gold: Awarded for Great Flats’ “Raspberry IPA” in Category 6, American IPA Variations

I’ve had the Dunkel Bock and really enjoyed it. Now I’ll have to add the Raspberry IPA to my list. Hopefully it smells more like raspberries and less like pineapple.

Regardless, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to interest Mrs. Fussy in it. But that’s my fault.

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