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Brewery Fed Burgers

June 10, 2019

Well, this past Saturday was my last Official Yelp Event in the Capital Region. That’s it. My tenure with Yelp runs through the end of the month. Soon a new Community Ambassador will be hired to lead the charge, and leverage the power of Yelp to support as many great businesses around the 518 as possible.

Looking back, I feel really good about the work I’ve done in the role. These events are a big part of it. We’ve partnered with Slidin’ Dirty, fin – your fishmonger, 9 Miles East Farm, The Hollow, Honest Weight Food Co-op, The Ruck, Cider Belly, The City Beer Hall, Sunhee’s, Savoy Taproom, Yankee Distilling, Dutch Apple Cruises, Remarkable Liquids, Crave, Indian Ladder Farms Cidery & Brewery, Artisanal Brew Works, IL Faro, Lucas Confectionery, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Great Flats Brewing, MopCo Improv Theater, Albany Distilling Company, Brewtus Roasting, Spa Mirbeau, Field Notes at Lansing Farm, The Adelphi Hotel, Shmaltz Brewing, The Cheese Traveler, Yesfolk Tonic, Riverside Maple Farms, Albany Cooking School, Mazadar, Albany Pump Station, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and more.

Still, there were events that for some reason or another just never came together. Most likely it was my fault. I know I dropped the ball on putting something together with Lost & Found. And while I always dreamed of doing a sake tasting class somewhere, I never had the time to reach out to potential partners.

But Saturday’s event at Chatham Brewing for a beer and burger brunch brought together a lot of threads, and tells a tale about how small local businesses can work together and create a sustainable ecosystem for everyone.

To get a better sense of all this, we have to back up a bit.

Last fall, I worked with the New York Beef Council to set up an Official Yelp Event at Trowbridge Farm in Ghent, NY. Phil Trowbridge cares a lot about the animals under his care, and raising beef cattle. As we walked around, he took a moment to show us some of the feed used on the farm. Grasses from his fields were mixed with spent grain that Chatham Brewing would toss after brewing a batch of beer.

Mostly Phil Trowbridge is a breeder, who works to improve the genetics of his herd. Bulls can bring good money to sell at auction as breeding stock. But he does produce just a little bit of finished beef as well.

However, you won’t be able to find it at a market near you. Pretty much the only place you can get it is at Chatham Brewing.

Speaking of farms, let’s back up even a little bit further.

Because last spring, we organized an Official Yelp Event at Lansing Farm to taste what chefs Joan & Kyle were up to at Field Notes. And while everything was delicious, their take on Mexican street corn with ears that were picked just that morning by Farmer Al was absolutely incredible. The only thing that could make it even better was the pairing with Chatham Brewing’s Mos Citra IPA.

Yes, Chatham Brewing had come out to the farm, to sample some of their beers for the Yelp Community. Not only did they create some new fans that day, but having seen an Official Yelp Event up close, they were interested in hosting one at the brewery.

Months passed, and I was able to pull these strings together.

What if we could have an event at Chatham Brewing, and eat hamburgers made from beef that was fed on the spent grains from the beer, with the farmer who raised these delicious animals, while washing it all down with some of these locally made brews?

Perhaps the only thing that makes it better, is that the burgers are made on site thanks to another collaboration with Hudson’s Wunderbar Bistro.

You can see pictures of the event and read other people’s thoughts on how it went down, here. But Chef Zak and his team do amazing things with great local product, that is for sure. Still, you can’t get Phil’s beef at the restaurant in Hudson…yet. Let me tell you something though, that Tex Mex burger at Chatham Brewing with bacon, cheddar, and BBQ sauce is about as good as it gets. And this is coming from someone who just judged a burger competition.

The secret is great beef and loose handling of the patties. These guys nail it. Plus, I loved the double IPA to cut through some of the fattiness of the burger. It’s a great pairing.

If I were sticking around longer, I’d talk more to Zak about bringing the Yelp Community down his way, because one thing I never did during my time at Yelp was organize an Official Yelp Event down in Hudson. There was just always so little time and so much to do. But event or not, I was certainly impressed with what those guys were able to do out of a mobile kitchen at the brewery. I can only imagine what they can accomplish at their full kitchen in the restaurant.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made this happen. Sometimes in my job I tried to make other people’s #YelpDreams come true, but this last Saturday it was my turn to live the dream.

Later that day was almost a nightmare. I was lucky and dodged a figurative bullet. But that’s another story.

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