Brewed in New York – Central Region Full Episode

Brewed in New York – Central Region Full Episode


– [Matt Archambault] New York
is a big state, and this week we’re going to take you
to the center of it all. From Binghamton to Cooperstown, the former hop
capital of the country is bringing back its
rich craft brewing roots. Join us as we tour the
Empire State’s central region on this episode of
Brewed in New York. at Taste New York locations
throughout the state. Whether you’re at a
state park, sporting event, or stopping at one of our
New York welcome centers, it’s never been easier
to choose local and buy New York. Unalam, a family owned business
in upstate New York serving the building industry
for over a century. You can spot Unalam’s finely
crafted timber products in breweries throughout New York
State and beyond. Learn more at unalam.com 1886 Malt House proudly partnering with
New York’s finest grain growers to produce locally sourced,
high quality malt. for farm and craft breweries. The Northeast Hop Alliance Farmers, brewers,
and educators working together to
provide high quality, locally grown hops
to craft beer consumers in New York and
the Northeast. (upbeat rock music) – You may not realize it,
but the central region of New York State is
home to many things we all know and love,
including the Twilight Zone, carousels, and even
the eight-hour workday. – And of course there’s
one other common love you left out, Maya. – Ah, yes. Baseball!
– Beer! Oh, well, actually we can
talk both beer and baseball if we’re talking
about Cooperstown. – [Maya] That’s right. The National
Baseball Hall of Fame is located in Cooperstown. – And so is the Farmers’ Museum. That’s because the fertile
soil of central New York has always made it a
rich agricultural region. In fact, this area once supplied the bulk of the nation’s hops. Before we visit our first
brewery in Cooperstown, let’s find out a little bit
more about our hoppy heritage. – [Megaphone] Craft 101! – Although beer can technically
be made without hops, most brewers and beer lover
agree that humulus lupulus is essential to
making great beer. Hops are cone-shaped
flowers that grow on bines. And their aroma and bitterness
balances beer’s sweet malt. There are all kinds of varieties with names like
cascade and chinook. And their flavors
are often described with words like citrus,
spice, earthy, or floral. New York has a rich
history with hops. Back in the
mid-1800s, our farmers were the largest producer
of hops in the country. That makes sense, since New York produced and exported
the most beer. Locally-grown ingredients
were shipped across the state on the Erie Canal, brewed
into glorious ale in Albany, and then sent down
the Hudson River. Life was hoppy. (record scratching) Until a devastating
fungus called downy mildew ravaged New York’s
hop crops in 1909. Farms struggled to survive, but the passing of
prohibition in 1920 caused the total collapse
of New York’s hop industry. By the time
prohibition was lifted, farmers had found an even better
location for growing hops: the arid regions of
the Pacific Northwest. It required irrigation. But the climate kept
the fungus at bay. And hops produced
in eastern Oregon and Washington expanded rapidly. In fact, America’s preference for hop-forward
beers began there. For decades, the
Pacific Northwest
dominated the industry. But today, New York is finally hopping back on the bandwagon. With craft beer booming
across the state, the demand for locally-sourced
ingredients is on the rise. Helped by research from
some of our state’s finest institutions, we’re
creating all-new best practices for growing hearty
hops in our hometown. So the next time you
taste a beer brewed with New-York-grown
hops, you can take pride in our local flavor
and resurrected roots. (gentle acoustic guitar music) – We’re at Brewery
Ommegang, just five minutes outside of the center
of Cooperstown, nestled in the beautiful
farmlands of Central New York. This area actually
used to be a hops farm, so it’s fitting
that it’s now home to one of the state’s most
renowned craft breweries. There’s so much to learn
about hear at Ommegang, so let’s head on into the
visitors center and get started. Brewery Ommegang was
founded in 1997 by husband and wife team Don Feinberg
and Wendy Littlefield. The couple started out by
importing Belgian beer, and eventually had the idea
that they’d like to try brewing Belgian styles
in New York State. Now, the name Ommegang come
from a Belgian festival that, translated literally,
means “to walk around.” Walking around the
grounds on my way over to the visitors
center, it’s difficult not to be impressed
with how their vision has taken shape over
the past 20 years. Many people give
Ommegang the credit for almost single-handedly
introducing New York to Belgian
styles of beer. I wanted to talk
with head brewer Phil about exactly what
defines their beer. Ommegang is known for
Belgian-style beers. – Right. – To help people understand, what are some of the differences between a Belgian beer
and an American beer? – To me, what Belgians
bring to the world of beer is very
microorganism-driven beers. Their unique
Saccharomyces strains typically can produce
a lot of fruity esters. – I can tell when I’m
drinking a Belgian beer. I can pick up notes
of clove or banana. That’s gonna be from
the yeast that’s used. Talk me through this beer here. – Well this is our
take on a traditional Belgian wit, white beer. Goes back centuries. We use some raw wheat
as well as malted wheat, also barley malt of course. And we also use a
little bit of oats to give it like a little
bit of a creaminess to it. – Yeah, there is like a
substantial body on that. – Yeah. It has like a softness,
like a soft creaminess. And the classic
ingredients in this style is orange peel and coriander. Our philosophy with spicing
is just below the surface, so you know something is
there but you can’t put your finger on it, but it’s
adding something to the beer. That’s the level of
spicing we strive for. – And those fun ingredients
like orange peel and coriander, that’s
more common in Belgium. – Yeah, yes. Going back to what makes
Belgian beer unique is also typically the
bottle carbonations; very high, some up
to four volumes, whereas like a
typical American beer would be like 2.6, 2.7 volumes. So that can be a
real characteristic
of Belgian styles, is a higher carbonation
from the bottle. – And Brewery Ommegang
bottles a lot of beer. Most of the beer is packaged
in Belgian-style bottles, which are the same
size as a wine bottle. And just like champagne,
these extra fizzy adult beverages are
stopped with a cork. To help achieve a
higher CO2 volume, the beer goes through a process
called bottle conditioning, where a little additional
yeast and sugar is added right before the
bottle is sealed. This results in one last
bump in fermentation, producing a little more
alcohol, some additional flavor, and some extra carbon dioxide. Bottle conditioning
can be tough on yeast, so Ommegang employs yet
another special technique in the process called
open fermentation. Open fermentation
is a traditional
method of making beer in an open vat instead of the
more modern closed container. Phil isn’t as interested
in producing beer this way as he is in collecting the yeast that is produced in the process. The white foam you can
see on top is yeast. By fermenting in
a large, open vat he can skim the healthy
yeast directly off the top and put it in bottles
for conditioning. This way he’s able to ensure that only the strongest
yeast is used. All of these small details
have helped Ommegang create a reputation for their
beer across the United States. They even scored a
partnership with HBO to promote a little series
called Game of Thrones. Ever heard of it? I asked publicity
manager Allison Capozza to help explain it to me. A lot of people know Ommegang through the Game
of Thrones beers. What makes Ommegang such a
great fit for that series. – I think in terms of being
very high-quality beer matched with a very
high-quality show. And also our look and feel, it’s a little bit
Medieval-esque. – And I know some
of these recipes for the Game of Thrones
beers are really creative. Can you tell me
about some of those? – We’ve used de-seeded
ancho chilies to represent the dragon’s fire. We’ve used spelt in
one of the beers, which would have been
kind of like a grain that a nomadic tribe might have. – Are all the brewers
required to watch it? – It’s such a good show. Everybody here is a fan. And many of the
people here were fans long before the tie-in. – So, people tell me
that, when someone comes to Ommegang, they just get it. What does that mean? – Have you ever tried to
explain the Grand Canyon to someone who
hasn’t been there? It’s kind of like
that with Ommegang. You can drink the beer in a bar
anywhere across the country. You can see pictures
of the brewery. But it’s not really until
you’re here on the grounds, meeting the people, experiencing
what we’ve built here, then you get the
magic that’s Ommegang. – Belgium Comes to
Cooperstown, the annual event, tell me how that started. – Belgium Comes to Cooperstown
is our annual beer festival, which actually started
as a way to introduce Belgian culture,
like flag throwing and riding on horses,
to the local community. And then it kind of morphed
into this beer festival. – And how many breweries
come to that event? – [Allison] About 75,
as many as a hundred depending on the year. Everybody who comes brings
a Belgian-style beer. But then they can
bring something that’s definitely not Belgian. – [Matt] You must have
best friend breweries that come here every year. – We do. There’s breweries that
come every single year. They always camp
in the same spot. They always deck
out their camp sites the most outrageous
ways possible. Maybe a hot tub, maybe a big
screen with a movie playing. You kinda never know
what you’re gonna find. It’s just about 3,000
tickets every year. They sell out immediately. But we think that that’s
a good size for the space. You’re guaranteed to
come and not have to wait in long lines to get a beer. It’s one big beer
festival with kind of little mini festivals
going on all around you, be it the beer tent,
or the live music, or Elvis is coming
in on a parachute. So it kind of depends on
the theme of the year. You never know what
you’ll find here. – With my interest fully
piqued, I decided to come back a couple weeks
later to experience everything Belgium
Comes to Cooperstown, also known as
BCTC, had to offer. I’m here at BCTC 2016
at Brewery Ommegang. It is a beautiful summer day. I can see hop farms,
thousands of people sampling beer from
60-something breweries. I’ve got my tasting glass, and
I’m ready to have some fun. So let’s go! For this year’s theme
Ommegang decided to honor one of America’s great
comedic actors, Bill Murray. And as in years past,
they were playing it up, with numerous references
to classic Murray films, like Ghost Busters, sprinkled
throughout the festival. They even have an authentic
Ecto-1 car from Ghost Busters. So cool! Even some of the attendees
got into the spirit of things. And some you wish hadn’t. Rumor had it that Murray
might make an appearance and mingle with the crowd,
so I went to track him down. Have you seen Bill Murray
walking around yet? – I have not. – Have you guys seen
Bill Murray around yet? Hey, do you guys know
where Bill Murray is. – No. – Hey, do you know
where Bill Murray is? – I haven’t seen him.
– He’s right here! – Bill? That was Bill Murray! – That’s Bill Murray there! (laughing) – No, it wasn’t. But eventually I did find him. Sort of. Oh well. Even without a
celebrity appearance, you couldn’t beat the
vibe at BCTC, or the beer. BCTC was the perfect
way to round out my first Brewery
Ommegang experience. I’ve always been a
fan of their beer. But now, having seen it
for myself, I can truly say that I’ve come to appreciate
all that Ommegang means for the local area and the
larger craft beer community. And I cannot wait
to come back again. – What’s nice about
Brewery Ommegang’s events is that they offer
camping on their grounds; a great way to put your
keys away while enjoying some of New York’s
finest entertainment
and craft beverages. But if you can’t bring a tent to your next
brewery destination, make sure to plan ahead for
how you’re getting home. Find out about public
transportation, update your ride app, or
appoint a designated driver. Never drink and drive. – Ommegang was a great place
to visit, and I really love that they’re teaching people
about Belgian-style beer. But in recent years they’ve
also started brewing some American-styles. Their Hopstate New York is a
small batch American pale ale that uses hops
sourced exclusively from New York State farms. This dedication to
supporting New York’s agricultural industry is
something we’re seeing in many breweries throughout
the central region. In fact, there’s a special
distinction in New York for breweries that source
from local farmers. And Maya actually
got to go visit the state’s first
certified farm brewery. (bright music) – Welcome to Hamilton. No, not the Tony Award
winning Broadway show, although the town was named after the influential
founding father. The village of Hamilton
hosts a year-round population of about 4,000 people. And that’s only slightly higher
than the student population at Colgate University, the
prestigious liberal arts college nestled on a hill. The village is located at the
very center of New York State and sits amid farmers’
fields that once supplied over 80% of the nation’s hops. The downtown looks
as if it was pulled from a Norman Rockwell canvas. It’s home to
boutiques and cafes, a movie theater and a hotel. And you probably won’t see any
public dueling in the park. Hamilton was recently
voted one of America’s friendliest towns
by Forbes Magazine. The downtown is also
home to a new tap room. And in keeping with the
message that Hamilton is an inviting community,
the owners decided to call it Good Nature Brewing. When you walk in, the first
thing you notice is that Good Nature is intentional
about fostering conversations. There are no TVs and
the music is kept low. There is nothing to interfere
with your connection to the person across
the table or bar. The second thing you’ll notice
is a kind of nature theme, one that reflects the
owner’s commitment to the agricultural
heritage of the region. I sat down with co-founder
and Colgate alum Carrie Blackmore
to discuss more. How did you first get
started in this business? – Well, both my partner
and I love craft beer. And when we got together we knew we wanted to do
something together. Sorry to be so sappy. But we wanted to
start a business. And beer was kind of an
obvious answer for us, given the hops growing history and the fact that
there were no breweries in the county in
probably over 200 years. When we first got together, I was doing
farm-based education. We were both big foodies,
big localvore people, big farmers market people,
so that’s a big part of who we are as people
and what we believe in. When we wrote our business
plan, we designed our company and our recipes around
sourcing locally. Within a couple months of
us getting ready to open, we got a call from a very,
very old farm family here just four miles up the
road, and they were growing several acres of green cabbage for a now closed
sauerkraut factory. Apparently there was
one south of here. But they said, “Hey, I hear
you’re doing this thing, “and I hear you source locally, “and I want to know are
you gonna need local hops?” And I said absolutely. And now I think they have
seven or eight acres planted. We like to work
with local farmers because we know more
about the raw materials, we know more about the people, we have actual relationships
with those people, know their families,
and the more we choose in our business
to source locally, whether it be raw materials or
merchandise or what have you, we’re having a positive
impact on the environment and on the economy. – With that in mind, I talk
with co-owner and husband Matt to see exactly what Good
Nature has been able to source from the local community. – Well, this is two-row
malted barley here. We actually have
some hand-rolled oats that is part of one of
our signature beers. And you actually have
some pelletized hops. – They smell great, actually.
– Don’t they? It’s amazing. – I’ve never seen it
in this form before. – Yeah, typically
they’re in a cone shape. They grow on what is actually
known as a bine, not a vine. But for storage reasons
and for ease of use in the brewing
process, these actually are compacted and pelletized. They kind of look
like rabbit food, but they smell a lot
better than that. – They really do, they do. Now, did you get these
oats locally sourced? – We did, actually, from a farm right down in
Cazenovia, New York, from a woman named
Judy Gianforte, who actually hand
rolls these oats. And we actually have
to put about 50 pounds of these oats into
each batch of beer. And we brew a lot of beer,
so she’s a busy woman. – Good Nature Brewing uses
so much local grain and hops that they became New
York’s very first certified farm brewery. To get the license,
brewers are required to purchase and incorporate
a certain amount of locally-sourced
ingredients for their brew. And in return they get
some special perks, including the right to open
up additional tap rooms without extra fees,
and some tax breaks. Paul Leone, from the New York
State Brewers Association, was one of the bill’s advocates. – The farm brewing
legislation came out in 2013. And really it was a way for us to promote agriculture
in New York State. We’re a big agricultural state. 20% of your beer has
to be New York State grown ingredients until 2019. In 2019 that goes to 60%. In 2024 that goes to 90%. So now you’ve got
farmers putting barley in because it’s a
higher value crop. Well that barley
needs to be malted, so now there are nine malt
houses in New York State, which has to malt the barley
that then goes to the brewer. So that’s more industry. That’s what this license
was designed to do, to bring back industry
in New York State, and it’s doing that. – So brewers buy more
New York Grain and hops, farmers grow and sell
more, and we get more beer served in more locations. And for Matt and Carrie,
it’s helped them create the kind of locally-focused
business they’ve dreamed of. What was your vision
for this tasting room as a community gathering place? – Our community, for
a small community, is actually fairly diverse. We have people from
all walks of life with lots of
different experiences. And we get a lot of
people traveling through as a result of the university. So we wanted to make sure
that our place was a place where anyone can
feel comfortable, because beer is supposed
to bring people together, and it’s supposed to kind
of even the playing field. It’s not a snobby thing. It’s actually a
family-friendly place. I mean, we wanted it
to be family-friendly, don’t get me wrong, but
we didn’t anticipate people bringing in their
kids as much as they do. So now we have a
cabinet full of games, and we put Saranac
draft root beer on tap, and people order in pizzas
and have family night here. There could be a woman
nursing on the couch. And we didn’t anticipate that, but we’re very, very proud
that people feel comfortable bringing their families
here for that reason. – Tell me what’s
next for Good Nature. – So we’re building a new
brewery and tasting room and beer garden just
south of the village, maybe a mile from our front
door here at the tap room. One really great part
about the property is that the Colgate Community
Garden is actually on-site, so we’re letting them
stay, ’cause we want them to keep doing what
they’re doing over there. It’s near and dear to our heart. But we’re hoping to not only
use some of their produce in the kitchen and in
the beer, of course, but also work on them with
different kinds of programing. – I want to thank you
very much for inviting us to Good Nature’s tap room. It really lives up to its name. – Thank you very much. – Cutting diagonally
across the central region is interstate 88, one
of the most scenically spectacular highways
in New York State. In addition to enjoying the
rolling countryside and farms, a southbound traveler on
I-88 can stop at Howe Caverns to take an
underground cave tour, sample some world-famous
barbecue in Oneonta and, if they land in Binghamton
at the right time of year, watch dozens of
balloons take flight at the annual Spiedie Fest. But that’s not all
Binghamton’s got going on. Up until World War II, the city was one of New York’s
big manufacturing hubs. So it’s got some great history and a classic river
bank cityscape. Today, Binghamton’s
making a comeback. If we measure it
in new breweries, as we like to do on
this show, you’ll find that there are three, all
of which opened in 2011. One of them, Water
Street Brewing, has come up with a
creative way to draw crowds and showcase what its
hometown has to offer. (bright music) – My name is Michele Bleichert
and I am one of the owners of Water Street Brewing Company
in Binghamton, New York. We’re a brewpub, so we
have a restaurant on-site. We also do all of our
brewing on premises. Our signature bees
is our hefeweizen, a German-style wheat ale. We always have a rotating
lineup, so whenever you come in there’s always
something new on tap. Binghamton is a
great town to be in. It’s an up-and-coming town. It is a town that has
experienced some hard times, but there’s a vibrancy
in the local population. Part of Water Street Brewing’s
motto is fresh, local, uncomplicated, and we do a lot
of community support events. The idea for the Beers
and Beasts 8k race was a collaboration between
the Triple Cities Runners Club and Water Street
Brewing Company. The goal of today’s
event is to raise money for our three local
animal rescues. The first event of the
day is the 8k race. The second race of the
day is the Hound Dog Dash. That is about a 1k race,
and runners and their dogs hit the streets of
downtown Binghamton to see who’s gonna be top dog. The third race is called the
Ankle Biters Kids Fun Run. There are a lot of people
that have never run before or just wanted to enjoy the
experience of being out, enjoying beer, enjoying music. So they decided to register
and give it a whirl. Bringing people together
over beers and beasts, nothing is better than
combining your passions. Being a brewery, obviously
beer is a passion of ours and we’re huge animal lovers. Bringing the two
of them together was just the
perfect combination. We believe this is a
great showcase event to highlight what
Binghamton has to offer. It’s a great first year race. After the success of our event
today, we absolutely believe this will be an
annual event for us. – [Maya] At the Water
Street block party we also found a small business with unique ties to
both beer and beasts. – Hi, I’m Casey
Parker and I’m with Hungry Hound Beer Grain Treats. We make dog treats
out of spent grain from the brewing process. – About two years ago Casey
bought me a home brewing kit. And the first batch
of beer that we made, we disposed of the grain
out back, and we figured there’s got to be a better
use for these grains. – [Maya] That’s when Casey
tried mixing the spent grains with other simple ingredients,
like peanut butter, to create homemade dog treats. Before long she had
perfected her recipe, and the treats were
so sought after she decided to start a business. – I could not brew
enough beer at home to keep up with the demand
for the grains that we needed, so we started going
out to local breweries and speaking with them. – [Casey] Most of the
breweries we work with, their batches are mostly barley. – It’s a very healthy, high
protein, high fiber treat for dogs, and they love
the taste and the flavor. – [Maya] The owners
of Hungry Hound don’t just pride themselves
on making their customers and canine friends happy,
but local brewers as well. – Most breweries would
either pay disposal fees for the grains or they would
give them to local farmers. There’s a lot of breweries
popping up all over the place, so there’s an abundance
of grains, so it’s just a way to take a viable waste
product from a small business and turn it into another small
business’s main ingredient. – We really get great feedback. And we get a lot
of people who say now their dogs will
not eat anything else, ’cause dogs go crazy over
them and they just want more. – [Maya] Plan on visiting
several craft beverage producers on your next trip? The central New York
region has a number of craft beverage
trails that you can use to arrange your itinerary. These maps connect the dots
between locations so you can maximize the scenery and
your craft beer experience. Enjoy responsibly. – Hops, hound dogs,
farm-friendly breweries and Belgian beer. I think it’s safe to say
there are a lot of reasons to check out central New York. – And you can find even
more at our website at brewedinnewyorkshow.com. There you can learn
about beer tourism throughout New York
State and details about the places we
visited in today’s show. – We’ll be posting new episodes
online as they roll out, so follow us on social media
an you’ll be the first to know. – Thanks for traveling with us. We’ll see you next time
on Brewed in New York. (upbeat rock music)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *