12:02 a.m. EDT October 17, 2013
We are pleased to note that seven of the finest beers in New York state won medals at the Great American Beer Festival, held last weekend in Denver, Colo.
Since 1982, the event has been the Super Bowl of beer — and has become a beer collector’s paradise with all of the breweries represented.
So here’s how we stacked up.
Hops n’ Roses, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Elmsford, Westchester County. This experimental beer is a sour ale made with rose hips, elderflower and hibiscus. Despite the tartness of the malts, the flowers actually help to sweeten the brew (technically classified as a maly beverage), and it’s perfect for warmer weather. Aging in oak barrels make the flavors even more complex. It’s certainly one of the most unique brews we’ve ever heard of.
Amazeballs, Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill, Westchester County.This ambiguously named international-style pale ale does not follow the well established characteristics of American pale ales (citrusy and floral) or English pale ales (earthy an herbal), and has a lower bitterness than India pale ales. Instead, Amazeballs features notes of tropical fruits (though not sweet) and is quite hoppy without being bitter or dry.
Ommegang Three Philosophers, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, Otsego County. This brew has won numerous awards since its debut in 2003. A Belgian-style quadrupel dosed with a Belgian kriek, it has also been one of our favorites for many years. It’s a dark red-brown color, slightly sweet with strong flavors of molasses, brown sugar, raisins, chocolate and cherries. This brew is fantastic for cellaring, though from personal experience, it peaks at between seven and eight years of aging.
Splashing Pumpkin, Great South Bay Brewery, Bay Shore, Suffolk County. Splashing Pumpkin is made with roasted pumpkin, cascade hops, cinnamon and cloves. Great South Bay beers can currently only be found in the Long Island area, and the beer itself is a fall seasonal, so if you or someone you know is going that way, be sure to the use the brewery’s online beer locator to grab some before it’s gone.
Maggie’s Farmhouse Ale, Crossroads Brewing Co., Athens, Greene County. Saisons, or Belgian/French-style farmhouse ales, are another of our favorite beer styles. Crossroads Brewing, a Southern Tier brewpub, has only been open since 2009, but already head brewer Hutch Kugeman has won five medals from the Great American Beer Festival. This latest winner is spicy and slightly fruity, as all saisons should be.
RastafaRye, Blue Point Brewing Co., Patchogue, Suffolk County. This beer not only pairs spicy rye malts with floral hops, but a portion of the proceeds from each sale is donated to They Often Cry Outreach, a Taj Weekes charity foundation that helps orphaned and underprivileged children in the Caribbean and around the world. The brew is also a previous silver medalist in this festival.
Brooklyner Weisse, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn. Brooklyn Brewery has been producing award-winning beers since opening in 1987. This years winner is a South German-style hefeweizen. The style was originally brewed only for the Bavarian royal family, but was popular with German immigrants arriving in America in the 1880s. Brooklyn’s version of the style has not been available in bottles for quite some time, but it’s likely that with a medal win, we’ll start seeing it on shelves again in the near future.