As an employee of a local brewery for many years, I have come to love a good craft brew. And not only that, but I enjoy learning about beer, and of course, trying new ones! So, that is exactly what my goal was for this past Labor Day Weekend. And...mission accomplished.
My weekend started Friday after work, hopping on the motorcycle, and heading to Lake Clear for a beer workshop and tasting at Hohmeyer’s Lake Clear Lodge. Built in 1886, this is one of the last original Adirondack lodges left, fully-equipped with every rustic piece of decor and charm you can imagine. This chess table in the lobby was my favorite piece!
My favorite part of the lodge was definitely the beer cellar. Formerly the lodge's basement, it still has original rock wall and wooden shelving created from wood which was struck by lightning on the property, milled, and reused to hold a number of craft beers, as well as a large selection of wines. Not sure what you might like? The Hohmeyers have provided beer information signs for all the beers with their descriptions and scales for bitterness and color to help you decide which would be best for you. This beer cellar holds the largest selection of craft import beers in the Adirondacks, so you’ll be sure to find something you like!
I was excited to participate in the Myths of Octoberfest Beers workshop and tasting, and I did not leave disappointed. I thought I knew a lot about beer until I sat through this workshop. Ernest took myself and five other guests through a tasting of six delicious Octoberfest beers. It was packed full of Octoberfest beer history and evolution. The lodge does a different themed workshop every month, along with Old World cooking classes and themed dinners. They feature an Old World element and try to shop for as much product as possible within one hundred miles of the lodge to keep things relatively local.
Everyone loved the presentation of the beers on the big wooden paddles. It got us very excited to start tasting! The beers we tried were all very different from one another and kept me wanting to try the next as soon as possible. The first beer we tried was an herb beer, which was light in color with hints of coriander and mustard seed, light and easy to drink. The second was a smoked beer, which was dark in color, super smokey and aged on beechwood. Next up was a lager, which was light in color, but not lacking in flavor. The fourth was a Bavarian wheat beer - it was darker than your average wheat beer, not as citrusy, but still delicious! After that was another wheat beer, which looked like champagne, but tasted like a sour beer. This one was actually probably my favorite! And lastly, a Belgian lambic, which was red in color and tasted abundantly of cherries. A great after-dinner beer, or something for someone who doesn't usually drink beer. After the beer tasting, I took a walk down to the water's edge and caught the sunset.
The next day I headed to Saranac Lake to check out Blue Line Brewery. The Gillis family opened up this brewery just before Christmas of 2014. They’ve been open for less than a year, but you can tell people love it - they were full by the time I left. They feature four brews made right on premise. So, naturally I ordered a sampler to try all four (only $6). The first was their Lake Flower Cream Ale, which is light, crisp, and refreshing, yet still full of flavor. The second was a Session IPA. From working in a brewery I have noticed that people typically have a love/hate relationship with IPA’s. They tend to be very hoppy and bitter, which I love, and this IPA was no exception. But, it got even better because the third beer was their Black Fly IPA, which was a dark IPA, and it was my favorite. The last beer was a porter, which was dark and flavorful. All of the beers were great, and very different from one another with distinct flavors.
The building was formerly a car wash, so to my right was a garage-style door which was opened to enjoy the beautiful weather, and to the left were the tanks where the beer is brewed. I decided to check out the menu, which is unique and delicious. I had a chicken sandwich with mac-n-cheese with bacon in it, which was clearly flavored with beer. Wow...so good! Others that were with me tried a smashed burger with rice, topped with spinach and feta, and make-your-own fajitas. We loved everything!
The brewery runs specials Tuesday through Sunday with deals such as $2 pints on Sundays, or an order of wings and a pint for $10 on Wednesdays. They are also working on accomplishing a goal of serving as many pizzas and beers as carwashes from 1989-2011. They recently broke 20,000 pints and are closing in on 7,000 pizzas. And that’s in less than a year! Everything we had was amazing, and we will definitely be back. Overall, I would say it was a successful brew-filled Labor Day Weekend.
We're talking Cheers & Beers around the ADKs this week - check it out: