Beer! Beer! Beer!
If you like beer like I do, you’re going to love October in the Adirondacks! Between Oktoberfest, Oktupperfest and the annual Lake Placid Brewfest, it’s a beer-lover’s paradise!
Living in Denver for the past couple of years, I got very used to the microbrewery scene. Everywhere you turned, both in the city and in the suburbs, there was another craft brewery opening, and personally I like these beers so much better than the typical light beer that is mass produced and available everywhere. Here in the Adirondacks, I was happy to find that my new home has more than just a couple of breweries dedicated to making our beer-drinking a memorable experience, and there’s no better place to experience the brews of the Adirondacks - and beyond - than the annual Lake Placid Brewfest that will be held on October 10th in the 1932 Olympic rink!
While there will be dozens of brewers spotlighted on that day, here are two local favorites you might not want to wait for the Brewfest to try!
Great Adirondack Brewing Company
The Kane family started the Lake City Brewing Company at the Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood restaurant in 1996 in Plattsburgh. A year later, the brewery and restaurant moved to Lake Placid’s Main Street and the brewery was renamed the Great Adirondack Brewing Company. On my recent visit, I saw the seven stainless steel barrels they brew their beer in, they're located in a separate building behind the restaurant. Fun fact: they have hoses connecting the barrels in the brewery out back to the taps at the restaurant bar!
Clinton Green is the head brewer for the Great Adirondack Brewing Company, and he told me that they have more than doubled production in the past year (400 barrels last year, and 800 already this year!). They usually feature about five house beers and three seasonal brews at the restaurant - which is the only place you can buy it locally. The beer is only sold in growlers, since they don’t have any bottling or canning capabilities at this time. But that’s about to change: plans are to triple the brewery in size so they can not only produce more beer, but also be able to can it. They just recently started distributing their beer with the Craft Beer Co., so it can be found in Saratoga, Albany, Detroit, and at the Pony Bar in New York City. The goal is to expand shipping across the state.
I asked Clinton what makes a good beer, and his answer was simple – a good balance of flavors, making sure none of the flavors overpower any of the others. He says the main ingredients of the beer are typical, including barley, hops and yeast, but what makes local brews the best is the Lake Placid water!
When I visited, the beers on tap were the Abby Ale (7%), Whiteface Stout (6.9%), Cumberlandhead Ale (5.1%) and their most popular, the John Brown IPA (6.5%). There were also a couple of seasonal brews available. I was bummed because the Pumpkin Ale wasn’t finished yet, and that is always a favorite of mine! I suggest taking a stroll down Main Street, into the Great Adirondack Brewing Company, for a sampling real soon!
Lake Placid Pub & Brewery
Since I’ve been coming to the area for the annual Summit Lacrosse Tournament for the past few years, one of our annual stops has been the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery. A mix of old-feel local town pub and visitor-friendly ambience, the Pub is a great place to visit for a light snack, full meal, or late-night drink! My favorite beer they brew is the Moose Island - so good!
Christopher Ericson started the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery in 1996, when he bought the building that housed PJ O’Neill’s. At that time, the pub was only one floor, with apartments above. Ericson reconstructed the layout, making the pub and restaurant extend to all three floors. Beer-making, however, is done on the main floor in seven barrels, using malt, hops, yeast and – you guessed it – Lake Placid water!
All the beers brewed at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery are sold in the Pub. Some is bottled, but if you want to enjoy your favorite brew at home, you can purchase a growler. Because of the demand for the beer outside the area, they contract with Matt Brewing in Utica to brew the beer for distribution beyond Lake Placid.
During my recent visit, I learned a few things about beer making: First, there are 220 gallons of beer in the seven barrels in the Pub’s brewery. To make a batch of beer, they use between 300-600 pounds of malt, depending on the type of beer they are brewing. The more malt you use, the higher the alcohol percentage is for that particular beer.
Lake Placid Pub and Brewery is best known for their Ubu Ale, which is an English Strong Ale. It has a deep, reddish-brown color and 7% alcohol. They always have this on tap, as well as their Golden Ale (4.4%), Pale Ale (6.3%) and IPA (7%). In addition, they usually have two seasonal beers, like the LAX-N-RELAX that I tried during the lacrosse tournament in August, which was awesome. While I was taking a tour of the brewery, I was told that they are planning to open a sister brewery in the near future called Big Slide Brewing Company, near the Horse Show grounds.
Be sure to get in the mood for the Brewfest by stopping by the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery on October 4, when they will host their own Oktoberfest!
4th Annual Lake Placid Brewfest
Columbus Day weekend is always hopping in the Adirondacks, with droves of visitors in the area for the Flaming Leaves festival and other exciting events. The Lake Placid Brewfest was a natural addition to the weekend because of the rise of craft beers and the success of similar events throughout the country. Visiting brewers love the Lake Placid Brewfest because of our beautiful scenery, and the locals and visitors love it because of the beer! The band called the Baked Potatoes will be the live entertainment. Plus, our local restaurants get in the act, gearing up for the beer tasters before and after the event! This year, a special addition to the Brewfest is a movie called “Blood, Sweat and Beers,” a documentary about the growth of the craft beer industry and the journey of three 23-year-olds as they struggle to start The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company in Braddock, PA. It will be held on Friday night, October 9, at the Lake Placid Conference Center's Lussi Ballroom at 7:00 pm, and admission is $10. There will be a reception and question-and-answer session beginning at 6:30 pm.
The Lake Placid Brewfest is sponsored by the Olympic Regional Development Authority, and both breweries in Lake Placid (Great Adirondack Brewing Company and Lake Placid Pub and Brewery) helped get the annual event started. Check out the Lake Placid Events Facebook page and find behind-the-scenes videos of local breweries to find out more information about them and hear from their owners and head brewers.
This is a sampling of the list of brewers that will be attending the Brewfest - be sure to attend the event and discover a new favorite brew or two!
- Big Tupper Brewing
- Browns Brewing
- Cooperstown Brewing
- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
- Downeast Cider House
- Great Adirondack Brewing Company
- Lake Placid Pub & Brewery
- Oskar Blues Brewery
- Paradox Brewery
- Plattsburgh Brewing Company
- Saranac Brewery
- Shipyard Brewing Co.
- Sea Dog Brewing Co
- Switchback Brewing Company
Buy Online & Save $10 off General Admission
$75 - VIP Admission
- Admission from 2 pm - 7 pm
- 5 Hour Sampling
- Unlimited Samples - Some restrictions apply, see link for details
- Hors d'oeuvres from 2 pm-3 pm
- Souvenir Sampling Glass
- Live Entertainment
- Souvenir Gift
$55 - General Admission
- Admission from 3 pm - 7 pm
- 4 Hour Sampling
- Unlimited Samples - Some restrictions apply, see ticket link for details
- Souvenir Sampling Glass
- Live Entertainment
$10 - Designated Driver Admission
- Unlimited water and soda
- Live Entertainment
Plan to make a weekend of it - reserve the perfect lodging for your next Adirondack vacation, now!
We're talking Cheers & Beers around the ADKs this week - check it out: