Posts Written ByJulia Burke

In Wake of Sandy, Brewery Ommegang Collaborates with Barrier Brewing Company

Barrier Brewing Company’s Evan Klein, Sean Redmond, and Craig Frymark with Brewery Ommegang’s Brewmaster Phil Leinhart, modeling "Project Barrier Relief" shirts at Brewery Ommegang.

I’ve heard many stories of breweries and beer professionals coming together to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and I’ve always found beer people to be generally awesome people, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that Brewery Ommegang was lending a hand to a brewery in need. After Sandy struck in early November, Ommegang put out a notice to breweries affected by the hurricane, offering to help any way they could. “We, fortunately, escaped the worst of the storm,” says brewer Phil Leinhart. Other breweries weren’t so lucky, including Barrier Brewing Company in Oceanside, New York, which suffered massive damage…

Woodcock Brothers Brewery Porter

I first tasted Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company’s prototype porter back in May, when the brewery was still in its planning stages and brothers Tim and Mark Woodcock were still homebrewers — rather than owners of Niagara County’s first modern-day brewery, as they are now. I loved it. The dry, smoky finish was delectable, the chocolate and walnut notes and hearty body balanced just right for the warm spring weather. I remember thinking, “If this is their sample porter, I can’t wait to try the rest of their beers.” The weekend before Thanksgiving I visited the brewery once again, and barely…

Buffalo Beer Week: Collaboration, and a Little Diversification

A flight of Beer Week offerings at Aurora Brew Works.

Buffalo Beer Week, which closed its second year running on Sunday, featured many events dedicated to the great bars and breweries of Western New York. I wasn’t able to attend as many Beer Week events as last year due to the timing of the event (the week leading up to a major running event), but I still managed to get out and enjoy a few of the festivities. Two great aspects of Beer Week really caught my attention; one made me proud of our existing beer community, while the other motivated me to work harder towards a better future for beer in…

In Defense of Pumpkin Ale

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Pumpkin ale is the beaujolais nouveau of the beer world: it’s ubiquitous in the fall and it gets little respect. Beer drinkers complain that they show up too early, and sure, August is a bit early –– but this year August was pumpkin season. Then they complain that pumpkin ales just don’t taste good. Well, they don’t all taste the same, so that has to be a generalization, unless you hate the taste of pumpkin or pumpkin spices in which case shut your damn mouth. Then they complain that they’re everywhere, which wouldn’t be true if nobody drank them. I…

Western New York Food Community Rallies to Support Oles Farm

Barn at the Oles Farm. Photo by Christa Glennie Seychew.

I became acquainted with the Oles family when I was in third grade, when their youngest daughter, Pam, was my classmate. We bonded over a love of digging in the dirt during recess, and subsequently I made many childhood memories at their beautiful farm in Corfu, New York. I ate their fresh strawberries every year on my birthday in June; I drizzled their maple syrup on my pancakes. As I grew up I watched the Oles Farm develop a strong reputation in Western New York; as I became more involved in Buffalo’s food scene, I began to see their products…

Ballpark Brew Fest Hits a Homerun

Flying Bison Brewing's Tim Herzog

I’ve written before of my beefs with beer festivals. It’s heartening, then, to see events like Ballpark Brew Bash, which took place in Buffalo’s Coca-Cola Field this weekend. Small and intimate but boasting an impressive selection of breweries and beers, BPBP was downright pleasant to attend. Thanks to a favorable ratio of breweries to attendees and a spread-out facility (the breweries set up on the edges of the baseball diamond and in the concession areas) I didn’t see a single long line –– not even at the Stone or Founders stands, where beloved Bastards both Dirty and Arrogant were on…

Foodie-to-Farm Tour 2012: An Adventure in Chautauqua County

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A farm tour of Chautauqua county this weekend, organized and led by Feed Your Soul founder and Buffalo Spree Food Editor Christa Glennie Seychew, brought the region’s incredible farm scene to life for forty-five Buffalonians with a visit to a cider mill, two family farms, and a winery, as well as two farm-to-table dinners by Western New York’s most renowned chefs. “This is the 5th anniversary of this tour, and it’s absolutely my favorite event of the year,” said Seychew at the start of the tour. Seychew’s company advancing the local food movement, called Feed Your Soul, hosted the all-day…

Hop Harvest Party in Niagara County!

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McCollum Orchards hosted an old-fashioned harvest party this week to enlist the helping hands of their Niagara County neighbors, willing homebrewers in search of “U-Pick” hops, and any folks interested in experiencing the farm’s first commercial hop harvest. As guests helped owners Rich and Bree Woodbridge cut down Cascade bines and pluck hop cones, then sort them and lay them out on drying racks –– all in 90-degree heat –– the community got a taste of the life of a hop farmer. They also got a taste of banana bread, homemade brownies, pie, hot dogs, and a fresh batch of…

Harvest Update: Cascade and Centennial Hops at McCollum Orchards

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McCollum Orchards, Niagara’s new hops farm and orchard in Lockport, New York, kicked off its first commercial harvest this week with Centennial hops. Bree Bacon Woodbridge, co-owner of the farm with her husband Rich, reports that the crop “looks pretty good, all things considered. We picked several cones that are the size of my thumb.” Woodbridge says the very hot, dry 2012 season brought “more pest pressure than last year. We were back on our heels and then were able to put in irrigation, with inline fertilizer, which helped regulate a lot. We have done a lot of hand-picking of…

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

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A beer-loving friend recently asked me to recommend a book on beer and food pairing. I pointed her in the direction of Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver’s classic The Brewmaster’s Table, the definitive tome on beer and food pairing. Oliver is an Old World brewer with a conviction that beer belongs at the table and, just like wine, is as important a part of a meal as the food. I can think of no beer better suited to deliver this message than his farmhouse ale, Sorachi Ace. Sorachi offers the spice (lots of hot pepper and a twinge of thai…