Memorial Day weekend! A time to get out of town. K. and I left the familiar haven of Western New York for the strange and marvelous world that is Central New York – all the way to the Hamilton/Poolville area, where there was a beer tasting to attend.
Carrie and Matt’s nanobrewery is getting closer and closer to being a physical reality, so they brewed a few signature varieties of beer and threw two tasting parties to get some feedback and introduce investors and friends to their product.
We drove over in the kind of insane rainstorm that becomes an insane snowstorm in the right season, and reminded me of poorly advised college-era trips to, say, the Syracuse mall in driving snow, lightning storms, and/or blinding fog. (One such trip happened in such bad conditions that a friend opted out of coming along and offered to pray for our safety instead.) Once we got to Poolville and handed over a jar of relish and an apron with a woodchuck on it, we were welcomed with genuine hospitality and tons of chamomile honey witte fresh from the kegerator.
We also got to see the logo I designed for Good Nature on actual pint glasses, pictured here with a windowsill full of really cool small bottles and my emergency weekend kombucha (with raisins for carbonation.) And on t-shirts. And on tasting glasses.
And luckily for everyone involved, their beer is so, so good. Seriously, my ideal day would include the chicory mocha porter for breakfast and the chamomile honey witte for naptime. They use local hops, which took the spotlight in an amazingly complex, grapefruity IPA that smells almost better than it tastes. Oh, one thing that K. and I picked up on this trip is the habit of swirling the beer around in the glass, like you’re tasting wine. You might look like a snob (you will definitely look like a snob) but it does something with the aeration.
It’s always great to be around other “people doing things” – and I never would have assumed there would be so many homebrewers and craft brewers in our circle of friends. All of the beermaking people we’ve met so far have been incredibly welcoming and more than ready to share their knowledge and beer with us. It’s really taken off as a hobby, and seeing our friends making it their life’s work (and showcasing local crops and history in the process) is really inspiring.
Maybe I just have really cool friends, or maybe it’s our whole generation – I hope the latter is true – but it seems like the people I know are managing to carve out very cool spaces for themselves these days. Myself included, I guess, even though sometimes I still wake up and feel like an imposter in a “capable adult” costume. Trying to run a business and buy a house? I’ve only been legal to drink for 4 years! Anyway, it makes me think that the future might be in good hands after all, as long as we keep our heads on straight.
The moral of the story is: support your local breweries, believe in yourself and your generation, once you find the right people everything will fall into place, and make sure you always leave enough room in your vehicle to stash three boxes of incredibly useful and entertaining literature. (Thanks Mike and Kate!)