Tag Archives: Cazenovia

My Top Beers of 2015

As I was looking through my Facebook feed today, I noticed this list of the top beers enjoyed in 2015. Of the 50 beers on the list I had the pleasure of trying some of them. As much of the beer I consumed in 2015 came from small breweries along the Front Range, there were a lot that I enjoyed that never would have made the list. So that got me to thinking, “What were the best beers I enjoyed in 2015?” So I jumped over to UnTappd and looked it up. Without further ado, here were my top 10 beers in 2015 as determined by my ratings on UnTappd. I rated all of these beers as 4.5 or higher with the top three all earning ratings of 5 from me.

  1. HopSavant Sour IPA by Crooked Stave Brewing in Denver
  2. Swingin Udders Milk Stout by Copper Kettle Brewing in Denver
  3. Racer 5 IPA by Bear Republic Brewing
  4. Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose Island Brewing, Chicago
  5. Runoff Red IPA by Odell Brewing in Fort Collins
  6. Holiday Cheer Winter Ale, Caution Brewing, Lakewood, CO
  7. Samuel Adams Adams Octoberfest, Boston Beer Company
  8. Odell IPA, Odell Brewing Fort Collins, CO
  9. High Noon Chili Pepper Ale, Freedom’s Edge Brewing in Cheyenne
  10. St. Lupulin Pale Ale, Odell Brewing in Fort Collins
  11. Brainless on Cherries, Epic Brewing in Denver
  12. Brainless on Raspberries, Epic Brewing, Denver
  13. False Alarm Jalapeno Cream Ale, Firehouse Brewing, Rapid City, SD
  14. Speed Goat Blonde Ale, Ten Sleep Brewing, Ten Sleep, WY
  15. Scuba Steve IPA, Black Bottle Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
  16. Belligerent Ass Nut Brown, Portneuf Brewing, Pocatello, ID
  17. Dale’s Pale Ale Blood Orange, Oskar Blues Longmont, CO
  18. Saranac Octoberfest, FX Matt Brewing in Utica
  19. Blueberry Wheat, High Hops Brewing, Windsor, CO
  20. Big LeBEERski Imperial Stout, Barrels and Bottles Brewing, Golden, CO
  21. Amidon Blonde Ale, Henneberg Brewing, Cazenovia, NY

That’s quite a list, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of beers I enjoyed this year. It’s kind of neat to look at how it breaks down, 5 IPA’s 2 Blonde Ales, 2 Marzens, 3 Full disclaimer, many of these were enjoyed in taster flights and then a follow up pint as my favorite in the selection. What were your favorite beers of 2015? Share them with us in the comments, and as always, reach out to me on Untappd.


A la Carte: Pass the Milk Please

This week’s stories from around the web dealing with food, beer and the miscellanery…

1. Dairy Farmers Fight Back — There is no doubt that my favorite post work out beverage is Chocolate Milk. It is a reward for a high intensity workout, and it combines an excellent source of protein with sugars to help the recovery process. There is also no doubt that milk has been under constant attack by people with allergies to it and people with an agenda. Now the farmers are fighting back with their own education campaign. (Associations Now)

2. Craft Beer Flips Out — At a point during the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl, Budweiser ran what I think is a brilliant ad and part of a brilliant strategy. They were appealing to the 92% of beer drinkers that DO NOT buy craft beer. They were speaking to their customers. Well, craft beer America freaked out. Renegade Brewing in Denver did have a very well thought out response to it. (Renegade Brewing)

3. Funkwerks and Jessup Farm are working on a new joint venture — This one sounds like something you’d find in upstate NY. Barrel aged beers, farm to table restaurant, a bakery and a coffee roaster are all planned for the project. (The Coloradan)

4. Cazenovia named #21 on the best small towns in America List — I can’t argue one bit. Still one of my favorite places in the world. Also on the list Estes Park, Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs in Colorado. (Best Choice Reviews)


Life of Reilley Comes to Life

I’ve been holding off on posting about Life of Reilley Distilling and Wine Company in hopes of being able to review their vodka, but alas logistical difficulties prevented us from picking up our first run numbered bottle when we were in NY at Thanksgiving. It is a real shame for a blog that still has a big chunk of its culinary heart in Central New York to at least not help spread the word.

Many of you may know Ben and Shioban Reilley. We became friends with them as Ben was helping to open Owera Vineyards in Cazenovia and I was running the tourism effort in Madison County. Beyond being great people with a lot of energy and passion for the community, Ben and Shioban have a passion for the craft beverage business. Ben learned the art of wine making while at Owera and is quickly becoming an expert as the distilling process in his new adventure.

Life of Reilley is making craft vodka in a still in the town of Nelson. They are the first legal distillery in Madison County and part of the renaissance of craft beverages in New York State. Their first bottling effort is complete and they are now making vodka as quickly as possible to meet growing demand. Right now they are running full speed ahead with their premium vodka, and have just received approval from the feds to start producing their raspberry and vanilla lines.

Where can you purchase it? According to their Facebook page, they are available at MacKinnon Liquors in Cazenovia and Liquor Town in Brewerton. With any kind of luck the good folks at Wegmans, I mean Liquor City, will see the light and start stocking it there in the very near future. They are also in the process of locating in several Syracuse area liquor stores too. Your best bet is to keep tabs on their Facebook page for the most up to date locations. Unfortunately, if you live out of state, you are out of luck from a shipping standpoint, but knowing Ben and Shioban and their ability to market and grow businesses, it won’t be long until that barrier is removed.

Best of luck from Middle America to our good friends and their adventure. May you all soon be drinking in the life.

al la carte

Cazenovia residents try to kill yet another business-I give a lot of credit to anyone who tries to do business in that town. They are up against a lot of barriers. So much potential so little political will for growth.  (Cazenovia Republican)

F.X. Matt celebrates 125 years in business (Brew Central)

Food and Wine names its best new chefs – Nothing from the Front Range or Central NY (Food and Wine)

A nice write up about Cheyenne and Morris House Bistro in AAA’s via magazine (Via Magazine)

A Good Natured Collaboration — Good Nature Brewing of Hamilton and Ithaca Beer will be collaborating on a new brew.  They started brewing it this past weekend (Facebook)

Who are the top 50 craft brewers of 2013? (Brewers Association)

The craft beer industry is growing from the bottom up (Brewers Association)

Freedom’s Edge Opens Fort Collins Tap Room (Coloradoan)

Stop stealing kegs, it is hurting your favorite craft brewer (Craftbeer.com)

New gastro-pub opens in Cazenovia, with a dive bar name. Can you market a busienss called Junior’s Caz Bar as a nice place to eat and drink? (Cazenovia Republican)

Retro Post: Brewster Inn Shines on a Wet Tuesday Night

A recent blog over at Al Dente  about the highly under appreciated culinary scene of Syracuse, NY got me thinking about the great meals we have enjoyed at the Brewster Inn in Cazenovia. Enjoy this retro post from a couple of summers ago.

A few weeks ago we enjoyed a fantastic dinner on the lawn at the Brewster Inn in Cazenovia.  The best part was our bill left some money on a gift certificate we had received, enabling a return trip in the very near future.  We chose last night to take advantage of that and have our second visit to the Brewster in less than four weeks.

We picked a Tuesday night because the Brewster allows you to bring your own bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the Brewster has one of the best, if not the best wine lists and wine staffs in all of Upstate New York, but the opportunity to pull a bottle out of our cellar and enjoy it with fine dining was too good to pass up.  For this meal my wife and I chose a bottle of locally produced Owera Vineyards 2011 Riesling.

The meal began with a prosciutto wrapped shrimp as an amuse-bouche which was a nice start to the meal.  Very well flavored with fresh field greens dressed with a vinaigrette garnishing the plate.  We were also presented with a basket of fresh baked bread and a plate of olive oil and pesto which was very tasty.

To begin our order we picked the Thai Calamari ($12) which we had enjoyed in the past and were looking forward too.  It did not disappoint and we cleared the entire plate without any trouble.  It was sweeter than we both remembered, but that did not change the fact that it was delicious.

brewster innLooking over the menus we decided to order from the Tavern menu for our dinners, but a special of seafood chowder ($8) caught both of our attention so we decided to add that in before enjoying our entrees.  The seafood chowder had a wonderful cream base and good size chunks of seafood.  It being a rainy night outside, it was nice to enjoy my first bowl of chowder since the spring.

Brewster InnMoving on to the entrees my wife and I went in different directions.  I was really debating between the Prime Soft Shell Crab ($17.50) and the Mushroom and Chèvre Ravioli ($14.50).  At the very last minute I decided to go with the ravioli and boy was I glad that I did.  The goat cheese, mushrooms and slightly spicy Neapolitan pomodoro sauce blended so very well together.  Taken alone the cheese was a bit strong, but when all of the ingredients on the plate were paired in the same bite, it was mouth watering good.

My wife chose to go a with a steak salad ($14) featuring wild greens, Maytag bleu cheese, spiced walnuts and crispy onions.  Having enjoyed a salad in one of their Asiago cheese bowls previously, she asked if the steak salad could come in one of those.  The chefs did not disappoint, creating a custom bowl for her salad which was not only tasty, but one of those step above services that can really make the dining experience special.  The salad had copious amounts of tender steak on it, and was big enough that she will be enjoying it for lunch today too.

We finished our meal with a palate cleansing trio of sorbets flavored with mango, green tea and cucumber cantaloupe.

The total for dinner before tip was $66 for the two of us.  That was a very reasonable price for two entrees, two bowls of soup and an appetizer.  Of course we were helped by the fact that we brought our own bottle of wine, but a meal of that high quality for that reasonable price point is a great deal.  I think many people expect that if you go to the Brewster it has to be a special occasion because of the cost, but by ordering off the tavern menu we kept the cost reasonable and the portion sizes were more than adequate.