HAMBURG — The growing Buffalo-Niagara craft beer industry will be on display at the inaugural Farm To Pint event at the Hamburg Brewing Company on May 18.
The event is sponsored by the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, and will be held from noon-5 p.m., with a press conference to be held at 2, at the brewery’s 6553 Boston State Road location. The event is free and open to the public.
Seven local breweries have teamed up to produce six limited-edition specialty beers that will be available for sample and purchase, including the House Dressing Amber Ale, by Hamburg Brewing Company; Klassy American Pale Ale, by Community Beer Works and Big Ditch Brewery; Honey Bunches Ale, by Flying Bison Brewing Company; Local Pale, by Gordon Biersch; Niagara County “Session” Pale Ale, by Old First Ward Brewing Company and Maple Monk Tripel, by Hamburg Brewing and Resurgence Brewing.
“The House Dressing is a 5 percent [alcohol by volume] amber ale made with New York state-grown barley and New York state-grown Cascade hops,” said Hamburg Brewing Company owner John Russo. “We wanted to do an amber to round out our current beer portfolio, here at HBC. With that being said, we made it a little on the hoppier side compared to most ambers, just for a twist.”
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recently passed a farm brewery bill that designates “farm breweries” for operations that use at least 20 percent local malt and hops at the onset, followed by 60 percent in year seven and 90 percent in year 12. Russo said that “using local products in our beer is certainly exciting,” and added that he is proud of HBC for being one of a handful of farm breweries in Western New York. Old First Ward Brewing is also a farm brewery.
“The fact that HBC is one of over 30 New York state farm breweries is important to the growth of beer-related farming,” Russo noted. “We were actually in on the ground floor, when we were one of the first 20 farm breweries announced by the governor. It means that we are in a select group of people that want to see local beer flourish and you gotta start somewhere. There is no doubt that this industry is going to require time to start up and everyone needs to be patient.”
Willard Brooks, chairman of the BNBA board of directors, added that Buffalo is part of a resurgence in the beer industry across the country, and that beer can help boost tourism in the local region.
“There is a renaissance in cities across America, including Buffalo, in rediscovering the heritage of craft beer making,” Brooks said. “Making beer locally by using local ingredients and local products was how beer historically was made in our country, since colonial times. Beer-making is just going back to its natural roots and, in turn, is creating a new economy, not only in supply chain and locally grown products, but also as a tourism draw through festivals and celebrations, as well as our world-class pubs that are bringing beer enthusiasts to WNY from across the region and the country.”
Farm To Pint will also celebrate two newly launched malt houses, New York Craft Malt of Batavia and Niagara Malt of Cambria, as well as local barley farmers.
“There are a few different reasons to promote farm to pint,” Russo noted. “One of which is the obvious part of promoting local ingredients and their ability to end up in our beer. Another reason is to promote the camaraderie between breweries in the area and the fact that they can fit beers like this into their production schedules, while using local ingredients on top of it. A third reason is to highlight the fact that something is happening in these parts that is new and somewhat exciting, in relation to the beer we drink. No one in New Mexico or Texas is talking about the beer they just made with hops and barley grown nearby. New York has that ability and we need to be proud of it.
“People should come out to this event to enjoy and educate themselves on a nice Sunday, regardless of what fine weather will decide to show up that day,” Russo added. “It is also good to support a growing segment of the community that is Buffalo craft beer. I do hope that this is the first of many farm to pint events. The tradition should carry on to engage consumers on where it is their beer came from.”
For more information about the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, including membership, visit www.buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.org