New York’s Finger Lakes Region: A Backroad Craft Beer Tour


Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Waterfalls, gorges, and verdant rolling hills. Eleven long, picturesque glacial lakes carved into the area just south of the Great Lakes during the last Ice Age. Combining stunning natural scenery with a tapestry of interlacing beer and wine trails, the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York is one of the most ideal regions for the adventurous drinker to explore. Long a travel destination for connoisseurs of fine wine seeking Riesling and cool-climate red varietals such as Cabernet Franc, the Finger Lakes is quickly gaining a sterling reputation locally and regionally for its craft beers. A scenic beer route has grown up along the country roads that meander along the lakeshores and connect Cayuga and Seneca Lakes with smaller lakes like Keuka and Canandaigua. Hop farms and fields of barley sway in the lakeshore breeze alongside row upon row of grapes.

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170-Year-Old Shipwreck Beer Smells Gross

shipwreck beer bottle

When you’re picking out a beer, what flavors do you look for? If hints of soured milk and burnt rubber, or a “goaty” taste sound delightful to you, then brews that were aged for 170 years at the bottom of the Baltic Sea might just be your thing.

Scientists recently opened two bottles of beer from a shipwreck off the coast of Finland to get a profile of the 19th century brews.

Some seawater had seeped into the bottles and decades of bacterial activity gave the beer some rather unpleasant notes. But enough compounds from the drinks survived that the researchers were able to tell that the beers’ original flavors probably would have been quite similar to those of modern beers, according to a new report. [In Photos: Baltic Sea Shipwreck Yields 200-Year-Old Seltzer Bottle]

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Beer Profile: Cool Spring’s Hop Brutality

Profiled by Ken Carman for PGA

pgaprofilehbru You know, ever since American craft brewers invented the concept of the extreme Imperial IPA there have been a few great, and far too many rip your mouth out astringent, versions of this creation. Some of the best came from the sadly deceased BrewWorks in Covington, KY. thanks to Tim Rastetter. Then came the raw/fresh hop craze, and what was too often bad got worse: like of like chewing on excessively bitter grass. The better got even more interesting, though there were even fewer of those.

Cool Springs, a brewpub in Franklin, TN, with Derrick Morse at the helm, started to bottle not too long ago. I have been impressed with most of their brews, and this is definitely one.

The nose is grapefruit perfection: that American IPA fruity sense that defines the Double IPA style. Grapefruit deluxe, which of course means cascade, centennial, Amarillo. etc. This is classic grapefruit. The malt is way in the background so more west coast.

Clarity sucked in samples we had. Slightly dark and moody gold. Pillow head with glass cling. Nice big head.

Light side of medium body. A hint chewy. The hops still hang, body-wise.

If you’re looking for hop dominance this is it. I have had more dominant, but this is what hop dominance should be. Hops in this quaff makes you hop’s bitch, but the brewer needs to know how to deliver each lash of the hop-whip. There’s “dominance,” then there’s undrinkable.

Hops are the focus, but the malt complexity, while subtle, is complex enough to provide a firm, solid, platform for hops to grow right on your tongue.

87 @ Beer Advocate,

63 @ Rate Beer

Hop heaven.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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martianKen Carman was born of a deity named Bill many moons ago when his wife Winnie was fermenting well at the time. He is a beer judge, beer writer and reviewer of brew-based business, beer commentator and BEER GOD. Do not challenge the one who ate too many hops one year, hence the green pigment you see to the left!