Brew Biz: Werts and All, Lake Placid

    Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Salt City Homebrewers in Syracuse, NY. Former member of Escambia Bay Brewers, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers. Ken has been writing on beer-related topics, and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for well over 20 years.

The Topic-A casual review of two breweries with the same brewer, and what may cause at least one difference between the two.

    It was almost my birthday so what did we do? GO TO BREWERIES! I had had previous contact with Big Slide Brewery. Their beers looked interesting, as did their menu. The brewer also provided a second brewery he brewed at in his message to me: Lake Placid Brewery. Home to UBU Ale.
    Right up front: this is no BJCP-driven review. More like a “drive by” commentary. By necessity we were more focused on “drive by” because of the distance from home.
    In Lake Placid we stopped by two breweries. Two breweries with the same brewer: Kevin Litchfield.
    How can THAT be interesting? Well, we found one distinct difference between the breweries. But, before that, other notes….
Big Slide
    The first visit was to Big Slide. Small, comfortable, establishment on the way to the site of the Olympics. Last time I was here I was a student at Town of Webb in Old Forge, NY, and performing at All State Choir along with my fellow classmates. They were still building the slide and everything else.
    At Big Slide we had the “Birra Torta.” The menu called it “Chile Beef Stew, grinder roll, pepper cheese, cilantro, cup of birra broth for dipping.” Especially this time of year (winter) I was expecting a beef stew with a chili spin. No, it was an EXCELLENT hoagie with marinated beef and a dip that was somewhat tasteless. Good for the waffle fries. Kind of threw us at first, but pleasurable. May I suggest up front the hoagie-like aspect to the description.
    Unfortunately I lost my beer notes from Slide. Here is what I remember… Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All, Lake Placid”

Deschutes “Tropical Fresh” IPA: Voluptuous Clarity

Written by Steve Body

Fruit…in beer?

Well…okay. I guess.

After literal generations of beer being grains, yeast, hops, and relentless marketing, beer suddenly evolved a BIG Difference – FLAVORS. LOTS of flavors, of all kinds: flowers, spices, bread, cookies, infusions galore, chocolate, licorice…BIG flavors. This difference – derived at first by clever use of grains and very different yeasts and the relative handful of hops variations that existed when craft beer started to Boom – became the hallmark of that alternative school of brewing.

BUT…as with the Big IBU Scare of the early 00s, things like this escalate. We are Americans, after all, and for us Bigger Is Better. Nothing Is Too Much. And very little is ever Enough. Soon, those original fruity beers without infusions didn’t satisfy the craving for fruity beers. As clever people will, clever people began to experiment with ways to shovel up more fruit(ish) flavors – mainly citrus but also various melons, berries, flowers, nuts, anything, really, all of it kinda centered upon the juice boxes on which the new waves of people reaching drinking age were raised. “Tropical” became a core idea. Pineapple, guava, mango, papaya, lychi, citrus, and on and on. Even the exotic mangosteen and dragon fruit have had cameos in the Beer Fruit Thang. Coconut, produced by some newish hops, sticks its knobby little head up, pretty frequently. And, of course, this doesn’t even include the breweries which reasoned, correctly, that you could just, like, dump actual stuff into the tanks and induce whatever the hell flavors you want, without having to wrestle with those complicated ol’ hops and yeasts.

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