Brew Biz: Werts and All

The Beer Diviner, Junction NY Routes 22 & 43 (15950 NYS Rt. 22), Stephentown, New York (Might also be listed as “Cherry Plain, NY.” (518) 658-0299

Written by Ken Carman for

The Beer Diviner: A Short New Brew Biz Alert

 My brother lives in Glens Falls, NY area, I was in Becket, Mass.: the Berkshires. Since I live in Tennessee, and we live so far apart, I took a Saturday and drove up Route 22: a route that snuggles up to Vermont and Massachusetts as if they were intimate lovers involved in an odd threesome.
 Most New Yorkers would wonder why I didn’t take the Thruway. It’s personal: I try to avoid what I call the Stealway. I think the state has been milking it far too long after previous promises to make it toll free. It’s also one of the worst interstates, condition-wise, I traverse yearly from Florida to Maine. It also ruins business: Mass made their turnpike free through the Berkshires for many years and it helped business. Upstate NY: the Mohawk Valley, has had no such luck… and has desperately needed since at least I lived there in the mid 70s.
 But the discoveries one finds getting off the sleep inducing four, sometimes plus, lane zoom, zoom makes it all worth it! This is where the real New York is… along with new businesses like The Beer Diviner.
 It was late Saturday I had a brief moment to stop and, for various reasons, could only buy a few bottles and have two small samples. Of course the brewer wasn’t in and I found out they brew elsewhere on a 2 barrel system Would be hard to put it in that small house, eh?
 I love these kinds of breweries, like Community Beer Works in Buffalo. Small batch, “artisan,” “farm” breweries… the last two terms much abused in my opinion. What qualifies it as “artisan” or “farm” when giant breweries use them? “Artisan” is also a bit vague.
 Obviously The Beer Diviner has turned into a grand local hangout with the lady on her back, on the cellphone, on the front porch, kids and adults out back playing lawn games and a very small tasting room.

This is IT! Talk about "small."
This is IT! Talk about “small.”
 According to the gentleman behind the bar they’ve been in business one year.
 I guessed at what might be interesting, bought two bottles of it and then asked for the samples. The lady at the bar said, “Good taste! Those are our best.”
 The bourbon barrel porter was superb. It had lingering notes like a fine bass in the background of an inspiring song, or bourbon and a nice, complex, porter up front: roasty grain complexity. Robust, I would think. I complimented them, then commented on the fact many bourbon porters I’ve had have been so drenched with bourbon the porter was lost.
 The bartender said, “Yeah, we’ve found you have to run a few batches through before you get the right touch.”
 Now I chose the gruit, and once again many gruits I’ve had might as well have been hopped. The object here is to honor the tradition of using many herbs and such to add the bitter to beer, a tradition started long before hopping beer became common place: “common place” for many reasons, one being the Catholic Church promoted hops because they were more likely to put you to sleep, rather
Sample and pint bar
Sample and pint bar
than some of the mind altering bittering herbs, or aphrodisiacs, used.
 Sigh. So much fun missed drinking in my early years. As we well know the Catholic Church’s plan worked well and we all became chaste after that when drinking beer.
 I hope to return sometime when I have more time, or even bring Millie to sample, check out the actual brewery… snag an interview.
 We shall see.

The brew board


Brew Biz: Werts and All, is a column dedicated to reviewing, discussing and commenting on all things beer including, but not limited to: marketing, homebrewing and homebrew/beer related events, how society perceives all things beer. Also: reviews of beer related businesses, opinions about trends in the beer business, and all the various homebrew, judging and organizations related to beer. Essentially, all things “beer.”
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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