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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shmaltz Brewing Company Grand Opening Bash (Clifton Park, NY)


On Sunday, M and I made the quick trip up to Clifton Park to check out the opening of the newest brewery in the Capital Region, Shmaltz Brewing. You can read all about them on their website about their beginnings, but here's the super Cliffs Notes version -  they started off making and distributing their beer through a contract brewery, got tired of that gig and wanted to make beer all on their own. And their location? A business park in the 'burbs. Hey, if it works for Captain Lawrence Brewing, why not them... right?

They have two lines, HE'BREW Beer and Coney Island Craft Lagers. I've only had the latter, and that was years ago. I honestly can't even tell you how it was, as that beer was purchased during a blizzard and I was pretty... slizzard. M's had Coney Island beers in the past and did not like them at all. So M was weary about checking this out, but decided to go after seeing the list of other breweries that would be in attendance.


For twenty-five bucks (plus service fees) we got a 6oz. tasting glass and five wooden beer tokens. Just five. I think the only ones really enforcing that rule was Shmaltz... most of the brewery tables filled all glasses put in front of them. Maybe it's a legality thing.


Their tasting room is nice and roomy, with their "shop" on the left side as you enter. There are plenty of tables, chairs, and leather couches. Be careful with some of their bigger tables - they're on wheels. Their "bar" is tucked away in a corner next to the door that leads you into the actual brewing area.


The food trucks were in the back, but if you were lucky you got a piece of brownie made with their beer. I was able to score a piece. Not super sweet, but dense and chocolate-y. Imagine if it was used in an ice cream...


There were tours of their brewing area, which I didn't really pay attention to because IT WAS SO HOT. Super hot. I was melting. And darn me for not being Filipino enough to carry a fan with me. I overheard a guy talking about the only thing hotter than this was the Made in the Shade festival in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

My biggest gripe about the event was the lack of any mechanical devices to circulate the air... and perhaps even cool it a bit. How did fans not even factor into the planning of this? It's the middle of summer, and maybe it's just me... but a warehouse full of sweaty stinky people doesn't sound like good times. M insisted that it wasn't possible because the brewing has to be at a certain temperature. To that I call bull. I'm sorry, but even with that big of a space and all your garage doors open, fans would have made things much more enjoyable.


As hot as it was, the beer did help. Of all the beers that I had, the one I liked the most was the raspberry saison, Rock the Boat, from Adirondack Brewery. The raspberry flavor was not overpowering, and it was a very smooth and drinkable. A close second was the Lower Standard IPA from Peekskill Brewery. Of course I had to have some of the house beers - Shmaltz's black IPA, death of a Contract Brewer, was pretty good, and I'm not a fan of the dark beers. The other beer was either the Rejewvenator or Jewbelation. Not my favorite.


There were about nine breweries that joined in on the fun, along with the  homebrew clubs of Saratoga and Albany. The Albany Brew Crafters submitted a beer at the National Homebrewers Conference and made it to the second round. A pretty good feat considering there were probably people submitting beers from all over the country to compete. And speaking of the NHC, a member of the Cass River Homebrew Club (the club that M's sister is a part of) won gold for his beer! I'm pretty sure it was a stout, but it could have been a porter. Anyways, for him to win gold when he was up against hundreds... pretty impressive.


As you can see, it's a huge space. And at the height of the celebration, the place was pretty full. It would be interesting to see what it looks like during normal operating hours.


There were water stations set up all over the brewery, for people to have a cool sip of water, and clean out their glasses in between beers.


Along with the music, there were some side show acts. I was in the back so I didn't get to see much of the Human Blockhead's act, and caught a glimpse of Legs Malone's burlesque act. Going by the sounds from the audience, it was all pretty good.


You may or may not have seen it, but I was interviewed for a story about the opening. I was pretty flustered and babbled maybe a bit more than I normally do, but they pared it down into the smallest snippet. Check it out if it's still online

Will have to go back there again when it's a little cooler and not too crowded. And  hopefully they'll take credit cards.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Thanks so much for joining us this past weekend at our Grand Opening Bash. Overall, looked like everyone had a blast, but of course there were a few hiccups (see fans, ice, etc.). Chalk it up to inexperience. We've never owned a space that big, never planned an event that big, and never filled it with so many friends and fans (the people, not the machines).

There is definitely room for improvement for version 2.0, but at the end of the day we were really pleased with the outcome and incredibly excited to be a part of such an enthusiastic craft beer community.

Looking forward to seeing you back there once we're 100% operational!

Zak Davis
National Sales Manager
Shmaltz Brewing Company

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