Tag Archives: Saranac

Saranac’s new Single Malt brew will appeal to whiskey and beer aficionados

Label for Saranac Single Malt Scottish Ale

Label for Saranac Single Malt Scottish Ale

Scottish ale aged in single-malt Scotch whiskey barrels.

By Alan J. Wax

A recently released beer from the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. could be a beer for Scotch whiskey aficionados or, perhaps, a Scotch for beer drinkers.

The beer, called Saranac Single Malt is a strong Scotch ale – a one-off, limited edition brew that’s part of the Utica, New York-based brewer’s Saranac High Peaks series targeted to beer geeks.

Matt, established 126 years ago, besides being known for its Utica Club American lager and its line of Saranac beers, produced since 1985, is a big contract brewer whose customers over the years have included Brooklyn Brewery, Boston Beer Co., Harpoon Brewery, Kirkland (Costco) and numerous other labels that have since vanished into oblivion.

The Matt brewery, now ranked No. 11 in terms of sales volume among U.S. craft brewers, appears to have taken a step forward with this new release from its long-time aping of product lines of other brewers, among them Samuel Adams.

Like many beers on the market these days, Saranac Single Malt is aged in wood, but instead of Bourbon barrels, F.X. Matt aged its high gravity (9% abv) Scotch ale aged in hundred-year-old whiskey barrels from the Tomintoul-Glenlivet Distillery, a somewhat off-the-radar whiskey producer in Ballindalloch, in the Speyside region of Scotland. Its unpeated whiskey rarely is seen as a single malt; most of Tomintoul’s output goes into blended whiskies. Previously, the barrels were used to age Sherry wine. Matt started aging the beer almost a year ago on the oak.

“In our mind, the barrels are 125 years old!,” Fred Matt, president and 3rd generation owner, said in a press release.  “In all seriousness though, they are very close to that.  Imagine how much character is in this beer between our brewing history and the history of these barrels.  We’ll say 125 years worth of character.”

The beer offers an enticing nutty, caramel, scotch whiskey aroma and on the palate there are rich, sweet malt with undeniable Scotch Whiskey-like, oak, fruit and sherry notes.

To be sure, Matt is not the first brewer to go the Scotch whiskey barrel route. Two years ago, Schafly Brewing Co. in St. Louis released its own whisky–aged beer called Single Malt Scottish Ale (what else?) to mark its 21st anniversary. Schafly used emptied Highland Scotch whisky barrels from the Glen Garioch Distillery.

If nothing else, Saranac Single Malt demonstrates Matt is capable of producing a beer that can appeal to aficionados. Indeed, old dogs can learn new tricks.



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Ommegang, Brooklyn, Saranac team up to brew Savor commemorative beer

Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, Brooklyn Brewery and Saranac in Utica have teamed up to brew a New York collaboration beer for the Brewers Association’s Savor beer and food pairing event in New York City on June 14-15.

Called New York Limited, the special beer is described by the brewers as a strong white lager—a wheat beer with spicing. It was brewed at Brooklyn Brewery. Fermented with lager yeast, the beer will be bottle-conditioned with ale yeast.  New York state ingredients were used as much as possible, including honey, multiple spices, including lemon verbena, and New York State hops.

New-York-Limited_front-labelThe brew will be presented as an exit gift to Savor attendees in a 750 ml corked and caged bottle.

New York Limited is the third consecutive year that a collaboration brew was produced for Savor.  In 2011, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, of Milton, Del., and Boston’s Samuel Adams brewed Savor Flower, a 10 percent ABV, oak aged beer brewed with rose water. Last year, Boulevard Brewing Co. of Kanas City, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., of Chico, Calif., created Terra Incognita, which was brewed with Sierra’s estate grown malt and finished in Missouri oak barrels with Boulevard’s strain of the Belgian Brettanomyces yeast.

Tickets to Savor, which will take place at the Altman Building on West 18th St., remain available through Ticketmaster,  according to the craft brewer trade group, sponsor of the event.

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6 NY brewers among 76 picked to pour at Savor event in NYC June 14-15

Scene from Savor 2012

Scene from Savor 2012

A half dozen New York breweries are among 76 from across the nation selected by lottery to pour at Savor, An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, to be held in New York City on June 14-15.

Brooklyn Brewery, Bronx Brewery, Empire Brewing Co., Brewery Ommegang, Port Jeff Brewing, and Saranac Brewery were the six New York brewers selected from among 200 brewers who entered a lottery run by the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association, sponsor of the event. The lottery was held earlier this month.

The list includes 16 “Supporting Breweries” and another 60 breweries that were selected to showcase their beers over two evenings to thousands of beer and food lovers. The location of the event has not be announced.

All told, 76 breweries will serve their finest beers paired with special dishes from a menu crafted by Chef Adam Dulye of San Francisco’s Monk’s Kettle and Abbot’s Cellar restaurants.

Attendees will enjoy a diverse array of pairings, ranging from savory to sweet and everything in between. Not only that, Savor participating breweries represent all areas of the country, hailing from 26 different states. Some names are familiar, others not. Click here for the complete list of 2013 Savor breweries.

Previously, Savor was held in Washington, D.C. and will return there next year.


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The Good Life pub raises $22,000-plus for Hurricane Sandy relief


The Good Life owner Pete Mangouranes during Hurricane Sandy relief benefit.

The Good Life has a good heart.

The Massapequa Park, Long Island, gastro pub, was packed to overflowing Tuesday evening due to the promotional efforts of owner Pete Mangouranes, who promised to donate every penny spent at the pub that evening to Hurricane Sandy Relief. Indeed, by the time The Good Life closed its doors Mangouranes had collected $22,090.

The monies, including purchases by The Good Life’s patrons, servers tips and more will be split among local churches and the Tunnel to Towers Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, said Mangouranes, who put every penny of his night’s sales into the pot.

The Good Life owner Pete Mangouranes, left, looks at the scene at his bar.

The scene was a testament to Mangouranes’ social media outreach campaign.

The crowd was five deep at the bar, where the servers included Massapequa Park Mayor James Altadonna Jr., the wait for a table in the dining room ranged up to three hour. Meanwhile, dozens more imbibed drafts from a trailer on loan from Manhattan Beer Distributors on the sidewalk in a heated tent donated by Top Notch Tent Rental.

Captain Lawrence, Saranac, Great South Bay Brewery, and Ithaca Beer Co.  donated kegs of beer and Roberto Bobby Rodriquez, an award-winning homebrewer, contributed a keg of his Zombification, a hard cider made with molasses and Belgian ale yeast. A local bakery, Sugar Rush, sold cupcakes and cookies and donated rolls for sausage and pepper sandwiches sold on the sidewalk. The publishers of “Question of the Day” books pitched in too, selling their books for the charity event.  Mangouranes also raffled off a surfboard and took in donations of gift cards, clothing and other items.

Other beer-related charity events are on the calendar. On Nov. 14 The Loyal Dog Ale House in Lindenhurst, is holding an open bar from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. for those who contribute $20 to the Red Cross. And Tap & Barrel in Smithtown on Nov. 25 holds a $50 per person benefit to aid Oceanside-based Barrier Brewing, which was effectively wiped out by the storm.

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