Hudson River Valley Wineries

This blog is dedicated to news, events, profiles and reviews of fine food and wine in the Hudson River Valley. We especially feature and spotlight the burgeoning wineries of the Hudson River Region. We accept and will relay information about releases, events, festivals and any toher happening related to food and wine in the Hudson River Valley. Send pertitnent information to

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Carlo DeVito is a long time wine lover, and author of books and magazine articles. He is the author of Wineries of the East Coast. He has traveled to wine regions in California, Canada, up and down the east coast, France, Spain and Chile. He has been a published executive for more than 20 years. He shepherded the wine book program of Wine Spectator as well as worked with Kevin Zraly, Oz Clarke, Matt Kramer, Tom Stevenson, Evan Dawson, Greg Moore, Howard Goldberg, and many other wine writers. He has also published Salvatore Calabrese, Jim Meehan, Clay Risen, and Paul Knorr. Mr. DeVito is the inventor of the mini-kit which has sold more than 100,000,000 copies world wide. He has also publisher such writers as Stephen Hawking, E. O Wilson, Philip Caputo, Gilbert King, James McPherson, John and Mary Gribbin, Thomas Hoving, David Margolick, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., John Edgar Wideman, Stanley Crouch, Dan Rather, Dee Brown, Susie Bright, and Eleanor Clift. He is also the owner of Hudson-Chatham Winery, co-founder of the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail, and president of the Hudson Valley Wine Country.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hudson Valley Wineries and Cider Makers Featured in

CONGRATULATIONS to Aaron Burr Cider, Brookview Station, Breezy Hill Orchards, and Hudson-Chatham Winery for appearing in this piece! Awesome!!!

6 New York State Beverage      Makers You Should Know


Breezy Hill Orchard

Breezy Hill Orchard sells an array of apple products: pastries of all sorts, sweet cider, and a delicately effervescent hard cider that I've been sipping as a substitute for dessert. The brew, available by the growler, is on the sweeter side but not overly so, and has layers of baked and caramelized apples given lift and brightness by a gentle carbonation. Open this growler slowly: it'll bubble up fast on you, even if you unscrew with care.

Hudson-Chatham Winery

Though Millbrook Winery is the most talked-about spot in the immediate area, Ghent's Hudson-Chatham Winery has also received acclaim and awards in its short history. The winery boasts the now-classic story of a husband and wife, wine fans both, who said, "Let's just start a winery! It'll be a fun part-time thing!" As they sell at several markets a week, host innumerable events at the winery, and, oh, also make wine, Carlo and Dominique DeVito are re-thinking the part time bit. Their Baco Noir, made with a hardy grape that can withstand the Hudson Valley's less-than-ideal weather, is deep with sour cherry and dried fruit flavors, smooth, and refreshing—an autumnal treat also available in an oak-aged Reserve edition.

Brookview Station Winery

Like Harvest Spirits and Harvest MoonBrookview Station Winery is an extension of an orchard operation looking to diversify its products to 1) increase profits from extra fruit and 2) draw tourists in year-round. Their still apple and fruit wines run the gamut from semi-dry to dessert sweet, and are geared towards table wines that happen to play well with food.
They recently started brewing a hard cider that's fresh, clean, and light—a little like the PBR of cider (comparably priced, too), which I mean in the very best way. Most large-scale ciders available in the States are grossly sweet and taste more of the steel tanks they're fermented in than actual apples; here's an honest brew made for gulping after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day. At their tasting room, you can also have what they playfully call a "Hudson Valley Kir": a cup of hard cider with a spare pour of their very own cassis.

Aaron Burr Cider

When I brought a bottle of Aaron Burr Cider to the office—a find from a trip to the New Amsterdam Market in NYC—it admittedly received mixed responses. But it may be just the thing for an appetite-stimulating pre-dinner sip. The dry cider is aged in bourbon barrels and made barely effervescent with tiny, Champagne-like bubbles. You smell sweet oak and corn on a whiff, but a taste is all dry, funky cider apples—until the very end when the bourbon comes back for a sweet boozy kick.
About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Steven Kolpan Recommends HV Wines, Beers, Ciders!

The Valley Table continues to produce solid wine writing about the region. In fact, outside of Hudson Valley Wine magazine, The Valley Table is consistently covering the wine scene in the region, and should be recommended for it! This is from the current issue! December 2012! Issue 60 - C. DeVito

Without further ado....notes from Steven Kolpan from The Valley Table....

It is highly unlikely that the first celebration at Plymouth Rock featured any grape-based wines. History tells us that the drinks of choice were ale and America's original "wine"--hard cider. (The reason we say ale rather than the more-generic "beer" is that lager, which requires chilling (originally in cold caves in the winter) had yet to be invented at the time of the Pilgrims. Ale and/or lager can be great matches with Thanksgiving dinner. You can keep it local with brews from Keegan Ales (Kingston), a growler of your favorite style from the Gilded Otter Brewing Company (New Paltz), or a bottle of brewski from Captain Lawrence Brewing Company (Pleasantville), among others.

Still, there are many American wine choices that pair beautifully with a traditional Thanksgiving turkey-centric dinner, as well as with many ethnic versions. Red Zinfandel from California is a great choice, as are Merlot from Long Island or Pinot Noir from the Hudson Valley. There also are some charming whites: dry- to semi-dry Riesling from New York's Finger Lakes region or Washington State, Gewurztraminer from those same places, or any fruit-driven, unoaked dry white of your choosing.

This year, I think I'm going to celebrate Thanksgiving with a variety of hard ciders from the Hudson Valley (see 'Apple Cider the Hard Way,' Valley Table 59). There are so many local ciders to enjoy, including Aaron Burr, Doc's Draft (the seasonal pumpkin is quite good), Applewood, Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider, and the eponymous Annandale Cider from Montgomery Place. Hudson Valley hard cider is a great match for any Thanksgiving meal, and a revelation for those who are new to the cider experience. - Steven Kolpan, James Beard Award Winning wine author

Monday, November 26, 2012

New York Cork Report Likes Whitecliff Red Trail

New York Cork Report Editor-in-Chief Lenn Thompson recently reviewed Whitecliff Red Trail. Congrats to Michael, Yancey, and Brad at Whitecliff!

People think that I hate hybrids — but that just isn’t true. There are hybrid grapes that I think are pretty awful generally — I’m looking at you seyval blanc and traminette. But at the end of the day, if a wine tastes good, I don’t care what grape it’s made from.

This wine tastes good, even if it’s a four-grape blend that includes three hybrids that I haven’t enjoyed much in the past.

Whitecliff Vineyard NV Red Trail ($14) is a blend of dechaunac, frontenac, noiret and merlot — and the result is a spicy, easy-drinking red.

Fresh strawberry and red cherry fruit aromas are sprinkled with black pepper and cinnamon. On days two and three, an earthy, almost-loamy note emerged as well.

Though somewhat one-dimensional and lacking a bit of structure, the light-bodied palate is juicy with red berries and a subtle earthy edge. It’s the type of carafe-style red you can chill a bit if you want and drink with a wide array of foods.

Read more at:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Valley Tables Raves About Tousey Winery

In the December 2012 issue of The Valley Table, Robin Cherry wrote a great article about Ben and Kimberly Peacock of Tousey Winery in Germantown, Columbia County, New York. Tousey, in a short amount of time, has made tremendous strides in creating great quality wines. Another resounding success in the wine industry of the Hudson Valley.
Congrats to Ben and Kimberly!
And congrats to publishers Jerry and Janet!

Monday, November 19, 2012

New York Cork Report Reviews Hudson Valley Wines

From the NEW YORK CORK REPORT "Tasting Table"
Posted November 16, 2012 by Lenn Thompson in Regions
Benmarl Winery 2010 Riesling ($18): Lime/lemon and citrus blossom aromas. Nearly dry and very fruity — citrus and peach. Good freshness and medium length but finishes with a weird stale citrus note.
Brotherhood Winery 2010 Pinot Noir ($15): Cranberry-pomegranate fruit on the nose with subtle earthy spice and sweet tea. Palate brings strawberry jam and fresh cranberries. Medium bodied and fresh, but soft overall with a bit of vanilla and an earthy edge. Black tea emerges on day two of tasting. Over-delivers at$15.
Brotherhood Winery 2010 Dry Riesling ($10): 100% riesling? Hybrid-y notes on the nose along with pear and honey. Juicy pear on the palate. Dry but not austerely so. Okay acidity, but lacks focus. Simple and finishes with foxy notes.
Brotherhood Winery 2011 Riesling ($10): Smells of fruit cocktail with light floral notes. Though off-dry the fruity palate finishes nearly dry. Green apple flavors dominate. Juicy and well-priced. Solid balance/freshness.
Warwick Valley 2010 Riesling ($14): Nose of green apple, almond and citrus — with a light browned pear note. Sweeter and fruity with a squirt of lemon-lime acidity. Subtle spice. Good acidity but still finishes sweet.
Whitecliff Vineyard 2011 Riesling ($16): Grapefruit and tropical aromas (papaya/pineapple) with a hint of peach on the nose. Good freshness frames flavors of grapefruit, green fig and peach. Very good balance. Not long, but finishes nearly dry despite noticeable residual sugar (2%) on the mid-palate.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Chronogram Magazines Features Hard Apple Cider

A Cider Renaissance in the Hudson Valley

The Drunken Apple

Adam Fincke holds a Hidden Rose apple.
Adam Fincke holds a Hidden Rose apple.

The second annual Cider Week took place in October, with events in New York City and the Hudson Valley. A project originated by Glynwood, the nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture in the region, the weeklong festival featured tastings, meals with cider pairings, and presentations by cider makers—all part of an ongoing effort to educate the public about America’s oldest drink. During Prohibition, orchards dedicated to growing cider apples were planted with sweet table varieties. Now, with renewed interest in hard cider growing fast, local farmers are replanting the older varieties and fermenting their juice into some compelling beverages.

Sara Grady, director of special projects at Glynwood, describes the unique continuity of apple orchards: “Fruit growing is the only sector of agriculture where you can frequently see three or four generations of succession in the Hudson Valley. It’s a profound statement. In what form of agriculture are you more rooted?” The cider renaissance has arisen as the new generation responds to present economic realities: “Previous generations built profitable eating apple businesses, whether for supermarkets, export, or juice. But recently, that business just blew up,” says Grady, due to lower-priced foreign apples. Young farmers, some with their parents and some on their own, are creating new ventures that focus on adding value to apples, and in the process add still more value and variety to the ever-broadening range of excellent local products for us to enjoy.

In case you missed out on Cider Week, here’s a primer on the region’s offerings. Whether beer or wine is your go-to libation, you’ll find something that fits your palate and complements your dinner. Cider can be divided into sweet and dry styles; the sweet versions resemble the ciders made in Normandy, while the dry style is more English. Both are food-friendly; in general, the sweeter versions should be treated like off-dry Rieslings, which match well with Asian flavors and spice, while the dry versions are closer to beer with their tannic and slightly bitter notes. It’s also easy to overthink pairings; do what New Yorkers did for centuries before Prohibition and drink the cider you like with the food you like.

Adam Fincke at the Montgomery Place orchards in Annandale loads the apple shredder.
Adam Fincke at the Montgomery Place orchards in Annandale loads the apple shredder.

Doc’s Draft hard ciders are made by the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery, one of the sponsors of Cider Week. Their annual output is huge—100,000 gallons a year—and, besides regular, their range includes pear, raspberry, currant, and pumpkin (in season, which is now). Doc’s is by far the easiest to find in stores, and offers a good introduction to those unfamiliar with hard cider. Warwick also makes the Pomme Bullé cider for the Hudson-Chatham Winery in Ghent. The apples are 100 percent Northern Spy, all from one orchard in Germantown, making this cider the equivalent of a single-vineyard wine. It’s elegant, lightly sweet, and has a gently funky complexity. At 5 percent alcohol, it makes for a fine aperitif. “We’re a winery, but we love cider, and it’s important to New York State,” says Dominique DeVito, who owns the winery with her husband Carlo. They produce about 200 cases a year. Carlo is a big fan of the cider kir, a cocktail made by adding some of the region’s excellent cassis to their sparkling cider.

Warwick also bottles Tim Dressel’s Kettleborough Cider, a brand new venture that he launched from his family’s orchard in New Paltz. He is renting a tasting room behind the farm stand, and has already sold half of the 200 gallons he made in his first year. At 29 years old, he’s off to a good start; his bone-dry, English-style blend of Northern Spy, Idared, Golden Russet, and Empire apples was fermented on Champagne yeast at the Whitecliff winery’s facility and offers a strong apple character, bracing acidity, and a firm tannic grip. Lovers of hoppy beers and assertive red wines will find much to enjoy, and Dressel suggests that customers with a taste for sweeter ciders can make an apple mimosa by adding a bit of unfermented cider to soften the edges. He hopes to build a new building on the property in the next year or two so he can ferment and bottle on site.

Another new arrival is the Bad Seed Cider Company, a collaboration between Albert Wilklow and Devin Britton (both also 29) that began selling this spring. Wilklow grew up on his family’s orchard in Highland, and he and Britton have taken their love of home-brewed beer and brought it to bear on apples. “We love to play around; we’re trying all sorts of things,” explains Wilklow, mentioning a new strawberry-rhubarb flavor and a bourbon barrel-aged version. They made about 1,000 gallons last year, and are on track to produce three times as much this year. In addition to their regular hard cider, they use Belgian yeasts to make witte and abbey-style ciders, and add hops to another that they call an IPC (India Pale Cider). They sell at several greenmarkets in Brooklyn, and are expanding their facilities to meet the growing demand.

Fincke loading the hydraulic press.
Fincke loading the hydraulic press.

“I have learned that there’s no limit to the subtle flavors cider can have, and it’s awesome for carrying other flavors.” That’s Doug Fincke, who makes Annandale Atomic Hard Cider with his 25-year-old son Adam at the Montgomery Place orchards in Annandale. Made from a blend of the many varieties in their orchard, it has a rich apple character and lively acidity. Fincke is effusive and expansive on the subject of apples, and his enthusiasm is contagious: “In the spring, the blossoms come out and they seduce you with their scent, then you work hard all summer to get the fruit, then in the winter the wood keeps you warm and the cider gives you a buzz. It’s a beautiful journey; it’s like bonding with the trees.” They sell it from their farm stand on Route 9G, but it’s done for the year; aspiring druids and dryads will have to wait until spring to try it.

Continuing on the more traditional English farmstead side of the field, Jeff Soons of Orchard Hill in New Hampton makes a field blend with a fruity nose, lots of complexity, and firm tannins. Also in Orange County, Andrew Brennan’s Aaron Burr Cidery is making another tangy and tannic old-school example as well as a version fermented with ginger and carrots that tastes like a very adult version of ginger ale and positively begs to be mixed into a dark and stormy with some good rum. Elizabeth Ryan, of Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider in Staatsburg, makes a sturdy version well worth sampling. She, along with several other producers, went to France last fall as part of Glynwood’s Apple Exchange. They visited and learned from award-winning cider makers in Normandy, where wild yeasts are used almost exclusively. French producers use hundreds of different types of cider apples and a special fermentation process called keeving to achieve a profoundly complex product. Ryan and some of her colleagues have begun experimenting with these methods, and many of them are planting the bittersweet and bittersharp varieties of apple that make the most interesting cider.

Fermenting demijohns of Annandale Atomic Hard Cider.
Fermenting demijohns of Annandale Atomic Hard Cider.

Rounding out the sweet end of the spectrum, Slyboro Cider House up in Granville makes two noteworthy off-dry sparklers: Hidden Star and Old Sin. The former is a blend of Northern Spy and Liberty, and strikes a nice balance between appley accessibility and farmstead funk. The latter is blended with some of their ice cider—made by concentrating sugars through freezing, like ice wine—and is quite sweet. The ice cider is available separately, and is ideal for accompanying desserts (like apple pie) or just being dessert by itself. Naked Flock, a product of Applewood Winery in Warwick, makes three flavors of cider: Original (sweetened with honey), Draft (fermented with Belgian ale yeast and sweetened with maple syrup), and Pumpkin.

 Though it’s made in New Hampshire, Steven Wood’s Farnum Hill cider is worth mentioning both for its superlative quality and because Wood has been influential and helpful to local producers, offering guidance as they come together to form the Hudson Valley Cider Alliance. The Alliance, another facet of Glynwood’s strategy to build a viable apple industry in the region, will be meeting soon with New York State officials to discuss ways in which regulations can be made more friendly to small producers. Grady explains some of the obstacles: “We haven’t had a hard cider industry for decades, so any problems in the law are just becoming apparent now. It’s very convoluted. We’re dealing with an old law and a new industry.” There are discrepancies between federal and state laws governing cider, and the current state law caps cider at 7 percent alcohol, which, Grady says, “is not the true alcoholic potential of New York State apples.”

After nearly a century of obscurity, hard cider has come roaring back to life across the country. MillerCoors recently bought a Minnesota-based cider operation, and Michelob has launched a low-calorie cider (which the New York Cork Report compares favorably with toilet water). Do not concern yourselves with these corporate simulacra; they have as much personality as the eponymous beers. Focus your attention instead on the talented local farmers who are rediscovering America’s original table wine and re-establishing a nascent industry in the process. If you support their efforts, in a few years you’ll be able to survey the region’s thriving cider scene and proudly tell your drinking buddies: “We built that.”

Monday, November 05, 2012

Hillrock Estate Distillery - One of the Hudson Valley's New Gems

(Note: I must first apologize to Tim and Jeff and the group. I very much intended to attend the recent grand opening, but was unable to because of the demands placed on me this last Saturday by my own farm. A visit to Hillrock is still very high on my list, an should be for everyone who’s interested in quality craft distilling.)

I recently met Jeffrey Baker the owner of Hillrock Este Distillery at Governor Cuomo’s Wine, Beer, and Spirits Summit in Albany. It’s his family farm in Ancram, New York, in the Hudson Valley. He was an early advocate of the farm-to-table movement. More than 20 years ago, Jeffrey established one of the region’s first pasture raised, sustainable beef operations producing premier Black Angus beef for his Saratoga Springs restaurant, Winslow’s. Hillrock Estate Distillery is one of the few distilleries in the world to floor malt its own naturally grown grain and produce fine hand crafted spirits on the estate. Jeffrey is an Executive Managing Director of Savills LLC, a NYC based real estate investment banking firm and holds an MBA from The Wharton Business School and Masters Degrees in Architecture and City Planning.

Hillrock is an absolutely unique place, and Jeff has hired an incredible team to help run it. With their skills, Hillrock has created immense buzz in the industry. It’s a testament to his group.
Most notably, was his Master Distiller, David Pickerell, who was previously the Master Distiller for Makers Mark. Dave directs Hillrock’s production and operations as Master Distiller. Dave has over 20 years of distillery industry experience and is respected world wide as one of the top Master Distillers and spirits experts in the industry. Dave graduated top in his class in chemical engineering at University of Louisville and also holds a BS in Chemistry from West Point. During his 14 years at Makers Mark, Dave oversaw an 80 person staff and was responsible for all aspects of production from selection of grains to choosing of barrels, distillation and final tasting. Dave provides Hillrock with unmatched industry experience in the areas of product development, business planning, system design, production, staffing/training, operations management and sales.
I also recently saw Tim Welly at a tasting of Hillrock at Hudson Wine Merchants, in Hudson, NY. I had known Tim from his days as Cellarmaster at Millbrook, while he worked under John Graziano for the last four years. He is now the Head of Operations and Distiller at Hillrock. Time has completed Intermediate and Advanced Certificate classes and is working toward a Diploma of Wine and Spirits. In addition to his work at Millbrook Vineyards, Tim has spent over 12 years in the restaurant and wine industry including positions in wine/spirits distribution & sales and as a wine buyer. Born in Toledo, Ohio, Tim later attended Ohio Wesleyan University where he studied Economics and Management.

There are two things that speak volumes about this operation. Firstly, they are totally vertical. They grow the grain, malt their barley, and make their whiskey from what they grow. If that wasn’t what made them unique enough, they also use the solera method. The solera method, where you only take a portion from each barrel each year, and then replace it for the next year, so that every year your sherry tastes the same is the same technique port and sherry manufacturers use year in and year out. It’s guarantees quality and consistency, and is extremely capital intensive to make sure the product is of the most dependable type. This kind of commitment is what is exciting people about Hillrock.
And of course, it's in the Hudson Valley, which continues to expand and be one of the most surprising and up-and-coming regions in the wine, beers, and spirits industry.

And excited they should be. The stuff tastes incredible. Smooth, with a big beautiful nose with cereal and corn and smoke….it’s absolutely smooth as silk…incredible. I see only great things for this unique operation.
I’m definitely going down to Hillrock Estate Distillery, and so should you!!!!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Harvest Spirits Grappa - A Unique Product and Partnership

Derek and Ashley Grout have made Harvest Spirits one of the best stories in distilling in the Hudson Valley and in the northeast. With key drivers like Core Vodka and Cornelius Applejack their brand has traveled to numerous states throughout the country.
One of their funnest new products from the recent past was Hudson Valley Grappa.
Grappa is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume (70 to 120 US proof). It is similar to Spanish orujo, French marc, Georgian chacha, Portuguese bagaceira, Greek tsipouro, Hungarian Törkölypálinka, Bulgarian ракия(rakia), Serbian, Croatian (in Istria: rakija and grappa), Romanian tescovină,Albanian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Turkish rakı and Macedonian ракија.
In Italy, grappa is primarily served as a digestivo or after-dinner drink. Its main purpose was to aid in the digestion of heavy meals. Grappa may also be added to espresso coffee to create a caffè corretto, meaning "corrected coffee". Another variation of this is the ammazzacaffè ("coffee-killer"): the espresso is drunk first, followed by a few ounces of grappa served in its own glass. In Veneto, there is resentin ("little rinser"): after finishing a cup of espresso with sugar, a few drops of grappa are poured into the nearly empty cup, swirled and drunk down in one sip.

Most grappa is clear, indicating it is an unaged distillate, though some may retain very faint pigments from their original fruit pomace. Lately, aged grappas have become more common, and these take on a yellow, or red-brown hue from the barrels in which they are stored.
At 40% AbV this elixir from Harvest Spirits packs a whollop. This grappa is made from the left over grape pressings of our local winery, Hudson Chatham Winery. A blend of Bacco Noir and Seval Blanc grapes are made into a crude wine and distilled twice. An assertive mid-palate eases to a warm finish of Thompson raisins and toffee. Pefect after a heavy meal.
This is a great story because it is a great partnering between a Hudson Valley distiller and a Hudson Valley winery. The two are located not far from one another along Route 9, and are on the same beverage trail, the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail.

Derek is considered one of the cutting edge distillers in the valley. Hudson-Chatham is a small but accomplished winery with a number of medals to their credit and an accomplished wine maker in Steve Casscles.
This is a great new grappa, and a unique product. Grappa is common in which is not all that common in the north east, an the partnership makes it that much more compelling.

Congrats to Derek and Ashley on a fantastic product!

Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard Gin

Recently I saw Ralph Enzo of the Hudson Valley distillery Tuthilltown at Governor Cuomo’s Wine, Beer, and Spirits Summit. Ralph Erenzo, Distiller and Partner at Tuthilltown, was a successful entrepreneur and an experienced and accomplished rock climber who established The ExtraVertical Climbing Center on Broadway. Ralph’s writing and commentary have been featured in national media including Op Ed columns for the New York Times. His work at the State level has resulted in the passage of the Farm Distillery Act which permits New York farms to establish distilleries on site and sell their agricultural spirits at the farm. Born and raised a New Yorker, he has realized a lifelong dream of settling in the Hudson Valley, where he is easily one of the most important voices in the industry.

He and his impressive team have developed numerous award winning and popular products. The most recent is Half Moon Orchard Gin, which is named for the vessel in which Henry Hudson first explored the River. In that same spirit of exploration, Ralph Enzo and his team have created a new base of near neutral spirit from both Wheat and the Hudson Valley’s ubiquitous Apples.

“We’re in the heart of the American apple industry so it’s natural for us to turn to apples to create an original New York gin,” says Ralph.

According to the website, “The distinctive subtleties of the apple blend in the base spirit create a smoother and rounder gin, more drinkable than the standard grain neutral spirit base used in other gins. Half Moon Orchard Gin has an ABV of 46%.”

This was an incredibly aromatic gin, with a huge nose full of botanicals and floral notes, but not too much. Ralph and the team wanted it to be aromatic but they also wanted it to be a good drinking gin. I agree that sometimes the artisanal gins to be found can be overly powerful in an effort to be unique, so much so, that they also cease to taste like gin. It was light and easy drinking. This will be fantastic for dry martinis, and other cocktails. A fantastic new gin!

Congrats to the group!

Brown's Brewing Whiskey Porter

Back in 1993, Garry and Kelly Brown had a vision to turn a 150 year-old warehouse on a then-blighted River Street in Troy into a fully operational craft brewery. The building was previously owned by a local printing company and had been gutted by a massive fire and the project took three painstaking years to complete. However, the endeavor was well worth it as Brown’s Brewing Company became an instant success as the first brewery restaurant in the Capital Region.

Today, their River Street Taproom in Troy, New York is a social hub for the community and offers a menu that compliments the beer we brew on site. They brew over 25 different styles of ales and lagers throughout the year and serve over a dozen beers on tap at any one time.

They won the TAP New York’s 2008 Matthew Vassar Cup for the Best Brewery in Hudson Valley, as well as a Gold medal for our Pale Ale by the Culinary Institute of America. They also won prestigious World Beer Cup Gold and Silver Awards for our Oatmeal Stout and Whiskey Porter, respectively, and Metroland readers have voted them Best Brewpub in 2008 and 2009.

Brown’s Brewing Company has plans to open a production facility in a converted 19th century mill along the Walloomsac River in Hoosick, NY.

First, Brown’s makes a classic English Porter. They use two malts including Domestic Two Row Pale & Caramel Malts and then they add Chocolate Hops from Willamette. Then they take a portion and age it in a genuine bourbon whiskey barrel for two months. The barrel imparts the fine characteristics of bourbon and oak into this complex ale.

I was first introduced to this style of beer by Joshua M. Bernstein who is the author of BREWED AWAKENING about cutting edge techniques and trends in the beer industry. A fantastic book and author. But I became hooked on this massive beer.

Make no mistake. If you like big stouts and porters….this is the beer for you. Big chocolate flavors, Hints of vanilla and spice. A touch of licorice…and of course, a big nose full of bourbon.

The Brown’s Brewing Whiskey Porter won the 2008 World Beer Cup Silver Medal. Winner -Few ales are this fine.