For claiming to not like virtual beer tastings, Northway Brewing Co. Director of Sales and Operations Max Oswald puts on a mean virtual beer tasting. That was evident to everyone who tuned in to Saratoga Living‘s at-home beer tasting event with Northway Brewing on February 11, which featured six different brews made with ingredients from the Queensbury brewery’s local partners, plus one bonus can: Northway’s Miracle on Ice golden ale, a beer that commemorates the historic defeat of the Soviet Union by the US men’s Olympic hockey team in 1980.
Wish you were there? (At the tasting, that is—I think we all wish we were at the Miracle game.) Don’t dismay: We recorded the show, so, with a little legwork on your part, you can completely recreate the evening, cheese curds and all. Here’s how:
Step 1: Get Beer
While some of Northway’s flagship brews are available in grocery stores all around the Capital Region, your best bet for picking up all six beers is at the actual brewery, which is located at 1043 US Rt. 9 in Queensbury. Some of the featured beers are only available on tap, and can be brought home in growlers. You’ll need cans of Oatbituary, Pale Bearer, Cadillac Dreams, Barkeater Chocolate Cherry Stout and Miracle on Ice, plus growlers of Chin Monkey and Lunch Break (if it’s still available—as you’ll learn in the video, there was only one keg in existence).
Step 2: Get Death Wish Coffee
Northway Brewing’s partnership with Death Wish Coffee dates back to before the Saratoga-based coffee brand’s 2016 Super Bowl commercial made it a national brand, and when Max and Northway’s head brewer, Joe Lawlor, were working at the now-closed Saratoga Brewing. Between Saratoga Brewing and Northway, Max and Joe have collaborated on nine beers with Death Wish—including the Oatbituary stout and Pale Bearer IPA you just picked up—and even helped the coffee company come up with its cold brew recipe. You can pick up a couple cans of that cold brew, which comes slightly sweetened as well as unsweetened, at most grocery stores in Saratoga.
Step 3: Get Cooperstown Distillery Spirits
Northway’s second partner is Cooperstown Distillery, which opened a beverage exchange on Broadway in Saratoga this past December. The distillery drops off used whiskey barrels at Northway, which Joe then uses to barrel-age some of his beers. The two you picked up—Lunch Break and Chin Monkey—highlight two very different outcomes of the barrel-aging process. Stop by the Saratoga Beverage Exchange to pick up a Mini Triple Play: three mini baseball-shaped bottles of Cooperstown Distillery vodka, whiskey and bourbon.
Step 4: Get Argyle Cheese Farmer Cheese
Another local artisan Northway partners with is Argyle Cheese Farmer. Wait, what? Cheese in beer? Brewmaster Joe actually uses Argyle Cheese Farmer yogurt as a souring agent in the Cadillac Dreams sour. In the case of this slightly creamy beer, bacteria does the souring, rather than yeast. Stop by Argyle Cheese Farmer’s brand-new facility on Burgoyne Ave in Hudson Falls to pick up cheese curds in a variety of flavors, plus blocks of cheese, dips, smoothies and yogurt.
Step 5: Get Barkeater Chocolate
Lastly, Northway Brewing partners with North Creek–based Barkeater Chocolate to create its Barkeater Chocolate Cherry Stout, a 100-barrel batch that was made with 88 pounds of raw chocolate and 800 pounds of cherry puree. Barkeater’s bars and other offerings are available in local grocery stores, including the Price Chopper in Saratoga, but for the full chocolate experience, head up to the Barkeater headquarters at 3235 State Route 28.
Step 6: Get a Putnam Market Baguette
Though Downtown Saratoga’s Putnam Market isn’t a Northway partner, what beer tasting would be complete without fresh bread? Use your baguette as a palette cleanser between beer samples.
Step 7: Tune in to the Tasting
We realize this video doesn’t exactly offer the best viewing experience (hey, we’re all still figuring out this whole virtual event thing), but if you look closely at the second box from the left on the top row, you’ll see Max, Joe and myself in front of the Northway Brewing Co. mural, sampling each of the beers in the tasting kit and giving away (a few too many) upcoming Northway Brewing projects.
Thanks to everyone who purchased tickets and tuned in on February 11, Saratoga Living was able to donate enough money to push Brewnited (Northway’s charity that supports out-of-work service industry employees and essential workers via direct payments) over the $50,000 mark. We encourage anyone who takes part in this tasting after the fact to consider making a donation to Brewnited here.
Love craft beer? For more on the Capital Region’s brewing scene, check out the latest issue of Capital Region Living, which features stories on how Upstate New York fits in to the larger craft beer craze, how local bottle shop Pint Sized is killing it during COVID, how to tell the difference between an ale and a lager and what exactly a cicerone does, as well as a complete guide to Capital Region breweries, from Catskill to Queensbury.