When you talk to local, would-be brewers, one of the most frequent questions they say they get asked is, “What is the difference between a farm brewery and a microbrewery?”
According to the New York State Brewers Association, while it’s a personal choice for the brewmaster as to which license he or she prefers, certain privileges do exist for the farm brewer that do not for the microbrewer. Farm breweries can produce only New York-labelled beer, and they have to adhere to specific ingredient allowances.
However, farm breweries can open up to five branch offices in addition to their primary licensed location.
Additionally, farm breweries have more leeway to sell other producers’ alcoholic spirits by the glass. Also, farm breweries are permitted to craft and sell their own New York-labelled cider.
Microbreweries are not allowed branch offices, but they’re not restricted by ingredient allowances either. They also can sell other beers, ciders and wines from other crafters.
Luckily, as patrons, we have both farm breweries and microbreweries in this area with different advantages to each. Here are several to choose from:
Copper City Brewing Co. — Located at 1111 Oneida St. in Rome, Copper City Brewing Co. offers 11 beers on tap, giving you plenty to choose from whether your preference be a tasting-flight sample tray, or a pint of your favorite handcrafted beer. Copper City also serves a variety of wines from local wineries, along with hard ciders.
GreatBeerNow.com writer Bryan Carey rated his top breweries this year and as part of his travels visited Copper City Brewing in May.
Carey wrote the Rome brewery was “comfortable,” “relaxed” and a “notch or two ahead of most competitors.” “Copper City beer definitely is better than most and with quality at this level, they are well- positioned to expand and grow even more in the coming years,” the site opined. Copper City Brewery was honorably mentioned in the top 10 breweries.
Copper City can book private birthday, anniversary and retirement parties, reunions and company outings. Owners Danny Frieden and Eric Daniels, who actually met at a beer festival some years back, came together to offer the community its first microbrewery since prohibition shut down the beer barons of the 1930s.
Frieden said he was working at Revere Copper and his new business at the same time. Realizing he needed to do one or the other, he was skeptical about the brewery at first, as described in a company website video clip.
“My wife said you should do it; I said no. My wife said you should do it. I said no again. Then my wife said you should do it ... again- and I said anything you ask me to do three times I’m going to do.”
Daniels, a software engineer by trade, said brewing was his hobby for about 10 years before he considered making it a second career. “It was always my dream to take this hobby to the next level, and Copper City Brewing gave me the opportunity to do it,” said Daniels. His message to all his patrons is pretty simple: “Enjoy the beers.”
For more information see coppercitybrewing.com or call 315-281-8987
Woodland Farm Brewery — Located at 6002 Trenton Road in Utica. A New York State farm brewery, Woodland adheres to ingredient quotas. The brewers use as much New York State grain and hops as possible, and many brews are 100 percent New York State.
In addition to the beer, Woodland Farm serves Thousand Island wines, and cocktails made with liquor from the Black Button distillery in Rochester. Woodland “brews 300 gallons weekly and introduce new recipes as often as possible,” according to the brewery website.
It’s open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday. For more information see woodlandbeer.com. or call 315-864-3051
16 Stone Brewpub — The area’s newest microbrewery is in the former Butterfield House, currently The Manor, which has been completely renovated at 9542 Main St. in Holland Patent.
Co-owner Eric Constable said they’re excited to be brewing their own beer, and excited to share it with everyone, according to brewcentralny.com. Brewmaster and former chemistry teacher Randy Vitullo keeps the taps flowing and has been hand crafting microbrews for more than 20 years.
A few of the 16 listed on the company website include Don’t Tread on Wheat Ale, 16 Stone’s first American wheat beer; Sinister Minister Saison, billed as a dark French saison with a complex flavor profile; and Red Headed Mistress, a Belgian red amber brew described as gentle sweetness with a dry finish.
Another is one of the Brewpub’s flagship beers, Psycho Ass Blonde, described as a classic Belgian blonde, light and refreshing with the color of straw.
Lastly, there’s the Chuck F’N Brown, an English brown ale with malty undertones and toffee notes.
Food-wise, the pub has a host of menu options including flatbread pizzas, burgers, perogies, and gourmet hot dogs. Wednesdays have gourmet hot dogs 2-9 p.m., and open-mic night is 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursdays.
Past events have included Hang Over Yoga and Harry Potter-themed parties.
For more information see 16stonebrewpub.com or call 315-865-8500.
Good Nature Brewery — Established in 2010 by husband and wife co-owners Carrie Blackmore and Matt Whalen, this Hamilton farm brewery bills itself as a “family-friendly tap room” with a “unique farm-to-table kitchen and spacious [picnic-tabled] Beer Garden.”
The Beer Garden includes a brat stand with a wood-fired grill preparing bratwurst sandwiches to complement the selection of hand-crafted brews.
Beers include the flagship Blonde Ale, described as bold and malty yet seasonably mild with a crisp finish. Blight Buster India Pale Ale has aromas of tropical fruit, melon, pine and gooseberry flavors with a medium to light-bodied but bitter semi-dry finish, according to the website.
Good Nature offers at least four more beers with their own distinctive taste and finish, plus a variety of specialty beers like the Soltice Oat Stout. Others are Honky Tonk Angel and The Great Chocolate Wreck, not to mention the award-winning Jackie: Batch 1, a golden sour ale that took the gold medal in the 2018 New York State Craft Beer competition. These are served by the glass, bottle, can, growler fill, and keg.
If you can’t make it to either one of their two locations in Hamilton, you can find their beers at many local stores.
Good Nature also serves New York wines, local hard cider and other non-alcoholic drinks. The food menu has wood-fired pizza, smash burgers, “samiches,” soups and salads. On Sunday there’s brunch menu that includes steak and eggs, skillet bread pudding, French toast and a wood-fired breakfast pizza among other choices.
Good Nature offers event parties and large groups at the tap room location, weekly specials, weekend brewery tours, and an outdoor summer concert series on Sundays.
The main farm is at 1727 Route 12; hours are Tuesday through Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30-10 p.m. and Sunday 10:30-9 p.m.
The downtown-Hamilton tap room is at 8 Broad St.; hours are 4-11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to midnight Friday, and noon to midnight Saturday.
For more information phone 315-824-BEER or email infer@goodnaturebrewing. com.