LAKE GEORGE — The area’s craft beer industry took a step forward Friday with the first collaboration between Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. and Adirondack Pub & Brewery.
Brewers from both businesses got together Friday morning at Adirondack Pub & Brewery on Canada Street to create a new beer that, when blended with an aged beer created by Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., is expected to become greater than the sum of its parts.
“The fun part is getting all these people together in one room doing what they love to do,” said John Carr, owner of Adirondack Pub & Brewery. “Learning about brewing from a textbook is very difficult, so these collaborative brews are also an opportunity for our staff — our brewers and Olde Saratoga’s brewers — to kind of learn to produce better beer in New York state.”
The new beer, tentatively called Brewers Reserve, is scheduled to debut at Saratoga Beer Week, Feb. 19-23, in Saratoga Springs.
The Adirondack Pub & Brewery contribution is a sour cherry porter, which will be blended with an imperial stout created more than a year ago by Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. The latter beer has been aging in bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace, a distillery in Kentucky.
“It will be a really intense beer,” said Max Oswald, Olde Saratoga’s Northeast regional sales manager.
He said some of the beer, once finished and blended, will be further cask-conditioned to give it multiple “interpretations.”
The creation of new beers through blending is an old tradition, Carr said.
“These are techniques that have existed in breweries for hundreds of years,” he said.
Don’t look for Brewers Reserve in bottles, though. Only 30 to 35 half-kegs will be available, and those wishing to try it will have to watch the breweries’ Facebook pages to find out when and where to get a taste.
The beer will also be available at Adirondack Pub & Brewery, at Olde Saratoga Brewing Co.’s tasting room in Saratoga Springs, and on tap at area beverage centers, including Minogue’s, Carr said.
Although Friday’s collaboration was the first between the Lake George and Saratoga Springs breweries, Carr said he has collaborated with other breweries in the past. Last winter, for instance, Crossroads Brewing Co. of Athens, south of Albany, came to Lake George to help make a smoked bourbon barrel beer, Carr said.
On Saturday, the Lake George brewery will host its second annual Festival of Barrels, where visitors will be able to sample beers aged in a variety of barrels previously used to ferment other spirits, like bourbon, rye and moonshine.
The festival will feature nine beers from the Lake George brewery and four from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. in Elmsford, near White Plains.
The outdoor festival — bonfires will help keep participants warm — runs from 1 to 5 p.m., and tickets are $25.
Last year’s festival drew about 350 tasters, Carr said.
Paul McErlean, master brewer at Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., said collaborative events can spark innovation within the region’s craft brew industry.
“I think anytime you get sort of a cross-pollination of ideas from different creative people, really interesting and fun things can happen,” he said. “So, we’re going to make some great beer, and I hope people will enjoy it.”
Carr said Adirondack Pub & Brewery is set to grow again in 2013. Specifically, a 100-barrel fermenter and at least one 60-barrel “bright tank” will be added in April.
The vessels, which will allow the brewery to double its output, are being made in Utica, Carr said.
As of Friday, the brewery — excluding the attached pub — employed six full-time brewers and five part-time staff, Carr said.
“Those numbers will probably double over the next year,” he said. “On the expansion side, we believe in brewing 100 percent of our beer here in Warren County, with our own staff.”
“We’ll keep expanding to match the support we have.”