Had a conversation at Saratoga Beer Week with Alison and Jeremy Hosier, brewers at Steadfast Beer Co. in Albany. They brew with sorghum in place of barley and wheat, and their new product, Sorghum Pale Ale, is just about to hit the stores. I liked it a lot. It is a medium-to-dark ale but without the breadiness usually found in such brews, and there were plenty of hops for my taste. There was an indefinable extra that Alison suggested as “sudsiness”; sounds like a dish soap but it’s actually positive, a liveliness in the mouth that counteracts the heavy notes. At 6.8 ABV, it’s not a session beer but one meant to be sipped and taken seriously. A really nice counterbalance to the IPAs I was tasting at the show. The brewers are starting small and the first distribution will be around the Capital District (including EBI here in Saratoga) with plans to grow.
The Steadfast website isn’t live yet, but their Facebook links to an interesting community page on gluten-free beers. I have no personal problem with gluten but did not realize I was getting it in my beer since I don’t like wheat beers; I found that barley has gluten too. And learned that while in Europe and the US, a beer can have trace amounts of gluten and be called gluten-free, in Australia absolutely no measurable gluten is permitted. No worries, celiacs! (I’m told that’s an Australian catchphrase…)
This was the inaugural Saratoga Beer Week, and things seem to be going well. The organizers throw several regional beer festivals but they are all in the summer. They were nervous about an indoor, winter event but the weather cooperated nicely. I was happy to see brews beyond the usual Lake Placid, Olde Saratoga, Long Trail, Magic Hat etc… successful regional brands that try hard to look crafty but go for mass appeal in their flavor. Lagunitas, for example, was here with just two brews, one of them the definitely not-for-the-masses Little Sumpin’ Wild, thanks guys!