Jul 29, 2017
BATAVIA — This isn’t the type of beer tour you might be thinking of.
Harvest New York is hosting its second Field to Pint Craft Brewery Tour where participants can learn about what’s involved in the entire brewing process — from field to pint.
The tour is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 4 at three locations. There will be stops at a Cornell University malting barley field, New York Craft Malt in Batavia and Dublin Corners, a farm brewery in Linwood.
“What we’re trying to do is get people together who are involved in the whole brewery supply chain,” said Steve Miller, a hop specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension who will be on the tour.
Miller also said that he was part of a tour in the eastern part of the state, which prove to be successful, so they wanted to bring it west.
More specifically, participants will learn what goes into growing malting barley and hops, the malting process and of course, how those all lead to brewing beer.
Part of the reason for the tour is to hopefully inspire some people to join in the process to keep up with New York State’s growing craft beer demand because there are areas that are good to grow the right ingredients.
Miller said that back in the 19th century, New York State was home to over 330 breweries, which is around the same as today — 320 in 2016 — but was as low as 95 back in 2012, according to the New York State Craft Brewers Alliance.
What’s more, New York used to farm over 40,000 acres of hops whereas today, that number is around 400, Miller said.
Hops used to be a “major, major cash crop in the state,” he said. He did add, however, that hop farming is more efficient today than back then but still, the numbers are way down.
Malting grains are also growing in popularity among farmers who are looking for something new to rotate into their fields.
Heather Grant, who owns and operates Dublin Corners Farm Brewery with her husband, Justin, said they were honored to have been asked by Cornell Cooperative Extension to participate in the tour.
As Dublin Corners grows two varieties of hops – Cascada and Willamette – in its own ½-acre hopyard right next to its brewery, it’s a perfect stop on a tour devoted to exploring the different ingredients that have to come together in the right combinations to brew the perfect craft beer.
“Our part of the tour will be a walk through the hopyard answering questions from the group on our experience growing hops in New York State over the past six years,” explained Grant, who expects to harvest about 800 pounds of fresh hops from their yard starting in August. “We will also offer a tour of the brewery and finish off with tastings of our craft beers.”
Dublin Corners currently has five brews on tap at its 1906 Main St. facility in the York hamlet of Linwood. They are Better Red than Dead, an Amber ale; Devil’s ½-acre, an IPA; Rye Zone, an American rye ale made with 100 percent New York State ingredients; York Pale Ale and Tree Tapper, a maple porter.
In addition to Miller, other guest speakers are Mike Stanyard, a field crop specialist, and Aaron MacLeod, director of the , Hartwick College Center for Craft Food and Beverage.
“I would say it’s a really good opportunity for people to learn more about the business if they’re considering getting into any part of it,” Miller said.
(Matt Leader from the Livingston County News contributed to this report.)