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Seasonal beers to be on tap at Brewfest

For me, there are two beer seasons.

During autumn, cool nights mean fireplace weather, football games and hardy, flavorful beers. My top choice is Sam Adams Boston Lager for my weekend beverage sessions at home.

Sam has just about worn out his welcome at my Albany stronghold. Warm weather, charcoal fires and baseball games on the radio always put me in the mood for lighter beers. I generally bring Coors Light or Michelob Ultra to my backyard patio table. When the temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, lighter beers just taste great and are less filling.

I guess I’m not alone. Folks at Saturday’s Glens Falls Brewfest are also in the mood for more seasonal fare.

“It’s spring now, and you’ll see bock beer, spring ambers, I think early summer ales,” said Rick Davidson, who, along with his brother John, runs the Davidson Brothers Brewing Co. in Glens Falls. “In the fall, you never get any of those.”

People will get plenty of spring and summer beers during the brewfest. Drinks will be poured from 4 until 8 p.m. at the Queensbury Hotel in downtown Glens Falls.

Beaucoup brewers

If I weren’t going to be chasing horses and watching the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, I would consider an appearance at this beer party. Fifty-eight brewers have signed up — regional beer crafters like Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., Cooper’s Cave Ale Co. in Glens Falls, Brown’s Brewing Co. in Troy and Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown are on the schedule. So are keg masters who work a little farther away, such as Brooklyn Brewery, the Ithaca Beer Co. and the Lake Placid Brewery.

I’ve been to beer festivals in the past — aside from gatherings at friends’ homes and Adirondack camps that always seem to progress into beer fests — and I’ve always liked the ambience. People are always in good spirits, and you can easily strike up conversations with strangers. Brewers who come are always willing to talk about their products, and you can find new favorites for the refrigerator. Festivals introduced me to Brooklyn Lager and Philadelphia’s Dock Street, and these six-packs still make occasional appearances in my shopping cart.

Think I also tasted Michael O’Shea’s Irish Amber at a festival, and just loved the clean, fresh taste of the draft version — this was probably the best beer Rochester’s Genesee Brewery ever produced. Growing up in Rochester, I spent my early beer-drinking life with the local factory’s Genesee Cream Ale, Fyfe & Drum and the legendary 12 Horse Ale. None of them are favorites now — partly because of the educations I have received at beer seminars.

Chance to mingle

People like Rick Davidson don’t really come to meet new stouts or ambers.

“Our favorite part is meeting other brewers,” Rick told me. “We get to sample products and exchange ideas. And it’s always good to meet the people who consume your products. ... We’re lucky, we have a brew pub, we get to meet the people who consume our products. A lot of brewers don’t have that avenue.”

Adrian Bethel, general manager of Cooper’s Cave, said there are other reasons beer drinkers should consider the Glens Falls event.

“There’s live entertainment, which is always a plus for these events,” he said. “Everybody’s in a good mood, and there are a lot of locals as well as people coming in from out of the area. It’s nice to see a lot of brewers show up, too. It’s just not distributors, which is what a lot of these brew fests have become.”

Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. They are available at the Davidson operation, 184 Glen St., and at Cooper’s Cave, 2 Sagamore St. or at

Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Adirondack Theatre Festival and Feeder Canal Alliance. The latter is dedicated to the preservation, promotion and maintenance of the Feeder Canal.

Planning ahead

Beer lovers should remember a couple of things at the Glens Falls festival, or at any festival. With 58 brewers setting up, trying everything just won’t be possible. And for the beers people do sample during a four-hour party — well, it’s just smart to have a designated driver, call a cab or even rent a room at the Queensbury to remove drinking-and-driving from the equation.

That’s my plan for the next regional beer festival. Once I hit the Derby for big money, I’ll be able to afford a presidential suite at some fancy place. I might stay the whole weekend.

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