A busy month of weekend events in Saratoga Springs concluded with a three-day event for the over-21 crowd.
The city’s first ever Beer Week, which began Thursday evening at the Saratoga Brewery, culminated Saturday with a day of events highlighted by two beer summits at the City Center. Other events during the three days included restaurants selling meals designed to go with certain beers, live music at various bars and tours of the Saratoga Brewery.
At the two summits, hundreds of people tried local and national beers. They also engaged industry experts who were more than willing to share information about their craft.
“We’ve been educating people about different styles of beers and even different types,” said Max Oswald, sales and marketing director for the Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. “It has been great, people really want to talk to you and hear about your beer. I’ve never talked this in-depth about beer with as many consumers as I have the last few days.”
Brewers are pulling out all the stops, too, as Oswald said they were featuring three different beers just for the festival.
One goal of craft brewers like the Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. is to snag new customers, especially ones who normally drink big name national brands. For Oswald, this means trying to convert light beer drinkers, whose taste buds aren’t usually prepared for the contrast of craft beers.
“I can still find something they will tolerate,” he said proudly.
The idea of trying new things was important to Frank Sicari, 28, of Saratoga Springs. The varied selection meant he could try some beers he has wanted to taste and also discover beers that hadn’t been on his radar, like an Adirondack beer he described as “very tasty.”
“The cool thing about this type of event is that it’s a combination of people who are actually beer snobs or beer people … and people who just want to get out and hang out,” Sicari said.
He did lament the cost of the event, which was $30 at the door, and said he would have preferred that it cost less and came with more samples.
The summit was a nice change of pace for Corey Harkins, 24, a brewery representative visiting family in Saratoga Springs. “I’ve been to a lot and worked a lot of these showcases,” he said. “It’s always cool to be on the other side of the table and not serving the beer.”
He said this showcase differed from others because it featured a lot of people who knew their products.
On Friday night, Harkins went to the City Center for a function that paired local restaurants’ food with different beers, and on Saturday afternoon he was at the Parting Glass playing darts and drinking beer.
For 26-year-old Brian Woods of Saratoga Springs, the event was a chance to show off his pride in America’s beers and the country’s military personnel. He displayed his support in the Parting Glass by drinking Harpoon beer and wearing a pair of shorts, a USA jersey and a winter hat with an American flag logo on it.
“My brother is a naval officer,” Woods said, explaining the outfit. He added, “Beer is an American thing now. We’re taking it over.”
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