Editor's Note: Common Roots Brewing in Glens Falls was extensively damaged by fire March 25, 2019. The Daily Gazette visited Common Roots for our Summer Road Trip 2018 series. For more information on the fire: Common Roots Brewing Company heavily damaged in blaze
With summer weather comes nights on the porch, hanging out with some friends and maybe knocking back a few beers. It’s also a time to take a few road trips here and there, when there isn’t snow covering the roadways, blocking you from escaping your regular surroundings.
Thankfully, there is a way to combine both of these activities.
Fortunately, for those living in the Capital Region, there is a plethora of breweries that only take an hour -- or maybe just a little bit more - to get to. Soon enough, you’ll be able to consume some of the finest beverages available in the state.
Just make sure you’ve got a designated driver before you get rolling.
Here is a list of some breweries that are ideal for day trips.
They will get you out of the Capital Region and into areas like the Adirondacks or the Hudson Valley Region.
Common Roots Brewing Company
This brewery’s impressive lineup of delicious and approachable beers makes it worthy of several day trips.
With easy-drinking beers like their Last Light IPA, their Time Pale Ale, their new pilsner called Reference Method, or their single-hop session series, it’s hard not to walk away with at least a couple of 4 packs.
Christian Weber, co-owner and head brewer at the brewery with his father Bert Weber, said there are a host of reasons Common Roots is an ideal destination.
Common Roots Brewing Company on Saratoga Rd. in South Glens Falls. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)
Located in South Glens Falls, not only can you visit the brewery, but you also can visit the many nearby restaurants and even go for a hike at a nearby trail.
“It makes it part of the total experience,” Weber said.
Going to a brewery instead of going to your nearest beverage center can offer a few perks. Not only do you get the chance to learn how the beer is made, you also get to drink beers that you’ll only get by actually visiting the brewery.
Weber said that can include barrel-aged beers, special releases and ones that were produced as a result of collaborations, such as A Representation of Wild Things -- an American wild ale. He also said the staff behind the bar is good at helping teach people about their different beers.
“I think coming to our tap room, not only is it extremely important for us to put out an approachable product that is consistent and delicious, and what we think is high quality,” Weber said. “I think the experience needs to be unique.”
The brewery also has some outdoor seating, so you can sit in the sun and knock back a cold one. They have a beer garden on the north side of the building, and then a 60-foot pergola with seating underneath.
“It creates an outdoor but still-kind-of-private space,” Weber said.
Tucked away in the Catskill Mountains hamlet of Phoenicia, Woodstock Brewing has been putting out accessible and approachable beers since they opened up in… well, only since January.
And even though they have only been in operation for about six months, co-owner Rick Shobin said they keep running out of beer. Which has forced them to cut back on how much beer they sell to each customer so they can spread the love.
“We want to give everyone what they want and we want to keep customers happy,” Shobin said. "It’s a high-class problem to have.”
When they built their 5,000 square foot brewery, which also has 3,000 square feet of outdoor space, Shobin said. he wanted to have a place people would come to more than just once. It doesn’t matter if the person lives in town or a few hours away, Shobin wants people to constantly make return trips.
That’s why they are constantly changing their beer lineup, never brewing the same beer twice.
“If I can change the product offering via changing beers constantly, changing food constantly and keep it moving, people always will find something new and interesting,” Shobin said. “So it doesn’t become an old establishment.”
Shobin did say they plan to re-brew some of their own favorite beers, but he said they don’t plan to have a flagship beer, one that they will brew year round.
“The idea is to continue to experiment, dial in what we’re doing, and create beers we want to present to the public in our perspective,” Shobin said. “We’re trying to find our voice and go from there.”
Woodstock has put out a wide variety of beers. That includes sessions like Between Two Points, pale wheat ales such as Prismatic Light, or double IPAs like Mega Super Pixelated.
Shobin said the brewery tries to put out balanced beers, ones that will satisfy those who love those hazy, juicy type New England IPAs, and also beers that have that hop bitterness others are looking for.
“We’re trying to balance beer the way we want it to represent ourselves,” Shobin said.
Shobin said they have chef, but they are not currently serving food. That’s something he hopes to be doing shortly.
The plan is to have tapas-style food, but also have lager offerings for bigger groups. Something where if, for example, a group of 6 people wants to eat there, they can request a seasonal food menu a week ahead of time.
“If we know the week before, we can do something special for them,” Shobin said.
There is also an outside seating area for customers. Shobin said they have 6 picnic tables, 8 Adirondack chairs and a fire pit for people to gather around. He also said they are planning to get a temporary stage set up for musical performances.
“It’s not a beer garden, but it’s something we developed over time,” Shobin said, adding his wife, Robin, designed the outside space. “But it’s a very functional and usable place.”
If you want to get lost in the Adirondacks, drink a delicious beer and listen to some live music, Paradox Brewery might be the perfect location for you.
Located at Exit 27 off the Northway near Schroon Lake, the brewery has an outdoor taproom with a tent, picnic tables, and live music and food trucks on the weekends.
Dave Merriman, vice president of sales for paradox, said during the summer months they are open from Wednesday through Sunday, pouring beers like Paradox Pilsner, Beaver Bite IPA, Beaver Overbite Imperial IPA and its other double IPA Southern Hemisphere.
There are also some draft-only releases, such as the Paradox Red Ale and the Paradox Pale Ale.
Even if you can’t make it to the brewery, Merriman said, you can also find the Pale Ale at Saratoga Performing Arts Center all summer.
Merriman said they have a lineup of approachable beers that range from 4 percent alcohol by volume to 9 percent alcohol by volume.
If you go to the brewery, you also will be able to try some beers that don’t make it out of the taproom. This includes a Gose-style beer, which Merriman said will be draft only and out before the Fourth of July.
“I think the variety is the biggest point,” Merriman said. “It’s a great offering. There’s something for everybody.”
There are also big things to come for the brewery.
They are currently in the process of building a brand-new production facility in North Hudson at Exit 29, part of major new complex under development by the state. Merriman said this will allow the brewery to expand its production by three or four times what it is currently producing.
Merriman said the plan is to be finished with construction by September, and actually start brewing beer there by December.
“[Brewers] will have to learn the system and that the beer is exactly the way they want it to be,” Merriman said.
There will be a tasting room at the new production facility, but Merriman said there will still be the tasting room in Schroon Lake.
And there are a number of reasons the current tasting room is perfect to visit this summer:
First off, you’re in the Adirondacks, you can bring your dog -- on a leash of course -- and it’s overall just a relaxing place to be.
“It’s so laid back,” Merriman said. “You sit at a picnic table, have a hot pretzel and enjoy a flight of beers. Just getting north of Lake George, everyone tends to feel relaxed because you don’t have the hustle and bustle.”
Ten great canned beers for the cooler
It's the summer. That means you want to be outdoors whether it's by the pool, at the track in Saratoga, or at a nearby beach. If you want to drink beer, you probably won't be allowed to bring any sort of glass with you.
Thankfully, pretty much every craft brewery put their beers in cans these days. So we decided to make a list of some great canned craft beers to bring along for the day.
1.) First Drop ( Upper Pass Beer Company)- This American pale ale, brewed out of Vermont, is a refreshingly delicious beer with notes of citrus with some faint hop bitterness at the end.
2.) Smooth Beats Miami (Finback Brewery)- If you like coconut, this American IPA is for you. This is a collaboration with J. Wakefield Brewing out of Miami, and it could be your favorite summer beer to drink. Easy to drink, goes down smooth. But, again, just make sure you like coconut.
3.) American Pale Ale (Pabst Brewing Company) - Yes, we know. This is the same brewery that makes Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), but it's a really refreshing beer. Plus, the can art is kind of awesome.
4.) Wrench (Industrial Arts Brewing Company) - It's a hazy New England-style IPA that has a fruity aroma and taste, and also goes down easy. It's one you'll find at many beverage centers in the Capital Region.
5.) But I Digress (Springdale by Jack's Abby Brewing) - Springdale has been knocking it out of the park lately, Or should we say, Jack's Abby is? Either way, this particular IPA should probably be in your cooler as it is a nice, refreshing, citrusy beer.