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Sunday, March 12, 2023

Whatever Floats Your Boat

 Northern New York is one of the least populated areas in the state. This is reflected in the number of breweries. There are currently 20 breweries within 40 minutes of Syracuse, according to Brewery Info. A mere 75 miles north the city of Watertown is home to at least four. Travel further northeast, along the Saint Lawrence River, breweries are few and very far between. 

A mere 22 miles northeast of Watertown lies the village of Clayton. Nestled in the Thousand Islands along the Saint Lawrence River, Clayton is a boating town, for obvious reasons. Clayton is home to the Antique Boat Museum which host an eclectic assortment of boats from canoes to speed boats.

Directly across the street from the museum is the Wood Boat Brewery.  Despite its name it is not on an actual boat, but a tribute to the regions boating history. Arriving around noon with the Navigator, and the Navigator-in-laws (because you can never have to many navigators) we found the brewery quite busy. With both indoor and outdoor seating, we had difficulty making our way through the people gathered around the entrance. Always a good sign.

Entering the tap room, we immediately pick up on a nautical theme. Artwork depicting various craft of the water variety, not craft beer, adorn the walls. I am ecstatic to find an image of one of the best canoes ever made, an Old Town Canoe from the great state of Maine. Motif aside, the food and staff were up to the task. Our server, Ethel, probably not her name, gave as good as he got with a retort quickly at hand. The food is nothing to sneeze at, or on. Brick oven pizza and sandwiches comprise the majority of the menu. Solid food without detracting from the main attraction, beer.  Call me old school, but if you visit a brewery for the food, you should probably look for a restaurant. Breweries are for beer drinkers, first and foremost. 

In conclusion, if you find yourself on the Saint Lawrence River, by plane, train, automobile, boat, horse, camel, mule, you get the idea. Stop by the Wood Boat Brewery.  Tell them Matt sent you and they will either reply "who?" or call local law enforcement. Either way, it will be a memorable visit! 

 Until then, stay crafty.


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Kicking it Old School

NASA Space and Rocket Center
Let me begin by saying I am not from Alabama. When I think of craft beer states I think of the west coast, Colorado, North Carolina, and New England. No offense to my tens of readers from other than the above-named states.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered the most unique brewery location I have ever layed  intoxicated eyes on. Huntsville Alabama is known for rockets. Not the basketball team or those illegal fireworks your neighbor shoots on Independence Day. I'm talking rockets of lunar proportions, the kind that helped put people in space.There are a mere 47 craft breweries in Alabama, according to the Brewers Association. Of those 47, at least five are in Huntsville. Arriving in Huntsville I was surprised by the weather. It was unseasonably cold, with temps hovering near freezing at night. Fortunately, I didn't pack any warm clothes, increasing my need for some "antifreeze", so I phoned a friend. My friend Fred is a fellow beer enthusiast who I have known for years and hadn't seen since he moved to Huntsville. Fred suggested we make our way to the "Campus". Arriving at Campus 805 I'm surprised to discover it's not a college, but a 13-acre multi-use area, within which sits the coolest middle school in Alabama, maybe the coolest in the country. The Roy L. Stone Middle School looks like any other on the outside however once inside, everything changes.                                      
The halls remain as they were, with wall lockers and trophy
cases along both walls. The classrooms are now occupied by 
restaurants, bars and other assorted businesses, including Straight to Ale Brewery. Founded my homebrewers in 2009, Straight to Ale occupies one of the largest spaces within the school. Entering the brewery from within the school you pass through the gymnasium, complete with basketball hoops, and a commercial brewing system. Beyond the "brewnasium" you find the tap room and restaurant, Ale's Kitchen. Gordon Ramsey should be so creative. Beer offerings run the gambit, from pilsners to Belgian beer, and everything in between. The food rivals the beer with a wide variety of menu options. 
Alabama breweries may be small in number, but at least one is big on ingenuity. If you find yourself in Huntsville Alabama, the old school on Campus 805 is a must visit! Class is now in session! 

Stay crafty my friends!