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Photos: Eli Fish celebrates 'wet hop' beers in Jackson Square

By Howard B. Owens


Eli Fish Brewing Company hosted a "wet hop" festival on a slightly-chilled Fall day on Saturday in Jackson Square, and more than 200 beer aficionados from all over the region turned out for the event.

"The weather is kind of cooperating and not cooperating but it's a good turnout," said Eli Fish co-owner Jon Mager.

About a half-dozen other breweries participated in the event as well.

Wet hops are freshly picked hops that typically spoil quickly after harvest so they need to be added to a brew the same day as harvesting, and wet-hop beers have a short shelf life before the wet hop flavor fades.

"Today is a celebration of wet hop beers, which means we're using fresh hops," Mager said. "We only get to do it for a very short period every year so we like to celebrate them while they're here."

It's a special flavor for beer lovers, Mager said. 

"You just get a fresher taste," Mager said. "You get a more, you know, some people will say grassy or vegetal taste, but it's such a specific type that we tend to enjoy it."









Photos by Howard Owens.

Tops Friendly Markets adds beer and other adult beverages to curbside and delivery service, must show driver's license

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Beginning this month, Tops Friendly Markets* began offering another 1,800 new reasons for its customers to use the convenience of curbside or home delivery -- the bonus of adding alcohol to their online order.

Order all your favorite beers, seltzers and more adult beverages online with Tops! Shop online, sit back and we’ll be at your door in as little as one hour!

“This digital evolution will bring an enhanced shopping experience for our customers, and sets Tops apart in the marketplace as the first retailer to offer this added convenience to its customers,” said Ed Rick, director, consumer marketing & digital for Tops.

Customers will be asked to provide a valid driver’s license in order to close out their order whether it is a curbside pickup or a home delivery. Deliveries will not be left at a customer’s residence until this transaction is completed.

Visit to schedule same day delivery or a pickup order now!

*Available in NYS Tops Grocery Pick Up & Delivery stores only.

Sponsored Post: Eli Fish celebrates OktoberFest this Friday - Jackson Square

By Lisa Ace

Join the Eli Fish Brewing Company team as we celebrate OktoberFest -- our first! -- DER ERSTE! This Friday, Sept. 28 from 5:30-10 p.m. at Jackson Square.
Tickets are $8 in advance / $10 day of, and can be purchased at the brewery and at

Enjoy the classic German beer hall sounds of The Frankfurters, playing from 6 to 10 p.m. They are THE BAND to celebrate OktoberFest with!

Be among the first to taste the inaugural batch of ELI FISH OKTOBERFEST BEER. Brewer Jon is giving the classic Marzen Lager that Eli Fish touch.

Chef Sam and team are preparing a special OktoberFest menu. Savor tasty German cuisine served by Eli Fish and the FreshLab Eateries. And you'll want to do some practicing -- we're having a beer-hosting competition, among other fun activities.

The Hawleys growing experiment in finding the right malting grains

By Howard B. Owens


The effort to bring back malting to Upstate New York is a multi-year process.

Working with Cornell University, Ted and Patty Hawley, owners of New York Craft Malt on Bank Street Road, Batavia, are in their third year of running trials of malting grain in Genesee County Farm fields.

There's a plot on Hawley-owned farmland off Bank Street Road and another on Porter Farms, plus the Hawleys have some grain growing on other local farms.

The trial involves 34 varieties of barley, plus wheat and oats.

"We've got to look at all aspects of it, and it's a hard go," Hawley said. "Cornell won't really give their recommendation for four or five years."

The challenges in Western New York have to do primarily with weather -- the year-to-year variances, but more importantly the overall amount of moisture in ground and air.

Malting grains are highly susceptible to fungal diseases, so what researchers want to find are those varieties that grow well in this climate and stay health without sprouting two quickly (once the grain head sprouts, it can no longer be malted).

"Our region is very finicky," Hawley said.

The process involves two key sets of analyses.

First, researchers want to determine how well a variety grows locally, or its agronomics for a farmer. It's important to determine the quality and quantity of the protein, how it germinates and its yield (more yield, more profit per acre).

Second, the grain needs to be malted. The test isn't about taste or any subjective measurement. Researchers are looking at protein, enzymes and how well it malts.

Brewers are looking for good, locally grown grains because the farm brewery law requires locally produced, craft beers to contain a certain percentage of local agriculture product.

But Hawley said local brewers and growers are also looking to produce an interest among consumers to seek out totally local beers. They are working together on a marketing plan that would provide bars with a "Local" tap that would only be attached to kegs of locally brewed beer that uses only locally grown ingredients.

"I think once the consumer wants it, brewers are going to have to give it to them and then I think it's going to grow," Hawley said.


A two-row variety and a six-row variety.


With no malt houses in New York, Hawleys' new venture to fill unique niche at the right time

By Howard B. Owens

You can't brew beer without malt, which is something Ted Hawley thinks legislators forgot about when they passed a farm brewing bill last year that will eventually require ales and lagers  labeled "New York Beer" to contain 90 percent locally grown ingredients.

"They just thought they could grow barley in New York," Hawley said. "They didn't know there was another step, which is malting. It has to be malted before you use it in a brew. So it was kind of interesting that they put this huge amount of effort into requiring 90 percent ingredients from New York, but there's no way it can be produced with 90 percent ingredients."

The timing of the bill was fortuitous for Ted and Patricia Hawley, who started planning a year earlier to open a malt house on their farm off Bank Street Road, Batavia.

It will be the only malt house in New York, though the Hawleys are sure others are coming with anticipation of a craft brew boom in the state thanks to the new rules.

The farm beer license created by the bill is modeled after the winery license, which requires local ingredients and allows for tastings, on-site sales, bigger production runs and statewide distribution.

The Hawleys, like the bill's supporters, envision beer trails -- like wine trails -- and a new branch of agri-tourism throughout Central and Western New York, with hopefully the Hawley's malt house, and Batavia, right on the map.

The Hawleys are never afraid to dream big, and asked about the future of craft beer in Batavia, Patty shared a vision of microbreweries being drawn to the area.

"If you look at the larger picture, it would be really great if we could encourage microbrewers to come in, who are largely young, to set down roots, raise their families here, to change the landscape of what Genesee County looks like," Patty said. "It would be very cool to bring in that demographic, who then attract others with that whole artisanal mindset."

The Hawleys have no immediate plans to brew beers themselves, though they imagine selling beer right on their farm that's created by other microbrewers using Hawley malts.

It's almost a matter of coincidence that the Hawleys came into the malting business.

Living local is important to the Hawleys and they also have a strong interest in organic products (Patty Hawley owns Fountain of Youth Organics in Brockport), so two years ago, Ted went to a conference to learn more about growing organic grains for commercial bakeries.

"We were thinking that we were going to grow some organic grains on a little bit of land that we have for the baking industry, which is another kind of booming initiative," Patty said. "At this conference, there was one brief mention, like a sentence or two, if there were any entrepreneurs out there, malt is needed and there are no malt houses. Initially we weren't thinking in that direction."

Ted started researching the idea and saw it as a great opportunity for a new business venture even before the farm bill passed.

Since then, he's been learning everything he can about malting and grains, attending conferences, taking workshops, going to seminars.

"About 100 yeas ago, New York State used to be the largest producer of barley, the largest producer of malt, the largest producer of hops in the whole country," Ted said. "Some fungus came in and kind of knocked it down a little because of the farming practices and repetitive planting and (the state) never recovered after Prohibition."

Hawley just returned from the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Center, where he found himself sitting next to representatives from the largest breweries in the world.

The center, he said, can create any kind of climate in the world. They grow many varieties of barely in different conditions and then malt the barley in small batches and brew beer to test the results.

Not all barley types grow equally well in all climates and since malt varieties of barley haven't been grown in New York in nearly 100 years, Hawley is on a search to find the best barley varieties to grow in Genesee County.

To get their malting operation off the ground, the Hawleys are growing barley on 43 acres in Byron (top photo) and planted a variety that is used commonly for malting. But Ted also has a field in Le Roy where he's growing 23 varieties of barley in cooperation with researchers from Cornell.

"A variety you grow out in the Midwest is not going to grow the same here," Ted said. "We've got to see what grows here and thrives and keeps the proteins down and the enzymes up, which is different than feed-grade barley, which is protein high, enzymes low, and that's what's been planted here the last 100 years."

The Hawley malt house will produce a variety of artisanal malts based on the varieties of barley and other grains they find grow best in Genesee County.

Already, some 50 brewers have expressed an interest in Hawley malts, from some larger craft brewers to guys still brewing private stock in a garage, Ted said.

The passage of the bill also created another opportunity for the Hawleys. They were able to apply for and receive a $117,000 state grant, which allowed them to immediately double the size of their operation.

Eventually, Ted believes the Hawley house will produce 150 tons of malt a year, but he's starting out small -- 1,000 pounds a week (the 43 acres in Byron will yield 43 to 50 tons of malt).

"This is all new, so I need to feel comfortable doing this," Ted said. "It's quite an intricate process."

There is no limit to the kinds of recipes brewers can dream up for beer and the Hawleys think that creative opportunity will help fuel a craft beer boom in New York and that brewers are ready for locally produced malts unique to New York.

"This craft brewing industry is phenomenal," Ted said. "There's no rules. I mean, there could be up to 30 ingredients in brews, from nuts and berries to honey, to apples. There's no rules and there are some great craft brews that are being processed right now in people's garages. This farm brewing bill will offer them an opportunity to open up larger and sell their brews."

Party at Polish Falcons to aid WNY Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

By Jamie Lindsley


Party featuring DJ Mamaluke, 50/50 Raffle, Chinese Auction and Beer Pong Tournament at Polish Falcons - Saturday, August 11, 2012

Come out and help us attain our fundraising goal of over $22,000 for cancer research.

Pre-sale tickets $15 - at the door $20 includes donation, beer and food!

Basket raffles will also be available.

Registration for the Beer Pong Tournament will be $20 per team. CASH PRIZES!!

Event Date and Time


By Barbara Hendershott


OCTOBER 8, 2011













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The Great Genesee Valley Beer and Wine Festival

By Mike Weaver

St. Joseph School and Batavia Downs Casino is hosting a beer and wine festival on Saturday May 2, 2009 from 6pm to 9pm at the Downs.

This event is formerly know as Marchfest.  We have over 25 tables of vendors offering samples from local restaurants, NY craft beers and wines.  Also, Mark Winsick band wil be playing their award winning blues.

Vendors offering beer samples include Flying Bison Brewing Company, Rohrback Brewing, Magic Hat, Long Trail, Anheuser-Busch, Mendocino Brewing, Souther Tier Brewing, and many more !!!!!

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