Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Winery, Brewery, and Distillery in Three Hours in Columbia County

It appears the farmland in Columbia County is very fertile, with pecks of apples, grapes, and other things to make alcohol. My boyfriend and I, after visiting the Hudson Chatham Winery, Chatham Brewery, and Harvest Distillery, are pretty sure the folks in the nearby county could make quality beverages even just from the grass.

Find out for yourself by visiting the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail. It's possible to do about half the trail in three hours so this can work as a half-day trip or a full day trip.

I'd actually never heard of a "beverage" trail, only wine trails before this local one came up in a Google search. It was initially my intention to just do a wine tour but I'm glad it also included beer and harder liquor. Along with trying non-nationally distributed drinks, it was fun trying things that I knew I'd enjoy and that my boyfriend would enjoy (he's more of a beer person, I like wine, but then we both enjoy liquor).

We started the trail, which we reduced so we could make the Gazette Holiday Parade in Schenectady, at the Hudson-Chatham Winery where they were having a bread, cheese, and wine festival with several vendors in their site on Route 66 in Ghent.

It was a bit confusing when we walked in since I wasn't sure what to try first, the food or the drink. So, we made our way around the room and eventually did two $5 wine tastings. I was a big fan of their whites and dessert wines and Jon enjoyed their reds. We bought two to take home and enjoyed pairing the tastings with the food samples where the vendor reps were more than willing to talk about their products.

The next stop was the Chatham Brewery where we had been before. It's a small operation, literally down an alley off the main drag in Chatham. Since the bf and I first visited the business several months ago, they've now expanded their sales offerings to multiple merchandise items like glasses and clothes, along with the growlers of quality beer. But the hours are pretty restricted: just 11am-2pm on Saturdays.

The final stop was the Golden Harvest Farm with the Harvest Distillery in the back which is leased from the farm operation on Route 9 in Valatie. You walk in and there are large wooden barrels everywhere. Tastings are $1 or free if you buy something. We, like many others before us, fell in love with the Apple Jack whiskey which is based on a centuries old tradition of whiskey. I especially loved it with hot apple cider which ended up being our main beverage at the parade that night.

The entire trail also includes Brookview Station Winery in Castleton-on-Hudson, and Furnace Brook Winery in Richmond, Mass.

posted by Danielle Sanzone at 7:58 PM

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