Hudson-Chatham Winery announced this weekend the introduction of two new collaboration beers that included several area businesses. The Vassar Cup award-winning Chatham Brewing, the Beer Diviner of Stephentown, NY, and Vasilow’s Confectionery in Hudson, NY.
With the introduction of numerous new laws enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Liquor Authority, wineries are now allowed to sell locally brewed beers. Hudson-Chatham Winery was not only interested in selling new beers, but in taking it a step further.
Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines was recently named among the best wines for the Holidays in the December 2014 issue of Wine Enthusiast
Carlo DeVito explained, “Collaboration beers are very hot in the brewing industry, and numbers of small craft businesses are pooling their efforts to make really cool special, exclusive, small production products. We wanted to sell beer, but we didn’t want to start carrying a lot of other people’s products. We wanted to do something unique, something special to the winery. I am a beer editor and enthusiast, and we at the winery decided to consult with some of our local brewing brethren. We’d already done a very successful Grappa with Harvest Spirits, so another collaboration project was a worthwhile endeavor.”
According to Imbibe magazine, “the past decade or so has seen a variety of brands partnering up. Many are small-batch productions, only available at the brewery or in its immediate area, but some have brought together bigger breweries with wider distribution.”
Jake Cunningham, Tom Crowell, and Matt Perry
“I first approached owners Jake Cunningham and Tom Crowell, and Master Brewer Matt Perry at Chatham Brewing about doing it. And they were instantly excited. We were thrilled. Chatham-Brewing is an award-wining brewery with a lot of awards behind them, and they are literally brewed on Main Street, in Chatham, NY. They have been a partner with us for years. We were thrilled. Matt was the man in charge of the project. He was really into it. I have a lot of respect for Matt as a Brew Master. And it’s very exciting watching him as Chatham Brewing continues to grow.”
Jonathan Post and the staff at Beer Diviner
“I also approached Dr. Jonathan Post at the Beer Diviner in Stephentown, NY, and mentioned to him what we were doing with Chatham Brewing. Jonatahan and I have many shared interest. He’s an Eglish professor and has spent extensive time in Africa, where he was named the Beer Diviner in a local ritual in Dagara, in Africa. He too was interested. We kicked around a couple of ideas. And he went to work.”
CHATHAM BREWING 8 BARREL RESERVE - Vassar Cup winning Chatham Brewing’s famous 8 Barrel Reserve is a big, strong brown ale, but this special batch was aged in Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir barrels for six months. The dark sour cherry, French Oak, and spice show beautifully. A collaboration product which shows real local terroir. It is only available at Hudson-Chatham Winery and Chatham-Brewing’s tasting room on Main Street.
BEER DIVINER HUDSON-CHATHAM STAGECOACH PORTER - The Beer Diviner of Stephentown, NY custom created a special blend with Hudson-Chatham in mind. This is a big caramel porter made using caramel from Vasilow’s Confectionery in Hudson, NY and aged in a Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir barrel. Big, dark, and filled with toffee and other spices. Almost a hint of dark cream sherry.
“Collaboration is fun, but intoxicating. I was constantly asking poor Matt if it was ready yet. I felt like Mars Blackmon, “Is it brewed yet, money? Is it brewed?” He was incredibly patient. I was like a little kid. Even when I was ready, he was like, wait, wait, it’s getting better flavor,” said DeVito.
Jim Vasilow and wife, Kate, of Vasilow's Confectionery
“And we came up with the idea of a caramel porter type beer with Jonathan, we had to buy caramel. We decided to use real caramel as a sugar which we sourced from Vasilow’s Confectionery, in Hudson, NY. It came in giant, fragrant blocks. They were like humongous Sugar Daddys. I just wanted to bite right into them. It’s very exciting to see these beers finally hit the market. We started the 8 Barrel as long ago as May of 2014. So it has taken a while. But the results are very much worth having waited.”
Hudson-Chatham Winery was the first winery and local craft beverage producer in Columbia County. Chatham Brewing was the first brewer in Columbia county, and celebrated their eighth year in business in November 2014. The Beer Diviner has been a staple of the local beer industry for several years and is in the process of expansion.