Have I mentioned I really dislike the idea of following your passion? It's so much based on the immediate and the result. "Follow your passion" is what people are told to entice them into entry position IT jobs that never pan out or pull out the credit card to act on the next spontaneous urge. And it smacks of no respect for idleness. No, bliss is the thing. That cooler draw on the heart. The stuff of naps and toes playing in the tidal zone. The part of you that puts mild ahead of extreme double imperial IPA every time. It was a big day. Out the door at eight with one kid to collect another after their first stay-over. The promise of treats for all was a key leverage tactic. I felt like Ron dragging the kids around - but instead of Brussels, I got to go to Oswego, NY, home of C's Farm Market and King Arthur's brewpub.
When we got to C's a little past eleven, I finally got to meet the blissed out (and maybe, OK, even passionate about beer) Dave and Maria who I have been emailing but missing the face to face on for a few years now. A while ago, they have taken the family fruit market and added a beer selection - then they discovered craft and have kept discovering. What I saw yesterday was easily a doubling of shelf space to fine beer with more focus compared to 2006 on US craft than imports. Peaches were placed in the hands of kids as we talked about the trade and their market. They were happy to report that they have seen a matching increase in sales and even mentioned that there was a happy gang from the Ottawa area that seemed to make the trip two or three times a year to full up the trunk. I left with 54 bottles of various sizes and strengths to replenish the stash including the new-to-me brews like Collaboration not Litigation as well as Old Ploughshare Stout and Red Sky At Night saison from Baltimore's Clipper City. Future plans include tasting sessions starting in the fall. Sadly, under NY state law you need a special license for growler pours and they don't issue them any more so that dream may have to wait for a while.
Also maybe a little sadly, things looked like they were not as busy over at King Arthur's, one of my favorite brewpubs in terms of comfortable design, river mouth location and in-house micro-brew selection. Their dream location near the banks of the river in this historic downtown seem to have been undermined lately by a complete rebuild of the Bridge Street bridge. They are now disconnected from the hotel guests a few hundred feet away on the other bank. This may be compounding the pressures on all small brewers as there were only five beers on offer, three of which were flavoured wheats and none of which offered any level of hoppy bite. With my BBQ burger, I tried their 5% Summer Brown which promised a touch of coriander. I thought this was a great twist on a malty mahogany ale with a bit of licorice and treacle coming through the rich nutty graininess. If I say this had shades of HP sauce you need to understand that in the most positive of terms. Very nice beer.
And great price at 4 bucks a pint. Good service and good prices on food, too. Get yourselves out to King Arthur's, CNYers. It's a great town with plenty to do including being the site of a 1756 battle in the Seven Years (aka the French and Indian) between 2,000 redcoats and 3,000 French as well as a rebuilt Fort Ontario circa 1860 or so when the bad Canucks over at Kingston were still the death star on the Great Lakes. And the bar keeps rooms so you won't have to worry about that bridge reconstruction at the end of the night.