*2019 edit- No longer in business
After getting in touch with our inner historians and taking a trip the the Newton Battlefield and Mark Twain’s study in Elmira we met up with a buddy of mine from the Hartwick days for a tour of the local breweries. It was an awesome day already, but throwing some killer beer and food into the mix made things pretty perfect. Before I talk about the brews I want to give a big shout out to fellow craft connoisseur and beer blogger John Moss (johnthebeerman.wordpress.com). We began this trek through a portion of the Southern Tier’s beverage trail by swooping into Birdland Brewing Company.
I started this flight with Kookaburra Kuke (Cucumber ale) and was subsequently singing about an ‘old gum tree’ the rest of the day. I can appreciate the experimentation, but I didn’t love this one. Kookaburra was nice and crisp, and surprisingly, very cucumber forward, but I simply didn’t enjoy the flavor.
Phoenix copper ale was pretty run of the mill. Nice malt balance, but not the big flavor I was hoping for. This one was more like Faux on the day he molted rather than the day he saved Harry in the Chamber of Secrets… just saying..
Red Footed Booby raspberry wheat was awesome! Fruit ale’s tend to go one direction or the other: seriously fruity or just a touch of aroma and no flavor. Red Footed Booby was right in the middle with a really well balanced fruit character and just enough sweet to not overpower. Hopefully this one doesn’t go extinct like its blue footed cousin.
While I was enjoying all manor of bird themed names from Osprey to Hoot- it was nice to see a nod to ol’ Samuel Clemens with Puddn’head Wils… I mean Red. I feel like he would have enjoyed this American red ale. Crisp and slightly bitter- Puddin’head is a nice transition from light to heavy.
Falcon stout…no! I’m not the biggest fan of coffee stouts in general. I’ve been criticized for the fact that bourbon county coffee isn’t my favorite, but at least I can appreciated the subtlety. Falcon was pure espresso.
Much like the state of New York I have a very love-hate feeling about the state bird’s namesake brew. Blue Bird chocolate blueberry porter had a big blueberry aroma with no blueberry notes and while I loved the straight forward smooth chocolate, this porter was seriously thin.
For my final descent I sampled a little of the Blue Jay IPA. Having spent the last 10 years or so allowing IPAs to grow on me has led me to this conclusion. I still like dark beers better, but I can get down with a great IPA. Blue Jay was a bit grassy and not it.
Sometimes a brewery’s lineup just doesn’t do it for you- it’s nothing against the brewery and there’s no ‘bad yelp review’ on the horizon. I loved Red Footed Booby and a couple others were ok, but overall I wasn’t a big fan. I give Birdland Brewing Company a 6.6 out of 10.