— Our last “official” stop of the Cider Doughnut Tour brought us to Golden Harvest Farms in Valatie. Like any red-blooded American male would, Jon and I headed to distillery while Elise and Danielle made their rounds about the store front. No visit to the distillery is complete without a few tastes of their new spirits and grabbing something to take home as well.
It seems like there’s always something different or new going on every time I stop by Harvest Spirits. This time for me was watching them fill their bottles for the first time and checking out some of their infusion experiments that were tucked away on the wall right past their array of artistically decorated barrels.
Like I said, it’s almost impossible to walk away from their glassware and other trinkets without getting at least something before walking out the door. I had a tough time putting down the leather-bound Cornelius AppleJack hip flask gift set, but the rocking tumbler was my weakness of the day.
After meeting up with the girls in the country store, we grabbed some of their cider doughnuts which ended up being the best of the day. Some of the ones we had earlier in the day were cold, which is a huge pet peeve of mine, especially if I go out of my way to ask for warm ones. Some had gigantic holes in the center which led me to believe they were cut wrong or the dough didn’t expand as expected. These ones were just right, served at the right temperature, with the correct amount of fluffiness and just a little hint of grease from the frying. It was the best way we could have ended the tour.
Jon and Danielle were spending the weekend up at Moreau Lake and while I couldn’t stay the whole weekend, Elise was at a wedding shower so that means I had a free pass to head up there with Kuma to enjoy a few drinks around the fire. Jon said he ended up having a shitty night so I’m glad I didn’t stay.
Jon actually grabbed this Scythe and Sickle at Ommegang well before it hit shelves in our area and we were drinking this the weekend after. If you have already read my rant about this beer on All Over Albany I apologize, but I feel this needs to be said here.
When you read the reviews for Scythe and Sickle a lot of them have the same thing to say, or at least allude to it: “You can really taste the Belgian yeast in this.” What they mean to say is “You can really taste the Ommegang yeast in this.” And that’s the biggest problem that I have with all Ommegang beers these days. If you lined 100 beers up I could easily pick out the one Ommegang beer out of them. They all have this same common flavor profile due to using this only one yeast strain in their beers and after years and years and years of drinking Ommegang (they’re really where I started getting fanatical about craft beer) it’s getting kind of boring. That’s a shame since this Scythe and Sickle deserves a 4+ rating but unfortunately I just can’t give it that rating while being that bored and uninterested in the brand in general.
I want to see Ommegang do something truly different and out of their comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be a huge risk, nationwide release or anything. I want to see them experiment, do some small batch, brewery only release or even something as small as a brewery only on tap release. I would drive out there for something like that in a heartbeat, and I’m sure there are plenty of locals who would appreciate a beer like that as well.
This dovetails into my complaint that we really don’t have much in terms of beer in the area that worth trading for. If I want to trade for something across the country, I generally have to drive up to Vermont and get some Heady Topper, Lawson’s or Hill Farmstead. The two big craft breweries of note in New York, Southern Tier and Ommegang, really only brew what they ship mostly nationally and they do nothing in terms of brewery only releases. Ithaca used to have some sours that were worth trading, but that’s still 3 hours away, one single style of beer compared to the multiple styles of beer I could acquire in VT, and since they no longer have a coolship their sour program is kind of up in the air (yes that was an open-air fermentation pun). My best chance in NY right now is to get my hands on some of the Captain Lawrence sours (congrats on the big wins at GABF this year, btw) and to hope that Peekskill starts up their barrel aging and sour programs and they start bottling some day. That’s kinda sad.