Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Brewsday - North American Breweries

Did you know that Upstate New York has a brewing corporation of its own that spans three continents, and includes several notable North American brands? North American Breweries based in Rochester, New York is exactly that. While they don't own as many brands as AB-InBev or SAB Miller they still command a significant market share while remaining majority American owned, which neither of those behemoths can claim. They own and operate Dundee Ales & Lagers, Labatt USA, and Genesee Brewing Company.

I began writing today's entry wanting to write about Rochester, New York's own J.W. Dundee Brewing Company. As I began to do some research on the company I learned that they are a division of the Genesee Brewing Company, formerly High Falls Brewing Company, known for their Genesee Cream Ale throughout the Northeast. Many people consider 'Genny Cream' to be the best available commercial style of Cream Ale. Then I began to do some research on the Genesee Brewing Company and found out that they were bought out in 2008 by KPS Capital Partners, owners and operators of Labatt USA.

KPS Capital Partners took the brewing entities they had and created North American Breweries in 2008. North American Breweries is operated out of the Genesee facility in Rochester, New York and also operates Labatt USA which brews and distributes the Canadian Labatt family of beers. Labatt USA is based in Buffalo, NY. In addition they own American distribution and bottling rights for four other international beer brands; New Zealand's Steinlager, Costa Rica's Imperial, England's Thwaites, and Australia's Tooheys. They also provide contract brewing for Boston Beer's Samuel Adams and for the 'malternative' beverage Mike's Hard Lemonade.

What originally intrigued me to write about the Dundee Ales & Lager line specifically was their variety. I recently picked up their Craft Pack which features all six of their year-round releases. Their Honey Brown Lager won Gold at the 1994 World Beer Cup in the Special Honey Lager or Ale Category. They also produce a very palatable India Pale Ale; considering the amount of hops most IPA's have most people often to stray away from the style all-together. I just about fell in love with their Pale Bock Lager when I paired it with vanilla ice cream and a sugar cookie, it was perfection for a style I am not very often fond of. Their Pale Ale had significantly less hops than I'd prefer to have, but has a pleasant malt finish that provides it more of a pub ale quality. Pub ales are beers, usually English style ales, you can drink infinite amounts of without its flavor or alcohol content dominating you into submission, thus allowing you to continue drinking it into the wee hours of the morning with your 'lads'. Their porter had no definitive notes that I recall, however it was the last of the style that we sampled so our palates were both overwhelmed and a little inebriated.

I highly suggest you go out and pick up a Dundee Craft Pack at your local craft brew store and sample the variety that Dundee has to offer. I wouldn't go as far as to say that Dundee was one of my favorite breweries, however their ties to Rochester in Upstate New York and their ability to craft a variety of styles bumps them up several notches. They remain highly on my 'Likely to Purchase' list due to their variety and price point (one of the cheaper craft brewers). So find a couple friend's pick up their Craft Pack and sample each of their six distinctive styles: Wheat Beer, Pale Bock Lager, Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Porter, and their world-famous Honey Brown Lager.

And as always, Remember to Stay Safe!

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