Welcome to our list of favorite dining destinations in New York's Hudson Valley and Adirondack regions. We visit restaurants, wineries, barbecues, and a smattering of off the beaten path culinary destinations like maple sugar shacks and fromageries. My friends and I have been dining out together weekly for over twenty years. The locations we write about are our favorite destinations. We are not claiming they are the best, just our favorites. The posts are not "reviews" in the classic sense. - we offer only our picks, not pans. We will leave the criticism to others. We are a happy blog. We much prefer a good bistro to "haute cuisine", especially if they also have a nice bar. We prefer a crock of cassoulet and a bottle of Beaujolais to just about anything else. If you enjoy simple home style rustic cooking with a decent (but not too expensive) bottle of wine, then pull up a chair and join us.

This Month's "Well Said!"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

Ferran Andria

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Paradox Brewery ~ Schroon Lake ~ Adirondacks ~ New York

Paradox Brewery
154 US Route 9 at Northway Exit 27
Schroon Lake, NY 12870

(518) 351-5036

The logo is a play on the traditional
yellow and brown Adirondack "trail marker"

I am very happy to report that the Paradox Brewery, our very own local craft beer microbrewery right here in Schroon Lake, New York, has opened the taps and the beer is flowing. After many months of planning, construction, and sorting out licenses and permits, co-owners Vaughn Clark, Paul Mrocka, and David Bruce have thrown open the doors to the new tasting room. We stopped in last night on a "research mission".  

The brewery is located in the space that most recently housed the Schroon Lake Bait and Tackle store on Route 9, just off of Northway exit 27. The building was completely renovated with new brewing equipment on the first floor, all of which can be viewed from the front windows facing the street. Around the back of the building is a new staircase leading to a beautiful outdoor deck and tasting room, where you can sample the brewery's current offerings. 

Currently the brewery is offering beers in kegs, mini kegs (for boaters), and growlers (64 oz. bottles), all refillable when you return the containers. Local Schroon Lake bars and eateries will also be carrying Paradox products on tap as their production comes on stream. Last night one of the owners, David Bruce, was working the taps in the new tasting room, pouring samples of three current offerings - a summer ale, a red ale, and an IPA (India Pale Ale). 

We started with the summer ale, a crisp light brew that was as fresh as a spritz of lemon. I was most pleasantly surprised. It was just fantastic. After sampling the slightly heartier red ale, and a delicious IPA, which is usually my favorite style beer, I came back to the Summer Ale (and left with four growlers for tonight's pig roast.)

I had read Anthony Batson's stories about Paradox Brewery on his website SchroonLaker.com. It is the proverbial fairy tale of the hobbyist brewers making beer for their friends in the basement (on Paradox Lake), who ended up with more friends than beer and decided to turn their hobby into a business. We all have dreams but rarely does anyone actually go out and do it. (And rarely is the hobbyist brewmeister's beer as good as their friends tell them it is.  Not the case here. The beer is terrific.) 

But the story gets even better.  How many new Adirondack businesses have you heard about lately? Exactly. So the story also includes a local economic development theme, complete with a "sustainable agriculture" component. Just up the road from the brewery is the Sugarbush Farm, our local Schroon Lake CSA. The spent (barley) grain from the brewing process is re-purposed as feedstock for John and Jennifer Otruba's livestock. What's better than that? (And now I understand why Jen's free range chickens and Berkshire pigs have that "little extra" flavor!)

It gets better. Just down the road in Pottersville (just south west of Northway exit 26) is a new hops yard whose standing larch poles you can see from the Northway. When the hops is mature the brewery intends to complete this virtuous circle of local sustainable production by including their output in their recipes. I love this story. 
A new "Hops Yard" in Pottersville
I have no doubt that we are going to look back a few years from now (when Paradox Brewery is famous!) and remember when these guys had a tiny little new production facility on Route 9, and how they took their hobbyist passion for craft beer and followed their dreams. You heard it here first. In the meantime we can stop in and enjoy some truly amazing brews, and support the local economy at the same time. And what's better than that?    

If you do stop in please let our other readers know about your visit in the comments section.
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Ideas? Recommendations? Email me at NorthCountryJoe@gmail.com 

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