LOCALadk Magazine

LOCALadk Spring 2017

LOCALadk Magazine

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Page 49 of 67

Ready for some beer drinking advice? Never swat away the cobwebs in a Belgian brewery, they add to the flavor of your beer. Capture the yeast from beer you buy and use it in your home brew. Bars with 70 different types of glasses are ready to serve beer correctly. Black Fly Beer Camp makes the annual Adiron- dack black fly invasion worth risking. Typically, in June, while swatting black flies at the Great Camp Sagamore, such advice is just grist for the beer mash. "This past year the black flies almost didn't show" recalls Jeff Flagg, Sagamore's program director. Yet the trivia at the camp in Raquette Lake, NY was as thick as the camp itself was overflowing with craft beer makers, home brewers, and folks who just take their beer seriously. In 2010 when Jeff introduced his ideas for a beer camp he was simply looking to fill camp for a weekend during the dreaded black fly season in late June. A team of regional beer experts – including craft brewer John Carr, owner of Lake George's Ad- irondack Brewery; Reed Antis, who, with his wife, operates a beer-making supply store called Saratoga Zymurgist, in Saratoga Springs; and Rich Michaels, Quality & Innovation Manager for Sa- ranac Brewery in Utica, NY, – went to work developing a program to attract beer enthusiasts despite the black flies. "The interest in beer had grown in recent years," says Michaels, "with the num- ber of breweries in the US catapulting to some 5,000 indepen- dent breweries (compared to only 4,000 in 1970). New York State alone has more than 300 breweries." "We weren't interested in another beer fest," Carr emphasizes. "Or 'selling' an event where people would turn out to see how much beer they could consume." From the outset, the Black Fly Beer Camp was about education. Whether talking to pro brewers, home brewers, or simply beer drink- ers, "We wanted to provide an atmosphere of ca- maraderie where 'beer devotees could comfort- ably take their understanding and knowledge of beer to another level.'" It quickly became evident, Michaels notes, that "there was a thirst for information about beer brewing technique, technology and terminology. The combination of an Adirondack Great Camp, a team of professional brewers to lead the discussion, and a group of people with like interests proved almost magical." On the shore of nearby Raquette Lake, almost imperceptibly the twin 220 hp engines of the W.W. Durant quietly rumble as Cap- tain Dean Pohl deftly guides her from the dock. Meanwhile Antis weaves between the crowded tables on the open-air upper deck, pouring from a selection of his Belgian style home brews. Black Fly Beer Camp Story and photos by Tom Dwyer

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