My very first beer was a Budweiser in the can. I can vividly remember what it felt like to pull back the tab and take that first cold sip. Initially, I didn’t like it at all (that’s quite the understatement) and found myself wondering what all the fuss was about. But I soon developed a taste for it, and while my college girlfriends tended to gravitate toward more foo-foo cocktails, I’ve been a devoted beer gal for many moons now.
But I don’t drink Budweiser anymore (although I admit to having a nostalgic place in my heart for it). There are just too many quality craft breweries around these days. Although, when we first decided to do this cover story back in 2012, I don’t think I realized just how much really great beer is available here in our area. And it seems more is being produced each month. Since we last wrote about local breweries in 2010, five new ones have set up shop — with two more slated to open in Dutchess County in the coming months. A few weeks ago, we received a press release announcing that Shmaltz Brewing is launching a new outpost in Clifton Park. All around the region, the craft beer boom is on!
In this month’s cover story, we take you inside the breweries, introduce you to the fun folks who are making it all happen, and even outline the region’s fascinating hoppy history. (Believe it or not, Albany was once the biggest brewing hub in the whole country.)
But we soon realized that 14 pages is just not enough to accurately describe what is really going on here. The craft beer movement is about much more than booze, drinking, and partying. It’s about culture and community and celebrating all things local. That’s why we’re launching The First Draft, a monthly column and accompanying blog devoted to anything and everything regarding local brews. Don’t know the difference between a lager and an ale? We’ve got that covered — and much more. We’ll head out into the field to sip and sample, we’ll provide in-depth profiles, tell you where to snag the best swag (there are some pretty cool growlers out there right now), offer expert advice, and a lot of how-tos from some hot homebrewers. In addition, we’ll keep you updated on local beer events; there are more and more each and every month. Speaking of suds shindigs: Read all about the magazine’s first annual Burger and Beer Bash, which we’re hosting on August 1 at the marina at Shadows on the Hudson. See you there.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor In Chief