Lake Placid – Craft beer aficionados need to tour Upstate New York, starting with handcrafted brews created in and around Lake Placid.
In recent years, the beer industry has evolved into something more than just offering a tall, cold one to quench a thirst. Taste and body, emerging from local barleys and hops, are now keenly appreciated by discerning beer drinkers as is the independence of the beer artisans themselves. As craftbeer.com says, “Now is the best time to be a beer lover in the U.S.”
It’s also an excellent time to be a craft beer advocate as you navigate the various worlds of ales, stouts, IPAs, blondes, wheats, porters and more.
Let’s take you around our Adirondack region and introduce you to our bold, brewing world, including Lake Placid’s breweries.
If you are coming from the south, take exit 29 on the Adirondack Northway and head straight to Paradox Brewery. Among the choices, you will find Paradox Pilsner, Hermit’s Heaven, One Handed Applause, Beaver Bite IPA, Cryo DIPA (double IPA), and many more with additions to the menu coming in spring and summer. Tasting events continue through March.
The Big Slide Brewery and Lake Placid Pub and Brewery (under the same ownership) are at the heart of the craft beer movement in Lake Placid. The Big Slide, as it’s locally known, is located on Rte. 73 as you drive into the village. This is the home of Giant IPA, named New York’s best double IPA. The pub and brewery, or the Brew Pub, was the birthplace of Ubu Ale. This English-style ale, in a deep red hue, was good enough for former President Bill Clinton to sample some and then commission more to the White House.
Great Adirondack Brewing Company started in 1996 and has been creating craft beer ever since inside their restaurant on Main Street in Lake Placid. They were among the first craft breweries in the Adirondacks. Their seven-barrel stainless steel brewing system pumps out 350 barrels of craft beer annually. The Great Adirondack Brewing Company offers hoppy IPAs, hearty stouts, rich Belgians and more. Many can be canned into 12-ounce six packs. Their award-winning products are created just 50 yards from your seat at the restaurant.
Ray Brook Brewhouse can be found just five miles west of the Mirror Lake Inn on Route 86. Also accompanied by an eclectic food menu, the beer lineup ranges from a 5 percent German-style, “straight up beer”, to a 10 percent Donderwolk. This is the Dutch word for thunder cloud, apropos for this elegant Belgian triple. In between these offerings you will find Moon on the Lake IPA, Slab of Granite IPA, a Trappist style ale known as Paradis sur Terre, Nitro Oatmeal Stout, and an array of other selections.
Drive another five miles on Route 86 to Saranac Lake, and you’ll come upon Blue Line Brewery. As much as craft beer drinkers enjoy the endless samples that exist, they are equally entertained by the creativity involved in naming these malts. The combination of tastes and titles alone should have you making this drive. For instance, there’s Vienna-style Big Spike. In memory of Old Mountain Phelps, you can pucker up to Old Mountain Milk Stout. Go for the rich and huge McKenzie Mountain Red. You will pass the McKenzie Mountain trailhead on your way to this brew house. And how about this for local: Clark and Marshall Original Ale was summoned by the ADK 46ers (climbing club) to mark the 100-year anniversary of the ascent of Whiteface Mountain by Herb Clark and Bob and George Marshall.
Continue your journey further west on Route 86 to Tupper Lake, 30 miles from Lake Placid, and visit Racquette River Brewing. Given that Racquette River Brewing offers 35 unique canned beers, you might want to make this a craft beer destination. You can open with Abominable White Stout and ADK Haze. To illustrate the camaraderie amongst the various breweries, Racquette River and Big Slide collaborated on Connected by Trail, United by Ale. At the end of their hefty beer listing, you can find Woodwalker New England IPA and World India Pale Ale.
Guests of the Mirror Lake Inn, who might consider venturing around the Upstate New York and Adirondack regions, can always begin their craft beer journeys under our roofs – you will find a number of the above tap handles in The View Lounge and The Cottage Café.