Suarez Family Brewery is located in upstate New York, an hour south of Albany and two hours north of New York City. It has been on my list of breweries to visit for some time now after reading about how much people loved it doing road trips through the North-East United States visiting breweries. They are well regarded as having excellent clean lagers, so much that my friends wanted me to share if I could bring back cans of their flagship pilsner. I decided to use Suarez as the subject of my last blog about breweries and I think it is fitting.
Because of the brewery’s remote location, I booked an airbnb in the area so that I could relax and enjoy the fall colors and a quiet weekend away from the hustle of life. I flew into JFK airport and rented a car to drive two hours and found myself in the rustic area of Hudson Valley. Though the roads are small, it is much easier to get to than the delightful but extremely remote Hill Farmstead. The drive is mostly flat and it is easy for people in the area to take a weekend trip to stock up on their beer.
The Palatine Pilsner lived up to the hype and was everything I had expected. The beer was crisp and clean with notes of hay and orange blossom honey. I also tried the black lager, a few other similar pilsners, a pale ale, and a sour while I was there. I didn’t much care for the black lager and found it to be too bitter for the style but the rest of the beers were excellent. The hoppy pale ale was up there with Pseudo Sue or El Segundo Brewing Citra Pale, crisp and dry with lots of prominent tropical hops. The barrel aged blended sour was nicely balanced with prominent notes of botanicals and fairly mild in acidity.
Visiting the brewery you can order 25cl pours of any of their beers. Beers to go are available in growlers, cans, and bottles. For this specific trip I got 750ml growlers to bring back to my nearby airbnb to continue enjoying the beers. At $10 for a 750ml growler plus fill it is reasonably priced enough that growlers make sense even if you don’t expect to return. I left the growlers at the airbnb for future guests to enjoy. I also brought home cans of crispy little and bottles of a biere de garde.
Visiting Suarez is like visiting any tasting room around the US in a good way. While from the outside you are in a rural area, once you walk inside you will find the same communal seating and a casual space with a slightly echo. You will meet with people who have traveled from all around because there are hardly any locals in the area by the brewery. Suarez has all the great qualities of world-class breweries I have visited during my years blogging. One thing that my favorite brewery trips over the years all had in common was the ability to meet people at breweries and immediately start a conversation. During my two days visiting Suarez this happened both times. I hope some of the people I met will reach out when they come to San Diego to meet and share a beer.
This is my final post on this blog because I have accomplished what I set out to do, bring awareness to excellent breweries around the world. I am also gladly leaving the coverage of the San Diego beer scene in the hands of William Vanderburgh, who writes Craft Beer in San Diego. He has not only done what I wasn’t interested in doing, and visited every brewery in San Diego (until the next one). He has also branched out into local publications to cover local breweries. While I will continue to visit breweries, I look forward to no longer blogging about them.
Come expecting lagers and the occasional low ABV hoppy beer. Don’t expect IPAs or stouts.