New York's farmers markets are in full swing and with that comes the bounty of the local countrysides or sometimes from our surrounding rooftops. Strong Rope focuses on using as many local ingredients as possible, and while that usually includes hops and grain, our seasonal beers experiment with the amazing harvests from local farmers.
Not only are the markets a great location to pick up fresh meats, vegetables and fruits, they also are an amazing place to inspire Strong Rope Brewery's next beer. Last month, I took home the Brewer's Choice award at the HomeBrewklyn Homebrew Competition and Festival here in Brooklyn with my Farmer's Summer Brown Ale, a chocolatey brown ale brewed with basil and fermented with organic raspberries.
Walking through the market this past week, the sour cherries were screaming to me and they were saying "WE WANT TO BE MADE INTO AN EVER SO DELICIOUS SOUR CHERRY IMPERIAL STOUT", to which I replied "chill out cherries, your wish is my command." So keep an eye out in the near future for Strong Rope's, yet to be named, sour cherry and cacao nib imperial stout!
Finally if browsing the local farmers markets stalls wasn't enough, last year Governor Cuomo put a law in effect creating a new class of license for brewers, the farm brewery license. This new license, which hopes to increase demand for locally grown farm products as well as expand economic development and tourism, allows breweries some leeway with the previous tax requirements as well as what can be sold at the brewery in terms of pints and tastings. Of course the breweries will need to use at least 20% New York state grown hops as well as 20% for the rest of their ingredients. When the time comes Strong Rope will be filing for the farm brewery license utilizing local ingredients from hop farms like Condzella and Farm to Pint and sourcing malt from FarmHouse Malt. Exciting times!