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West Seneca man brews this year’s Erie County Fair craft beer

It was good news when they told Mark Zambron of West Seneca he had brewed a “fair” beer.

His roggenbier, which features the use of rye as a primary ingredient, will be this year’s Erie County Fair craft beer.

The keg will be officially tapped during a ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Flying Bison Brewery, 840 Seneca St.

The beer is based on the best in show winner in the fair’s 2016 home brew competition, which attracted 152 entries this spring. After the competition, the recipe was handed over to the Flying Bison Brewery, which produced the been in a larger volume for public consumption.

Entries were evaluated by 18 professional beer judges at the fairgrounds. According to judges, this is the first time in recent history that a roggenbier has won a major competition. Roggenbier is a German beer made with rye rather than wheat. It gets its name from the town of Regensburg, Bavaria in Germany and is considered a “historical” beer, and is not currently commercially brewed in the United States.

The beer was produced with New York State sourced rye and other ingredients. It will be offered in kegs by Try-It Distributing to Western New York establishments for public purchase before the fair. It will be featured on location during the Erie County Fair.

“It’s a delicious summer beer. A very drinkable, medium strength brew with an alcohol content around 4 to 5 percent,” judge Thomas Barnes of Rochester said. “The beer is very light flavored, yet the use of rye gives the brew a hint of spiciness to it.”

“If you like lighter, Belgian beers like commercially produced Blue Moon, you’ll love this year’s Erie County Fair Beer,” said Master Judge Tim Collins of Grand Island, New York. “In my opinion, the beer will go well with almost all fair foods real well. Try it with sausage, hot dogs, bison burgers or even a deep-fried taco.”

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