You have less than two months before winter officially begins. Whether the colder weather is driving you to drink or inspiring you to toast the fall season, there are three local beers at 12 Gates Brewing Company that are worth a shot before winter arrives.
Scott Shuler is the head brewer at 12 Gates, which will celebrate its third anniversary in December. Shuler moved to Buffalo for the job and spends a lot of his time tinkering with ideas or making test batches of new flavors. The experiments have led to three beers that are definitely drawing a lot of attention. Schuler poured a glass and shared some insight for beer lovers.
“Festbier is the one that really represents autumn for us. The Festbier is a traditional German festival beer – it’s kind of for old-school Oktoberfest. We actually brew that one in March and let it mature until it’s time for Oktoberfest so it’s very traditional. It’s light in color and bready and crackery and malty – it works better for the cooler weather. It drinks easier with cooler weather and it’s also light and crisp so it’s the best of both worlds. It has sold very, very well especially with it getting cooler out. We love brewing German beers and this one won a bronze medal this year in the New York State Craft Beer competition. We’ll have it up into winter, probably up into December at the rate it is selling.”
Buffalo Breakfast Stout
“We have a beer we’re brewing in collaboration with Buffalo Brew Pub - it’s Buffalo Breakfast Stout. We brewed it last year on a smaller scale and now we’re brewing it on a larger scale. It’s a dark, roasty stout, but it focuses on Western New York ingredients. We get ingredients from a number of different local places: cold-press coffee from Kornerstone Coffee in Kenmore and maple syrup from East Aurora. We get dark chocolate from Antoinette’s in Depew and we get bourbon for aging oak from Five & 20 Spirits in Westfield so it’s a big focus on being local. You can drink it anytime, but with cold press coffee and syrup, it’s reminiscent of breakfast. We’ll have that in kegs and cans. It will be available around Thanksgiving with cans out in distribution and on draft at Buffalo Brew Pub.”
“We are doing a special small bottle release called Dissolution for the day before Thanksgiving. It’s a bourbon oak-aged Baltic porter – it’s the second year for it. We brewed twice as much last year and took half for last year and the other half we saved for this year and it’s been aging for a year on oak. The beer is 9.1 percent alcohol. The oak gives some vanilla notes and you get a little bit of alcohol warmth so it’s really good to drink on a cold day. We’ll have that in bottles only and we’re selling that at our Philosofest on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving – that’s a festival in honor of alchemy philosophers, old alchemists. It’s a fall party, but a celebration of alchemists that we draw inspiration from. We’re extending our hours and we will release only 100 22-ounce bottles. It’s very exclusive.”
12 Gates Brewing Company
80 Earhart Drive (906-6600, 12gatesbrewing.com)
Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. A food menu is available at the taproom.