Thursday, July 30, 2009

F.X. Matt Brewery Tour

Last week on the way home from my Triathlon in Geneva, NY my wife and I decided to take a quick detour through the F.X. Matt Brewery. It's kind of funny since Charlie Papazian just wrote about it this week, here. His post made me realize I needed to post this. The tour was great. You start out in a room that has a lot of antique's and old stuff from the Utica Club Days. P.T. Barnums desk is in this room and there is a grandfather clock which is worth over a million dollars......and it doesn't even work!!!

Next came the presidents room. This room/hallway was filled with portraits of all of F.X. Matt's former and current presidents. Basically it's the entire Matt family. Still, very cool. Next a room which basically had all their products on display. The tour guide talked about the Saranac Brands, their Saranac Soda and how they use barley and hops to brew there beer. Boring stuff for the homebrewer. The final room before we got to see the actual brewery was the prohibition room. It was a small room designed in the speakeasy fashion. He talked about how Utica Club survived prohibition and that they were the first brewery to sell beer after the 21st amendment was signed. They had beer on the trucks ready to ship 1 hour after the amendment was penned!'d they get that beer made in 1 hour????

Now to thew brewery. The first room housed the two large brew kettles. All 100% copper kettles which were a thing of beauty. The amount of equipment that was in this room was amazing. The picture below is only half the room. The other half to the right was the cereal cooker and the filter, which was about the size of a yellow school bus. Very cool!

After seeing the brewhouse, we took a quick trip through the grain storage tanks.....actually, just the top floor. It wasn't much because of the massive size, they were more than 2 stories high and so wide we could barely walk by them. Next we went to a room which had a view of the fermentation tanks. They would not allow us to go into the fermentation room because there are pipes and hoses all over the floor and they do not want to liability of someone tripping and hurting themselves. I biggie.

And finally, we finished in their pub! We were given 2 drink tickets each. I was the first to the bar, and I grabbed my favorite Saranac beer ( and probably one of my top 5 beers) Saranac Black Forest!! WOW, what an amazing beer. Great malty bite to it slight hop presence. My wife, since she was the best and offered to drive, had thier Root Beer. IT WAS AWESOME!!! It was so good, we bought a 6 pack. I also bought a 6 pack of the Black Forest and went through it the night I got home! SO GOOD!

As we Left, I snapped the above picture. It's the grain "dump" or whatever you call it. This is where the spent grain is put after brewing and local farmers come by with a truck, has the grain dumped in the back, and they take it away and use the grains for cattle feed. Very cool and easy way to dispose of spent grain!

If you're ever out near Utica, I highly recomend taking this tour. It's very easy to get too and it's a lot fo fun to see one of the oldest working breweries in the country!


1 comment:

Ryan Miller said...


Good morning, this is Ryan from Saranac. I just wanted to drop you a quick line and say thanks for your post on our brewery. We're really happy you enjoyed the tour and our brews.

I'll pass your comments onto Fred Matt, as I'm sure he'll be delighted to hear that you had such a good experience.

Also, we're going to be having some opportunities coming up exclusively for bloggers who enjoy craft beer. If you'd like to get more information, please drop me a line and I'll keep you in the loop as things develop. I can be reached at:

Thanks again for the post!