By Eric Ploof
General Manager, Boca Bistro
It’s Beer, it’s here. Get used to it. The craft beer craze cannot be considered a fad like Skidz, crimped hair, and tightly-rolled pinned jean cuffs in the early 90s. Craft Beer is here and, unlike a flannel shirt tied around your waist, it’s here to stay. As of June 2013, there were 2,483 craft breweries in operation in the United States with over 500 more in the planning or construction phase. By comparison, in 1978 there were only 89 total breweries in operation – micro and macro.
We here in Upstate New York are fortunate enough to live in a market that has a thriving beer scene. Just in the last two years we’ve seen a new brewpub open in downtown Saratoga Springs, two craft and specialty beer havens open two blocks from Broadway, and dozens of restaurants within driving distance from anything of Saratoga Springs that consistently changing their draft and bottle line-up to keep consumers intrigued and excited.
Not to mention Shmaltz Brewing, who once contracted space with pulling its contract from Olde Saratoga Brewery to brew it’s labels, has built its own brewery off Exit 10 of the Northway. As well as the expansion of Brown’s Brewery in Troy which has expanded into an old factory in Hoosick Falls, and makes for a wonderful afternoon of brewery tours and tastings.
Seeing the passion and drive these brewmasters and owners have demonstrated to has created something tasty and uniquely is inspiring. And this trend even has farmers are jumping on board as well as hop farms, which are sprouting up across the nation, the state, and neighboring counties.
From a restaurateur’s standpoint there are seemingly unlimited options out there in regards of what to offer via tap and bottle. My philosophy has been, and will continue to be, to offer good beer at good value that pairs well with our menu.
On February 19th, for instance, we’re hosting an explosive celebration of Dogfish’s off-centered, hop-centric ales with a Dogfish Head Beer Dinner. A five-course beer dinner of authentic and original Boca Bistro dishes expertly paired with five innovative Dogfish Head beers including their Sixty-One Minute IPA, Indian Brown Ale, and Burton Baton. Right now there are nearly 70 guests registered for this event which speaks to the public’s thirst for craft beer.
Even beyond the Dogfish Head Beer Dinner, today begins The Third Annual Saratoga Beer Week. Beer Week is a five-day, city-wide beer celebration with over 30 beer-centered events scheduled. The celebration culminates on Saturday with that will feature more than 150 different beers from more than 80 American craft breweries.
At the end of the day, I want our guests to be excited when they see our beer list. And I want and our team to be equally as excited to talk about the beer we offer. It isn’t an exact science and I know that we can’t offer only beer that I love because my taste isn’t the same everyone else. Furthermore I don’t want to offer the same selection of beers that are being offered next door or across the street.
Ultimately I want our guests to tell their friends that at a DZ Restaurant not only will you enjoy great cuisine with a wonderful wine list while being provided with warm and inviting hospitality, but you’ll have great options to enjoy good beer.
I invite you stop by Boca Bistro to sample one of the many beers we have on draft because as Kevin Costner once said, “If you tap it, they will come”…or something like that.