Tapping A Maple Porter

13 Mar
As a number of people ventured out into the New York sunshine to celebrate a spring-like day, the festive gathering at The Pony Bar included visitors from around the city and upstate New York, and even international travelers.  While only 200 gallons were made, fans are all hoping for another round of production.

As a number of people ventured out into the New York sunshine to celebrate a spring-like day, the festive gathering at The Pony Bar included visitors from around the city and upstate New York, and even international travelers. While only 200 gallons were made, fans are all hoping for another round of production.

Tapping A Maple Porter

By Annette Nielsen

Elizabeth (Betsy) Folwell, editor of Adirondack Life and husband Tom Warrington enjoy ‘Life Support,’ where staff at the magazine sourced the syrup from 12 producers representing the 12 counties within the Adirondack Park.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Folwell, editor of Adirondack Life and husband Tom Warrington enjoy ‘Life Support,’ where staff at the magazine sourced the syrup from 12 producers representing the 12 counties within the Adirondack Park.

In the North Country it’s time for liquid gold – throughout the Adirondack Park you’ll see sugar houses fired up to make maple syrup, the first harvest of the year. Used as a topping for pancakes and waffles, this popular sweetener has also found its way into ‘Life Support,’ a maple porter made by Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, a joint project with Adirondack Life magazine.

Staff at Adirondack Life were inspired by “Keg Party,” a recent article about the local beer renaissance. They approached the pub’s owner Chris Ericson about a collaboration that would include maple syrup sourced from all 12 counties within the Adirondack Park in a seasonal, limited edition brew.

Ericson notes, “The process of making a beer with maple syrup sourced from so many different, small facilities was exciting for us.  I always try to encourage people to get past local only meaning ‘local food’ (not that beer isn’t food) and ‘local shopping’ and into other ‘local’ items.  We’re also hopeful that teaming up with local syrup producers would lead people to think on that next level and support the smaller breweries and sugar houses in their own areas.”

Homestead Maple’s Scott Henze, a producer in Northville (Fulton County) was one of the 12 maple producers tapped to contribute to the inaugural run of the maple porter.

“I was very honored when asked to take part in contributing maple syrup for the brewing of ‘Life Support,’ especially since the 2013 season is only my second year of production.  Being an Adirondack native born and raised in the village of Northville, it has always been a dream of mine to be a sugarmaker and I take pride in producing pure Adirondack maple syrup.”

Dan McLaughlin, owner of The Pony Bar in Hell’s Kitchen (and another location on the Upper East Side) and fan of the Adirondacks, serves only American craft beers, and always has some offerings from Lake Placid Pub & Brewery on tap.  “As a bar owner that focuses solely on pouring American made beer, I take great pride in making sure our guests have access to the best made beers available.”

Sometimes that means taking a trip from Hell’s Kitchen to Lake Placid.

“It’s not uncommon for me to drive the 300 miles (one way) when there is a rare keg to be had,” McLaughlin says, as in the case of the ‘Life Support’ maple porter.

Adirondack Life’s creative director Betsy Folwell and husband Tom Warrington, traveled from their home in the serene Adirondack community of Blue Mountain Lake to New York for the tapping of this special edition brew.

“Not many projects criss-cross the Adirondacks, and not many products include a little from each part of the park. ‘Life Support’ maple porter from Lake Placid Pub & Brewery is that rare thing, ephemeral like Adirondack spring but hearty too, like a real beer should be. The partnership between Lake Placid Pub and Brewery and Adirondack Life has worked really well and brings the terrific maple flavor to new people in Placid and Manhattan. There’s a little dark, flavorful syrup from 12 different counties, plus hops, malt, pure water and alchemy from the brewmasters in Lake Placid.”

The large group of people at the bar spilled out onto the city sidewalk at the corner of 45th Street and 10th Avenue – the first day of spring-like weather combined with the flavor of the first sweet harvest of the season.

If you’re not able to taste this year’s ‘Life Support,’ there are other ways to join in the upcoming maple festivities throughout New York State – visit www.mapleweekend.com.

Photographs by Annette Nielsen

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