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Prison City Brewing Brings it Home

Started in 2017, the New York State Brewers Association has held an annual statewide craft beer competition to showcase the depth and variety of the quality of the brewing industry.
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Mark Schulz, Ben Maeso and Dawn Schulz of Prison City Pub and Brewery

The Governor’s Cup is in the FLX.

Started in 2017, the New York State Brewers Association has held an annual statewide craft beer competition to showcase the depth and variety of the quality of the brewing industry.

New York breweries enter their top selections in 25 styles, with the best of the best of all the beers being awarded the Governor’s Cup, which is considered to be the choicest beer in New York for that year.

Wham Wham is an Imperial Stout style brew.

After three years of the contest, the cup is finally in the Finger Lakes as Auburn-based Prison City Brewing took home the award for their Barrel Aged Wham Whams, an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. It’s a big deal for this brewery, which launched in 2014.

“I was up on the stage whooping and hollering when we won,” says brewery owner Mark Schulz.

“Everyone on staff drank out of the cup when we brought it home, we were so excited. We’re so proud of (brewer) Ben Maeso and this beer.”

But here’s the catch. You can’t have any. Not yet, at least. The latest batch is still in barrels and won’t be ready until some time in June. Prison City makes a limited production of this beer, as few as 8 barrels of the stuff, and it is aged in those bourbon barrels for six months, grabbing on to notes of coconut and vanilla bean to go with the roasted, rich flavors of a stout.

As for that name, all the Prison City beers are named in relation to jail terms.

“Wham whams are treats that prisoners would barter with each other for,” explains owner Mark Schulz. “Wham whams and zuzus are the common names for candies in prison.”

Consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to go to jail to get these wham whams. But if you are coming in for a meal at the brewpub to go with your best of New York beer, Schulz recommends you pair it with their beer-glazed pork belly poutine.

“Embrace your inner fat guy and celebrate a little,” he says with a smile.

28 State Street, Auburn, 315-604-1277, prisoncitybrewing.com

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 edition of the magazine.

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