By David Diehl of FLX Words
Did you know that Penn Yan stood for ‘Pennsylvania Yankee?’ If you did not—there you go. If you did—well, this isn’t a history column—let’s talk about beer.
Laurentide Beer Company in Penn Yan just started brewing beer less than a year ago and already they have a signature beer. While it is important to the owners Marla and Tracey Hedworth and brewers Brett and Jackie Driscoll to have a well-rounded catalog of flavors, the Penn Yan Light Lager, which is made with 100 percent New York State ingredients, has become a top seller.
“The beer is dry and has a real clean finish. It’s all New York state malt and hops,” says brewer Brett Driscoll. “We have a lot of people come in and ask for an easy drinking beer or a pilsner style, and they always gravitate towards this beer. It’s a hard beer to make because you can’t hide any flaws like in other styles.”
“It’s an all-day sipper. It doesn’t have as much spice as a pilsner would have, but it does have a little bite,” adds brewer Jackie Driscoll. “The first time that we made this beer, it sold out in two weeks—and it takes five weeks to make it.”
Deciding to open during this unique time period was quite a challenge for the Laurentide Beer Co. team, but it has turned into quite a success. Between the charming location and the craftsmanship of the liquid, the tasting room has certainly offered itself as a hidden gem in the Finger Lakes craft beer community. And its name is meant to reflect the unique geographic history that has helped shape communities around the region, and its foodshed.
“The Laurentide is the original ice sheet glacier,” explains Marla Hedworth. “Back in the Ice Ages, it created all of the largest freshwater lakes in North America. We wanted a name that tied into the community and the region.”
It was always a goal for David Diehl to return to the Finger Lakes and make an imprint on the beer culture of the region. A Hobart & William Smith Colleges graduate, Diehl spent over a decade in Brooklyn and is excited to be back and taking on Finger Lakes craft beer reviews and commentaries for EdibleFingerLakes.com. He has also been published in Inked Magazine, YRB Magazine, Nerve.com, and The Finger Lakes Times. You can follow his work at FLXWORDS.com.