Love For the Finger Lakes
I wear my love for New York State’s Finger Lakes on my sleeve and make no bones about it. It has been and always will be a magical retreat for the wife and I. The tranquility of the region complemented by artisan ecosystems created around these glorious bodies of water will draw you in and leave you yearning to return.
I’ve always found Keuka Lake to have a certain mystique about it. Not too big, but not too small, but gives you a homey communal feel. Uniquely y-shaped with hilly terrain with three distinct towns at each tip of the lake – Penn Yan at the northeast tip, Branchport at the northwest tip and Hammondsport at the southern tip.
Recently on a warm Father’s Day Sunday, Mrs. UBT and I made the trek out to Penn Yan to check out the Keuka Outlet Trail and try some local craft beer. In the last 10 years, we’ve been through Penn Yan dozens of times, but this would be our first visit to the trail. We wanted to get some good hiking in before the local breweries opened up. So we rolled into town around 10am to give us a couple hours of exploring. Recreational trails have stoked my interest of late thanks to my involvement as a committee member on the Ellicottville – Great Valley Trail project. Which is an initiative to build a recreational trail in Ellicottville and Great Valley region of the Southern Tier.
ABOUT THE KEUKA OUTLET TRAIL
The Keuka Outlet Trail is a recreational trail that skirts the outlet stream which connects Keuka Lake in Penn Yan, running east to Dresden, NY connecting Keuka and Seneca Lakes. The Keuka Outlet trail is approximately 7 miles long and does allow horseback riding and snowmobiling in the winter months.
We strategically started in downtown Penn Yan. As a neophytes, we didn’t know exactly where to pick the trail up, as signage is a little scarce, but we were able to figure out a good place to park and hop on. A good place to park is here off Lake St. across from Commercial Ave. (Pinpoint Here) keeping close to LyonSmith Brewing Company.
We started out headed west on the Keuka Outlet Trail where we encountered kayakers, some locals with a line in the water and a busy Penn Yan Village Boat launch with boaters headed out to Keuka Lake. From there we turned around and headed east toward Dresden and then circling back before hitting Seneca Mills Falls. Cranking out two-plus miles on the trail before crossing the outlet for a stop at LyonSmith Brewing Co. just across the outlet. The heavily shaded trail made the 85 degree conditions rather tolerable
See where to cross the Keuka Outlet Trail to visit LyonSmith Brewing Co. (map)
LyonSmith Brewing Co.
138 Water St.
Penn Yan, NY 14527
Google Map: https://www.google.com/maps/place/LyonSmith+Brewing+Co./@42.6591546,-77.0565449,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x89d0e5cd1e92d4dd:0x1c9831d3da96ea7c!8m2!3d42.6591546!4d-77.0543562
We rolled up to LyonSmith Brewing Co. on foot after working up a good thirst on the Keuka Outlet Trail. This was my first visit to their brewery, but I had sampled some of their English style craft beer last year at the Flour City Brewers Fest at Rochester’s Public Market.
Upon entering we were greeted quite pleasantly by Lita as she seemed excited to host her first tasters of the day on a 85 degree Father’s Day afternoon. The welcoming Lita provided us with some history of LyonSmith as we settled into our tasting session. 20 years ago Dave Smith started as a small home brewer with a passion for English style craft. To hone his brewing skills, nine years ago he enrolled in the Siebel Concise Course in Brewing Technologies which paved the way for opening LyonSmith Brewing Co. on Memorial Day 2014. Dave is married to Sarah Lyons, who is also a Co-Owner, hence LyonSmith Brewing Co. Located in the lower level beneath Water Street Wines and Spirits, Lita informed us that LyonSmith was on an expiring lease and would be relocating Spring 2019 over to Assembly Ave. in Keuka Park, toward Keuka College, to space they can call their own. According to Lita, the new space will provide more indoor and outdoor space as well as better scenery for beer tourists to enjoy which sounds like a definite upgrade and requirement to earn destination brewery status.
Tasting Line Up:
8 Tastings for $10.00
Cardiff Blonde – Simple 5.3% ABV.
Rhiannon Red – Traditional red with some floral character. 5% ABV.
Rylie Pale Ale – Billed as a fairly even blend of malt sweetness and hop aggressiveness pretty spot on as not much bite.
1814 Flood Porter – Best of the day in my opinion. Perfect touch of smokiness. 6.4% ABV.
Witchcraft Gruit – Gruit ales are brewed with no hops. As someone who needs hops, not necessarily in mass quantity, it’s tough on the pallet. Brewed with dandelions, coriander and ginger. 6.1% ABV.
Manchester Bitter – Billed as hoppy with a crisp bite with a solid malt and oat base. 4.6% ABV.
Windsor Nut Brown – Northern English brown ale with a nutty sweet malt character. Refreshing for a brown ale. Took a 16 oz. bottle home. 5.1% ABV.
Four Leaf Clover Stout – Black malt, roasted barley, chocolate malt for a unique stout. 6.4% ABV.
Dog Friendly: Yes
Wine: Yes – Local NYS Farm Winery Selections
Outdoor Seating: No
Parking: Behind 138 Water St.
Scenic Point Bluff Look Out
Quick stop at Point Bluff for some amazing scenery heading west From Penn Yan to Branchport on Route 54A. West branch of Keuka Lake looking south.
Google Map of Point Bluff Location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bluff+Point,+NYemail@example.com,-77.1123371,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x89d0e35f494c7b39:0x1683d2dfe90396d6!8m2!3d42.6142362!4d-77.1035822
Abandon Brewing Company – Destination Brewery
2994 Merritt Hill Road
Pen Yann, NY 14527
Find Here on Google Map:
My maiden voyage to Abandon Brewing Company left me planning my return. It checks enough boxes to earn Destination Brewery status in my book. What are those boxes you ask?
- Diverse repertoire of well crafted beers to choose.
- Friendly and knowledgeable staff.
- Comfortable atmosphere.
- Adequate outside seating.
- Quality food offering (doesn’t have to be a full menu). Bonus but not required: Wine, Alcohol, Cider.
All boxes checked.
We arrived mid afternoon on a bustling Father’s Day. On the ascent up the driveway you get the feeling you’ll be spending a little extra here. A sizable collection of hop bines populates the back of the property. As you approach this beautiful refurbished barn perched high above the west branch of Keuka Lake, you can only say to yourself “quintessential finger lakes brewery.”
The common theme and objective of the day was clearly to treat dad with a trip to the brewery to sample good craft beer. (As a father myself, that should be the a Sunday norm. Especially in the summer). Southern Tier Distilling – Lakewood, NY – was also present pouring samples from its line up of spirits, a three piece band began their setup for the day, as a steady stream of growler refills came through the door. There also appeared to be some special occasion being celebrated, besides just treat day to a beer, under the shelter outside.
We opted to split a flight, which is pretty standard operating procedure for Mrs. UBT and I. With this busy Father’s Day crowd, our flight took a couple minutes to pour, so I sent the wife over to Abandon’s food service area to grab something for us to nibble on while the staff tended to customers in front of us first. The Mrs. returned just in time as our flight was set with a half dozen strips of jalepano, brown sugared, candied bacon prepared in a wood fire oven. Sinful but amazing. With the temps in the upper 80s, we didn’t mind at all as we reminded ourselves of the long winter we recently endured into April. So we grabbed a picnic bench on the second level porch of the barn and sat in the sun facing Keuka Lake to taste our flight and gnaw on some bacon. The jalepano accent of the bacon helped kick up the temp and spiced up our pallets for the flight, but it also served as a great complement.
Tasting went as follows:
Peppercorn Saison 6.3%
Gose – Sour, Sea Salt, Coriander 3.2%
Pale Ale 4.5%
Oak Aged Tart Cherry Porter 7%
Of the group, the Peppercorn Saison stood out most to the Mrs. as the jalepano, brown sugared, candied bacon probably helped consummate that conclusion. The Oak Aged Tart Cherry Porter caught my attention the most even on warm day.
Abandon Brewing: Pint of Pale Ale and Gose with a side of jalepano, brown sugared, candied bacon
After twenty-five minutes in the sweltering heat, we needed to cool off. So we retreated back to the bar for some shade and round two of the bacon and a pint of the Pale Ale and Gose to washing it down.
Dog Friendly: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes. Small patio and outdoor pavilion.
Parking: Yes on premises.
With a limited menu, but with unique offerings, Abandon Brewing Company satisfies the food criteria to earn Destination Brewery status here on UBT. Their kitchen, called “Fire Brick & Mortar” specializes in craft pizzas which are baked in their wood fired pizza oven as well kabobs, burgers and hot dogs in addition their jalepano, brown sugared, candied bacon.
Abandoned doesn’t disappoint either with its strong and balanced line up of craft beers, most with modest ABV. With ample space for events, especially in the warmer months, keep Abandon Brewery Company on your radar.