The Greatest Little Beer Festival

New York’s Where the Wild Beers Are Festival is one of the country’s undiscovered gems.


This weekend, I drove from Lake George, New York, to Manhattan, a due-south drive of about four hours. Along the way, I stopped at Suarez Family Brewery.

I first heard about Suarez back in December, in a terrific article by Austin L. Ray. The brewery, located in the rural town of Livington, New York, was founded by Dan Suarez, a former homebrewer turned brewer at Sixpoint turned protégé of Sean Hill, founder of Hill Farmstead, which many regard as the country’s best brewery.

Since reading the article, I’d been wanting to make the pilgrimage, and even more so after Hop Culture’s Co-Founder and Managing Editor Travis Smith met Dan Suarez during a taping of the Steal This Beer podcast (episode coming soon… keep your ears open!). Now, by making a slight detour, I had my chance.

Suarez is charming, a brewery built inside an old lamp factory. There’s plenty of glass and brick. Outside, the flower beds blossom with bright plants, and the building itself is home to some of the nicest bathrooms I’ve ever seen in a brewery, with the exception of perhaps Brew Gentlemen in Pittsburgh.

But no one (?) comes to Suarez for the bathrooms. The brewery is known for its clean, low-ABV beers, the exact type of thing one might want to drink on a hot summer day. My group tried Palatine Pils (classic German pilsner), While (helles lager), Crispy Little (hoppy wheat pale ale), and Homespun (hoppy spelt Pale Ale). Although there were variations within the styles, they all had a distinctive “voice,” meaning that if I tasted twelve beers and four of them came from Suarez, I’d probably be able to pick the ones from Suarez. Plenty of breweries make good beer, but a distinctive voice is something I generally find only among the very best.

If you live in Boston or Manhattan, it’s definitely worth taking a day trip to Suarez. Consider combining it with a visit to the Storm King Arts Center, an incredible 500-acre outdoor sculpture park recently brought to the public’s attention by Aziz Ansari’s Netflix Show Master of None. The center houses over 100 sculptures from some of the medium’s most acclaimed artists, including Alexander Calder, Zhang Huan, Maya Lin, and Menashe Kadishman. It’s a place truly unlike any other, and probably worth a trip all by itself.


Between Suarez Family Brewing and the Storm King Art Center, I had one of the best days I’ve had in a while, and almost (almost!) considered moving back to Manhattan.

Stay strong, stay true, stay fresh, stay fly,

Kenny Gould
Editor in Chief


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