From Montauk, our beer tour of New York leads us to one of the most rugged and remote corners of the state: the mountain town of Schroon Lake in the eastern Adirondack Park. It is here that the Paradox Brewery opened its doors in late July of last year. They will be making the trek to Hunter Mountain for TAP NY for this first time this year. You may remember Paradox from an article I posted a few months before they opened, back in the infancy of this blog. It was amazing to see the shell of a brewery forming, in a place as unlikely as Schroon, where I had spent summers with a backpack and hiking boots not long before. To see the folks behind the brewery putting the finishing touches on their masterwork as they waited patiently for approvals and licensing was inspiring, with implications that went far beyond one little town. In a lecture I gave about craft beer in New York last summer, I mentioned Paradox as a sign of the times: though they had not yet opened, they represented the vitality of the industry in New York. That prediction seems to have held: Vaughn, David, and Paul, the founding partners, are running a successful and popular brewery in forever wild country.
The Paradox Brewery operates a 10 BBL system, housed in an old log-sided building just south of the cute little town of Schroon Lake on Route 9. It's one of the most majestic parts of the Adirondacks, full of sparkling blue lakes and heavy with the smell of pine. There's even a roadside chainsaw art dealer right next door to the brewery, ensuring that visitors get that authentic rustic experience. The name Paradox comes from a nearby lake which, during times of substantial rainfall or during the spring melt, will reverse its flow, with the inlet becoming the outlet. For now, the brewery is only able to do samplings and growler fills in their taproom, located just upstairs from the brewhouse. That will change, though, as Paradox has applied for and is waiting to receive the coveted farm brewing license. They are working with local farmers to ensure that they will have the necessary hops and malted barley to fulfill the minimum requirements of the law. The brewery hopes to source the bulk of its ingredients from within the Blue Line (the slightly anachronistic term that park natives use to delineate their realm) which is a tall order, but a noble one. The onset of summer means the return of boaters, day trippers, hikers, and a host of other folks who will bring with them a thirst for beer. I imagine it will get pretty busy.
The folks at the brewery are excited to be a part of TAP NY this year. They had hoped that licensing would have enabled them to attend last year, but some last minute hiccups kept them away from the festival. They have been working hard in the past few months to get the name and the beer out. I was happy to see Paradox at the Night at the Brewseum event in Saratoga in March, and I'm even happier knowing they will be at TAP this year. Keep an eye out for the crew. They'll be bringing along the Beaver Bite IPA, the Paradox Red Ale, the Paradox Pilsner, a stout, and a Belgian-style tripel. I have a deep appreciation for the breweries that recognize the fundamental aspects of their community that makes it unique. Building upon this, as Paradox Brewery has, is a powerful force for positive change in regions that are begging for innovation. Their logo, also, is fantastic. Any hiker in the group will recognize it and love it immediately.