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of Saranac / F.X. Matt Brewing Company - Utica, NY
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"I drove to Utica yesterday (6-17-06) for a tour of FX Matt. I have to admit--I was a bit disapointed. Part of this is probably my fault as I went on a Saturday (no brewing activity) and did the 1:00 tour (none of the neighborhood bars were open yet--the one that was open doesn't serve food on weekends). The tour guide (Shawn or Sean) must have been fresh out of training--at least he admited that he didn't know the answer to most of the questions rather than making something up. When asked which barley was used for the hefe--he didn't know that it is a wheat beer. He had no idea why the line was called Saranac--I don't either but I would think that would be a pretty important thing to know. A lot of the tour focused on history of the brewing industry rather than just FX Matt--which is ok--the family with 5 kids seemed to enjoy it. They charged you $5 for the tour and that got you 2, roughly 8-10 oz samples. I'm not sure what they would do if you wanted to try more. The gift shop is pretty much a beer store and Shultz and Dooley store--except the beer, very little to do with Saranac. We heard several times on the tour that Utica Club was the past and Saranac is their ticket to the future--the shop is till in the past; at least as far as merchandise goes. If you are in the area, I'd say that it is worth a stop. I drove 200 miles and that may be why I was so disapointed--the distance and the rave reviews may have heightened my espectations. I keep thinking about that family that forked over $40 bucks for the tour and wonder if they thought it was worth it. Regardless--Saranac makes great beer and it's a nice mid-point between mass produced swill and more pricey microbrews."
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