Sometimes the best trips are the ones you don’t plan. Such was the case on a rainy Sunday afternoon running errands in Henrietta. Frustrated after just visiting two stores, I decided to abandon the mission and take up a more pressing matter. For you see, I had learned that Three Huskies Brewing in Canandaigua had just put on a Chocolate Marshmallow Porter Nitro, which are four things I love. I bolted from the consumer chaos and headed east on the Thruway. By now, you probably realize I don’t mind a little drive in search of a good beer adventure (a “beerventure,” if you will). I have already taken you to Williamson, Webster, and Brockport, so what’s a little trip to the Finger Lakes?
About 35 minutes later I was cruising down Lakeshore Drive ready to make my first visit to Three Huskies. Except there was a private party going on at Three Huskies, so I had a few hours to kill before they reopened to the public. Perfect timing to get reacquainted with some area breweries! I continued down the road to Naked Dove Brewing, which I had visited for the first time last year. The cozy tasting room was crowded with visitors from Buffalo and Cincinnati (gleaned from overheard conversations), and it’s always nice to see one of the founders behind the bar talking up the product and carefully taking care of customers.
I took an opening at the bar and dived right in to a tasting. I started off with the locally-available Green Front Golden Ale (4.5%), which I found to be well-balanced and refreshing. Next up was the Maibock (6.5%), one of my favorite Naked Dove seasonals full of sweet, malty flavors that you expect from a bock beer. This was followed by a smooth Wind Blown Amber Ale (5.0%) that had just enough hop flavor for my taste.
By this time I had struck up a conversation with the couple next to me. Dan and Cathy are regular visitors who stopped in to kill some time and also pick out some choice ales for their upcoming wedding reception. We traded comments as we worked our way through the bracing Starkers IPA (5.6%) and the dark and rich 45 Fathoms Porter (5.6%). Dan saw me taking notes and asked if I was logging my tastes on Untappd, and I sheepishly explained I’m sorta kinda putting this blog together, but I have no idea what I’m doing, just having fun discovering and drinking beer. “Good,” Dan said, “beer is supposed to be fun, not snooty! Am I going to be quoted on your blog?” The oft-quoted Dan works for a local brewery and is also a bit of a homebrewer himself. I’d say he is definitely having fun with beer.
The tasting finished up with the bright and flavorful Berry Naked Black Raspberry Ale (4.2%) and the dark, malty Russian Imperial Stout (11%) which has been aged for 11 months and lacked any harsh “boozy” notes often associated with the style. A really great flight of beers, and I ended up taking a grumbler of Maibock to enjoy at home (and made some new friends along the way).
A late lunch consisted of an awesome cheesesteak from Mac’s Philly Steaks before headed over to Twisted Rail Brewing located in the old train station on Pleasant Street. The compact brewery and tasting room was not crowded this day, only hosting a couple of visitors besides myself. I was welcomed right away and ordered a flight of beers from their ample lineup. The Farmhouse Ale (5.3%) is a Belgian saison style, and this one did not disappoint with fruity aromas and a slightly tart finish. A lighter color than I expected, the Scotch Ale (6.3%) was nicely balanced with good malt flavors. Clocking in lower on the booze scale than I would have thought, the Vokzal Russian Stout (8.0%) had a lot of nice dark and rich flavor. The server insisted I try a taste of the Spring Thaw Stout (7.3%) which was brewed with real maple syrup, which provided a nice finish.
On my way out, I learned that Twisted Rail will be closing the small tasting room and brewing facility in the train station and moving to larger quarters right on Lakeshore Drive overlooking Canandaigua Lake. CB Craft Brewers recently announced a new business partnership with Twisted Rail, so perhaps we can look forward to increased production and expanded availability of these unique brews in the future. I will miss the cozy old tasting room and small batch brewery, though.
I looped back through the city and made my first visit to Three Huskies Brewing, located in the back of Dobber’s Sports Bar & Grill on Lakeshore Drive near Route 364. Founded in 2014, Three Huskies brings the meaning of “microbrew” to life, as their production system takes up a good amount of space in the small back room. I bellied up to the small bar, decorated with photos of the owners’ dogs and those of their customers, and was quickly offered a sample of the Chocolate Marshmallow Porter Nitro. The smell was absolutely amazing, with the marshmallow aroma captured perfectly. I had my nose stuck so deep into that taster I probably looked like a toucan. Overall the brew had a nice mellow finish like a dark ale. Wanting something a bit lighter, I opted for a pint of the Wooing Wit. The citrus flavor comes from Valencia oranges, I was told. I relocated to the main bar area to relax and plot my course home to Rochester.
On your next pass through Canandaigua, consider visiting the city’s three great breweries. Check out Naked Dove brewing on Facebook or visit their web site at http://www.nakeddovebrewing.com. Check out Twisted Rail Brewing on Facebook or visit their web site at http://www.twistedrailbrewing.com. Check out Three Huskies Brewing on Facebook or visit their web site at http://threehuskiesbrewing.com.