Write-up: Lu Blanchard
Leader: Lu Blanchard
Co-Leader: Dick Blanchard
Who would have thought that a trip to the Matt’s brewery would create so much interest? It’s not like we Tramps look forward to a beer after a hike! Forty-one people showed up for the hike to Utica Psychiatric Center and the Brewery Tour. Many thought we were doing the tour first (!) but I said, “no, you have to walk before you get the reward!”
We started by walking to the Utica Psychiatric Center (formerly the NYS Lunatic Asylum of Utica) and checking out Old Main and some of the other buildings. Meg Higgerson, who used to work there along with Grace McNasser, shared her knowledge of what the buildings were used for when the whole complex was open. Old Main was built in 1843 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. If you are lucky enough to get on the list, you can take a tour twice a year to see some of the inside. It used to be a lot easier to get someone committed to the Center, and it is good that it changed or we may have left a couple of the walkers there! just kidding.
After walking through the complex and checking out the ducks at Chester’s florist shop we returned to the Brewery to wait our turn for the tour.
For a lot of us we had been on the tour years before, but wanted to see and hear about the changes they have made over the years. We had a great guide who took us from the beginnings, through Prohibition, to modern times in about a 45 minute tour. He also shared his favorite new brews which we tried in the tasting room.(The Breakfast Stout was really good and at over 10% alcohol it only took a small one to have me buzzed.)
We learned that Matt’s Brewery is now the 14th largest in the country for Craft Beers and 24th overall. They contract with many smaller breweries such as Lake Placid and Samuel Adams to produce some of their lines. One thing that has changed is you can now order beer and flights of 4 types of beer in the tasting room. Thanks to Kathy C. for leading us in the old Schultz and Dooley song about Utica Club. Unfortunately, their beer is no longer carbonated the natural way – they now use piped-in carbon dioxide.
After the tour some Tramps went to local eateries to sober up before driving home.