ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – Brewery Ommegang from Cooperstown and Roscoe N.Y. Beer Co. were the winning “draft picks” in the inaugural “Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge” Wednesday.
The two breweries were picked as the best-tasting beer among five breweries from across NYS. The other breweries in the running were Genesee Brewing in Rochester, Prison City Pub and Brewery in Auburn, and Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood. The five contestants received the most votes during an online vote.
The judging panel included famous chef Mario Batali, former Buffalo Bill Thurman Thomas, Bon Appetit test kitchen manager Brad Leone, senior digital editor for Food and Wine Magazine Noah Kaufmann, certified cicerone, writer and beer director for Treadwell Park in New York City; and Mary Izett, co-host of “Fuhmentaboudit!” on Heritage Radio Network.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was supposed to be the seventh judge in the contest, but he excused himself from voting.
“I don’t want to be responsible for voting against any New York beer,” Cuomo said. “I am self-eliminating myself because I am biased- I want all five to win.”
Cuomo said that the craft beer industry in New York has grown tremendously over the past few years.
“Six years ago, there were 50 breweries,” Cuomo said “Today there are over 320. Just think about that.”
The beer, cider and wine industry in New York is a $30 billion business, Cuomo added.
Before Prohibition, New York State was one of the largest beer producers in the United States.
“Albany was the brewing hub in the country- Rochester had 50 breweries,” the governor said. “We have been working very hard to bring back that industry.”