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Placid brewery wins gold

Lake Placid’s breakfast-themed ale captures statewide prize

Lake Placid Pub & Brewery owner Christopher Ericson, left, accepts an award from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos during the I Love NY Oktoberfest at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in October 2019. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Pub & Brewery recently clinched a gold medal in a statewide craft beer competition.

The brewery’s Salted Caramel Waffle Ale beat out 65 competitors in the Fruit and Spice Beer category of the 2020 New York State Craft Beer Competition. The contest was held in Henrietta on March 14, and the winners were announced during a virtual award ceremony this past Thursday.

“It feels great,” Lake Placid Pub & Brewery owner Christopher Ericson said of the win. “I’m also the president of the New York State Brewers Association. I’m really in touch with the 470 breweries in New York that are making world-class beers. To win a gold medal, to be judged the best among a really deep field, is an enormous honor — and a credit to all the guys at the brewery that are making top-of-the-line beers.”

This year’s statewide craft beer competition drew 989 entries from 175 breweries across 25 different categories, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Long Island’s Big aLICe Brewery won the Governor’s Cup, an award for the best beer in the state, for its The Many Lives of Our Lives, a sour beer made entirely with ingredients sourced within New York. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, some beers that aren’t perishable have not been judged yet.

Lake Placid’s Salted Caramel Waffle Ale is relatively new, released this past fall. It’s a hybrid between two different beers the pub and its sister company, Big Slide Brewery, have served up in the past — a salted caramel amber ale and a Belgian waffle ale.

“This beer is a lot lighter; it’s lightly hopped,” Ericson said. “No flowery or fruity or citrusy hops. It’s malt-forward, and that’s what we’re going for.”

Will Cleveland, the Democrat & Chronicle’s breaking news reporter and beer columnist, was one of the judges in this year’s competition.

“We were in unanimous agreement that Lake Placid’s Salted Caramel Waffle Ale was one of the most imaginative and well-crafted beers we had all day,” he wrote for the newspaper. “It featured salted caramel, vanilla and cinnamon in an amber ale base. It’s certainly not something I expected to like so much.”

Since Ericson took over the the former P.J. O’Neill’s bar in Lake Placid 24 years ago, the brewery has racked up more than 60 international, national, state and local awards for both the overall company and individual ales. The brewery last won an award in the New York State Craft Beer Competition in 2018, when it took home a gold medal for its Ubu’s Golden Ale, a blonde ale, as well as a bronze medal for its Ubu Ale, the brewery’s signature English-style strong ale.

This is the first time the Salted Caramel Waffle Ale has won an award.

The Utica-based FX Matt Brewing brews and bottles Lake Placid Ubu Ale for distribution outside of Lake Placid. Within Lake Placid, the beer is still made locally and available for purchase at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery on Mirror Lake Drive. Though dine-in service is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the pub — as well as Big Slide Brewery on Cascade Road — is still open for take-out.

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