HAMILTON >> In three years, Good Nature Farm Brewery and Tap Room’s commitment to selling handcrafted, all natural ales brewed with local ingredients has created a business that is truly welcoming to their patrons, owner/general manager Carrie Blackmore said.
“Someone told us our Tap Room is like Hamilton’s living room, and I think they hit the nail right on the head,” she explained.
Good Nature is a small, independently owned microbrewery in the heart of Hamilton, offering a variety of beers made at their brewery and sold at their Tap Room. They celebrate their third year in business this month, having opened their doors to the public on Jan. 12, 2012 as Madison County’s first brewery in 200 years.
Blackmore is from Pelham and her partner and master brewer Matt Whalen is from Camillus. They came to Hamilton to be closer to Blackmore’s family on what they expected to be a temporary visit, but soon fell in love with their surroundings.
“We realized how much we loved it here, and decided to stay and start a business in Hamilton,” she said.
Combining her own farm-based experience with Whalen’s culinary skills, they created the model for Good Nature — a beer maker that would use the freshest, local ingredients. In 2013, New York state created a new farm brewery licensing class, and their business was perfect for that so they “jumped on it,” Blackmore said.
A recent grant of $350,000 from the state further promoted their Good Nature commitment to offering farm-to-glass products containing locally-grown hops and barley in their beers.
The brewery opened a Tap Room on Broad Street in downtown Hamilton in May 2013. There, they offer Good Natured Ales, including their famed Good Natured Blonde, American Brown Ale, Solstice Oat Stout, and Annie, by the glass, growler, bottle, keg, and in flights.
They also sell merchandise, local food items and crafts, local hard cider and root beer, and some non-alcoholic beverages. Food can be brought in from patrons’ homes or local restaurants.
Weekly specials events at the Tap Room include “2 Stamp Tuesday,” where Growler Club members can have their card stamped two times for every growler filled. The lucky 13th growler filled is free. Wednesday is “Pitcher Day,” with buy one, get one for half off pitchers all day. Thursdays are “Randall Day,” where each week the Good Nature Brewing “brews letter“ asks fans what they want to see in the chamber. The winning suggestion gets a pint of it for free.
Either Fridays or Saturdays feature regional live music, and on special occasions there’s also a weekday show. Upcoming shows can be found on the Events Calendar on their website.
Good Nature ales are also now found in bars and restaurants all over central and northern New York state.
Blackmore said they will take part in the Central New York Brew Fest coming up in Syracuse this month, and also soon travel to Ossining, N.Y. for the Stone Barn Center’s annual beer and sausage event — an invitation that came as a bit of a surprise.
“The fact that they found us is amazing,” she said. “When they found out we were New York state’s first farm brewery, they contacted us. We’ll be one of only four breweries involved.”
Good Nature’s commitment to using only the freshest ingredients was exemplified Friday as Whalen stepped out to purchase some oranges for a special holiday concoction of “Dr. SOOS,“ a “Smoked Oat Orange Stout,“ that he was making, and returns scant moments later with two prize specimens in his hands. The product can’t get much fresher than this.
They will celebrate their anniversary at their Tap Room on Jan. 17 with day-long festivities including two special cask beers, their Oak-Aged American Brown Ale and their Solstice Oat Stout, specially conditioned with vanilla beans and sour cherries. Their taps will also be stocked with flights of several rare brews added to their regular line, including the third-year anniversary ale they’ve dubbed “Heavy Legs,” a Scotch Ale fermented on deconstructed American white oak barrels.
Keeping with the anniversary celebration tradition, Hamilton-based progressive folk-rock band Rabbit in the Rye will perform on the Tap Room stage from 9 p.m. to midnight. There is no cover charge.