Breweries can start just about anywhere. For Justin Staskiewicz, it began with an unattended canoe beside an Adirondack pond. Staskiewicz and his partner, Richard Mathy, were just paddling along, floating, drinking and thinking in this borrowed vessel and decided to go on an adventure by opening a brewery as an alternative to their college degrees. The occasion is today immortalized as Adventure Canoe, the session IPA they serve up at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery in Old Forge, New York.

That’s where the brewery came from, but Staskiewicz’s passion was born from a Mr. Beer homebrew kit. He’d mess up the kitchen making batches for camping trips and parties. The beer was shared with friends and friends of friends and right down the line until Staskiewicz and Mathy knew they were onto something.

They chose to open Fulton Chain in Old Forge, a small town that attracts tourists at the base of the lakes that are their namesake. The Fulton Chain of Lakes starts naturally at First Lake, where Old Forge is located, and reaches well into the massive Adirondack Park all the way up through Eighth Lake. Hiking and camping are a big deal in this area and Fulton Chain is happy to contribute to the good times enjoyed by many visitors who become regulars at the New York state licensed Farm Brewery.

“Originally you had to use 20% New York state crop and then four years from then, it was 60%,” Staskiewicz said. “We opened with that license and pretty much from the beginning we’ve been using 90 to 95% New York state ingredients.”

He takes pride in sourcing hops and malt from inside the confines of New York, mainly because it just makes great beer.

“I love delicious light beers,” Staskiewicz said. “The cool thing about lagers and pilsners is it really showcases your ability to brew because there’s nothing to hide behind with that beer.

“It just kind of shows that you can make a nice, clean, crisp beer,” he said.

Like the brews, he likes to keep his environment light and cool. Adirondack chairs line the bar for folks to belly up and relax. The walls are covered with outdoor décor you’d typically find in a cabin. It’s an all-around welcoming place, just as Staskiewicz and Mathy intended all those years ago when they happened upon an upside-down canoe with paddles stashed underneath in an Adirondack forest.

“We knew we had big dreams and when you put it on paper you have no idea what it’s going to be,” Staskiewicz said. “But, yeah, it’s been awesome. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun.”