Keith Redhead has something to teach you about beer. In fact, you’ll learn there’s some kind of craft beer you like even if you’re a newbie when you visit his brewery in Marcy, New York.
Woodland Farm Brewery Brewer/Owner Redhead started out as a teacher/homebrewer, putting just as much time into brewing as he did his lesson plans.
“I very much like traditional styles of beer. When we first opened, we focused on Kolsch and lagers,” Redhead said. “I wanted to have beer that anyone could come in and find something to drink.”
That philosophy still rings true today, however he’s expanded his repertoire to include more experimental brews, particularly those of the barrel-aged variety.
“I’ve always appreciated those who really take the time to actually let a beer age,” Redhead said. “The cool thing about cask beer is there’s a little more experimentation. You can take a 300-gallon batch of beer, split it into different casks with different hops, different additives and you’ve now got that same beer with five different ways to taste.
“Beer drinkers today, they want variety,” he said. “Offering casks allows you to have a little more differentiation.”
There’s a ton of that differentiation at Woodland’s annual Cask Fest, where several other local breweries are invited to share their creations alongside Woodland offerings. These breweries are all part of an ever-growing craft beer culture in Central New York.
“People have kind of lost touch with that path from the ground to the glass,” Redhead said. “People love the idea that we’re the original hop-growing area of the United States.”
And that tradition has been revived in recent years.
“It’s awesome to say this beer has hops that were grown an hour away,” he said.
Suffice it to say “local” is a thing at Woodland. Even a bunch of those barrel casks he loves to cultivate and talk about are from local cooperages.
So, if you’re passing through the area, like so many Woodland patrons are, stop by for a true taste of the local landscape. Even if you’re not a craft or even a cask connoisseur, Keith’s got something for you, even if it’s not his own stuff.
“If you want to come to Oneida County and you like to drink, we’ve got you covered,” Redhead said. “We’ve got the Heart of New York Beverage Trail which is breweries and wineries. We’ve got Saranac, which is one of the oldest breweries in the country. There’s a lot to be done around here besides drinking too.”