If you’re anywhere near Union Square today, drop by the farmers’ market and pick up a 6-pack of Ma-Pale, the first beer made entirely from ingredients grown in New York. It’s brewed by Mark VanGlad of Tundra Brewery. Apparently, VanGlad’s used to slinging goods at the farmer’s market – he grew up working his family’s maple syrup stand. Now, 25 years old, he’s decided to put his own spin on the family business, following his love for homebrew. Step 1: grow barley and hops on the family farm. Step 2: rig up a makeshift brewery out of a couple old milk tanks. Step 3: have your girlfriend design the logo. Step 4: share your gift with the world.
Driven or not, VanGlad wouldn’t have been able to sell his farm-to-bottle beer at the market if not for some very timely legislation. For the first time in 2009, the state allowed small-scale breweries like Tundra, which would otherwise have no means of distribution, to sell their stuff at farmers’ markets and local fairs. It’s a total Giamatti (read: win win*) – not only does it give boutique operations the freedom to grow at their own pace, it lets the consumer in on some otherwise inaccessible brews.
I’m stuck in Jersey today, so I’m hoping Mark’s going to be back next week with his stuff. But seriously, for anyone within reach, grab one.
* This will catch on. Trust me.