Behind the scenes at Resurgence Brewing

The What's Going On In Buffalo Crew! Erik the Brewmaster is at the far left.

The What’s Going On In Buffalo Crew! Erik the Brewmaster is at the far left.

It was the perfect mid-September day – a bit overcast, and a chill was just hitting the air. All of the harbingers of the season were present: locally-pressed cider in the fridge, leaves crunching underfoot, and the panicked race against time to get everything ready for my daughters’ birthday party. OK. Maybe that last one’s a little more personal, but as I swung my mobile man-cave around for my 3rd attempt at getting everything my wife needed for the cakes, a peek at the clock had me panicked. It was 6:24. I was supposed to be at Resurgence at 7:00 to meet the WGOInBuffalo crew for a tour and tasting of their recently released fall beers. I successfully dashed through the aisles, juking petrified shoppers, splitting shopping carts, and hurdling toddlers in a very Spiller-like fashion. I grabbed the Jell-O and hit the checkout line, a little (a lot) out of breath. When I got back home, I ran in, gave my wife a quick kiss, tossing her the final ingredients she needed, and I was on my way to my malty Mecca.

My Aluminum Taj Mahal!

My Aluminum Taj Mahal!

I gathered with the familiar faces that comprise our writing crew at a table near the back with my goblet of Road Trip IPA (their summer specialty) in hand. It was good – hoppy, maybe lacking a little balance. The Resurgence IPA is superior, in my opinion, but you should definitely try both for yourself. We sipped and chatted; it had been nearly a month since we’d all been together, so we caught up with each other in front of the big bay doors – our window to this beautiful autumn night, which many people were enjoying in the biergarden. Owner Jeff and Head Brewer Dave were away at a Hop Conference (they’ve got to call it a Hopference, right? I mean, c’mon – it’s right there!), so I went to find Alex, who then directed us to our guide, Erik. A graduate of Niagara College in Ontario, Erik was a great guide, whose passion for the art of brewing was on full display. He was patient and answered all of our questions, the smile never leaving his face.

Erik, our gracious host for the evening.

Erik, our gracious host for the evening.

First, Erik took us to the grain barn where they house their malted barley and to the mill where they grind the malt, which helps to expose the essential sugars of the grain. This sugar is what yeast feeds on during fermentation, and the result of this consumption is the alcohol. This night, they were brewing another batch of their Oktoberfest, and we were able to step up to the tun and take a whiff. It smelled like a mix of bread and sweet tea, and I probably lingered a little longer than I should have. The smell stayed with me for the rest of the night and into the next day, the nostalgia of my days as a homebrewer weighing heavily on my mind. After the trip to the tun, we were escorted to the fermenters, where the yeast was hanging out in a hopped up version of Buffalo’s Canalside – 70 degrees, surrounded by friends and water, and indulging their microbial sweet tooth. Alongside the fermenters were some smaller versions – test batches that you may be able to try at the Buffalo Beer Week Event, “Kegs, Eggs & Experimental Brews,” to be held Saturday, September 27th from 11am to 2pm. Once the tour ended, the sampling started! We were all offered tastes of Erik’s favorite, the Dry-Hopped Kolsch. The WGOinBuffalo crew found this to be bright and dry, with a citrusy finish. Next was the Loganberry Wit, which, as one person commented, is a “Fruit beer for beer drinkers,” adding that the loganberry is not overpowering and that it would pair well with chocolates. We had the Fall Saison, which had flavors parallel to a Dunkelweiss, and Erik indicated that was the flavor profile they were going for. Mission accomplished! We had the Resurgence Oktoberfest, which was smooth and crisp, and the bronze color perfectly matched the feeling of the season. Last, we tried the Sponge Candy Stout, which is made from Watson’s Sponge Candy. The sponge candy flavor hits the sweet spot, and even those who don’t like dark beers may find the exception that proves their rule in this tribute to Buffalo businesses.

Fermenting Buffalo's new favorite brews.

Fermenting Buffalo’s new favorite brews.

We stuck around for a while afterward, and ordered some of the food Resurgence has to offer. Rumors have it that the brewery is looking to expand their menu, but for now, they’ve got a decent variety, and food trucks are regularly present on the premises. We ordered the bread bowl, which is dill dip with pieces of fresh bread baked with the spent grains from their brews. The barley flavor was great – a unique take on the rye bread bowls that populate the tables of family gatherings. We also ordered the fresh soft pretzels, which came with some tasty dipping sauces. Having spoken to Jeff on another occasion, it was interesting to get another viewpoint of the operation. The passion that those who work for Resurgence have is persistently evident, from the biggest picture to the smallest detail. The city seemed more ALIVE this summer than in any other in my memory, and Resurgence has a lot to do with that. The proof is spread far and wide across the internet, as well-respected blogs are hailing the gold and bronze rivers that flow through the taps at Resurgence as much as the atmosphere. It happened that this night fell on another landmark evening in Buffalo. As I was saying my goodbyes, I got a message on my phone – “Stop by Mohawk.” I had totally forgotten that this once-defunct museum of everything I held dear was once again opening its doors. As requested, I did stop by, thankful that they didn’t turn me away for my lack of a plaid shirt (my shorts were plaid, so maybe they overlooked my faux pas…)

Resurgence, on tap at the re-opened Mohawk Place

Resurgence, on tap at the re-opened Mohawk Place

I strode confidently up to the bar to order my Mohawk standby, PBR, when staring me in the face was a Resurgence tap handle. Seeing this as a sign from the beer gods, I ordered myself the Summer Saison, and stepped into the crowd to check out The Albrights, whose fuzzed out guitars were the perfect soundtrack to end my evening. I found it serendipitous that Resurgence Brewing – this bastion of Buffalo’s rebirth, would be present at the re-opening of one of Buffalo’s most important venues. The next generation of Buffalo beer flows freely, while onstage, the next generation of Buffalo’s music pours its heart and soul over the crowd. Beautiful, poetic, generational, Buffalove.

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