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E-Piary installed at Empire Farm Brewery



The honey bees have arrived at Empire Farm Brewery! A big thanks to Scott Ouderkirk at River Road Farm in Hammond, New York for cultivating the hives over the past year. Our apiary, or what we like to call our “e-piary,” will play a large role on the farm as key pollinators for lavender, wild flowers, fruits, and vegetables grown on site and also supply raw, natural, estate honey for our kitchen and brewery.

Beekeeper, Scott Ouderkirk made the trip with 4 full hives. Each hive has two deep boxes and one medium (for all you beekeepers out there), on an open trailer. Upon arrival Scott walked us through the process of setting up a fifth beehive by using a split. A beehive split is made by dividing an existing colony into two parts. From the existing hive the split is given frames of honey, brood, worker bees, and drones to imitate a normal nest structure but is left missing one huge factor, a QUEEN! Once the new hive recognizes that it is without a queen the worker bees will choose several of the existing small larvae and feed them ample amounts of royal jelly into specially made queen cells. This will trigger the genes necessary for the nascent queen to develop ovaries, which is needed in order to lay eggs and grow the new colony.

Upon the split a month long process begins before a queen is ready to take her throne and start producing eggs (a throne she is able to keep for as long as six years!)

What’s a beekeeper to do during these 4 weeks? WAIT and mark the calendar for very specific days to be opening the hive for observation.  Update: Just four days after the split, queen cells have been formed and capped, which is a sure sign the hive is working to make a queen to sustain in its new home in our backyard.


We’re excited to buzz about our experiences in the e-piary as we continue to learn and grow. Stay tuned for more updates on our newsletter, blog and social media platforms!

Black Magic Stout, Coming to a Bottle Near You!


New advancements in beer technology finally allow us to package our Black Magic Stout, a 1998 World Beer Cup® GOLD MEDAL winner. A long time pub favorite, you can take the signature nitrogen cascade home with you for the first time ever. Crack open a bottle, pour vigorously, and unleash the magic.

New Empire Farm Brewery Menu

We regret to inform everyone who was looking forward to the new Hot Dog Menu, that it was in fact an April Fools prank. We’re the wurst.


Hot dog-centric menu incorporates American tradition with contemporary culinary culture.

Empire Farm Brewery is proud to present the tasting room menu for the brand new Cazenovia location! Founder David Katleski, Brewmaster Tim Butler, and Executive Chef Matt Riddett have created a hot dog-centric menu, featuring gourmet hot dogs prepared with Empire’s handcrafted beers. Pair any dog with it’s proprietary beer style for a superior dining experience.

You might ask, why hot dogs? A long time ball player, David Katleski has had a love for hot dogs since his days as a catcher. “I love hot dogs, my boys love hot dogs, even my dog loves hotdogs. What’s not to love?” Several of the new menu items have been regular meals at the Katleski household for years.


David’s dog, Frankie.

The average American consumes 50 hot dogs per year. The standard dog is usually topped with ketchup, mustard, and maybe a little relish. Empire’s new menu reinvigorates this American tradition, emphasizing local ingredients and fresh flavor profiles.

Remember to check back in for updates on the Empire Farm Brewery grand opening, so that you can try these dogs for yourself!



‘Banger Dog’, featuring Black Magic StoutBanger Dog: Corned beef hot dog made with our Black Magic Stout, served in a baked potato and topped with caramelized onions and thick gravy… $9

Boho Fido: All vegan ‘hot dog’ made with local ingredients and our Skinny Atlas Light, served with locally grown dandelions in a lettuce wrap… $9 (Gluten and sugar free)

Dragon Doggy: Smoked pork dog made with our Two Dragons Ale and wrapped up with cabbage in a fried egg roll. Served with soy sauce… $10



‘Lost Dog’, featuring Lost Dog Pale Ale

Lost Dog (V): A bun topped with ketchup and mustard… $2

Perro Caliente: Traditional dog made with our El Niño Ale, served in a warm tortilla with refried beans, jalepeños, salsa and Cholula… $7 (Spicy)



‘Good Dog’, featuring Cream Ale

Good Dog: Traditional dog made with our Cream Ale, served à la mode with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge and a cherry… $8

Purple Puppy: Traditional dog made with our Deep Purple, served on white bread with peanut butter and but into quarters… $5 (Option of creamy or crunchy peanut butter)

Jedi Dog: Foot long corn dog, battered with our Strikes Bock Ale and served on a saber stick with green relish… $8

Purebred: Belgian Vienna 100% beef dog made with our Belgian Dubbel, served on a waffle with sauerkraut and mustard… $9


60 BBL Brewhouse delivered to the new Empire Farm Brewery

complete siding

Empire Brewing Company surpassed a major milestone at the Empire Farm Brewery construction site in Cazenovia, New York with January’s delivery and installation of a brand new 60BBL automated brewhouse. The objective of the Empire Farm Brewery is to expand the existing brewing facility and agricultural component of Empire Brewing Company, to a stand-alone manufacturing and agritourism destination. Beer manufactured at the Cazenovia location will be packaged in kegs, bottles and cans for regional, national and international distribution. Virgin farm land will be utilized to cultivate hops, lavender, vegetables, herbs, fruits and even honey from their very own apiary. These crops will be used in their award winning ales and lagers, and also to support food preparation at both the Cazenovia and Syracuse locations. The Empire Farmstead Brewery tasting room, gift shop and restaurant will strive to maintain a carbon footprint of 30 miles.


Tim Butler, Director of Brewing Operations, was thrilled on the day of delivery, “I feel great. This is the biggest day of my career.” Upon completion, the 40,000 square foot Empire Farm Brewery will have a total capacity of 70,000 BBL annually. Empire’s brewpub in downtown Syracuse has a 7 bbl system with the ability to produce 1200 BBL of craft beer a year.



Monday, January 18th, 2016 marked the first day of brewing-equipment being delivered out to Cazenovia, just eight months after Empire’s groundbreaking on May 8th, 2015. The brewhouse was manufactured by Feldmeier Equipment Inc., and it is the first complete brewery system that the company has ever produced. Feldmeier Equipment has established itself as a respected supplier of processing equipment for a myriad of different markets worldwide, including brewing tanks for some of the nation’s largest brewers. Founded in 1952 by Robert Feldmeier Sr. and his wife Margaret, Feldmeier Equipment started as a manufacturer of tubular heat exchangers in a modest 5,000 sq. foot plant in Syracuse, NY. Now with six plants across the US, and over 400 employees, they are still making heat exchangers but have grown to be the largest sanitary vessel manufacturer in North America.

Upholding his commitment to buy local, David Katleski challenged the Syracuse based company to build Empire a state-of-the-art, automated brewery. Feldmeier accepted enthusiastically, and created what can be regarded as a showpiece for both companies. The brewhouse, still covered with bright blue protective wrapping, was in fact polished down for a one-of-a-kind mirror finish, soon to be revealed. This project includes:


  • 60 BBL Automated Brewhouse
  • 10 – Fermenters
  • 3 – Brite Beer Tanks
  • CIP System
  • Hop Cannon



The morning of January 18th, eighteen different 18-wheeler trucks fought their way through an aggressive snow storm to the Empire Farm Brewery. A great team from JPW Riggers, also based in Syracuse, worked all week, despite the blistering lake effect snow to get the job done. David Katleski, founder and owner, also remained on site for the entirety of delivery. “Not rain, not sleet, not snow or any amount of bad weather could stop us today. Nothing could,” Katleski said. It took an incredible amount of skill to unload the massive tanks, positioning each one with impeccable precision. Among the equipment handled by JPW Riggers was a 16,000 lb. CO2 tank and a 10,400 lb. 240 BBL fermenter. Feldmeier’s delivery was followed by a state of the art bottling line from Prospero Equipment, and a cutting-edge water treatment system. Shooting for grand opening in May, Empire Brewing Company plans to bottle their liquid for the first time ever this spring.


NYC Beer Week ‘Sweet Fire’ Returns!


In 2014, on one particularly snowy January day we brought the folks that run some of our best accounts in NYC, who ended up becoming some of our best friends, to the brewery in Syracuse. Together we created and brewed a beer, now known as Sweet Fire. This beer is to be released exclusively at their bars during New York Craft Beer Week.

Three years later, this collaboration has turned into a tradition.

We love that the original brains behind the beer are still involved, including veterans Blind Tiger Ale HouseSpring Lounge, and Taproom 307.. and we also love tp throw new bars in the mix, to keep things interesting! This year we added Bob’s Your Uncle on the Upper West Side.


Read more about ‘Sweet Fire’ 2014 and 2015!


This imperial stout is brewed and fermented with cocoa nibs and a special chili blend, giving it a tantalizing chocolate aroma, and flavor with a heat that creeps onto the palate and builds into a beautiful balance of sweetness and spice. 8.5%

Get it while it’s hot


Enjoy this beer this during NYC Beer Week 2016, February 19th-28th at the following bars all week long:

Blind Tiger Alehouse – 281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

Spring Lounge – 48 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

Taproom 307 – 307 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

Bob’s Your Uncle – 929 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10025

AND at the following NYCBW events:

Taproom 307, Monday Feb 22nd

NY Night at Valhalla, Tuesday Feb 23rd

Brewers Choice, Wednesday Feb 24th


Building Beer – Week 34

Week 34

2016 ushers in… equipment!


Thanks to great weather in December, things couldn’t be moving along smoother here at the Farm. This past week we began heating portions of the interior in preparation for epoxy wall and floor finishes, and some of our brewing equipment has already started to arrive.

wp 1

The guys from Barnhart Crane & Rigging helped us unload and set our beautiful Fulton Boiler. We left the south facing wall of our mechanical room open and once the boiler was set, the wall was installed so that we could start heating. You can also see our RMS Grain Mill sitting on the second floor of the utility room in the picture on the right. This will allow us to gravity feed our milled grain to the grist case located on the first floor.



Always made in the USA, RMS Roller Grinder has been serving the Agricultural and Brewing industries for 30 years.

We can’t wait to fire this baby up!

wp 2

The board and batten hemlock siding looks spectacular.

wp 3

Drywall was installed and concrete curbs were poured in the production area.


During the next 30 days we will accept delivery and install most of our brewing equipment including brew house and fermentation vessels from Feldmeier Equipment.

May you have a safe and happy new year, we look forward to celebrating the grand opening of the Farm Brewery in the spring!

– Nick

Panda Brew visits Empire


Our friends from Panda Brew, pioneers of craft brewing in China, visited last week to create a unique collaboration beer. While the focus of the visit was to create an awesome brew, and to bring together the traditions of eastern and western cultures, we also had a blast showing them around Central New York and bringing them to some of our favorite local hang outs!

About the beer; This collaboration will be an IPA style beer using American craft brewing techniques and a traditional Chinese herb, Kuding. Kuding is a leaf from the Chinese Holly plant, and has a unique bitterness character that will complement the New York State hops, which are grown in Madison County. The beer is called Kuding-Ta IPA. The Kuding leaf was used as a bittering component along with New York State hops for aroma and dry hopping.

tea 1214

Kuding tea in different forms


There is no way of knowing for sure what this collaboration beer will taste like, but Panda Brew’s Yu Xia says, “Kuding is very unique in the fact that it has a strong bitter taste upfront, while leaving some sweetness on the end.” Panda Brew has experience brewing with this herb for their own Kuding Pale Ale.

Panda Brew Brewmaster Pan Dinghao has an interesting view on this collaboration, saying, “I always like to educate about drinks and their meanings. In the past, the eastern world relied on tea as a safe drink rather than water which may not be safe. In the west it was beer. We want to combine these two cultures to create something new and different.”


The beer will be released in the upcoming weeks at Syracuse Brewpub, and will also be available on draft in Panda Brew’s four locations across China.

Of course, the trip wasn’t strictly business, we also had to throw in a little fun. The Empire team gave Panda Brew’s team a tour of CNY, and took them to some of our favorite local spots. First stop was Dinosaur BBQ, followed the next day by an awesome trip to Ithaca Beer Co., where we sampled some of their brews. That same day included a trip to the Brewster Inn in Cazenovia for appetizers and pints of Empire’s Black Magic Stout. Arguably, the best part of the day was visiting the Empire Farm Brewery construction site! We wound down the day by visiting an Empire favorite, Knoxie’s Pub in Pompey for their famous wings and of course…. more beer!

stitch final 1214

We are looking forward to the release of the Kuding-Ta IPA in the brewpub and hope you are too! Check Empire’s tap list to see when it will be available at the brewpub.


Thanksgiving Turkey Beer Brine & Pairing Suggestions

Happy Thanksgiving!



Here at Empire, we are rather passionate about our local family, good food and of course, our beer. We have a lot to be thankful for, and as we prepare to celebrate with our friends and family, we’d like to share a little of our beer wisdom with you because Thanksgiving is a holiday worth savoring. Read on for a fool proof beer brined turkey recipe, and beer pairing suggestions that will put the cherry on your festive spread.

Beer Brined Turkeyturkey

There are several ways to cook the finished beer brined turkey.  This recipe is for your classic oven roasted turkey.    Below this recipe are several links to all the ways this base recipe can be cooked.  This recipe yields enough brine for a 16 – 24 pound turkey. Check out the recipe below, adapted from the Home Brew Chef.


Beer Brine Ingredients:
Turkey Ingredients:


Prepare the brine:

In a large pot, over high heat, add the water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, lemon and orange. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors together, dissolving the salt and sugar. Turn off the heat and let the brine cool for 20 minutes, then add in the ice and beer of choice. Mix the ingredients together and take the temperature of the finished brine. A thermometer should read 40°F/4°C or lower in order to be safe to use. If it is warmer, place the pot into a refrigerator/kegerator until 40°F/4°C is reached.

 Prepare the turkey: 

Take the fresh turkey and remove it from its package in a large sink. Remove the neck, gizzards and liver, setting aside (for stock or gravy). Rinse the bird under cold water, turning the bird over a few times, washing any blood from the cavity and under the neck flap.

Brine Time:

Once your brine mixture is cooled, get your bird in a brine bag and submerge it with the brining solution. Let the turkey soak for 16 – 24 hours in a cool location.

Discard the brine and rinse your bird under cold water. After that, fill the sink with cold water and soak the turkey for 15 to 20 minutes. This will remove any excess saltiness on/under the skin and just leave you with wonderfully brined, tender turkey.

Roast your turkey:

Place the turkey, back side down, in a roasting pan. Place the bunch of sage inside the cavity, as the herbs will release their aroma into the meat as it roasts. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 2 hours prior to being cooked. This will let the turkey warm up, allowing it to cook more evenly. Put it your roasting pan on the bottom rack of a pre heated 350°F oven. A 16-20 pound turkey should take between 3 and 3 1/2 hours to fully cook to 165°F.

Let the turkey rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before carving. This is critical in keeping a moist and juicy turkey. This resting will relax the muscle fibers, helping re-distribute the juices and allow the bird to be easier to handle when carving.

Thanks it! Now you can enjoy with a tall glass of well deserved craft beer. Check out brewmaster Tim Butlers pairing suggestions for the whole meal.

Pairing Suggestions

Courtesy of Empire’s Brewmaster, Tim Butler.

1. Roasted Turkey – Amber Ale

2. Stuffing – Slo Mo’ IPA

3. Mashed Potatoes – Skinny Atlas Ale

4. Cranberries – White Aphro

5. Pumpkin Pie – Barley Wine

Building Beer – Week 27


the final scramble before winter!



Window framing, insulation and house wrap has begun on the front face of the building.


The loading-dock pad was poured at the back of the building. We can’t wait for beer to be flowing out of here for your consumption!


You can see the exterior silo pad being poured by DG Masonry. This concrete pad will support two 60,000 pound silos, full of some of the worlds finest malting barley.


The guys are pouring the tasting room concrete floor over the radiant floor heating system.


Installation of the siding began once the silo pads were poured. The cladding for the entire building is rough cut Hemlock board and batten siding from Oran Milling, right down the road from us. It came out looking beautiful with a few coats of natural sealer.


On a particularly frosty morning, the trench for electric and gas service was dug out and utility installation began.


We took advantage of some of the nice weather and installed hop poles for what will be 2 acres of hops.



Construction has really been cranking as we try to beat the snow here, and we hope to see some brewing tanks moved in here shortly!

Building Beer – Week 20


Steel Structure Continues


The guys from Homer Iron Works have been putting in long days and the steel structure is going up quite nicely.

Here are a few pictures of the steel progress.





The basement floor is poured, ready for the sour beers.



The main structure is mostly complete and the tasting room / office section has begun to go up.