Saranac                                                                                   By:  Ken Interval

F.X. Matt Brewing Company, brewers of the Saranac brand of beers, is celebrating an amazing 125 years of family brewing in Utica, NY.  Consider for one second that less than 1% of family owned businesses last this long.  Now throw in the realities of the Prohibition Era, plus the pressure felt by local brewers as regional brewers grew in the 1970s and 80s, and you begin to understand the Matt family has been doing beer right for a very long time.   For the 125th anniversary they’ve resurrected a 1914 family recipe and amped up the hops to produce their Legacy IPA .  As a thank you to their customers for helping them achieve this ripe old age, select 12 packs will include a free pint of the Legacy IPA.  This includes the White IPA, an aggressively hopped, nicely spiced Belgian IPA with a citrus character. The gift pint also comes with a 12 pack of Trail Mix, the brewery’s variety 12 pack which includes Pale Ale, Adirondack Lager, White IPA and Black Forest. Finally, the Pale Ale, beer brewed with Saranac’s own Hop Infusion Process.  That means a concentrated hop slurry infused into the beer during the aging process to give a fresher hop taste.  Judges at the U.S. Beer Championships approved, awarding Pale Ale a gold medal in the 2013 competition.

Company President Fred Matt credits these types of successes and Matt Brewing’s longevity to their ability to evolve products amidst a fluctuating market, and to introduce innovations to the industry.     They weathered the days of prohibition by bottling non-alcoholic drinks with a surreptitious warning on the label that in effect read, “Caution: Do not add yeast as this will make beer.”   When the regional brewers were gaining market share in the 70s and 80s, the brewery battled back with the introduction of the “beer ball”, Matt’s Premium Light, and in 1984 they rolled out the Saranac brand, a full-flavored specialty beer, and one of the first  in the craft beer category.

The family business is thriving, now into its fourth generation of brewers. Matt gives credit to the notion instilled by his grandfather, founder F.X. Matt, that “Our, duty is not only to run a successful business, but also to give back to the community.”  So with the Matt family it’s not always about the beer, as they have a deep commitment to continually make the community a better place.  Their summer concert series, Saranac Thursdays, attracts top-notch bands and has raised over $450,000 dollars for their local United Way.  F.X Matt Brewing was also one of the founding members of the Boilermaker 15K race, which raises money for the United Way, various not-for-profits, and scholarships for high school runners. The race, one of the largest 15k races in the country, culminated this year with 40,000 celebrants raising a glass from one of 300 kegs of a Saranac newcomer, Wild Hop Pils, a pilsner with Belma hops and citrus fruit aromas.

The evolution F.X. Matt Brewing and their community support looks to be on solid ground for the future with last Februaries opening of their new pilot facility where they finely pick and test their ingredients.  To use Fred Matt’s technical jargon, it gives them a place to “play around” with different brews.  Always looking forward, Matt is promising a future of unique products with a diversity that is sure to be surprising.  That’s something we can all look forward to.


Wild Hops Pils

This unique pilsner features Belma hops, found growing wild on a hop farm in the Yakima Valley.  Look for orange, grapefruit, tropical pineapple, strawberry and melon aromas.  Wild Hops Pils pairs well with marinated pork tenderloin, chicken wings, prosciutto, and bacon.  It also pairs well with chevre and havartl cheeses.

Session Ale

A very light bodied, refreshing ale with a distinctive citrusy hop aroma. Featuring Vanguard hops and North American Two-Row and UK Maris Otter Malts, it is extremely drinkable.   A true go-to brew, Session Ale pairs well with burgers, BBQ, just about any grilled food as well as with cheddar cheese.


Brewed to pay homage to a 1000-year tradition rooted in Cologne, Germany, this golden sparkling blonde ale is clear, crisp and easy to drink.  Pair it with chicken salads, salmon, grilled weisswurt or Monterey jack cheese.


Saranac stepped away from the mold of typical IPA’s with a selection of premium rye malt and a unique mix of spicy hops to create this IPA with a wry twist.  Fasten your taste buds, it’s gonna be quite a ride.  Rye IPA goes well with grilled seafood, spicy foods like enchiladas, fajitas or chili rellenos.

Pale Ale

An English pale ale with a fresher hop taste and brighter hop aroma that comes from the Bramling Cross hops and the hop injection process.  Match Pale Ale pairs especially well with burgers, beef stew, or bread pudding.  It also matches well with cheddar cheese.

White IPA

Starting with the Belgian White, an unfiltered wheat beer with refreshing orange peel and accented by the earthy brightness of coriander, Saranac aggressively hopped this brew with Citra hops, a new “buzz” hop known for its citrusy character.  The result equals a perfect marriage of two coveted craft styles: IPA & Belgian White.  White IPA goes well with full-flavored and spicy foods, citrus salads, and bleu cheese.

Adirondack Lager

The original award-winning Saranac beer is brewed in the German Lager tradition using Noble hops. The hop bitterness is balanced with caramel malt sweetness, creating what they like to call a “round” beer.  Crisp… Smooth…. Delicious… Try this German amber lager with BBQ dishes, Tex-Mex, sausage & peppers, and jack or cheddar cheese.

Saranac is proudly distributed locally by Galli Beer Distributing Company.