By Jill Nagy
Christian Weber is ready to start up a big,
620-gallon, brewing system at Common Roots
Brewing Co. in South Glens Falls.
The opening comes after months of trial
brews with a pilot system one-twentieth
the size, extensive renovations to convert a
former warehouse into a brewery and tasting
room, and all the other details involved in
getting a new business started.
Weber, the head brewer, and his father
and business partner, Bert Weber, are just
waiting for licenses to arrive to schedule a
soft opening and, soon after that, a grand
Common Roots plans to include some
barrel-aged beers in its mix of traditional
and specialty brews. The beers will be conditioned
in used barrels purchased from vineyards
and distilleries that were no longer
able to use them for their original purpose.
Bourbon barrels, for example, will come
from two nearby distilleries. Those barrels
can only be used once to age bourbon, said
Weber. They can be used again to produce
a bourbon-tinged beer; then again for beers
with less of a hint of bourbon or for “wild
beer,” made using wild yeasts and bacteria.
In the end, some of the barrels may be
dismantled to become handles on the beer
taps, he said.
New York state’s recently-adopted Craft
Beer Act, which will allow Common Roots to
serve beer by the glass in the tasting room,
is “very exciting and a game changer for how
we operate that space,” Weber said.
Instead of a space to sample by the sip and
purchase to take out, “the tasting room will
be a welcoming space for beer enthusiasts
and community members to hang out and
enjoy a variety of Common Roots beers, fill
growlers, and purchase bottled beer and
brewery merchandise,” he said.
Promotional merchandise, including beer
glasses and Common Roots hoodies, will be
on sale, but there will be no food available.
The exact mix of beers remains a closelyheld
secret and will not be made public until
the brewery opens, Weber said, probably in
late August or early September.
“Our beer portfolio is clearly something
we are most proud of. After all, brewing
great beer is the reason we are opening this
brewery in the first place. It is also the one
card we are playing close to the chest until
the soft opening,” he said.
Common Roots joins a growing number of
craft breweries in the Saratoga and Glens
Falls area. It will become one of a dozen or
so on a new Adirondack Craft Beverage Tour
devised by the Adirondack Regional Chamber
of Commerce that includes breweries,
pubs, distilleries, and wineries in Saratoga,
Warren and Washington counties.
The hope is that the introduction of “brew
tourism” will encourage visits to the area at
all times of the year, beyond the traditional
summer season. Organized in early July, the
Chamber has been distributing maps for
self-guided tours and provides information
on its website, www.adirondackchamber.org.
“Upstate New York is already on the
trajectory to be a craft beer destination,”
Weber said. “The Saratoga/Glens Falls region
is rich in cultural amenities and the craft
beer community is increasingly becoming a
part of that mix. Common Roots is excited
to join the currently established breweries
to help make that possible.”
The Webers, father and son, brewed their
first batches of beer at home in 2005 and
continued as home brewers.
As a graduate student in New Hampshire,
Christian Weber was an apprentice brewer
at White Birch Brewing in Hooksett, N.H.
Although persuaded by his New Hampshire
experience that the craft beer industry was
his destiny, he completed his degree and,
until last January, was executive director
of the Lake Placid Land Conservancy. His
father is a retired BOCES horticulture and
landscape design teacher and active with
Cornell Cooperative Extension’s community
Raw materials for the beers–grains,
hops and yeast–will come from a variety
of sources. They will use locally sourced
products when they are available. For now,
however, the grains come form all over and
the hops, mostly from Washington state.
Much of the yeast will come from an in-house
“Yeast is amazing,” Weber said. As beer
brews, the amount of yeast increases rather
than getting used up. Different strains produce
different tasting beers and they will
be sorted and propagated in the Common
Common Roots is located at 58 Saratoga
Ave. (Route 9) in South Glens Falls, in the
former warehouse of an overhead door company.
The telephone number is 321-4735 and
its website is www.commonrootsbrewing.com. Plans are for the brewery and tasting
room to be open seven days a week but hours
have not yet been determined.
Photo by Tyler LaPan