For our more dedicated readers, Brewery Legitimus probably rings a bell. We conducted an interview with husband and wife team Chris and Christina Sayer, co-owners of the New Hartford brewery a few months back and also detailed their Kickstarter campaign while it was up and running. But nothing made us more excited than to finally get our hands on some beer and visit their brand spanking new taproom.
Brewery Legitimus opened its doors for a “soft opening” last Friday night and there was nothing soft about it. The taproom was stuffed to the gills with friends, locals, and thirsty Route 44 travelers. Five house beers flowed freely and even three guest taps were available from Black Hog, Kent Falls, and Overshores Brewing Co.
Several large French Farmhouse tables, all of which underwent an ancient Japanese burning treatment called shou-sugi-ban make up the majority of the seating area, along with ample bar space. Different artwork scatters the walls around the taproom, but the real game changer is the faded lime green L-shaped couch tucked away in the corner which they’ve dubbed “big sexy” proving itself as the most popular spot to pound a pint.
We jockeyed for position at the bar as the staff worked furiously to satisfy the overflowing traffic of an opening night. After a short wait, we stuck our flag down on two seats and got to work.
The Counter Surfer, a Brown Ale with very forward malt characteristics was an early pleaser. Something about this Brown Ale was familiar, yet set apart from most. The chocolate and caramel notes were present but never overpowering, while the smooth finish certainly did wonders. Named after Chris and Christina’s Chocolate Lab Rosco, who loved sneaking food from the kitchen counter, we’d like to think if he were still around (rest in peace pup!) he’d help himself to a pint if it were left unattended.
Chelson, a classic American style Stout seemed to fit right in with the crisp weather outside. With chocolate malts, roasted barley, and crystal malts anchoring down the packed stout flavor, Cascade hops used for bittering and aroma brought this whole thing together. Sitting pretty at 5.4% ABV, this may very well be your new go-to campfire beer heading into the fall.
If Chelson is the beer of the current season, then Ovation is for the season that just won’t let go. The Session IPA is brewed with Centennial and dry hopped with Amarillo, creating a swirling blast of hop aroma and flavor. Named after the Ovation guitar factory just down the road in New Hartford, this beer was bursting with citrus and a whole lot of orange notes on the nose. If there was one thing we took away from our time at Legitimus, it was that Ovation was the most popular beer that night. It seemed like every minute or so, someone was coming to the bar requesting another pint of this delicious nectar.
The people’s voice was certainly heard, but up to this point, our favorite was still alluding us. That is, until we had Rock Skipper, an American Pale Ale that was firing on all cylinders. The combination of Galaxy, Amarillo, and Simcoe reminded me of the Galaxy, Amarillo, and Citra trio that went into Illigitimus, a Double IPA I sampled at Chris’ house for our interview. Perhaps there are some behind the scenes similarities between the two, we may never know, but one characteristic they do share, is that they’re both delicious.
The Rock Skipper is light bodied with an easy going malt backbone that rolls out the red carpet for those hops. It’s super clean finish and bursting hop flavor made it easy to crown this one with the Our Favorite recognition.
Before becoming a brewmaster, Chris spent some time abroad in Belgium, more specifically a town called Ottignies (oh-tee-knee). The Ohio-Wesleyan alum majored in Political Science, leading him to a semester in Brussels hoping to learn more about the European Union. Thankfully for us, he picked up on some beer knowledge and culture as well and decided to dedicate this Saison to the small Belgian town.
Off the bat it tasted like a standard Saison but it didn’t take long for both of us to quickly pick up on a foreign flavor. It wasn’t the doing of hops, as the Ottignies Saison is lightly hopped compared to traditional styles. The culprit ending up being ginger root. This thing was bursting at the seams with ginger flavor and a touch of bitter orange peel. Clocking in at 7.4% ABV, this was the heaviest offering on the taplist and it masked itself so well. For its strange but somehow fitting use of flavors, Ottignies earned itself the Must Try nod.
Although no Grand Opening has been officially decided, they may just continue to ride this momentum so check their website for their hours and any further updates. There’s no doubt that there is some serious buzz surrounding this place. Having met both Chris and Christina and getting a deeper understanding for the ridiculous amounts of hard work they’ve put into Legitimus, it was heartwarming to see such a huge turnout. The local community has certainly rallied around the idea of putting a brewery in their backyard (who wouldn’t?) and it’s safe to say that they’re all happy it’s Brewery Legitimus.