Climbing Bines Craft Ale Co. grand opening Aug. 31

John Christensen Chronicle-Express
Brain Karweck, Chris Hansen, and Matt Klehamer welcomed U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer to their brewery earlier this summer to speak on the farm bill and craft brewing. With them is Peter Martens who grows organic barley used to make their craft ales.

The partners of Climbing Bines Hop Farm have achieved their dream; Climbing Bines is now a craft brewery as well, and a damned good one to boot. Owners Chris Hansen, Brian Karweck, Matt Klehamer have turned their appreciation for great beer and "years of practice" in to a thriving business, and they invite the public to celebrate the debut of their new venture.

Climbing Bines Craft Ale Company's grand opening will be noon to 7 p.m. Aug. 31, featuring the full compliment of their beers for tasting and buying, an à la carte hog roast with local sweet corn and salt potatoes, soft drinks, hamburgers, and hotdogs for younger vistitors, and a variety of local musicians to entertain.

Located on state Rte. 14 between Geneva and Watkins Glen on the west side of Seneca Lake, Climbing Bines is located on Hansen's great-grandfather Nels Hansens's original farm on the northeastern slope of City Hill; site of the earliest white settlement in Yates County – the first community of Jemima Wilkinson, "The Publick Universal Friend."

Set among the soaring bines of the hopyard with a beautiful prospect over Seneca Lake, the brewery is housed in grandfather Ivan Hansen's old tool shed, thoroughly remade by the partners. The bar is constructed from wood reclaimed from the fire that destroyed the Hansen family farmhouse years ago, and still bears the hand hewn marks of the original builders, and some of the charring from the fire that destroyed their work.

Heritage and local loyalty are part of the philosophy of Climbing Bines. Hansen says they are planning a "Pandemonium" line, referencing an old name for Penn Yan in its less civilized past. These will be brews made only from ingredients produced within a 5-mile radius; Climbing Bines own hops, and barley grown by organic farmer Peter Martens from his fields in the town of Torrey.

Hansen and Karweck, acting as master brewers along with assistant brewer Joshua Jones, have crafted six different brews, ranging from the lightest, with two Hefeweizens fermented at different temperatures, through the range of progressively hoppier ales; a blonde, a pale ale, an amber, and an India pale ale (IPA).

Visitors to the brewery in the week preceding the grand opening openly praised the partners' skill. "The amber ale is the most balanced beer I've ever tasted," says professed beer connoisseur Steve Takatch of Rochester. "What is so surprising is how many home brewers are visiting, and how much they really know about making beer," says Karweck, "It's great!"

Climbing Bines began as a 1.5 acre hopyard "dedicated to growing premium New York State grown hops for the local brewing industry and beyond" and "practices rooted in the philosophy of sustainable agricultural and environmental consciousness." They grow a mix of aroma and high alpha hops, including Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Goldings, Magnum, Nugget, and Willamette, offering "premium, freshly harvested wet and dried whole leaf hops for regionally distinct specialty ales."

Now Climbing Bines Craft Ale Co. will be adding their own distinction to that growing list of Finger Lakes beers.


What: Climbing Bines Craft Ale Co. Grand Opening

When: Noon-7p.m., Aug. 31

Where: Climbing Bines Hop Farm

515 Hansen Point Road, off Rte. 14 south of Dresden

Details: Beer, A la Carte Pig Roast, Local Musicians. Call 607-745-0221 for further details.