Catching Up with Schroon's Paradox Brewery

  COPYRIGHT SCHROON LAKER COLLECTION

COPYRIGHT SCHROON LAKER COLLECTION

In the few short months that the Paradox Brewery has been open in Schroon, a lot has happened. Projections for how much beer the brewery was going to make in its first year have been tossed out the window, the tasting room on some weekends is  -- as my old boss Dan Rather might say “ tight like a too-small bathing suit on a too-long ride home from the beach”  and the beer is attracting a large, enthusiastic, vocal and thirsty fan base.

All of this has left Paradox founder Paul Mrocka – and his partner in life and beer, his wife Joan -- a little over whelmed, very busy and very happy.

The projection for the first 12 months was for the brewery to produce around 300 barrels of beer. Right now their output is more than 500 barrels, with three months of beer making left before the brewery celebrates their 1st anniversary on July 22.

“It’s been quite a ride,” Paul told me recently. “It’s exhausting, it's exhilarating and a lot of hard work. But we are extremely proud of the quality of the beers we have been producing, and how well received they have been.”

  Joan Mrocka in a sticky situation! Courtesy Paradox Brewery

Joan Mrocka in a sticky situation! Courtesy Paradox Brewery

The projection for the first 12 months was for the brewery to produce around 300 barrels of beer -- based on getting a much earlier start than their delayed opening last July 22.

Right now their output is more than 500 barrels, with three months of beer making left before the brewery celebrates their 1st anniversary.

If you have tasted the PDX offerings at area watering holes. but have never been to their tasting room, you are missing out. Peer through the windows of the ground floor brewery and you will see the shiny stainless steel barrels where the beer is fermenting.

  Paradox Brewery Beers were recently the star attraction at New York's Pony Bar.COPYRIGHT SCHROON LAKER COLLECTION

Paradox Brewery Beers were recently the star attraction at New York's Pony Bar.COPYRIGHT SCHROON LAKER COLLECTION

Take the stairs up to the tasting room. You can sample the beer, before deciding on your purchase. That involves purchasing a growler or three and having them filled with the beer of your choice.

After you have taken them home and finished them (which could be as early as that evening) bring your rinsed growlers back for a re-fill. Repeat this process as many times as you wish.

Word of mouth  -- about just how tasty the beer was  -- spread quickly, leading to an early distribution deal, with Saratoga Eagle becoming the exclusive distributor. We were in the tasting room the day a rep from Saratoga Eagle arrived. “I was told by my boss to get here quickly, and I’m here,” the rep told me, as he sampled a few beers.

More visits followed with more execs coming to taste Paul’s hand-crafted beers. Soon after a deal was inked. That has allowed Paradox to concentrate more on the art of making fine beers and not having to worry about being their own distributor. Thanks to that deal, thousands of beer lovers have been able to sample Paradox’s offerings.

Locally in Schroon, some of PDX's offerings are carried by the Timberwolf Bar, Sticks and Stones and Witherbee's Carriage House. The full line of beers is only available at the brewery.

As of this writing, Paradox beers are available in more than 60 bars, pubs and restaurants. Paradox Beer was well received at the recent Saratoga Beer Week with Paul and his Brewmaster Adam Bulson getting a lot of kudos, from not only beer fans, but other craft beer makers.

  Pony Bar Owner  Dan McLaughlin with PDX Founder Paul Mrocka. COPYRIGHT SCHROON LAKER COLLECTION

Pony Bar Owner Dan McLaughlin with PDX Founder Paul Mrocka.COPYRIGHT SCHROON LAKER COLLECTION

Adam, originally from Michigan, learned his craft at the Flagstaff Brewing Company in Arizona. Since then he has brewed in Oregon, Montana, Vermont and several breweries in New York State. "He's a great brewer. He gets us, and what we are trying to do. He was able to take my home brewed recipe for the Triple IPA  (which features dried orange peel and coriander) and make it something special."

The Winter Lager was one of the stars at a downstate Adirondack Beer tasting at New York City’s Famous Pony Bar.

Five Paradox beers were on tap that night: Dark Bay Stout, the Belgium Triple, Paradox Winter Lager, Beaver Bite IPA and the Pils.

The first three kegs to “get kicked”, were all Paradox offerings, with the Pils, the first to go within a couple of hours.

So, what’s next? In the long term Paul and his team of investors and partners   -- which include Vaughn Clark and his wife Jenn, and Dave Bruce and his wife  -- and several other family members and friends  -- are talking about the “next step” in regards to expansion.

  Paul and Vaughn Clark. Courtesy Paradox Brewery

Paul and Vaughn Clark. Courtesy Paradox Brewery

In the short term Paul is laser focused on what it will take to get the brewery a farmer’s brewing license. A key ingredient to getting that license -- New York State grown hops – but Paul is finding them hard to come by as they are in such high demand. Still, he is hopeful that a license will be in place by this summer.

In July 2012, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to support and strengthen New York’s craft breweries. Under the new law, in order to receive a Farm Brewery license in New York State, the beer must be made primarily from locally grown farm products. Until the end of 2018, at least 20% of the hops and 20% of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in New York State.

That license will not only offers PDX tax incentives, but will also allow them to sell their beers in creative ways -- potentially, as an example, at Farmers Markets, or even outside the brewery in pint glasses.

As word spreads about the brewery, Paul and his team are expecting a huge summer.

What's your favorite PDX offering? What beer would you like to see them make? Tell us in comments.

-- Anthony Batson