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Gouverneur microbrewery opening Saturday

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GOUVERNEUR — Kevin D. Archer and Dale J. Freeman were relaxing one Thanksgiving, talking about trying their hand at some home brew.

“What turned out was that everybody loved it, so we kept making it,” Mr. Archer said. “So we said, ‘Let’s have some real fun and go commercial.’”

Two years later, the partners are opening Adirondack Toboggan Company Microbrewery on Saturday in the bottom of 202A W. Main St., in the same building as the Ultimate Experience Salon, a business operated by Mr. Archer’s wife, Chalaine M.

“One interesting thing is that we’re registered as a farm brewery, which means we’re committed to New York state and local hops and barley,” Mr. Freeman said.

There are not enough hops and barley growers in the north country to supply all of the microbrewery’s needs, but Mr. Freeman and Mr. Archer are encouraging more people to try their hand at the crops.

Hops, which gives beer its distinctive flavor, aroma and bitterness, was once a mainstay of north country agriculture. Hops production is enjoying a resurgence in Madison County, and Mr. Freeman and Mr. Archer, who buy some hops from producers in Gouverneur, are planning to grow some of their own on Mr. Archer’s property in Edwards.

The company is licensed as all-grain brewers, meaning the beer is made from scratch without any prepackaged mixes.

“We’ve chosen to naturally carbonate using sugars,” Mr. Freeman said.

The beer is a result of what Mr. Freeman and Mr. Archer like.

“We’re self-taught so we’ve made a lot of mistakes,” Mr. Freeman said.

As the history on the company’s website, www.adktoboggan.net, says, the partners often refer to their enterprise as Two Stupid Brewers.

But the result is a regular ale with a flavor they appreciate that is light on hops and that is made from well water from Mr. Freeman’s farm.

“It slides down smooth,” Mr. Archer said, noting the reference to the toboggan in the company’s name.

Other beer that will be in production soon will include a light ale, an India pale ale for those who prefer a more hopped-up brew, and seasonable beers to include a maple ale in the spring and a citrus-infused ale in the summer.

The brewery uses a lot of stainless steel dairy bulk tanks and maple syrup equipment that Mr. Freeman and Mr. Archer converted to save costs. Mr. Archer, a contractor, and Mr. Freeman, the manager of TDS Telecom, Edwards, built the production areas and tasting room using local ash and pine.

The brewery will open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday with the company’s regular ale on tap. For now, the microbrewery will be open Wednesday nights and Saturdays, with Mr. Archer and Mr. Freeman as the only employees.

The microbrewery will sell 64-ounce growlers for $16, including a $4 bottle deposit. Kegs are available and smaller bottles are in the works. The longer-term goal will be to sell the beer to local bars and expand production.

“We are our own distributor,” Mr. Archer said.

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