Blue Line Brewery, Saranac Lake, NY

Driving through the Adirondack Mountains of New York, you often feel a real sense of isolation as you leave the large towns behind and enter small hamlets surrounded by pristine woods, lakes, and mountains. As a craft drink fan, there are very few places to visit and taste locally made products.  Blue Line Brewery hopes to change this with their recently opened brewery in Saranac Lake, NY.

In the summer of 2012, Mark Ellis started home brewing. He enjoyed making beer so much that he decided to open up his own brewery in Saranac Lake, NY. Blue Line Brewery officially opened for business in December of 2012. Mark was not there when we visited, but we did get to talk to his wife. Unfortunately, many of the details such as ABV were not available regarding each of their beers. Here is what we were able to try with my notes and opinions.

Summer Ale
  • Pale, Light, and Sour… the sourness was kind of odd but I was told it was supposed to be this way.
– 6’er Pale Ale
  • American Pale Ale
  • A sweet pale ale; crisp and clean.
  • Named after the six mountains surrounding Saranac Lake.
– Red Skin Ale
  • Red Ale brewed with Ginger
  • Lots of ginger in aroma and taste makes it less of a red and more of a specialty beer.
  • It is very unique and not for everyone.
– Black Fly IPA
  • American IPA
  • Lighter in flavor with a hint of charcoal.
  • Barley, Chocolate, and Caramel malts.
  • Not getting much hops in the aroma or taste.
– Forest Home Black Lager
  • Black Lager brewed with honey and rosemary.
  • Very herbaceous aroma and slightly medicinal flavor.
  • I was not a fan of this at all but was told it is their most popular.
– Maple Porter
  • American Porter brewed with store-bought maple syrup.
  • A bigger bodied beer with off flavored chemical notes in the background.

It is hard to review a new brewery; especially one where the owner has not been brewing for a long time previous to starting the business. Mark is devoting all his time to the brewery and his family helps out a lot. The brewery name derives from the blue line that acts as the boundary of the Adirondack park. All the beer names are based on local themes. The brewery and tasting room itself are located in a renovated car wash making for a unique location.

The beer is distributed to local bars and restaurants. They hope to soon make it available in the Plattsburgh, NY region as well. Also down the road, Mark is planning a big hoppy IPA. His favorite beer to make is the Red Skin Red. The brewery is not collaborating with any local suppliers yet but may in the future. I would love to see the maple porter produced with local maple sap as opposed to store-bought syrup. While at the brewery you can purchase growlers and pint glasses for reasonable prices.

The brewery has great potential for the future. It is located in an area where many tourists pass through on a daily basis and makes for a unique stopping point in Saranac Lake. As time goes by, Mark will most likely perfect his recipes and techniques, creating beers that will be enjoyed by a larger audience. For me, most of the beer needs some tweaking to perfect the flavor and aroma. However, I look forward to returning next summer to see how Blue Line Brewery has evolved.

Got a yen to climb some mountains? Definitely check out the six peaks surrounding Saranac Lake. They are: McKenzie (3822′), Ampersand (3353′), Scarface  (3054′), St. Regis  (2874′), Haystack  (2864′), and Baker (2452′). If you climb all six you can get a “6’er” patch and sticker from the town itself, via this website. What better way to work off those beer carbs!

Blue Line Brewery

555 Lake Flower Ave, Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Visited July 24, 2013

Blog post written by Thomas Andersen.


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