Sandra Scott Travels: See What’s Brewing In Utica

Matt tour entrance

Matt tour entrance

Last week I asked: Where can you see Schultz and Dooley?

At the FX Matt Brewing Company in Utica.

Matt tour entrance
Matt tour entrance

FX Matt Brewing Company in Utica is one of the oldest family owned breweries in the United States.

On a recent trip to Utica, John and I enjoyed the tour of the brewery.

We were lucky because we were the only people on the tour.

However, tours are offered Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 1, 3 and 5 p.m.

A great winter daytrip.

Shultz and Dooley steins
Shultz and Dooley steins

Beer knows no season!

We have been on a couple of other brewery tours, but the FX Matt tour included some iconic items not expected on a tour dealing with libations.

The tour starts in a beautiful, lavish room decorated with advertising memorabilia including Shultz and Dooley steins that were so successful in advertising Utica Club in the 1960s.

But there are many other things that caught my attention including the stained glass window above the door and a unique desk that was owned by P. T. Barnum designed so that that people can sit and work on both sides.

stained glass window
Stained glass window

A 5.5-gallon stein designed by FX Matt II has a challenge written in German claiming, “A real man can drink this full.”

There is a magnificent rosewood grandfather clock flanked by two ornate antique chairs along with a three-disk symphonium (an early version of an English concertina) appraised at one million dollars.

Before the brewing part of the tour began we walked through a Speakeasy room.

rosewood grandfather clock
rosewood grandfather clock

The door had the little window which would open and I guess the prospective guests would say something like “Joe sent me!”

During probation the company survived making non-alcoholic beverages.

The tour explains the entire process of brewing from milling the grain, making mash, fermenting, and filtering and bottling.

I was most impressed with the copper brew kettle and the bottling process.

the copper brew kettle
The copper brew kettle

The highlight for most people is the last stop at the 1888 Tavern for some sampling of Saranac beers and sodas.

The tavern has a 20-foot mahogany bar that was originally in the Ulster Hotel in Kingston, NY, which closed in 1959.

One of the things I appreciate about any company is that it remained in the family.

Since 1888, everyone who has led the company has been named F. X. Matt and now they are in the fourth and fifth generation.

the bottling process.
The bottling process.

The company may have stayed in the same family but the products have changed with the times with Saranac now being their most popular product leaving Shultz and Dooley memorabilia to collectors.

The F.X. Matt company hosts the world renowned Boilermaker 15K Road Race each year – Central New York’s largest running.

If you arrive in Utica before 2 p.m. head to The Local Restaurant for breakfast or lunch.

The Local is housed in the old library and serves food made from products produced in an environmentally conscious and healthy manner.

The Local Restaurant
The Local Restaurant

The staff takes orders on the cards from the library’s card catalog and they are still plenty of books to browse or read in front of the fireplace.

Another great option is Nail Creek Pub & Brewery near the F.X. Matt Brewery where people can try their craft beer and enjoy some comfort food.

Hankering for something fishy?

Ocean Blue Restaurant & Oyster Bar is the place for fresh fish, clams, and oysters with a great view of the city.

The 1888 Tavern
The 1888 Tavern

The restaurant is located on the top floor of the Landmarc building with a dedicated elevator in the lobby.

Travel Trivia Tease™: What Caribbean Islands were undamaged in the recent hurricanes?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!