When Jay Sumner found out that Saranac no longer would be making Black Forest, his heart sank.
The F.X. Matt Brewing Co.’s German black lager is not only the 38-year-old New York Mills man’s favorite beer to drink, but also to cook with — as he’s used it to create everything from stew to chili.
“To me, Black Forest reminds me of home,” Sumner said. “I remember sneaking bottles from the fridge of my parents’ house and trying to figure out how to open it in the woods. The rich and hearty beer has been a great tasting accessory ever since.”
President Fred Matt said the difficult decision to discontinue the cult favorite has been met with similar stories from its customers who are loyal fans of the beer, which was first brewed in the early 1990s.
“It was painful, because it was definitely one of our buzz beers, but when it comes to sales it just doesn’t deliver,” Matt said of Black Forest, which typically falls between seventh or eighth in the brewery’s sales behind such top sellers as Pale Ale and Legacy IPA. “It’s going to take a little vacation … but it’ll probably make reappearance at some point.”
Matt said Black Forest still will be available for a couple of more months in six packs and Saranac’s Adirondack Trail Mix collection in stores and at the brewery gift shop. It will then be replaced in the trail mix by its Gen IV Session IPA.
The brewery also has introduced a new style in its 12 Beers a Falling variety pack called Dark-tober(fest) to help
fill the void.
Utica-native Jason Pardi, who now lives in Fairport, said he was shocked to learn that Saranac was dropping one of its “staple beers,” but intends to enjoy it while it lasts.
“It’s a beer you can really trust, a solid performer,” the 39-year-old said. “It’s hard to believe it’s going away, but I will be going out and buying as much as I can while it’s still around.”