F.X. Matt Brewing Company is the second-oldest family run brewery in the United States. The brewery has been around since 1888 and is named in honor of the progenitor, Francis Xavier Matt I. Nick Matt (Chairman/CEO) and nephew Fred Matt (President/COO) have managed to keep it in the family. Matt brewery was the 13th largest producer in 2010 and the 7th largest craft brewery. Their lagers and ales swing towards the more traditional side with some excellent representations of style (particularly German/Bavarian). They also do quite a good deal of contract brewing.
Location: Utica, New York
Type: Production brewery
Available in DC Market: Yes
Beer #1: Saranac IPA (IPA/ 5.8% ABV)
Notes: This was once an impressive, aggressive-yet-balanced IPA—oh how the mighty have fallen. It’s not that Saranac IPA is no longer brewed the way it once was, it’s that 9 out of the 10 best-selling US craft breweries now offer an IPA year-round. Undoubtedly this will pair well with the risotto cake but in the end you might find the tomato marmalade more innovative than the fermented side of this pairing.
Beer Advocate: B- (523 Reviews)
Rate Beer: 42 0verall, 9 style
Beer #2: Saranac Summer Ale (American Wheat Ale/ 4.7% ABV)
Notes: While this beer is seasonally appropriate for DC, you’re not going to be able to distinguish this beer’s subtleties after some sour ale or Imperial IPA. While there is a nice lemony character that plays off of the wheat in this ale, I really would have preferred Saranac bring their Hefeweizen or Belgian White.
Beer Advocate: C+ (172 Reviews)
Rate Beer: 28 overall, 44 style
I could never hate on F.X. Matt. Saranac’s Belgian White was one of my first “gateway” beers. The fond memories and reminiscences continue with anyone who can remember having a Rheingold or a Foggy Bottom Ale/Lager (both brewed under contract by F.X. Matt at one point). Despite their impressive size, F.X. Matt probably won’t provide the most moving “craft beer experience” in the National Building Museum.
This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2011 SAVOR participants.
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