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A week of beer deals puts CNY's craft brew industry on display

Two men stand behind a bar counter with four beer cans placed in front of them.
John Smith
Sales manager Derrick Spanfelner (left) and head brewer Paul Zemba stand behind the bar at Talking Cursive in downtown Syracuse.

There's been a bump in customers this week at the Talking Cursive Brewery. The spot just across from the old Niagara Mohawk building in downtown Syracuse offers craft brews, food and themed nights, like Taco Tuesdays.

The site has seen a boost in clientele over the last several days thanks to CNY Beer Week. The week-long celebration of beer features deals and promotions at 21 locations to draw attention to the region's craft industry.

Sales Manager Derrick Spanfelner said it's helped introduce more people to the morning than dozen beers Talking Cursive has on tap.

"We actually have seen such a great uptick in excitement around the brewery, people being here, packing the house for these different nights we've had so far this week," Spanfelner said.

For Talking Cursive head brewer Paul Zemba, the beer week is not only a chance to share his craft with more customers but also with other breweries. Zemba said Meier's Creek Brewing at Syracuse's Inner Harbor put on their menu one of his creations, which is also a collaboration with a nearby coffeeshop.

"They've got a keg of our rum-barreled aged double Kubal, which is a Belgian double with cold brewed coffee from our next-door neighbors, Kubal," Zemba said.

Four metallic beer seltzers cans sit on a bar counter.
John Smith
Talking Cursive Brewery, located at 301 Erie Blvd. in Syracuse, provides various seltzers for customers during Beer Week and year-round.

Beer Week coordinator Keith Lindner noted this kind of collaboration shows a strong support network among the region's breweries.

"Whether that's people going to breweries or people going downtown to Armory Square, the sort of wider passion for craft beer, itself, helps us all in one way or another."

Lindner credits the co-owner of the former Blue Tusk Bar and restaurant, Mike Yorton, for starting the local craft brewing movement. The beer week is dedicated to Yorton, who died earlier this month.

The final beer week event is a Saturday festival from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Landmark Theatre.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.