Prison City

Patrons sample beer made by Prison City Pub & Brewery in Auburn Jan. 20, 2017.

A New England-style India pale ale from Auburn's Prison City Pub & Brewery has once again come out on top of a competition.

The brewpub's Control for Smilers took the gold medal in the New England-style IPA category at the second annual New York State Craft Beer Competition, whose results were announced Wednesday.

A partnership between the New York State Brewers Association, the Raise a Glass Foundation, Taste NY and the Great New York State Fair, the competition was held July 28 in Rochester. In all, 123 of the state's 420 breweries entered 642 beers in 23 style categories. The most-entered categories were light lagers and New England-style IPAs, with 58 entries each. 

The Governor's Excelsior Cup, which recognizes the best overall beer of the competition, went to Threes Brewing, of Brooklyn, for the second year in a row. The winning beer this year was its Passing Time Grisette. Topping the medal count, with four, were Peekskill Brewing, of Peekskill, and Big Ditch Brewing, of Buffalo. Overall, more than 70 medals were awarded to 45 breweries. The winners will be displayed in the Horticulture Building at the state fair Aug. 22 through Sept. 3. 

Prison City's gold medal is just the latest recognition for its New England IPAs: In July, its Mass Riot was ranked No. 6 in a blind tasting of 324 IPAs from across the country by Paste Magazine. The beer was ranked No. 1 in the same tasting in 2014. That beer's recognition has resulted in long lines for its can releases, which happen on about a monthly basis.

Control for Smilers (which takes its name from a Phish song) was released in June at the Auburn brewpub, and is no longer on tap there. It is 7.7-percent alcohol by volume, and features Citra and El Dorado hops. True to the New England style, it is hazy yellow in appearance and has tasting notes of citrus and stone fruit.

Meanwhile, Prison City will be featured on an upcoming episode of "Brewed in New York," a 13-episode public TV series about the state's surging beer scene. The episode will air on WCNY at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5. The series filmed at the Auburn brewpub in May 2016, interviewing brewer Ben Maeso and co-owner Dawn Schulz.

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Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


I'm the features editor for The Citizen and auburnpub.com, and have been here since 2006. I also cover local arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.