With the third anniversary celebration for ReInvention Brewing comes an homage to NY products and "Star Wars"

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MANCHESTER — Cue the John Williams theme music, become one with your inner Obi-Wan Kenobi, and indulge George Aldrich and his love of “Star Wars.”

Consider it an anniversary gift.

Inspired by the “Return of the Jedi” film, Aldrich remembers running around with a lightsaber as a kid. That was the first of the “Star Wars” movies he was able to see, as he was too young for the film that started it all, in a galaxy of fandom far, far away.

But these days, he has set the lightsaber down — sometimes, anyway — and is more apt to be found in his ReInvention Brewing Co. gear than a Jedi robe.

As part of the Manchester microbrewery’s third anniversary weekend, which continues Saturday and Sunday, Aldrich set out to reinvent the classic pilsner style while paying homage to the classic film series.

And so ReInvention’s special anniversary Galactic Empire Imperial Pilsner, which was canned Thursday and is being released this weekend.

Ordinarily, a pilsner is a bit on the lighter side when it comes to alcohol content. At 9 percent alcohol by volume, this can deliver a blow like Darth Vader if you’re not careful.

But what the heck, it’s an anniversary.

“It’s got a hidden punch,” Aldrich said.

The name pays homage to the movies, although it also calls to mind the microbrewery’s local roots. The “Empire” in the name is a reminder that this is a New York state farm product, according to Kristy Aldrich, Aldrich’s wife and sales and marketing director.

“This is definitely a reference to his love of the movies and that this is an Empire State product,” she said.

They did have some fun with it. Aldrich announced the idea with a Facebook video on May 4 — May the Fourth be with you, if you don’t get it. His story printed on the can recalls the graphics and style of the iconic opening crawl of the original “Star Wars” — ”A long time ago, in a galaxy, far far away …”

“I am a nerd,” Aldrich said. “Anybody who knows me knows that.”

Only his “Galactic” story also references the current coronavirus pandemic — with social distancing references and all. The rules affecting restaurants, bars and breweries put a damper on original plans for the anniversary, as now only to-go sales are allowed and social distancing rules are in effect and will be enforced throughout the weekend.

The parking lot at the intersection of State and North Main streets has been modified to allow for easy enter, easy exit drive-thru service — stay in your vehicles, they remind customers. You can roll down the windows to enjoy live music on the porch, which also will be streaming on Facebook Live at specific times.

The last two months have been tough on everyone, Kristy Aldrich said. But, everything has a silver lining, as many familiar faces come back again and again while others have discovered a new place to support during the dark side of this health crisis.

“We’re gained new customers as people make a point to contact local businesses,” she said.

Besides the pilsner, an amped-up version of ReInvention’s flagship Middle Finger Lakes IPA, the Double Middle Finger Lakes IPA, is being released.

“It pays tribute to our region and the name is funny without being awful,” Kristy said.

Also, they saved a keg of its bourbon Scotch ale from last year’s anniversary, but that will be even more limited on Sunday with mug-club members getting first priority.

All of the anniversary releases are made for the special occasion and supplies are limited, so try them now.

Or as the venerable Jedi master Yoda might say, do or do not. There is no try.

“It’s a one-off thing,” George said.

Anniversary notes

The food truck Black Hart BBQ will be at ReInvention Brewing Co. from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday. Scott Guest will be performing from the porch, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

To-go window hours are 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Customers are encouraged to order ahead of time. For a full to-go menu of beer, wine, cider, visit www.ReinventionBrewing.com.

Benefit chicken dinner in Bloomfield

The Steele Gang is back in action.

The Bloomfield Rotary Club is sponsoring a chicken barbecue dinner, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday at Elton Park and East Bloomfield Methodist Church in the village. But get in line early for the drive-thru pickup, as 300 chicken halves were ordered from the Steeles, who some say offer the best barbecue chicken dinners around.

Cost is $10.

Proceeds go to the Bloomfield Rotary-sponsored school backpack program.

Ideas on the menu 

Restaurants and bars are surviving by takeout orders and curbside service these days. I’ll try to help by shining a light on what they do best, but I’ll need help.

No, no — don’t send money. Send ideas.

Do you have a signature dish from your favorite dining stop that you’d like to know more about? Send them my way, to mmurphy@messengerpostmedia.com, and I’ll see what we can do to share the stories of these dishes and maybe give you an idea for lunch or dinner to ease the stir craziness. Better yet, maybe you’ll find a new place to make friends and laugh again when this is all over.