So if I keep making conversation when I am out sampling good beer by mentioning I write a beer blog, maybe I oughta be updating the thing.
OK, six-pack of things in my beer world — specifically around Saratoga Springs, NY.
1. If you’re anywhere around the area, and that includes Albany, you need to get to Henry Street Tap Room (check on facebook). It’s a true beer bar with 16 drafts (including one cider) on a chalkboard and great beer cuisine. I will write more later, but let’s say there are not a lot of places you can sip a Belgian Sour or the latest from Southern Tier while sitting in a leather arm chair in front of a fireplace.
2. There’s always an extra stop on the 20-minute drive from my house to Henry Street, and it involves Eddy’s Beverage (EBI), my favorite package store. (Hey, I am from Rhode Island. It’s a “package store.”) In my mind, best beer selection between Albany and the Canadian border. But what’s more important is that the staff is made up of the kind of people you want to drink beer with. They really know their stuff. Three taps, at reasonable prices, and a firkin on Fridays. One of them is my crack dealer, I mean my go-to person when I need a recommendation, because her taste is like mine when it comes to porters and stouts. I’ll drop $12 or more on her recommendation, and I have not been disappointed. ( http://ebisaratoga.com/ )
3. Anyone figure out Black IPAs yet? The style is all over the place. The first one I had was from Otter Creek (Vt.), and as one of the guys at Eddy’s Beverage pointed out, it was far maltier than many others. Right now I am working on the Black Cannon from Heavy Seas in Baltimore (http://www.hsbeer.com/). It’s far hoppier. (This one’s from last week’s firkin at EBI). There is a bitterness (the good kind) on a second flavor wave. My local brewer, Jason, at Davidson Brothers here in Glens Falls, is dry-hopping his at the finish with Cascade. Very nice. I have had some others, but it’s not as simple as defining an IPA.
4. Speaking of sitting in a leather armchair in front of the fire at Henry Street? I was having a snifter of the Firestone Walker 16th Anniversary ( http://www.firestonebeer.com/beers/products/sixteen-coming-november-2012- ) . I plunked down $15 for a 12-ounce pour, this time trusting one of the bar owners, Ryan and Sonja). I will write more about it later. It’s a blend of various fancy and oak-aged beers and is one of the best beers I have ever had. Full, smoky, ringing with alcohol. Amazing stuff.
5. Oh, another reason to love EBI. It is across the street from Ole Saratoga Brewing, where you can get growler fills of a variety of things and free samples as well.
6. Just so George and the folks at Druthers, the new brew pub in Saratoga Springs, don’t think I don’t love them, I have to say that the shrimp and grits is one of the best lunches I have ever had.