A Visit to Olde Saratoga

Thousand Islands Pale Ale is among the robust stable of contract brews at the underrated Olde Saratoga Brewing Company. It is our opinion that Sackets Harbor brewing for themselves (and possibly picking up some other contract business) will be a very good thing for all involved. During our last visit to Olde Saratoga, their usually broad range of 8 – 10 available drafts was rapidly shrinking, and had been reduced to only oatmeal stout by the time we took our leave. This facility is the fourth largest brewery in New York, and the gentleman tending bar claimed that he had never seen beer supply in such short, umm…supply. They were brewing in two shifts and shipping beer out as fast as they could make it. Adding more contract business shouldn’t be a problem if either brewery so desires, and it would be great to see both gain more of a regional foothold with their own brands. Olde Saratoga has quickly become one of our favourite beer destinations. It doesn’t hurt that the basic set up is just like any normal bar, or that they have the cheapest place to get a decent beer in the Spa City. Click here for a pretty interesting history of the brewery.

Update: We visited Olde Saratoga’s tasting room on Friday night, and the situation had improved greatly since last we graced the premises. They had eleven beers on. including a solid wheat beer from the
Saratoga Thoroughbrews homebrewing club An interesting beer, no doubt, but more interesting that they would let homebrewers put something on tap – very cool. They also had a Dopplebock that they are doing for Dock Street Brewing of Philadelphia. Dock Street is an interesting story. Technically speaking, they have been around for more than twenty years and were a player in the craft beer revolution of the 1990’s. We seem to remember, from a tour we did at F.X. Matt about ten years ago, that Saranac was doing some brewing for Dock Street at that time. Since then, the Philadelphia beer scene has exploded, while Dock Street changed owners a couple of times and slowly faded to the point that they went out of business. According to the gentleman we spoke to at Olde Saratoga, however, the original owners bought back the rights to the name a couple years ago. They hooked up with a veteran of the brewing industry who “has to be about 80,” started a brewpub in Philly, and have had several beers contract brewed for them. Olde Saratoga is doing the flagship Philadelphia Amber, as well as the Illuminator Dopplebock that we tried. It’s a deep amber colour with a sweet, malty scent. The thin mouthfeel means that the strength of both the flavour and alcohol are somewhat masked up front. By the time the beer was finished, both the malt complexity and the 9% ABV became more apparent. A nice beer to try, though more than one might be pushing it. It is choices like this that always make visits to the Olde Saratoga tasting room fun.

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~ by bojangles on June 12, 2007.

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