Bears Mentioning…

We managed to sample a handful of nice, local beers last weekend. A return visit to the Adirondack Pub & Brewery in Lake George proved that our pleasant experience the first time was no fluke. The Hunter Mountain Hefeweizen was spot-on; flavourful and refreshing, without being over spiced. They call the Indian Pale Ale “a traditional IPA with pronounced hop flavour and bitterness.” We won’t disagree. Both beers were very fresh and enjoyable – this place makes a trip to this tourist trap of a small Adirondack village much more bearable. It was fairly slow when we stopped in around 3 PM, but seemed to be picking up nicely by the time we rolled out of town near dinner time, which was nice to see. Adirondack P&B is holding an Octoberfest celebration on October 13 and 14 with five other area breweries. We’re very intrigued.

Davidson Brothers in Glens Falls continues to be a solid brewpub and an overall great place to visit. The inviting feel of the classic, dark wood bar downstairs, and the beautiful, old brick building nestled into Glens Falls’ surprisingly happening downtown would probably be enough to bring us back even if the beers weren’t this enjoyable. We had the sampler, but opted not to include the two top sellers, Dacker and the IPA because we can find those in six packs anytime. Unfortunately, the Davidson boys make you choose six of the ten or so beers they offer on draught at a given time. We had the Wheat Ale, ESB, Smoked Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Scotch Ale and the current “Brewer’s Choice”, which happened to be a Rye Cream Ale. Davidson Brother’s brews mostly English style ales, using distinctive Ringwood yeast strain (Middle Ages or especially Shipyard for reference). On this visit, the Smoked Porter was probably the standout – smooth, dark and mild, with the smoke not overwhelming the flavour at all. And it smelled wonderful. The Scotch Ale was very malty, sweet and quite strong. It tasted like it earned all of its 8% ABV. The Wheat was very light and refreshing, although the lemon wedge dominated a bit, and the Swimmin’ Cow Rye Cream was very interesting in it’s own right, although another dash or two of hops — yes, even in a Cream Ale — would have kicked it up a notch and helped to balance the rye. All certainly worth a try, though.

Our last stop on the impromptu tour was Olde Saratoga Brewing Company. We have been hitting this place often enough recently that any new tap is bound to attract our attention immediately. One of the great things about visiting this place is finding a random tap of one of their many contract brews. This time, the beer code named Olde Saratoga Big Red was a nice surprise. Word on the street is that this beer has been a medalist at the Great American Beer Fest, and it did make for a pretty pleasant drinking companion. Somewhat sweet, with a little caramel malt thing going on, and a dry, crisp finish. Very nice, especially for the style, which is not a personal favourite. The tap that really caught our eye, however, was the Whiskey Aged Black Eye. Black Eye Ale is a blend of two Mendocino beers: Eye of the Hawk and Black Hawk Stout. It’s usually available either as an actual blend of the two from the taps, or in 22 oz. bombers. Eye of the Hawk is an 8% ABV American Strong Ale, so blending these two gives you something a bit different than a Black & Tan from, say, Saranac or Yuengling. It is usually an enjoyable enough drinker; a little thin, perhaps, but sweet, with a hint of alcohol burn and a smooth finish. This particular batch was aged in Jack Daniels barrels for 13 weeks. It didn’t seem all that different at first, other than a bit of a mild whiff of whiskey on the nose. As it starts to warm, though, plenty more depth of flavour becomes apparent. We nursed this one for the better part of an hour, and it seemed to only get more enjoyable as the bottom of the glass drew nearer. Certainly a beverage worthy of more in-depth research, preferably closer to the chill of December or January than the heat of July. Fret not, dear reader, we know just the man for the job.

P.S. – Finding fresh, hoppy beers has been a bit of a struggle for some reason this summer. Not a problem at the Albany Pump Station. Their latest batch of Pump Station Pale Ale is like a pint glass full of those old-school pine tree air fresheners. In a good way. A very good way.

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~ by bojangles on July 14, 2007.

One Response to “Bears Mentioning…”

  1. My suspicion is that the Adirondack Oktoberfest will be earlier in October; you linked to last year’s calendar.

    The good news is: it could be part of the fabled “dude shower.”

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