Our Stolen Sunday at Keegan Ales

The passage from boyhood to adulthood is a difficult one, but three short months ago my good friend and colleague Mr. Bojangles decided to try and soften the blow of aging by escorting me to Kingston, NY, home of Keegan Ales, one of the well-kept secrets in the eastern part of New York State.

Keegan Ales is a brewpub unlike any I’ve been to. First of all, the inside feels more like a lounge than a brewpub. The inviting foyer area has hardwood floors, some couches for relaxing and enjoying, and a very chilled out vibe right from the start.

The beer-tasting area slash bar experience began inauspiciously when I knocked about 150 flyers and papers off a narrow ledge when first walking in. As I picked up the strewn papers from the floor, Javen proceeded to order for the both of us.

The bar area is a charming, hardwood bar, with about a dozen taps and lots of stuff to look at. Under the glass in the bar was fossilized barley, leaving no ambiguity as to the source of the brewery’s malts. About six picnic tables sit in the bar area, perfect for a laid back beer-drinking evening. This night, a big band jazz combo was expected to come in — on a Sunday night, no less — so the tables were moved to the side. It seems like an atmosphere where club-goer and hippie alike would feel right at home.

Javen and I hunkered down at the bar moments before a snow squall engulfed the Kingston area and slightly frightened a few of us into thinking we might not be able to leave. (I was kind of secretly hoping we would get stranded there.) Luckily, it was short-lived and we were able to enjoy the fine Keegan offerings without fear of being marooned.

The beers on tap were the Old Capital golden ale, Mother’s Milk stout, Hurricane Kitty (a hoppy red), Four Philosophers Abbey Tripel, as well as a few guest taps — He’brew, Genesee Ale, Captain Lawrence and Six-Point — and a light beer. I started with the Old Capial — which Javen said was due to Kingston being the capital of New York State at one time — and Javen started with Hurricane Kitty, Keegan’s flagship beer.

The atmosphere here was about as laid back as can be. A man was reading a book at the bar while the bartender and a cook sat and hung out. The bartender was very helpful, offering what knowledge she had of the beers, and and giving small samples of the beers we hadn’t had before. She even allowed some half-pints, which gave us the chance of trying pretty much all the beers in the place.

The drive from Glenville to Kingston is about an hour, but it is all highway, and if you live anywhere in the Capital district, take the trip. It’s one of the more charming brewpubs I’ve been to, and is about as perfect a Sunday afternoon destination as I can recommend. If you go on your birthday, it’s even better.


~ by William H on May 11, 2008.

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