ALBANY, NEW YORK
Since first visiting December ’04 with family, Albany Pump Station has become a mecca for the state capitol. And long-time brewer George De Piro crafts a diverse range of beers that’ve only gotten better over time.
Approachable daintily-hopped beers such as cream-corned honey-dipped maize-dried light-bodied Scottish Light, Kolsch-styled cereal-grained oats-dried hay-dampened herbal-tinged Quackenbush Blonde, buttery banana-bubblegum-clove-centered lemon-soured Bavarian-styled Hefeweizen, and mildly tart cinnamon-ginger-spiced cider-like Apple Ale will please soft-toned thirsts.
Heartier thirsts will lean towards off-dry perfume-spiced mineral-grained grapefruit-quince-tinged Pump Station Pale Ale, woody-hopped dark-spiced nut-burnt Kick Ass Brown Ale, balmy Irish-styled milk chocolate-aided roasted coffee-finishing Dawn’s Dry Stout, and, most memorably, bold alcohol-riddled caramel malt-caressed dryly red-fruited Old Ale.
At U-shaped right bar, January ’09, ate delicious calamari over linguini (with red peppers and black olives) while draining understated fig-raisin-dried cinnamon-nutmeg-voided phenol-hopped Winter Warmer.
Sojourned from Brown’s (in nearby Troy) to the ‘Station’ mid-afternoon, October ’10, securing window side chair at main bar while happily munching on a cheesy jalapeno-peppered turkey sandwich and quaffing samplers.
Justifying long-time brewer George DePiro’s exquisite stylistic diversification were newfound banana-breaded chocolate-spiced fig-dried earthen-grained Munich Dunkel and beechwood-smoked chocolate-malted espresso-milked State Street Porter. While short-pantsed DePiro stopped by quickly to say hi, further proof of his creativeness came with sweet ‘n sour blueberry-pureed molasses-honeyed Blueberry Triple, a Belgian strong ale contrasting crystal-sugared fruited malts against white-peppered farmhouse yeast funk.
During a cold November ’13 afternoon, stopped by to watch Giants-Raiders football game before heading to Bleecker Field to watch nephew’s Pop Warner team win a second round playoff game. I got to imbibe three previously untried brews as well.
For a light-bodied starter, approachable Evans Wit brought sweet orange-peeled coriander spicing and lemon-candied tartness to its subtle banana bubblegum midst, picking up gentle hop astringency at the pleasant citric finish.
Emboldened Imperial Pumpkin Stout contrasted coffee-grounded dark chocolate against anise-oiled pumpkin roast while winningly incorporating unexpected peculiarities (fennel, rosemary, fern and pine nut) for a challenging hybridized autumnal dessert.
Before heading out, Revolutionary War-styled Poor Soldier Porter coaxed bittersweet malt-smoked dark chocolate and black coffee overtones as well as dry Baker’s chocolate illusions out of cane-juiced Caribbean molasses.
Once again revisited Albany Pump Station, October ’20, gulping down seven more previously untried suds.
Spritzy lemon-dried Palace Pilz placed mild Amarillo-hopped wood tones next to clay-like Saaz hop herbage and corn-flaked cereal malts.
Nutty caramel-spiced chocolate malts engaged Amber All The Way, leaving mild hop astringency upon the dewy finish.
Brisk grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and mild pine needling spackled dry pale malts for Mosaic Pale Ale.
Soft-tongued Wheated Days Hefe brought banana breaded honey wheat sweetness to sedate lemon tartness and wispy clove spicing in a pilsner-malted Noble hop setting.
Floral citrus-bound New England-styled Ditch Digger IPA let lactic milk souring caress mild lemon-licked grapefruit, mango and orange tanginess.
Effective rauchbier-derived Helles Lager, Kissed By Smoke, allowed smoked beechwood to absorb sweet kiln-fired barleymalts, cured meat savoring and mossy Noble hop earthiness.
Black chocolate-doused dark roast coffee imbibed State O’ Your Stout, a full-bodied dark ale with espresso, burnt caramel and maple oats reminders relegating its mild hop char.