Category Archives: United States Brewpubs

SPIDER BITE BEER COMPANY

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HOLBROOK, NEW YORK

Making some of the crispest East Coast India Pale Ales your heart will desire out in Long Island, diminutive warehouse-bound SPIDER BITE BEER COMPANY also earns big points for its awesome Boris The Spider Russian Imperial Stout (reviewed in Beer Index) and several other stylishly resounding offerings.

An eight-seat bar with eight tap handles, proprietary bottled-canned selections, beer banners and one TV crowd the small main room as a few tables near the overhead garage door provide more capacity. Brew tanks are off in the back end.

Dry tea-like Craft Cares Irish Red Ale placed fig-spiced caramel malts alongside mossy peat earthiness and nutty biscuit residue.

Sweet ‘n sour saison-fruited Blanc Grisette let lemon zest, sour orange and vinous grape gain a tart edge above leathery dry hops.

Approachable Fundur Session India Pale Ale brought tangy orange-peeled peach, grapefruit, mango and tangerine illusions to dank piney hop musk and herbal spiced licks.

Juicy Second Bite India Pale Ale let its bittersweet orange-peeled grapefruit tang awaken grassy hop astringency, pungent earthen musk, tingly sugar spices and grainy pale malts.

Less pronounced and more subtle, IDK IPA allowed subdued Nelson Sauvin hops to add passionfruit and gooseberry tones to its floral citrus midst and soft biscuit base.

Dry-bodied Melba’s Toasted Brown Ale offered a crisp tobacco roast to wheat-floured Melba toasting and soft spicing.

 A cool little spot the locals love, Spider Bite’s definitely worth the ride.

spiderbitebeer.com

 

TRILLIUM BREWING COMPANY

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CANTON, MASSACHUSETTS

One of the premier New England beer spots, TRILLIUM BREWING COMPANY first operated only out of its original Congress Street location in South Boston. But it’s new 16.000 square-foot red-bricked facility 30 miles due southwest in Canton truly proves to be an absolute Beer Desitination for any true ‘brewpie.’

When Trillium’s original flagship brewery opened in 2013 (with no tap room but bottles-growlers available), it immediately grew way beyond its Fort Point boundaries in Beantown.

Married founders JC and Esther Tetreault’s dream of developing sterling farmhouse-styles ales, microbe-cultured wild ales and other flagship or one-off varieties certainly came true as dedicated beer snobs keep gushing over their delicious suds. In their first two-and-a-half years, Trillium’s turned out over 125 beers. Some are ‘variations on core beers’ and many are ultra hazy, complex and highly expressive.

An illuminated metal Trillium sign welcomes patrons to the large draught room counter in the cement-floored stucco-walled office building in Canton. Barreled tables and minimalist art run throughout the rangy open space, leading to the  slate-countered distribution center, where bottles, cans, growlers and shirts are sold and the efficient canning line jets back to the large brew tanks.

During my Friday afternoon jaunt to the Canton site in May ’17, I buy nine  different canned ales (reviewed in Beer Index) while imbibing on the fabulous Coffee Porter – Nitro. Its velvety smooth texture, up-front coffee bean roast, creamy dark chocolate syruping and bitter cocoa powdering led the way above tarry oats-charred molasses sap. Mild bourbon, raspberry and cherry illusions added further depth.

Highly recommended.

www.trilliumbrewing.com

JUGHANDLE BREWING COMPANY

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TINTON FALLS, NEW JERSEY

Tucked away in the Tinton Falls Center, a delightful mini-mall just off the NJ Parkway on the way to Point Pleasant, JUGHANDLE BREWING COMPANY opened on Father’s Day 2016. A nifty open Industrial space perfect for small batch brewing, Jughandle’s serving tanks, aging liquor barrels, brewery equipment and malted hop ingredients deck out the left side while wooden community tables and cool metal stools are situated near the right side 14-draught serving station.

On initial hot Saturday afternoon April 2017 visit, quaffed 14 well-rounded selections handcrafted by brewmasters Chris Hanigan and Peter Artherholt.

Delectably sessionable moderate-bodied opener, Hefeweizen brought banana-clove sweetness to lemony orange tang above cereal wheat malting.

Spritzy Firepit Belgian Wit loaded carbolic pep upon lemony curacao orange tartness, mild herbal hop bittering and politely spiced pale malts.

Amiable Mosiac Pale Ale let its mildly fruitful Mosaic hop profile shine with tangy yellow grapefruit, mango and orange tropicalia.

Brisk West Coast-styled India Pale Ale allowed citric Cascade hops and woody Chinook hops to combine for a tangy grapefruit, orange and lemon thrust punctuated by mild pine tones.

Stylishly soft moderate-to-medium-bodied Double India Pale Ale gained honeyed malt sweetness alongside pineapple, peach, clementine and grapefruit juicing.

Robust Black IPA contrasted black-malted Bakers chocolate bittering and molasses-soaked pumpernickel rye sweetness with less pronounced grapefruit, black grape and pineapple illusions.

Inviting Belgian Dubbel brought dry-fruited malting to the fore above musty fungi yeast, dewy peat graining and herbal hops as candi-sugared plum, raisin and banana sweetness increased.

Just as fine, Duneklweizen coalesced crystal-malted cocoa and chocolate sugaring with tingly banana sweetness, tobacco-roasted crisping and dainty spices.

Lactobacillus-laden sour ale, Berliner Weiss, gently parched the tongue with oats-dried lemon rind bittering, light vinous grape esters and torrified wheat (?) malts. Adding raspberry syrup allowed subtle raspberry tartness to enhance the lemony grapefruit tang and lower the sour pucker. Quite nice.

Dry Calypso-hopped Pothole #2 Brett Pale Ale added light brettanomyces bacteria to affect its sour lemon pucker, herbal lemongrass-chamomile conflux and teasing tropical fruiting.

Peaty Scottish 70 Shilling Mild Ale offered dried tobacco crisping, desiccated orange tartness and mildewed basement dankness.

Earthen grains gave Partigyle Stout its earthen grounding as bittersweet black chocolate, dried cocoa and espresso tones overrode dark cherry snips.

Another dry dark ale, Irish Stout, retained a soft flow as bitter chocolate, milked espresso and day-old coffee tones proved sturdy.

Even better, Booskerdoo Breakfast Stout plied fresh roasted coffee beans to whiskey-soaked oak chips and gained a prominent brown chocolate and vanilla sweetness to soak up the whiskeyed coffee pleasantries.

www.jughandlebrewing.com

 

2 WAY BREWING COMPANY

 

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BEACON, NEW YORK

Inside a pristine beige stucco industrial building and surrounded by quaint residential housing overlooking the Hudson River at the revitalized city of Beacon, 2 WAY BREWING COMPANY opened its doors in 2014.

A relaxing family-friendly local joint near the train station, 2 Way’s knowledgeable staff kept the bar patrons happy serving seven board-listed tapped selections or samplers to those grabbing growlers-to-go for outside consumption. The easygoing brews matched the relaxing atmosphere.

Convivial head brewer, Michael O’Herron, spent time learning his craft at popular Boulder, Colorado-based brewery, Avery, before moving back to his nearby hometown of Newburgh just in time for New York’s magical craft beer Renaissance. His balanced array of ales lean towards the lighter side on my first trip.

Six patio tables front 2 Way while the comfy single room interior features a 20-seat plywood bar with seven tap handles emanating from a 2 Way road sign plus a large screen TV as well as a few seating tables and sofas. Happily, there’s room for expansion as well.

Recently, the low-key pub started serving limited pub fare and on my April 2017 sojourn I enjoyed the fried chicken with six approachably fine brews.

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Soft-toned Whole Hop Pale Ale layered earthen tea-like pale malts with moderate melon rind, grapefruit, passionfruit and apple tones.

Easygoing red, orange and yellow-fruited Revolution Red picked up caramel-toasted Maris Otter sweetness to contrast mildly resinous pine hops.

Sessionable Citra-hopped Forbidden Fruit IPA plied groaty grain malting and tender spicing to mellow yellow grapefruit, clementine, orange marmalade and curacao orange briskness.

Slightly unique saison-styled X-1 IPA soaked black raspberry-bushed yeast with lemony orange tones, soggy groaty oats and lemongrass hints.

Understated Beacon Brown brought cocoa, toffee and caramel sweetness to peat-dried mocha malts as well as frisky praline, walnut and hazelnut whims.

Mocha-dried Nitro Irish Stout saddled dark chocolate, black coffee and cocoa tones with dewy earthiness.

Two weeks later, came back with wife for her fave, Town Of The Lion Hefeweizen, a bittersweet moderation with polite lemon souring contrasted by stylish banana-clove-bubblegum illusions over Graham Cracker-honeyed wheat malts.

Better still, Confusion Farmhouse utilized X-1 IPA’s black raspberry bush yeast for its tangy lemon-dropped pineapple, grapefruit and orange juicing to soak into hay-like mineral grain rusticity and wispy lemongrass herbage.

2waybrewingcompany.com

RACE STREET BREW WORKS

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CLEARFIELD, PENNSYLVANIA

A great find in the hilly Western Pennsylvania countryside just off Route 80, homey Industrial mall-bound RACE STREET BREW WORKS opened on Black Friday, November 2014, with four tapped beers for sale. Since that time, the ecelctic mom and pop operation has become a popular local dive.

Going thru an inconspicuous hallway of the tan-bricked edifice towards a mid-space cement-floored warehouse, Race Street’s refurbished wood community tables, cheesy decorative paraphernalia, hanging paper pom-poms, antique beer-capped aluminum shack and dank upstairs lounge encase the 10-seat bar and caged brew tanks serviced by innovative brewmaster Bohb Striker. In the summertime, a patio with fire pit gets utilized.

Refrigerated tap handles serve the fourteen well-rounded elixirs I thoroughly enjoy this breezy Friday evening in April ’17.

For openers, musky German-grained Czech yeast affected the herbal floral-perfumed Polish hop brusqueness of stylishly robust Polish Pilsner.

Next, uniquely satisfying Saint Kamille Belgian Wit brought honeyed chamomile tea to lemony grapefruit, orange and banana expectancy as vanilla wafer-sugared grilled mango and tangy peach snips contrasted tart candy powdering.

Incense-like Saison La Roux mildly aged tart cherries and raspberries for a splendid sweet ‘n sour mix back-ended by oats-dried Belgian pale malts.

‘Dank’ medium body, Hop Hash Brownie let resinous hop pining saturate mild nut-roasted toffee malts and brown tea-like bittering.

‘Vainglorious’ oak-aged derivative, Loud Mouth Oaked IPA brought cotton-candied honey malting, pecan buttering and floral perfume wafts to citric Cascade hop bitterness, leaving lemony mango-orange-pineapple tropicalia along the oaken vanilla midst before ethyl alcohol phenols coarsen the finish.

Tea-like Red Walloon, a dewy Belgian red ale, contrasted sour citric tartness against mild caramel-spiced alacrity.

Fine off-dry autumn seasonal, Jack Hammer Pumpkin Ale, brought pumpkin roasted butternut squash earthiness to ginger-spiced nutmeg and clove sweetness.

Well designed Rauch Street German Smoked Beer plied Band-aid-like peat smoked beechwood astringency to brown chocolate sweetness.

Interesting malt-roasted Thai Tea Porter let spicy Thai tea sweetness gain Black Forest cake, chocolate cake, toasted coconut, powdered cocoa and black cherry illusions.

Well executed Chanceux Tarte Tripel  draped white-wined lemony cider tartness over soured rye bourbon for an offbeat stylistic turnabout.

Better still, candi-sugared GNOMebriation, a standard tripel, let sweet plum, raisin and date illusions get soaked in dry bourbon and honeyed vanilla.

Soft-toned Comrade Conrad Russian Imperial Stout, aged in rye bourbon barrels, retained brown chocolate-y coconut sweetness, pleasant cocoa nibs bittering, dried fruited fig spicing, mild cola nuttiness and warm bourbon licks.

A few experimental oak-aged elixirs at closing time proved satisfying as well.

Napa Valley Cabernet barrels held Weird One, a lactobacillus-soured red winey moderation with oaken vanilla tartness and light spicing.

Lastly, Flanders Red-styled Weird Two, aged eight months in Woodford Reserve Rye Bourbon barrels then refermented with sour lactobacillus and brettanomyces bacteria, brought lightly vinous grape esters and honeyed mead subtleties to the same oaken vanilla tartness influencing the previously quaffed Weird One.

 

On June ’17 revisit, discovered four more goodies while chatting it up with wife and entrepreneurial brewmaster Bohb Striker.

Unassuming light-bodied Genesee knockoff, Jenny C. Cream Ale, recalled its macrobrew standard with soft-watered flaked corn malts, dry rice sedation and light lemon-spiced spritz.

Lemon-soured Saison Primitive Farmhouse Ale utilized ginger, peppercorn and orange peel adjuncts to embrace its cologne-perfumed honey spicing and lime-juiced snip.

Distinctly balanced moderation, Chow’duh NE IPA provided zesty grapefruit, bitter orange rind and sweet mango with gentle piney hops and creamy crystal malts to its wheat-oats spine.

For nighttime dessert, Nitro Coconut Milk Mooo-Stache sufficed, as its mildly creamed dark chocolate sweetness picked up casual coconut and caramel illusions.

www.racestreetbrew.com

MASTHEAD BREWING COMPANY

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Occupying a cavernous cement-floored warehouse at the east end of downtown Cleveland, MASTHEAD BREWING COMPANY opened its doors at the historic Bryant Building, January ’17.

Providing the perfect sportsbar atmosphere for local fans, its massive reclaimed wood 100-foot bar, ample seating, widespread community tables, sizable sidewalk patio, multiple tap handles, strewn barrels and TV’s in every direction create a natural blue collar rusticity to complement Cleveland’s Industrial working class city.

The steel-furnished Masthead (with a huge company insignia along the back wall) crafts some serious elixirs in its rear brew tanks and the left side open kitchen offers fine pub fare including wood-fired red and white pizzas.

One of Masthead’s newer brewers, government marine biologist-turned-brewer, Chris Spann, shared beer thoughts as I settled in on a sunny Saturday afternoon in April ’17.

 

 

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Light lemon-peeled curacao orange tang, sweet coriander spicing and subtle banana tones surround tart candied center of dainty Belgian-styled Wit.

Springtime-readied Doppelbock conveyed bittersweet fig-prune conflux to toffee-like caramel malting.

Mildly creamed rye wheat malting underlined Rydaho Rye Pale Ale’s wood-dried Saaz hops and zesty lemon spicy.

Mild IPA brought orange-peeled grapefruit tang to grassy hop astringency to contrast light sugar spicing.

Despite its feral moniker, Brute Force Double IPA retained mild hop bittering for its balanced peach, pineapple, orange and melon tang sweetened by sticky sugar malts.

But today’s best offerings could damn well be the three stouts.

Sweet-toothed Stout set the tone with its chocolate-roasted cocoa bean and vanilla sugaring gaining a black cherry rasp.

Mild Coffee Stout utilized Six Shooter coffee to lightly embitter milk chocolate and vanilla tones in a friendly dessert manner.

Better still, creamy Poblano Chili Stout left mild chili peppering upon coffee-sugared black chocolate malts, vanilla bean subtleties and oats-flaked molasses snips. 

mastheadbrewingco.com

BUTCHER AND THE BREWER

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Inside a cavernous 19th century warehouse, BUTCHER AND THE BREWER is an exquisitely detailed beer hall opened during autumn 2014 in downtown Cleveland’s thriving East 4th Street promenade. Just blocks from national sports franchises including the Browns, Indians and NBA World Champions, the Cavaliers, its olden Prohibition atmosphere gets fully captured by the rustic wood furnishings, ancient metal ceiling fans and overall Industrial setting.

Ably combining upscale cuisine with a diverse array of beers, Butcher And The Brewer is a worthy choice for noontime nips, fine dining and sports tailgating. An open kitchen behind the 60-seat 30-tap bar and the rear brew tanks service the barrel-topped barroom tables and expansive right side dining area.

The enlightening food menu included shucked, cured and cultured delights alongside flatbread pizzas and original meat dishes.

Original head brewer, Eric Anderson (now at local Hingetown neighborhood pub, Saucy Brew Works), handed the torch to fellow Siebel Institute grad, microbiologist John Mc Groarty, in 2016.

On Saturday evening dinnertime journey in April ’17, enjoyed six elixirs alongside fine Smoked Lamb Ribs and brown-buttered Mac And Cheese while watching Indians game with wife and youngest son.

Mild lemon souring gained dank earthen musk and vegetal wisp for easygoing Noble-hopped moderation, Repeater Kolsch.

Piney grapefruit and orange pith bittering picked up sour lemon pungency for Belgian yeast-induced Positively E 4th St Farmhouse Ale, a tart blood orange-spiked medium body with plenty of spunk.

Sour lemony grapefruit tartness inundated Barrel Talk #1, an oaken wine barrel-aged ‘bier de miel’ utilizing wild saison yeast for its mild brettanomyces acridity and rustic farmhouse funk.

Boldly pine-hopped The Sturdy Pine brought raw-honeyed orange rind dryness to tangy red apple, peach, pineapple, grapefruit and tangerine sweetness.

Spicy black chocolate confronted oats-dried earthen dankness for Belgian Chocolate Stout, The Count, leaving burgundy wining at the bitter black-malted finish.

Smoothly creamed Midnight Oil Imperial Oatmeal Stout let oats-smoked dark chocolate malting enjoin mild peanut-almond-hazelnut cluster over mellow hop char.

www.butcherandthebrewer.com

ROCKY RIVER BREWING CO.

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

On the outskirts of town in Cleveland’s westbound Rocky River district, ROCKY RIVER BREWING CO. opened in 1998 and remains a neighborhood sportsbar fave. Sticking to proven stylistic formulas with its standardized mainstream fare, the sizable freestanding joint sidles individual malls and family restaurants.

Upon entering, the prominent marble-topped 25-seat wooden bar with two blackboard beer menus and several draught taps welcomes patrons. A wraparound outdoor deck surrounds its rustic gray-paneled red brick edifice and multi-leveled oak wood tables, chairs and booths dominate the sterling interior.

Rocky River’s brew tanks take up a separate front section and the glass-encased area behind the bar.

On a friendly Sunday afternoon jaunt, April ’17, tried all eight offerings with famed Cleveland scribe, Chris Parker (whose King James book documents the Cavaliers 2016 NBA championship year).

Smooth macrobrew-styled blonde ale, Rocky River Pirate Light, rubbed popcorn-like maize astringency and tepid white rice neutrality against soapy lemon-bruised souring.

Sweet ‘n sour blueberry tartness could’ve been heightened for Blueberry Ale, as its influence lost luster over pasty pale wheat malts, grassy hops and honeyed lemon wisps.

Mild lemon musk and mineral-grained pale malting moderated unassuming alt-styled Cooper’s Gold Kolsch.

Mild citric-spiced Boondock Spring Ale gained a musky hop graining and lemony carbolic spritz.

Bettering the above samplings, dry-hopped Firelands Pale Ale drifted beyond its staid styling as honeycomb-like malts gained wispy nutmeg-cinnamon spicing.

Flagship West Coast-styled Hop Goblin IPA enjoined floral grapefruit, orange, peach and pineapple tang with light hop bitterness.

Candi-sugared Belgian yeast sweetened Titan Triple Belgium Strong Ale, an 8.6% ABV medium body with tangy sugar-spiced orange peel contrasting sour lemon and herbal lemongrass.      

Muddled Black Pirate, a black-malted coffee stout, needed a deeper freshly milled peppercorn influence to perk it up.

rockyriverbrewco.com

HUDSON VALLEY BREWERY

BEACON, NEW YORK

Uniquely specializing in easygoing sour ales, HUDSON VALLEY BREWERY began brewing operations during September ’16, opening its doors for public consumption January ’17. Entrepreneurial brewer, John-Anthony Gargiulo, previously blended sour ales for Dryden, New York’s respectable Bacchus Brewing. His dazzlingly demure barrel-aged elixirs possess modest complexity, subtle affectations, poignant piquancy and maybe most importantly, crystalline soft water.

Stationed at an enormous unfinished warehouse just off downtown Beacon near the railroad tracks and waterfall, Hudson Valley Brewery certainly has room for future expansion. Its unused back area may be turned into a dining space.

Dozens of liquor barrels don the left wall and bar area while a small outside deck at the garage door opening packs up with local sour ale fanatics at 2 PM on this cloudy Saturday, April ’17. Bob Dylan tunes play prominently while I settle into all eight intricately designed libations at the lacquered wood bar.

An easygoing gateway into sour ales, Incandenza Sour IPA plied juicy-fruited Citra hops and dank wood-dried Simcoe hops to lightly salted lemon zest, puckering orange-oiled grapefruit tartness and raw wheat astringency.

Billowy Pillow Hat IPA (with grassy Citra-Motueka hops) carried sour lime zest crisping to briny sea-shelled salting as subtle key lime pie, grapefruit pith, honeydew and melon illusions tingled the tongue.

Sessionable Infinite Pool IPA retained a softly lingering citric hop bittering and mild soft-watered flow as its lemony grapefruit tang, candied pineapple tartness and herbal lemongrass snips integrate well.

“Tropical juice box” Silhouette Brunch-Style Sour, utilized tart tangerines to soak up mild lemon-limed acidity, subtle pineapple-peach notions and champagne-sparkled mimosa wisps.

Adventurous moderate-bodied Adult World Smoked Sour Farmhouse was today’s sourest offering with its dry oaken musk and peat-smoked Scotch licks receiving an ocean-watered lime salting  and lemon-peeled bittering to finish with a tequila-like mezcal spunk.

Soured hopheads will lean towards Re Up, an Eldorado-Azacca-Citra-hopped Imperial IPA with orange marmalade, orange blossom and sugar cookie illusions peeking thru.

Refreshingly brisk King Wavy Imperial IPA brought oats-dried tropical fruiting to lightly soured lemon-juiced orange rind bittering as its sweet orange-peeled pineapple, grapefruit, mango, clementine and peach tang gained pale-malted sugar spicing. 

Possibly my fave, Animal Balloon Smoked Sour combined lime-dried lemon balm with vinous green grape mildness, soft passionfruit tartness and oaken vanilla buttering for a smoothly salt-peppered moderation.

hudsonvalleybrewery.com

RARE FORM BREWING CO.

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TROY, NEW YORK

Tucked into the industrial textile manufacturing section near Central Troy’s Historic District on Congress Street near the Hudson River’s eastern banks, RARE FORM BREWING CO. opened May 2014. A rustic, no-nonsense 5-barrel brewery, its basic essentials are clearly the well-rounded beers and ales lining the 14 tap handles at the 12-seat serving station.

A large screen TV above the front door keeps my wife amused during our friendly late morning March ’17 two-hour stopover. A small food menu included smoked Peking duck, corned beef, cheddar cheese and raw-milked manchego.  Whiskey flights and wine were also available. I sampled all eleven elixirs currently available fom the tanks behind the serving station.

For starters, affable light-bodied Sabbatical Session Ale coalesced mild orange-peeled lemon zest with subtle rye, coriander and celery, gaining tangy tangerine, clementine and mandarin orange wisps at the brisk finish.

Earthen spelt graining anchored serene Steaze Spelt Saison as lemony grapefruit, orange and banana illusions picked up mild sugar spicing.

In its refined recipe, kitschy moderate body, Royal Coconut Cream Ale, allowed toasted coconut shavings to sweeten its zesty lemon bite and contrast the maize-dried cracked pepper bittering.

Hop-forward Freshy Hoppy Lager brought lemony passionfruit, guava and mango subtleties to mild raw-honeyed pilsner malting.

A limited edition fave, quaint Raw Beats IPA, let spritzy citrus zest linger over dry wood tones, raw rye malts and dainty sugar spices, leaving plentiful yellow grapefruit pit bittering along the way.

Despite its somewhat high 8.8% ABV, approachable medium body, Cascadia Double IPA, retained a charmingly perfume-spiced yellow grapefruit, lemon meringue, orange rind, nectarine and mango tang above spelt-dried grain malting.

Mildly creamed Karass Porter allowed bitter black chocolate to contrast brown-sugared almond, toffee and molasses atop dark-roasted hop char.

For Coconut Karass Porter, toasted coconut sweetened nut-charred black chocolate malting in stylish fashion.

Nutty caramel-toasted Members Only Brown Ale picked up dried cherry undertones to enhance its walnut-hazelnut-pecan conflux.

Bakers chocolate-like malts inundated Dark Day Schwarzbier as caramel-burnt coffee oiling gained mild spicing beneath the surface.

Mild Irish-styled Night Ride Dry Stout let black chocolate malts pick up subtle hop-charred nut roast.

 

MAD JACK BREWING CO. @ THE VAN DYCK

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SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK

Inside Van Dyck Lounge at an infamously historic haunted brothel inconspicuously hidden among a residential Schenectady neighborhood, MAD JACK BREWING COMPANY re-established a former local brewery in 2011.

With the appearance of a low-ceiling upscale English pub, Mad Jack’s rounded beer selection benefits from Van Dyck’s great pizza, fine entrees and signature cocktails. A black canopy welcomes patrons to a separate right side dining area fronting the 20-seat bar area featuring walnut furnishings, booze-lined mirrors, a few tables and 2 TV’s.

A prominent carpeted dining area with tiled hearth opposes the left bar while a brick and windowed brew room adorns the rear nearing the back deck.

Keeping with its antiquated brothel setting, curtained front windows and dim lighting complete the score during my March 2017 mid-afternoon sojourn.

First up, light German-styled Pinhead Pilsner brought dank pilsner malting and mild grassy hop astringency to laidback lemony licks.

Nonchalant Washed Out Belgian White plied tingly sugar spicing to sweet orange-peeled banana and clove expectancy as well as distant lemony grapefruit bittering.

Musty earthen peat and dewy pale malts anchored dry-bodied moderation, Irish Red, a crisply barley-roasted delight.

Locally popular flagship, Fightin’ Irwin IPA, put apple, pear and peach fruiting on par with stylish grapefruit-peeled orange tang and spruce-pined hops above mild crystal malting.

Raisin, plum and black cherry pureeing pervaded Dunkel-Weizenbock, a sweet caramel malted medium body (with well-hidden 8.5% ABV).

“Intense coffee and chocolate” flavoring secures smoothly Vienna-malted Mount Pleasant Porter, a milky mocha delight with plenty of caramel sweetness.

Before heading to Saratoga, dark-roasted barley crisping deepened Stockade Stout’s mild coffee tones and chalky cocoa dryness.

www.vandycklounge.com/mad-jack

 

BLUE COLLAR BREWERY

POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK

Poughkeepsie’s BLUE COLLAR BREWERY is a cavernously expansive no-frills neighborhood joint tucked into a residential area just on the outskirts of downtown. In an old factory industrial building, long-time home brewing Red Sox fan Kevin Marquis and his son, head brewer Randy (a proud UC-Davis grad), craft a steady menu of likable ales to go with respectable pub fare.

Blue Collar’s red brick-walled interior features an open kitchen and opposing lower-leveled brew room that lead to its airy 15-seat backroom central bar (with 6 TV’s, a dozen tap handles, ten dining tables and loft seating).

Several fine wines are available alongside the five durable draught ales sampled during my March ’17 excursion.

Perhaps the finest offering, tea-like Irish Red gained a dewy earthiness to combat its caramelized barley roast, mild lemon spicing, raw molasses bittering and wispy coffee snip.

Floral citric herbs guarded light-bodied Saison, where well-watered freshness brought crisp carbolic spritz to sour lemon, zesty grapefruit, tangy orange and bruised banana tones above gentle pilsner-Vienna malting.

Briskly clean moderation, Cream Ale, saddled flaked corn and grassy hay with salted lemon souring.

Lemon-peeled grapefruit and orange rind bittering picked up sticky Amarillo-hopped pining for amiable medium-bodied India Pale Ale.

Mild black-malted Oatmeal Stout plied oats-sugared molasses to coffee-roasted milk chocolate for a nice capper.

www.thebluecollarbrewery.com