ATHENS, NEW YORK
Just a few miles from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge on the west side of the Hudson River lies the historic town of Athens, New York, home to friendly cornerstone pub, CROSSROADS BREWING COMPANY.
Inside an old opera house and furnished with vintage décor, this reliable downtown spot opened in June 2011 and has become a nifty staple for its sleepy riverside village.
On a snowy afternoon, December ’17, during Athens annual Victorian Walk, a few horse-drawn buggies pass by while my wife and I go to grab seats at the simply gorgeous mahogany bar (with centralized blackboard beer menu, 12 tap handles, two TV’s, shelved books, growlers and scattered paraphernalia).
The right side windowed brew tanks and backroom kitchen service the bar as well as the wood tables along the front and sides. As a salute to olden New York macrobrews are wall-hung serving trays advertising iconic staples such as Pabst, Genesee, Ballantine, Rheingold, Schaefer and Hedrick.
Besides the nearly dozen proprietary beers on draught, there’s one cider, a few wines and several spirits available alongside silver vessel-contained Rum Punch.
Having previously quaffed Crossroads’ Mc Ginn’s Scottish Ale, Outrage IPA and Brady’s Bay Cream Ale, I settle into seven new discoveries.
Thrifty pale ale, Nine Lives, contrasted candied pineapple-peach-tangerine tanginess and sweet Maris Otter/Crystal malting against resinous hop dankness, picking up groaty oats at the waxy finish.
Centrist caramel-roasted Brick Row Red let spiced red fruiting gain earthen autumnal foliage, sweet amber graining and nutty notions above its biscuit base.
Easygoing moderation, Lane 4 Session IPA, brought brisk grapefruit and orange peel tanginess to honeyed pale malts and moderate Citra hop bittering.
Tangy orange, tangerine and lemon zest lifted Hemming & Hawing Double IPA, an Eldorado and Nelson Sauvin-hopped medium body with mild pale malt backdrop.
Kettle-soured Short Tart & Handsome (a collaboration with Albany Pump Station) retained a slightly vinous dry hop veneer as lemon-soured green grape tannins and strawberry rhubarb tartness enhanced its latent lactobacillus assault.
Dry espresso-roasted Black Rock Stout allowed Baker’s chocolate bittering to pickup minor wood-charred earthen soiling.
And broad-ranging winter warmer, Yukon Cornelius, let its apprehensive brown-sugared molasses sweetness, glazed pecan sugaring, light cinnamon-ginger-cardamom spicing and tea-leafed tobacco crisping gain a minty gingerbread snap atop its buckwheat-floured bottom.