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.
On early December ’19 nighttime revisit, quaffed four fabulous seasonal brews.
Brown-sugared pumpkin pie sweetness glazed Upstate Harvest Pumpkin Spice Ale, a delightful Nugget-hopped autumnal offering with glistening cinnamon-spiced nutmeg, allspice and ginger seasoning.
Wonderful winter warmer, Uncle Jack’s Christmas Ale, brought Scotch-licked cinnamon stick sweetness to ginger, nutmeg, fern and pine nut illusions while retaining bruised orange and cherry undertones.
Milk-sugared cold brewed coffee elevated Rooster’s Wake The Clock Up Coffee Cream Stout to blissful digestif serenity, leaving vanilla, cocoa and caramel latte illusions to sweeten the persistent java exuberance of this hearty nightcap.
Fudgy nitrogenated Holy Cannoli Coffee Stout maintained its creamy milk-sugared coffee affluence and pastry-like ricotta creaminess above honeyed Graham Cracker malts for a nifty dessert treat.
My son, Christopher (living in Schenectady workin’ for Beechnut), brought back two worthy Euro-styled dark beers during July ’20.
Befuddlingly chameleonic helles bock, To Helles And Bock Again (a collab with nearby Helderberg Mountain Brewing), combined English IPA/ Scotch Ale facets as dewy compost-wafted moisture enveloped light cocoa, almond extract, chestnut, hazelnut and Scotch whiskey illusions corrupted by lemony Hallertau hops above caramel-spiced malts.
For full-bodied Northern English-styled Brown Ale, maple-sugared dark chocolate syruping draped unsweetened cocoa powdering to contrast modest walnut-charred hop bittering while dark floral spicing stayed distant.
Prior to Halloween ’20, consumed busy Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Spice, a briskly pumpkin pie-spiced autumnal dessert embedding brown-sugared cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice seasoning into honey-glazed hazelnut sweetness (and crisp brown leafed hop foliage), finishing like a spicy gingerbread cookie.
During October ’20 stopover, grabbed a table near the beautiful tile-chimneyed hearth with wife and son, Chris, at dinnertime to consume four previously untried brews.
Frisky Munich-styled lager, leafy autumnal moderation, Oktoberfest!, contrasted sweet-spiced dewy malts against herbal Tettnang hop restraint with rewarding results.
Rye-floured barley-malting nudged chestnut-acorn sweetness and earthen gourd for Upstate Harvest NY Pale Ale, leaving herbal lemon rot in the recess.
Tangy Mohawk Sunset Juicy New England IPA let mild milk-soured creaming seep into grapefruit-juiced orange, pineapple and peach effervescence while honey-spiced barleymalts, raw oats cereal graining and limey Cashmere hop herbage retained balance.
Marvelous lactose-infused Halloween candied dark ale, Big Stoopid Stout (a collaboration with Wolf Hollow) spread creamy peanut-buttered chocolate sweetness across candy-corned marshmallow sugaring as cumin-spiced vanilla beaning enriched the autumnal dessert confection alongside tertiary milk-sugared coffee, cocoa and black cherry puree illusions above a persistent cedar-burnt hop char.