GLENS FALLS, NEW YORK
Nestled in the heart of snug Upper New York town, Glens Falls, DAVIDSON BROTHERS RESTAURANT & BREWERY was the vicinity’s first brewpub. Old brewing gear, rustic mining gear and exposed ceiling pipes give the pub a Prohibition Era feel and the brick-kettled Peter Austin brewing system provides crisp, clean ales. Open since ’96, the intimate brick tavern served typical pub fare, seafood, and appetizers. Upstairs lounge had bar and dart games.
It had been eleven years since my wife and I initially perused Davidson Brothers. It was a more innocent time when the United States only had a few hundred brewpubs. Now, there’s a few thousand with three new-sprung pubs in Glens Falls alone – Common Roots; Coopers Cave Ale Company; Mean Max Brewworks.
On a zero-degree January ’16 late-night sojourn, tried eight tapped brews starting with lightly creamed floral-perfumed lemon-soured American Bright Pale Ale and sweet hazelnut-sugared cola-nutty Harvest Brown Ale. Next, traditional English IPA (from a 19-year-old recipe), with its dewy earthiness and buckwheat-honeyed graining, contrasted Americanized I-87 IPA, an approachable phenol hop-embittered dry body pleating dewy crystal malts with grapefruit, mango, pineapple and orange tang.
Brit-styled Winter Ale brought rye-honeyed sweetness to dried fig and sugared spicing while 2015′s cask-conditioned Anniversary Ale retained a soft-toned caramelized buttering and dewy moss sweetness.
As for the mocha-bound dark ales, Throwback Porter plied cocoa-dried black chocolate to molasses-sapped fig sugaring and dark-roasted nut char while the richer Oatmeal Stout draped its walnut-seared hop char with soothing molasses-sapped oats, brown chocolate, roasted coffee and anise illusions.
During initial December ’04 trip, Davidson offered their own bottled beer selection (check Beer Index) and several commendable tap-only brews quaffed on a family visit on the way to wintry Adirondacks.
Beers tried on-site included wheat-sweet maize-dried German hybrid Cold Blooded Lager; resinous hop-spiced malt-toasted red-fruited tobacco-crisped Irish Red Ale; soft-toned mocha-creamed cigar-ashy Swimmin’ Cow Rye Cream Ale; buttery oats-fortified cherry-dabbed whiskey-toned Scotch Ale; prickly-hopped rye-backed tea-like Brewers Secret Copper Ale; and perfume-hopped espresso-centered dark chocolate-y dry-bodied Oatmeal Stout. Uniquely distinct was coffee-fronted eggshell-creamed Band Aid-wafted meat-cured peat-malted carouser Smoked Porter.