Tag Archives: TROY NY


Image result for rare form brewing


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.




Friendly capacious joint, BROWN’S BREWING, located nine miles east of Albany in downtown Troy, proved to be a friendly destination on several journeys going to and leaving nearby Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts.

Located along the Hudson River across from the State Capitol, Brown’s broad mix of Rensellear Polytechnical Institute students, local businessmen, and families make up the usual crowd. Its spacious factory-like brick-walled interior and large riverside deck offered cottage villager’s splendor. Classic American food dominated the menu and the French onion soup is always fantastic. Wood columns-floors-tables, Revolutionary War paintings, “The Tap Room, Revolution Hall” bar, and glass-encased copper brew tanks make up the first floor. Upstairs, the lounge area, pool table, several games, and private Trojan Room provided fun atmosphere on first family trip, December ’04.

Well-rounded brew selection included wheat-dried corn-husked citric-hopped Brown’s Light; Weihenstephan Weizen-aided banana-fronted yeast-infested lemony hard candied coriander-spiced Hefe-Weizen; soft mocha-flowed dry-smoked ESB; whiskey-malted cherry-soaked Pale Ale; chocolate-parched oats-toasted Brown Ale.

Mocha-dried coffee-soured walnut-seared maple-sapped oats-charred soother Oatmeal Stout and sweet chocolate-fronted maraschino cherry-dabbed tar-embittered Imperial Stout were fine dark-bodied reps. Bought last two in bottled version along with Brown’s Cherry Raspberry Ale, which boasted sour-to-sweet cherry tartness, bitter juniper-currant surge, soured cranberry-raspberry slurp, and leathery grass peppering nearly washed out at phenol finish.

January ’08, on the way home from Vermont brewpub tour, quaffed Dunkelweizen, a musty muscatel with mild sugared fig, stewed prune, unripe banana, black cherry, port, and burgundy notes. Bought growler of chalky hop-charred chocolate-malted Brown’s Porter, a creamy vanilla-influenced cocoa-buttered peanut-shelled hazelnut-pecan-backed dry body with weak coffee remnant.

Arriving at my destination before noon, October ’10, hung out with 17-year Brown brewer, Peter Martin, whom I’d met a few years back with the family. We shared a few thoughts after I quaffed samplers. On this visit, I’d garner four previously undiscovered brews.

Done up in a dry English style (despite American IPA tag), hop-charred alcohol-burnt India Pale Ale dismissed stylistic citric pining for twiggy earthen dewing, musty vegetal fungi and mild lemon bruise. Blue-collar session beer enthusiasts would appreciate perfumed grassy-hopped wheat-chaffed citric-embittered leather-bound Tomhannock Pilsner.

“My only criticism of Tomhannock is it lacks the smoothness of traditional Czech pilsners,” Martin said.

As for soft-toned salami-smoked beechwood-chipped Rauchbier, he offered, “It’s sweeter somewhere along the Marzen style. I’ve made American smoked beers a few times. The only ones I’d known beforehand were from Germany’s Bamberger region.”

But today’s highlight was smooth bourbon-like Barrel Aged Whiskey Porter, a very approachable mocha-dried ‘big beer’ house special bringing creamy cocoa-powdered cherry-pureed raspberry wisps to hop-charred wood-smoked oaken vanilla, black grape, and vinous burgundy illusions.

Martin concluded, “I’m more of a traditionalist. I’ll do over-the-top seasonals. And big beers are fun. However, it’s easier to sell a gallon of pale ale over super-octane brews.”