Thursday, June 6, 2013

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

Two memorable quotes have come out of the last few days.

The first came Tuesday afternoon, as I wheeled may car from lower Broadway onto Madison Avenue. Seated next to me, in the passenger seat of my Honda Civic, was my friend, the one, the only—Alan McLeod. I'd just picked him up from his hotel, and we were en route back to the Museum. The mid-afternoon beamed into our eyes, through the gaps formed by the highway overpass above us as we motored towards where the southernmost wall of the city's 1660s stockade had once been. Pointing out that the Holdiay Inn he was staying at was just a stones throw away from the location of Fort Orange, I noticed in my peripheral vision, Alan's sly smile.

"Ya' know," he said "I'm the only other person in the entire world who cares about this stuff."

At that point, I don't believe any truer words had ever been spoken by anyone, ever—that is until a few hours later.

I thought it fitting, since I frequent the Lionheart afterwork quite often anyhow, that I should take Alan there as his entry to the beeri-ness of Albany. A pint—or shaker, as my Canadian friend would say—of Crossroad's Pilsner for me, and one of Monk's Café Flemish Sours for him. Carrie B. rolled into the pub shortly thereafter, and she would express a fact that would surpass Mr. McLeod's earlier statement, with ease. 

The game plan for the next two days, I told her, was to first swing by the old homestead and then stop by my first born's Little League game, before heading to Oliver's Beverage Center—a destination I recommend for any and all beer enjoyers. After our stop-over at Oliver's we were heading to the locations of Albany's most famed breweries—some of which still have buildings standing. Along the way there was also to be a quick stop at the location of the King's Arm Tavern—formally at the intersection of Beaver and Green Streets in Albany—a hotbed of British loyalist activity in 1770s Albany, and a key place in the formation of Alan's hometown, of late, Kingston Ontario. All of this pin-balling around the city would be topped with a beer and dinner at the City Beer Hall. 

The next day, Wednesday, would be for research—by Alan—at the New York State Library (resulting in Alan's re-re-discovery of Taunton Ale) and then lunch with the to-be-brewer of Albany Ale, Ryan Demler of C.H. Evans Brewing at the Albany Pump Station. 

To this outline—this perfectly devised scheme—Carrie responded so very eloquently, "Well, you guys are going to be in for a nerdy good time."

She has been now honored with uttering the most true statement in all of the history of mankind.

Because it was.

Nerd-iness aside (or perhaps front and center), our journey through Albany's brewery building past has given me the idea to photograph some of those relics—starting with the Taylor & Sons building (above). A quick jump across the Hudson, this morning, yielded a snapshot of the building at a conspicuously familiar angle. I'll be posting—in the near future—a few pics and some information about a good number of those old places.

So, as the patched pirate says, keep yer' eye out. 


  1. Excellent. It is all about the angle of the building and the natural topography. I took a photo down from the observation deck and the building screams of being a hangover from another era. Gotta get it off the iPhone.

    1. I can't believe I didn't think to cross the river and shoot the photo from that view until after you left. Duh.

  2. That photo comparison is excellent. We need more now/then shots of breweries and pubs.

    I *almost* care about Albany Ale, but I think it'll take the eventual book with its thrilling narrative, characters, etc.., to really seal the deal.

    1. Should I change Alan's quote to say:

      "Ya' know," he said "I'm the only other person in the entire world who cares about this stuff—with the exception of Bailey (of who is marginally interested, but would like a more formal approach to the material."

      I can do that. I have the power.

      Interestingly, Alan does include referencing parentheticals when he speaks, so it's accurate, as well.

  3. I'm totally interested, so there's three-point-five for ya. -Ethan

  4. Hey - me and Ron are interested, so that makes 5.5. I find the links between brewing in - what can we call it that will fit the pre- and post-revolutionary periods - "mid-North East America" and Europe, in particular Britain, fascinating, eg the brewing of Burton Ale in New York state, the use of pontos in Taylor's brewery in Albany, apparently copied from the Lion brewery in London, and so on ...

    1. Well, I suppose Alan and I are in good company, then!