SARATOGA SPRINGS – Just another Thursday in Saratoga… with suds!
Harvey’s sign out front told me I had arrived at the vortex of downtown to begin my mission. Yet this was just the first stop on my photo-invasion itinerary.
The Hunt for Antwerpen
After enlisting the aid of Ace Photog Gail Carmichael Stein in our last episode (see: Kickoff Tuesday ), wherein Gail perfectly captured the Kickoff Party at Saratoga Brewing, I faced Thursday in solo mode.
Complicating matters is that I was assigned a multi-venue situation. To document tap takeovers by Breweries near and far, spreading that good cheer and PR, at various locales on the evenings preceding Saturday’s Beer Summit…. So the game plan called for research, and good timing above all. Which is what brought me to Harvey’s Phila Street front door first on my dance card.
And here’s why:
Spokesmodel Tess from Harvey’s tells the tale. Guinness was in town. Might as well start with an HOF. In truth, Guinness should lease Porche’s slogan, for really, there is no substitute.
It was “Pour Your Own Guinness Night,” and we came upon tonight’s performer, Padraig Timoney, in pre-game mode. The Guinness ambassador allowed Padraig a photo op while his first pour settled, and then instructed him on the technique for a fantastic finish… A+ Padraig!
Well, that was fun. But I was here for these:
Anytime you see something called The Guinness Brewer’s Project, you pay attention. Certainly other brewers and devotees do.
In truth, Guinness has only recently expanded its offerings to the USA, making a foray into the lighter color market with its Blonde release, and the astonishingly smooth Nitro IPA. But for years, it was Guinness, Guinness Stout, some export permutations of same, and – that’s about it.
However, in Ireland and Europe for a few years now, Guinness’ St. James’s Gate brewery enlisted a small group of talented Guinness brewers to play with old and new recipes, and encouraged them to be crafty and innovative. That’s The Brewers Project in a nutshell.
The two recent releases, Rye Pale Ale and Antwerpen Stout, were fantastic. In the summer, I’ll go lighter, but after the track closes, I’m a dark beer guy. Basically, I could rotate these two year-round and be more than happy.
So consider that a tout. These have just been made available locally in beverage centers and select taverns. Check it out.
Those who made this their stop for the evening would be very happy. I could’ve hung with these folks all night. But I had a train to catch. Or rather, a crawl.
Love Drink New York
It’s the NYS Pub Crawl, arriving at the third leg of their journey at
bailey’s cafe`!. Organized by DeCrescente Distributors, the Crawlers had already crawled through Caroline St. Pub and Spa City Tap and Barrel, savoring specials on the DeCrescente family of fine NY craft offerings.
I told you timing was everything!
The crawlers were next to crawl to the Saratoga City Tavern, ETA 8 PM. Things would be well lubricated at that point, no doubt. I would catch up with them later. But I had time for an interlude, so I called for my driver (safety first!) and we were off to play.
Life in the Salt (Gold)Mines
Always had a soft spot for these guys. A few years ago, I dug out something on a local biz starting out with a simple slogan… ‘Play With Your Brew’… Salting your beverage has been around ever since bored kids waiting for their food at restaurants existed, but Kerri, Robin and Patrick have elevated the concept to new (and flavorable) heights.
Behold Brew Salt! That’s Patrick displaying perfect technique at Saratoga Brewing Co.
Glad I was able to catch up with Patrick. Truth be told, I dragged him out of his truck for this quickie photo op and, of course, one for the road. He works a long day, two jobs – as does wife Kerri. Brew Salt is a labor of love, a second business that’s first in their hearts. Impossible to not root hard for people like that.
So Patrick was heading home. I, however, still had one more stop on my mission. Driver!
At this point, it is fairly safe to say: Civilization, as we know it – has ended.
Yes, I’m Afraid: Brewery Rep Karaoke
I arrived at The Saratoga City Tavern at the peak of vocal butchery, and yet the masses appeared unaware. Hard to reason why, although I suspect that Melissa’s mega-Chapstick had something to do with all this. Notice the knowing twinkle in her eye. Further research is needed here.
My mission was almost over. But from my perch on floor 1.5 of the Tavern, I was in perfect position to record tonight’s show stopper:
Here we have erstwhile Co-owner of Bailey’s Cafe’ Sam Bottini summoning his inner Sinatra. Actually, he rapped something that must have been in a dialect from a foreign land – say maybe, Syracuse – which could not be fully translated at press time. Nonetheless, it appeared to have the desired impact on the assembled multitude:
And so, the evening’s mission complete, we packed up and enjoyed a rewarding repast… Mission Control advised us to rest up, as we still had one more adventure before reaching Saturday’s summit.
Next Episode: Thank Garland It’s Friday! And other Sudsy Side Trips