By R.J. DeLuke
Congress Plaza in Saratoga Springs will soon be the home of a new taproom selling craft beers from a Washington County farm brewery business.
R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery is renovating a 1,600-square-foot space in Congress Plaza. The business will go into the end unit in the southern portion of the plaza that was formerly Bubbles Laundromat.
Renovations involve putting in a bar and tap service. “It shouldn’t take long to do what we need to do,” said Rich Taylor, owner of the farm brewery business and its chief brewer. The main issue is getting all the necessary operating permits.
“We hope to be open by Memorial Day weekend,” he said.
The company currently operates a tap room on the farm property where people go to quaff the locally made product and occasionally listen to music. Under the farm brewery license, companies like R.S. Taylor & Sons are allowed to open up to five tap rooms.
The one in Saratoga Springs will be the second. A third is being planned in the Albany area, Taylor said.
R.S. Taylor & Sons specializes in brewing English-style ales with a brewing system custom crafted by Portland Kettle Works in Portland, Ore. They use a combination of home-grown hops, hops grown for them at nearby Cold Spring Hop Farm in North Hebron, and a selection of British-grown hops. The water is from the artesian wells on the farm.
The types of beer include Willie’s Nut Brown Ale, Amber Ale, English Ale, Belcher Town Ale, Harvest IPA-Limited Edition, Black Creek Oatmeal Stout, Sticky Fingers IPA/APA and Legends of the Fall Double IPA-Limited Edition.
Taylor said he will have 12 taps in the room. They will sell product brewed at their Washington County facility. Under that classification of license, the tap room can only sell farm-brewed products. In addition to beer, they are allowed to sell farm-produced cider, and Taylor said he expects to have at least one cider available.
Technically, he is also allowed to sell beer brewed at any other farm brewery in the state, “of which there are some 200-plus right now,” he said. The law also allows him to sell distilled spirits made on any farm distillery in New York state.
The room will not make food. Taylor said it might offer various cheese platters, but his plan for food is to work with restaurants already in Congress Plaza. For example, nearby Serendipity Arts Studio, which features cooking classes, has expressed interest in doing some catering. There may be arrangements with other restaurants within the plaza.
Basically, “people will be able to bring in whatever they want.”
At the tap room in Salem, live music, usually bluegrass, is featured. Taylor said he intends to have music two or three nights a week and he has some musicians already interested.
Taylor said the room will open at 4 on weekdays and noon on weekends.
Three people will be employed in the beginning.
“We’re very excited about it. It’s a great market for beer,” said Taylor. “As we formulated the idea for this, everyone was saying [Saratoga] is the place to be.”
R.S. Taylor & Sons is located on Misty Bleu Farm, acquired by the Taylor family in 2011. The main house, cottage and tap room was built in 2015. According to the farm website, the land contained a sawmill that was operational from the 1760s till about the turn of the 20th century. Lumber sawed at this mill was used for several local historical homes.
The farm’s website rstaylorbrewing.com.