By Andrea Palmer
Coffee, beer, food and ambiance. Those are the primary offerings of the new brewhouse located at 20 Lake Ave. in downtown Saratoga Springs, the former Saratogian newspaper building.
“I like to say that at the center of our mission and our culture is the experience,” said Will Crager, co-owner of Walt & Whitman and its brewing company.
“That involves everything you see and hear when you walk into our space. The music, the art on the wall, the lighting, the furniture, that’s really what drives our space. We are about innovation and creative design.”
There is an upstairs cafe, Walt’s, which opened for business on Dec. 16. The brewpub, Whitman’s, located in the downstairs section, opened on Dec. 19.
Beer is brewed on-site using a 10-barrel system, manned by professional brewers Keegan Dombrowsky and Nick Meyer. Both men moved to the area from Connecticut to be part of the Walt & Whitman project.
“ We’re really excited to have them up here and on board, and to join the local beer scene. They’ve really done a great job with this first go-round of beers,” said Crager.
On tap is beers from Walt & Whitman, as well as beers from other local and east coast brewers. There is a select cocktail and wine list.
“We collaborated with Bad Seed Cider Co., and have that cider in house,” said Crager.
He is working with Ceremony Coffee Roasters out of Annapolis, Md.
“They serve a quality product, sustainably sourced and fair trade. They use cutting-edge coffee brewing equipment called the Modbar System. It’s not a regular commercial coffee machine that you might see at a coffee shop. It creates a very consistent coffee product for our guests, and we’ve gotten great feedback on it so far,” said Crager.
Walt’s Cafe offers a select breakfast and light lunch menu in addition to baked goods made on the premises.
The historic 20,000-square-foot building includes a two-tier patio. Plans for expansion into that area are already under way for this year.
“As we went through the process (with the building), we had our bumps in the road. The most important thing to us was to restore and hold onto the integrity of the building … We did our best to leave everything exposed. It came out great,” said Crager.
“We’re the place where someone would want to come and spend their entire day,” said Crager. “Coffee in the morning, hang out and do some work, then maybe get a beer later on. We’re hoping to become a true member of the community here.”
The business website is waltandwhitmanbrewing.com.