Not quite such an early start today. Our first appointment isn’t that early.
I’m staying in the Hilton in downtown Albany. They do a decent breakfast spread. And I’m a lazy git. So I break fast in my hotel. A bacon and eggy sort of break. Yum.
Craig and Alan pick me up and we pootle over to Delmar, a suburb of Albany. Where there’s a fairly new brewery, The Real McCoy. It’s compact, that’s the word for it. Small but perfectly formed. In fact exactly the sort of brew kit I’d like to have in a shed at the bottom of the garden.
The tasting room – or the front third of the building – isn’t usually open on a Sunday. The owner has opened up especially for us. Which is nice of him. Only downside is that he has no beer. Organise piss-up in and couldn’t come to mind. Luckily there’s a shop open nearby so some beer is bought and consumed. Slightly weird, mind.
Someone who words in Nine Pin, an Albany cidery, drops by. Not sure how he knew they were open or whether he was just randomly wandering the streets. He’s pleasant enough to chat with, as is the owner. A couple of hours drift gently by on a tide of beer and conversation.
Craig suggests we drop by Biergarten, a German-themed place in the centre of Albany. Sounds good to me. But Alan bugs out. Not quite sure why. So it’s just me and Craig who do the German thing.
On the way over, we stop by the former Hickel brewery for a photo opportunity. It’s a fine brick building, now converted into flats. It’s about the only large physical reminder of Albany’s glorious brewing past.
Biergarten is slightly odd, in that it isn’t a garden. Just a cavernous former industrial building kitted out with picnic tables. They’ve several German beers on draught, which I ignore. I’m no more likely to drink German beer in the US than I am to drink US beer in Europe.
There’s a jolly atmosphere, which isn’t harmed by the footie on the telly. There’s also German-style food, but we don’t indulge. Pretzels, Schnitzels and sausage. Andrew would be happy – they have Currywurst.
Pausing only to pick up Alan again, our next stop is Albany Pump Station, a large brew pub in a former pumping station, surprisingly enough. It also calls itself C.H. Evans Brewing Co., taking the name from a brewery that was active in Hudson, NY from 1786 until Prohibition.
It’s a fairly typical of a brewpub in a cavernous industrial space. Somewhat livened up by the presence of C.H. Evans memorabilia. The brewing kit looks a decent size, as you would expect in such a large space.
It’s about time for some balance and we head for El Loco, a Mexican restaurant. Where we stuff our faces for a while. Luckily Lionheart is just over the street. We finish with a few beers there. But don’t stay until too late. Because tomorrow is a big day.
A very big day. We’re getting the VIP treatment at F.X. Matt. I’m so excited. But also knacked, so I’m soon in the land of nod.
The Real McCoy Beer Co.
20 Hallwood Rd.,
Delmar, NY 12054
Albany, NY 12207.
Tel: +1 518-427-2461
Albany Pump Station
19 Quackenbush Square,
Albany, NY 12207.
Tel: +1 518-447-9000
El Loco Mexican Cafe
465 Madison Ave,
Albany, NY 12210.
Tel: +1 518-436-1855
448 Madison Ave,
Albany, NY 12208.
Tel: +1 518-436-9530
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