tno: dog bar at henry loves betty | troy, ny

Have you checked out Henry Loves Betty‘s new spot on 1st street yet? It’s a much bigger space, allowing owner Paula to offer some new and some expanded services to pet owners in the area, including doggy daycare, grooming, and a self serve dog bath as well. Along with all of that, this past Troy Night Out Paula brought in Dave from The Ruck to sling some beers so dog owners could have a drink while letting their furry friends have a chance to mingle. It was a fun night for dog and beer lovers, so if you missed your chance make sure to check it out next month.

sloop x people’s pub | chatham, ny

Early this week I had the opportunity to head down to Chatham and capture another one of these amazing beer dinners at The People’s Pub, this time paired up with Elizaville’s Sloop Brewing. I’ve been a huge fan of what Chef Kouri’s been doing in the kitchen, from last year’s Chatham Brewing beer dinner, stops I’ve made just for dinner and a pint, to the Asian-inspired pop up they did at Nine Pin. After this night I’m looking even more forward to one of their Sunday brunches on my way down to make my usual weekend visits to Suarez Family and Sloop.

This dinner was definitely on the hoppy side, with Adam from Sloop bringing a round of their newest IPAs (all new to me) and one of their ciders to the party, while Chef Kouri kept things interesting with highlights such a foie gras infused whipped ricotta, Arnies Cider sugar glass, and an absolutely eye opening experience with confit pig’s tail from Lover’s Leap. Thanks for having me again guys, looking forward to the next one!

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stone ground oat pancake, foie gras infused whipped ricotta, fennel, green island syrup paired with green island oat ipa


tempura atlantic smelt, peach blood orange aioli, dill salt paired with pixie dust summer ipa
tequila and juice bomb beer cocktail
doubleplusgood molasses lacquered pigtail confit, blood orange salt, lemon sugar shine paired with doubleplusgood citra dipa

a rare smile captured from sloop’s adam watson

organic apple, arnies own cider glass sugar, ginger cotton candy paired with arnies own cider


Hamlet & Ghost

hamlet & ghost | saratoga springs, ny

Hamlet & Ghost

the spice house | anejo tequila, ancho reyes, cacao nib, orange bitters

If you follow me on Instagram, it should be no surprise I’m absolutely head over heels with Hamlet & Ghost. It is a go to anytime I’m in Saratoga, or even just a quick stop on my way to Common Roots and back. They are serving up some of the best cocktails in the Capital Region, and their food is just as on point as well. As both their food and drink menus have been evolving quickly, some of the items pictured here may have changed, but here are some of my favorite dishes and cocktails I’ve enjoyed there on my many visits since they’ve opened up.

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pig’s head at peck’s arcade | troy, ny

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I wanted to share this spectacular dinner I was treated to over at Peck’s Arcade last week.

While drinking some shandy’s and eating tacos over at the Suarez Family Brewing event at Superior Merchandise Co. last Sunday, we got talking to Chef Nick Ruscitto about the pig’s head we’ve seen at Peck’s in the past and when he might have another one available. It’s not something that’s on the menu, but they’ll occasionally have one that they’ll split in half and serve family style to two parties of 4-6 people. We were in luck, and they had one available that we ended up reserving for later on that week.

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#RallyForKuma Raffle

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UPDATE: 

Well today is the big day. Today we’re drawing the winners of all of these bottles for the #RallyForKuma raffle. Holy shit is this a huge showing of support for my little pooch. And this doesn’t even include the swag and cans that I couldn’t even fit in this pic, boxes that are being shipped out from other states, and I still have a few more to announce before the drawing, too.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of the people who donated boxes for the raffle, and to thank everyone who donated to Kuma’s GoFundMe. You truly did save Kuma and he wouldn’t be here today without all of your help.

This afternoon Kuma has another appointment at his vet to get his fluid drained since Monday is a holiday. After that, I’m going to go home and download the names of the donors from his GoFundMe page and sort out the raffle entries from the regular donations. *Please* make sure your donation comment has #RallyForKuma (I’m including the old hashtag as well) so I know if you are participating or not. You can edit your donation comment through your donation confirmation email.

Later tonight I’ll be getting together with some of the guys to help do the drawings. Hopefully we can have some fun with it and make it a little entertaining instead of me just hitting a button on a random number generator website while staring a spreadsheet full of names. Since @indylikesbeer Ross will be there, I’m sure there will be some chug vids. More on that later.


Kuma’s back home, and has since recovered from his two lung surgeries. We’re still battling his chylothorax, a condition where a fatty lymph fluid called chyle fills up his lungs. We’re taking him to his vet twice this week to get this fluid drained from his chest, and we’ll be heading out for a follow up visit to Cornell on the 14th. There’s a lot more info on my Instagram feed where I’ve been publishing updates as I hear them from the doctors, and there’s a little bit of a summary on Kuma’s GoFundMe page.

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A couple of years ago we did a beer raffle for my buddy Ross’ dog Indy. We raised a bunch of money to help with Indy’s vet bills and help him kick cancer’s ass. I’m hoping we can do the same for Kuma.

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I’m digging deep in my cellar and pulling out a lot of gems that mean a lot to me, but won’t mean anything without Kuma. I have a ton of friends that are going to donate boxes of beer and whiskey as well, and as of right now there are about a dozen potential prizes that you could win. (Updating this post as I get the donation boxes in.)

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I plan on drawing the winners on Friday, July 1st. Make sure to indicate you’re entering the raffle by using #RallyForKuma in your donation comment. (If you forget, you can edit your comment through your donation confirmation email.) For every $10 you donate to Kuma’s GoFundMe page you’ll be getting a chance to win one of these boxes:

Brasserie Cantillon

  • 2016 Lambic D’Aunis
  • 2016 Cantillon Cuvée Saint-Gilloise
  • 2015 Vigneronne
  • 2011 Lou Pepe Framboise

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3 Fonteinen

  • 2010 Schaerbeekse Kriek
  • 2013 Hommage
  • 2014 Framboos
  • 2014 Oude Geuze Golden Blend 750ml

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Hill Farmstead

  • 2013 Biere de Norma
  • 2014 Le Sarrasin
  • 2014 Art
  • 2014 Six Years

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Sante Adairius

  • Nonna’s Blend #8
  • 2015 Westly
  • West Ashley
  • Four Legs Good

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Allagash

  • Allagash @Patagonia Ironwood Pack 20L
  • Allagash Trucker Hat
  • Allagash @Miir Vacuum Insulated Bottle 800ml
  • Allagash Bottle Opener
  • 2015 Allagash Coolship Resurgam
  • 2015 Allagash Coolship Red

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IndyLikesBeer

  • 2015 3Fontenein Oude Geuze
  • 2011 Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella
  • Logsdon Peche ‘n Brett
  • Backacre Sour Golden Ale

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Vic & Heather | Lucas Confectionary/Peck’s

  • 2013 HORAL’s Oude Geuze Mega Blend
  • 2012/2013 Tilquin Oude Gueuze
  • 2012/2013 Tilquin Oude Quetsche
  • 2012 BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien

Whiskey Box | John Johnson + James Pouliot

  • E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel
  • Thomas H. Handy Sazerac
  • The Macallan Cask Strength

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Trillium #1 | Paul Upham

  • Raspberry Soak
  • Wild Sinister Kid
  • Melcher Street
  • Hundred Thousand Trillion (their collab with Other Half)

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MenSA | Mike Smith/Greg Pasicznyk/Ben Harris

  • 2012 Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella
  • Hill Farmstead Flora with Plums
  • Hill Farmstead Flora Blue/Black
  • OEC Oudilis Cerasus
  • OEC Oudilis

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a weekend at nürburgring and the porsche museum | germany

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A year ago, I didn’t even have a passport. It was always one of those things where as much as I travel around the US, and had hoped to do some traveling overseas, it never really felt like it was something I was ever going to do. Then last summer I told myself to get off my ass, make myself an appointment at the Vermont Passport Agency, and stop using not having a passport as an excuse to not do some of the trips I’ve been wanting to do.

Since then I’ve taken a couple trips to Canada, the Caribbean, and now an epic bucket list trip to Belgium and Germany. You guys know I’m into food and drink, but those who know me well also know that I’m a bit of a car guy too. I grew up in my family’s auto parts store, dove head first into the Japanese car enthusiast culture during my “Fast & Furious” phase, and as my tastes have matured I’ve grown quite fond of the VW/Audi/Porsche group of vehicles and have owned a few of them as well.

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a beer with dave gardell of the ruck

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Dave Gardell has owned The Ruck since 2004. Like a lot of Troy, it’s an establishment we’ve seen mature and continue to reinvent itself over the years, going from a dive, to a late night college hang out, to a craft beer bar. It’s a place where a lot of us beer drinkers first dipped our toes into craft beer as we grew with the bar, and continues to be a mecca for some of the best beer selections in the Capital District.

Last night Dave and I sat down and BS’d over a few beers at The Next Level, a new project or “side dish” as he called it, located on the second and third floors of The Ruck. While we chatted I asked him to share a beer with me that had some significance to him, maybe something on tap from a brewery he really supports, something of nostalgia, or a favorite beer from his cellar.

Fuj: Tell me about the beer we’re drinking tonight.

DG: Today’s beer is Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, their flagship IPA. I had the privilege of first drinking this at a buddy’s wedding up in Saugatuck, Michigan back in 2007. Upon being introduced to this beer it was a paradigm shift for me in recognizing what craft beer was really all about. I was in my third year of ownership of the The Ruck and you heard about all these West Coast IPAs, and we had a few East Coast IPAs, and it was kind of this Biggie/Tupac argument, ya know? “Which one was supreme? East Coast? West Coast?” And then I had this gentleman stop me and tell me Midwest IPAs is where it’s at, and I was like “Holy sh*t, Midwest IPAs is where it’s at.” I had the beer with him and he talked about how in the Midwest they’re all about balance in their IPAs and it stuck with me. It made me see that there were a lot of other things that were happening beneath the surface beyond what I was being presented everyday at The Ruck. I was a huge advocate for Bell’s to hopefully make its way to our area, which finally happened a few years ago. It made me recognize other areas of the country, not only with the emerging IPA culture but the craft beer culture as a whole.

The Next Level at The Ruck

Fuj: We’re sitting in The Next Level at The Ruck. Tell me a little bit more about what you have planned here.

DG: The whole concept behind The Next Level at The Ruck is taking things we love, what we present in craft beer and food and showing it in a different light that’s not our tradition pub fare. Chef Rachel (Mabb) has been a blessing in allowing us to continue to evolve in my time as owner of The Ruck, from being a dive bar, to a college dive bar, to a craft beer bar and now being this “destination” if you will. We’ve hired some really awesome people and we’ve had great loyalty throughout the years and this is a tribute to them and all their hard work and efforts. We can now take what we do: eating, drinking and being merry, and offer it in a different light and a different format. That’s where The Next Level kind of came about.

It’s a gastropub, with some more artisanal fare with respects to food (from Chef de cuisine Adryanna Washock) and craft beer (curated by Beer Director Nicholas Nuzzolilo). We’re having more awareness in our pairings and taking that experience and sharing it with our customer base. We’re hoping to attract the craft beer curious and the craft beer passionate, who want to come up to the second floor and enjoy this Next Level experience. We want them to be able to see our rotating fare, which we’re looking to change every week, change some of the food offerings and the beer pairings that go with it. That’s the real energy behind The Next Level and the evolution here.

The Next Level at The Ruck

Fuj: You’re elevating the beer and food upstairs here, do you have any plans to do the same with spirits program, perhaps offer a handful of rotating whiskies like they do at Madison Pour House or some craft cocktails?

The other parts of our program we’ve recognized need more attention and we’re in the process of working towards that with the respects of wine, spirits and cocktail menus. We’re in the process of exploring and playing with different products, distilleries, and wineries that we can connect with and we feel passionate about like we do with the breweries we represent with craft beer, so we can find our niche.

Fuj: I see you’ve been doing Intro to Craft Brewing At SCCC and apprenticing with Kevin at Rare Form. What’s your plan there? I’ve heard rumors about you using the old Troy Pork Store for another new endeavor.

DG: (Laughs) that’s true. I am in the Intro to Craft Brewing at SCCC program, which has been a fantastic experience. Our professor, Rich Michaels (of F.X. Matt Brewing Co.), has been just an inspiration, being connected with him and his knowledge and mastery of craft beer and craft brewing process. I think everyone in the program is working really hard to make something of themselves with respects to whether it be career changes or aspirations to start their own craft brewery in the Capital Region.

Now with respects to the Pork Store, it is my intention to open up an artisanal project tying all of our energies we’ve executed in The Ruck and The Next Level. We hope to have a delicatessen in the Troy Pork Store space that will serve the neighborhood with prepared foods, but also pays tribute to the old pork store by taking some of the curing processes and maybe making our own cured meat program, our own fermentology program. Potentially offering some proscuitto, some soppressata, salumi, beer infused brats, things of that nature. And if the powers that be allows us to do so, it would be lovely to have a nanobrewery attached to that building, and have the beer that we brew match the deli foods that we put out.

The Next Level at The Ruck

Fuj: Wow, that sounds awesome. All right, I’m gonna lob a couple of meatballs at you. If you had one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to enter the craft beer industry, what would it be?

The industry is something that I’ve never seen before. They actually care about their neighbors, they care about constituents. There’s no competition here. There really is a kind of fraternity of brotherly and sisterly love here. Don’t go into this industry if you’re trying to be “crafty” and not genuine, not craft-centric. Understand that there’s people working hard in what they believe in to make these opportunities happen and you have the ability to steward those relationships. If not, then you’re gonna find it difficult to connect with the public, and connect with the breweries and the distributors alike.

Fuj: Last question. It’s your last meal. What is it and what beer do you pair it with?

If it had to be my last meal it has to be something savory. I’m thinking something along the lines of oxtail with some rich gravy, and stewed vegetables with a dopplebock. Oh man, Troegenator keeps popping up in my brain. Gimme a high gravity doppelbock and give me some meaty goodness (laughs). I’ve stewed and braised many pieces of meat in Troegenator and they’ve all came out lovely.

The Next Level at The Ruck

The Next Level at The Ruck has their Grand Opening tomorrow night, 3/2 from 5PM-11PM. Reservations, while not required, are encouraged from Thursday going forward. The Ruck is located at 104 Third St.

exploring hudson (and beyond)

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Seems like more and more lately I find myself heading towards Hudson and the surrounding areas. Too often I hop on the Thruway and head straight to New York City. I’ve done that for years now, missing out on all of this goodness that has been less than an hour drive from me.

Gaskins in Germantown and Suarez Family Brewing in Livingston are a big draw for me, but I really hadn’t done much in Hudson itself until a few months ago. So far, everything I’ve stumbled upon or that’s been recommended by friends has been pretty great. Let’s take a look.

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Common Roots x Rare Form Beer Dinner at Henry Street Taproom

common roots x rare form beer dinner at henry street taproom | saratoga, ny

Common Roots x Rare Form Beer Dinner at Henry Street Taproom

After surviving (barely) another Saratoga Beer Week I finally have the chance to share with you guys some pictures from last Monday’s beer dinner at Henry Street Taproom featuring beer from two of my favorite local breweries, Common Roots up in South Glens Falls and Rare Form down in Troy. Ryan and Sonja McFadden, along with Chef AJ Richards teamed up with brewmasters Christian Weber and Kevin Mullen to bring some unique dishes and beer pairings to a sold out crowd Monday Night. Let’s take a look:

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