field notes | colonie, ny

I’ve been checking out the Tuesday night Field Notes pop-ups at Rare Form Brewing Company for a while now. It’s a convenient walk from my new place, I can grab the pooch and head over to see what new dishes Joan and Kyle are cooking up with some always fresh ingredients from Lansing Farm and wash them down with whatever’s new and crisp at Rare Form.

Saturday mornings they’re at the Troy Farmers Market, where they can be found saving my butt from a hangover with such goodies as their own take on the McRib or their delicious cider doughnuts (although I am far from ready for cider doughnut season just yet).

Later on the weekends you’ll find them at the farm, serving up a rotating menu sourced from fresh ingredients mostly picked right there at the farm for their Saturday night farm dinners and Sunday brunches. Last week I got the chance to visit the farm, share a couple of beers and take a some pics of a few of their dishes while they did some prep work for their busy weekend schedule.

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Everything was incredibly delicious (including some perfectly sweet and juicy corn that was unloaded right there as I was shooting). With this sneak peek at their weekend menus, I’m certainly looking forward to checking out one of their dinners as soon as I have a free Saturday night.

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It is such a treat to see these two chefs put this much care and attention to detail in their dishes, with a huge focus on such hyper local ingredients. This is a true rarity in this area, and a movement we should be fostering with our full support. Whether it’s at the Troy Farmers Market, Rare Farm, or their own home at Lansing Farm, make sure to give Fields Notes some love soon.

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artisanal brew works pig roast | saratoga springs, ny

Had the chance to take my father up to Artisanal Brew Works this weekend for their annual pig roast. Some good mangalitsa ‘cue from Divine Swine on the smoker, Acoustic Chocolate playing some acoustic, bunch of folks enjoying the nice weather and lawn games, and not to mention a pretty damn tasty new Taproom Series double IPA with Vic Secret, Mosaic and Citra. Posted a few pics below. Check ’em out!

lost & found | albany, ny

Quick post today but I wanted to get a few pics out before the Lost & Found soft opening tomorrow. Earlier this week I had the chance to get a sneak peek at the new bar and kitchen, located in the old Barrel Saloon spot across from Nine Pin in the Warehouse District.

The outdoor space is one of the larger patios I’ve seen in Albany, wrapping around two entire sides of the building.  With plenty of seating available, a fire pit, cornhole and some Giant Jenga to keep people entertained, it’s shaping up to be one of the best outdoor places in the area to hang. (And with these cooler temps we’ve been having, this is my favorite time of year to do some outdoor drinking, too.)

Food is being headed up by Ian Brower, formerly of Donna’s and Peck’s, and prior to that the Capital City Gastropub. When chatting with him about what they were offering that night, I mentioned I was getting a little bit of a Prohibition Pig vibe from the offerings, and I was surprised to hear Ian actually worked with Chad from Pro Pig back in their Farmhouse Tap & Grill days. Small world.

The abbreviated food menu for the sneak peek was simple, but of what we were able to try, I was really impressed. I always love to see a chef who can make quality dishes without taking themselves too seriously, and Ian’s take on the Big Mac, the Pig Mac, is a perfect example of that. The pimento cheese was spot on, but what floored me the most was the Carbonara Fries. This is a hefty boat of fries, but seriously, get these. The runny egg yolk mixed in with the carbonara sauce and cured meats was so addicting. I can’t wait to check out the the lamb gyro next time I’m down, too.

Draft selection isn’t huge with only 8 taps, but with go tos like Firestone Walker Pivo Pils and Common Roots Daylight on tap, along with a wider selection of cans from Finback, some sours and even some cheap beers, what was available kept all of us happy that night (that is, until we started getting into shots).

A night that was originally planned on just checking out the new menu and grabbing a couple drinks with a friend turned into an all nighter when a big group of troublemakers made their way down after the Common Roots/Peekskill Dinner was over at The City Beer Hall. The Lost & Found crew stayed as late as we could keep hanging and were more than accommodating with the drinks and more food to snack on. Plus they were a great crew to just hang with while we were all there BSing into the wee hours of the morning.

I really had a ton of fun that night (not so much the next morning) but thankfully we now have ridesharing available in the area. If this was a preview of what the my experience at Lost & Found is going to be, it is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood, and one I’m definitely looking forward to revisiting.

The soft opening for Lost & Found is tomorrow (9/1), with a Grand Opening slated for next Friday (9/8). Make sure to check it out!

night of the great thirst // ebenezer’s pub | lovell, me

This past weekend I finally got a chance to make my way back up to Ebenezer’s Pub for their Belgian Beer Fest, Night of the Great Thirst Edition. The weekend it occurs usually falls on the same weekend as my birthday (it fell on my birthday this year) so a lot of years I find myself having other commitments that prevent me from coming up. The last time I was able to attend was back in 2013, and there’s a whole bunch more info pertaining to the event and its history in this post. Even this year it was a last minute thing, but once I got the green light I made the five hour drive from Upstate NY early that morning.

No visit to Eb’s is complete without hitting the bar for that always impeccable draft list and some incredible food, plus it’s always a good idea to get some grub before drinking sour beer for several hours straight. The fish and chips washed down with some Tipopils did not disappoint.

Still having some time to kill while the fest was getting set up, I reconnected with some old friends and met some online friends but had not met in person yet. I could tell people were still recovering from the previous night’s shenanigans.

Like the previous time I was there, the fest operated on coins you purchased upon entering the fest. Some of the beer is available for pours, while other bottles you chip in your coins with a few others to split the bottles together. This year’s featured brewer was Raf with his lambic blends from Bokkereyder. I’ve been out of the beer trading game for a while now, so without this fest I likely would not have been able to try any of these incredible blends. Having never tried any of Raf’s beer before, I was happy to split a couple bottles with friends and get pours of some of the others.

Kool Keith in the house! Sadly after putting some 10+ hours in the driver’s seat that weekend and many hours of drinking beer, I was unable to stay awake for his performance later that night/earlier that morning.

Incredible to see this lambic and gueuze on cask. First I’ve ever seen in the country.

Crushed Out kept the tunes going all night.

Yves Panneels, from Belgium’s Night of the Great Thirst Gueuze & Lambic Festival and co-owner of The Pub with Insurance Against the Great Thirst, returned again this year and following the fest gave a another lecture on lambic and gueuze while participants tasted rare beer.

Late night is always followed by what else? More beers by the fire.

An amazing event as always. Part of me attends these events and I think “Where the hell are all the people??” The events are never what I would say is poorly attended, but I’m always surprised that when a collection of these people and these beers are so available at this type of an event, on top of the option to camp out, bottle share and grill along with the great food and drafts available, there isn’t hordes of people showing up. Ebenezer’s events totally deserve that kind of buzz happening for them. But another part of me feels like that if that happened, this low key and intimate event would lose some of its charm. Regardless, it’s incredible to see someone like Chris Lively be so dedicated to the beer and his craft, like no other bar owner I’ve seen. Thank you for doing what you do, Chris.

nine pin yappy hour | albany, ny

I stopped by Nine Pin on this weekend because I am a sucker for a Yappy Hour and taking photos of some good doggos. This past Sunday, Nine Pin teamed up with Mugzy’s Barkery to offer some treats for the dogs along with mimosas, ciders, beer, and mead for the parents as well.

As I mentioned above, this week they were making mimosas with fresh squeezed orange juice and Cider Monster, too. I hope that’s something they keep doing, they were so refreshing!

While Nine Pin is always dog friendly, their next Yappy Hour is scheduled for September 17th from 1-4pm. Make sure to bring your pup and check it out!

sloop collar city bomb // troy craft beer week

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to tag along and document the Collar City Bomb brew day down at Sloop Brewing in Elizaville. A team of bar owners, their staff, and other beer industry folks from the Troy area assembled at the brewery for a convivial gather of eating, drinking, brewing, and planning the upcoming Troy Craft Beer Week. Some of the people knew each other for years, while others were meeting for the first time, but everyone involved was excited for the day, and it was nice to see such progress being made with the camaraderie of everyone in the Troy beer scene.

The group I was with started the day by meeting at Troy Beverage Center so we could all carpool together on the way down. (Thanks for the lift Kushan!) We had some folks from Craft Beer Guild, Lucas Confectionary, Slidin’ Dirty, and Wolff’s Biergarten in our car. It was definitely a tight fit but both the ride down and back were filled with shenanigans and I think everyone had a blast.

As soon as we arrived to Sloop we grabbed a few more beers and made introductions before heading into the brewery. I started off the day with Brett Blend #1, which showed a refreshingly restrained amount of tartness compared to most of Sloop’s sours.

In the brewery itself, Justin gave us an in depth tour of Sloop’s space, the process behind their beers, and more on the Collar City Bomb we were brewing for Troy Craft Beer Week.

Later on back in the tasting room, Adam had prepared a tasty lunch for us, featuring his take on DiNic’s roast beef and broccoli rabe sandwich. The sous vide roast beef was grill finished and came out incredible.

After lunch, Adam brought the group around few other sections of the farm to see some of the animals and hops they’re growing. Every farm brewery has to have goats, right?

After we wrapped up at Sloop, I reached out to Dan over at the nearby Suarez Family Brewery to see if we could drop by quick even though it was a brew day. He, Tay, Matt (and Enzo and Chicken) were more than accommodating.

The last few of us stragglers from the original group ended the day with one final stop. More beer and some extra hot wings at The Ruck, of course.

Keep an eye out for more information on Collar City Bomb and where it will be on draft in the Capital Region during Troy Craft Beer Week coming up September 11th through the 16th. It will also be available at the Collar City Beer Invitational happening at Takk House on the 15th.