Thursday, September 14, 2006

Olde Saratoga Brewing Company



We have been so busy lately moving and traveling to visit breweries that we have neglected our duties as a blogger. Time to remedy that. We recently made our first real trip to the Olde Saratoga Brewing Company (they almost have their own website!), and we came away impressed. Olde Saratoga is an interesting place. Their main function is actually as the East Coast brewing arm of Mendocino Brewing of California. Factoid that may interest only us: Mendocino opened as California's first brewpub in 1983.

Saratoga's brewery is located just off Broadway, the main thoroughfare of Saratoga Springs. This place, at least the public part of it, is set up just like any real bar. It has a dart board, a couple of televisions, a few high pub tables, and long bar in the center. There is also a cooler at the end of the bar with several of their beers available to go as six packs or mixed singles.
Olde Saratoga doesn't have a traditional liquor license for selling beer for consumption on premesis. They get around this by offering handsome logo pint glasses for $4 each. These glasses come with (at least) two fills of your beverage of choice. We're talking full pints here, too, not shot glass sized samples. This brings us to the beer. Ah, the beer. When we visited, they had an impressive variety on tap:

Mendocino Summer Ale
Saratoga Lager
Red Tail Ale
Red Tail Lager
Blue Heron Pale
White Hawk IPA
Eye of the Hawk Select Ale
Black Hawk Stout
Black Eye (blend of Eye of the Hawk and Black Hawk)
'05 Winter Ale (Double IPA)
Talon Barley Wine
Kingfisher Lager

Mendocino, for some reason, enjoys naming beverages after predatory birds. We highly recommend both the Summer, a fine Belgian White, and the Winter Ale, an absolutely fantastic Double IPA. Everything else is at least solid. Many of their beers can also be found at popular prices ($4.99 a sixer) in Albany. Mendoncino does all of the North American brewing of Kingfisher Lager, which is India's most popular beer. Just an educated guess on our part, but we think their brewing it may have to with this. Olde Saratoga also does contract brewing for, among others, Southampton Publick House of Long Island, and Schmaltz Brewing Company - makers of He'brew Kosher Ale. Roughly a third of Olde Saratoga's brewing capacity goes to Mendocino brews, a third is dedicated to Kingfisher, and the remaining third to contract brewing. They brew up to 30 different kinds of beer in a year and recently underwent an expansion to up their nearly maxed-out capacity. The tasting room is open 5 to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday. We highly recommend a visit.



2 comments:

Bill said...

I do love that Winter Ale they have. I would gladly pony up for another half case of that bad boy. It is so smooth and hoppy. Mmmmmmm....I wish they would come up with a better name for the Summer Ale, including calling it a Hefeweizen, which is what it is. Or is it a Belgian, I don't remember. There are a lot of things from that day I don't remember.

bojangles said...

They call the Summer a white ale, which is about right, they just don't say it very prominently on the lable. That '05 -'06 Winter Ale is awesome. Not sure if they will do an Imperial IPA again this winter, though. We certainly hope so.