Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Meandering Visit to Davidson Brothers

We know what you are thinking: there have been so few posts here, perhaps it's time they brought in freelance writers, or at least a couple of trained monkeys. Nope, not us. No need. We will simply advocate the drinking of delicious beers to others until they get so excited by the accompanying experience that they do our blogging for us! And so, without further ado, Beerjanglin' presents a visit to Davidson Brothers brewpub in Glens Falls, New York through the eyes (or words) of our latest guest blogger. Enjoy.
Editors note: we were there, too. We haven't become that lazy.

When I think about the adult that I've become, one

phrase comes to mind: "I shouldn't be this way." I've

come to realize that I am far more ignorant about
several topics than any reasonable, rational adult
male should be. I know frig-all about cars, I'm pretty
useless when it comes to home repair, I've never
really paid any attention to sitcoms, and I know very
little about beer.

Let me backtrack a touch and qualify that last

statement. Beer has played a pretty significant role
in my life. My dad's been a lifelong beer drinker, but

his tendency is to quaff cheap swill (Schaefer,
Schlitz, Meister Brau: all of these have taken up
space in the family refrigerator). So, I've always
been around beer. And, when I got to college, I

discovered drinking in the traditional manner: keg
parties and quiet soirees in dry dorms. To be honest
with you, I liked what I knew of beer - but, mostly,
it was the concept of beer as social lubricant.

I never really considered the capacity of beer, though
- sure, I'd drink stouts, brown ales, IPAs, bocks, and
what have you - but I never took the time to really
think about what I was consuming. (That being said, if
you were to take a look at my physique, you'd
understand that I'm hardly a discriminating consumer
of food and beverage in general. I like to think of

myself as being somewhat Falstaffian in nature.)

I'm working on that. I am - to quote an ever-whitening
accused child molester/moonwalker - "looking at the
man in the mirror and asking him to change his ways."
And one of the things that I'm working on is my
understanding and consumption of beer.

Hopefully, writing about what I drink somewhat will
provide me with some level of enlightenment about the
wonderful world of brews.

So, here goes. On February 3, Javen and I made an
excursion to surprisingly beautiful Glens Falls, New York
for the first of two stops on a mini-beer tour of

the northern reaches of the capital region.

Our first stop, and the subject of my initial
Beerjanglin' review, was Davidson Brothers. Davidson
Brothers is a brewpub in the heart of what would
probably be a hopping downtown district were it not

for the single-digit windchills and blowing
snowdrifts. The brewmaster, Rick, is one of the
aforementioned Brothers Davidson, and struck me as
being a gregarious individual who is extremely
consumer-friendly. He was ambling from table to table
during lunchtime, chatting up regulars and visitors
alike. He came over for a chat with Jav and I and
informed us of his "free beer" policy: "if you don't

like any of the beers, let me know, and I'll finish it
for free. Don't worry, though - I'll let you pay for
it." As he spoke, he gestured to the 6 beers Jav and I
each had in front of us.

Wait a second. 6 beers each? That's crazy talk!

Not really. Davidson Brothers has a great deal called

the "Ample Sampler." For about 9 bucks, you can get a
sampler platter of 6 5-ounce beers. You'r
e given a
card, and asked to select 6 of the 10 beers that
Davidson has on tap. The beers come lovingly arranged
on a tray - now, I've had samplers at brewpubs before
(most notably the Albany Pump Station), but this one
takes the cake.

My selections for the day were (and notes on each):

- Dacker Ale (their special recipe Adirondack Ale,
orignally conceived by a dude named Duncan Kincaid).
This was probably my favorite - it had a really great,

rich taste while being quite light. Less of an
emphasis on the hops, more of an emphasis on the
yeast. It's extremely drinkable, and I walked away

with a growler.

- Wheat Ale (a British-style wheat ale). This would be
the perfect drink to sip on a patio on a July day -
extremely light, without being watered down. Too light

for this midwinter day, though. I liked it a lot.

- Brown Ale (a traditional English brown). I like
Brown Ales a lot - they've been a go-to for me at
places like the Van Dyck and Pump Station from fall to

spring. This was decent for a Brown, on the sweet
side. I would consider this to be solid but generally
unspectacular - with the caveat that a beer doesn't
have to be spectacular to be good.

- ESB. I'm not much for extremely h
oppy pale ales, so
I'm much more of an ESB fan than an IPA buff - it
appeals more to my palate. This was a pretty good ESB,
pretty uncomplicated in nature. If this beer was a
baseball player, in the context of this beer lineup,
it'd be a middle reliever - not my first choice in
putting together a team, but definitely a necessary
part of the roster. That might not make sense to you,
but I think it's my finest analogy to date.

- Smoked Porter. You remember that Saturday Night Live
sketch where Will Ferrell, as former Cubs announcer
Harry Caray, hypothetically asked Jeff Goldblum that,
if he were a hot dog, would he eat himself? Well, if
smoke flavoring were involved, I would probably eat
myself. When you add smoke flavoring to a porter, it's
probably better than self-cannibalism (I'm just
sayin'.) I enjoyed this particular porter because it
seemed less artificially-smoked than a similar brew
that was presented at Brown's Brewing Company in Troy.
It was a far more naturally smoked porter - it didn't
just feel like the glass was rinsed with liquid smoke
prior to the pour. It seemed And

- The Brewer's Choice, and final selection on my
sampler, was a Belgian Trippel. Jesus Criminey, this
was strong (I want to say the alcohol topped out at
over 11%). I enjoyed my first sip very much, but made
a tremendous error in consuming a pickled hot pepper
prior to my next sip. The spice of the pepper only
accentuated the alcohol in the Trippel, which made it
difficult to appreciate anything other than the sheer
strength of the brew. I would suggest pairing it with
something sweet. I'd like to try it again under
different circumstances - perhaps with Davidson's
homemade potato chips.

All in all - Davidson's was a great experience. I wish
it were closer to the Albany/Schenectady area, but
like the Rolling Stones said, "it's a bitch." I look
forward to returning in a few months and enjoying
Rick's fine establishment.

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