Tasting brews at Olde Saratoga
I like breweries, and I like locally brewed beer, so it only makes sense that I would eventually find my way to Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., located in a nondescript building on Excelsior Avenue in Saratoga Springs.
Olde Saratoga is the fourth largest brewery in New York, and much of its business stems from contract brewing — making beer for other companies. Olde Saratoga brews all of the Kingfisher Premium Lager in the U.S., as well as the San Francisco-based Shmaltz Brewing Company He’Brew line of beers, which includes Genesis Ale, Messiah Bold, Origin Pomegranate Ale, and Jewbelation. But the brewery also produces its own beer, which can be sampled in the facility’s tasting room, which is open Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.
The tasting room has a nice, comfortable atmosphere — a bit like a friendly neighborhood bar that just happens to be free. My friend and I picked up Chinese food on the way there, and settled in at a table near one of the flat-screen TVs. The takeout place had forgotten to provide us with forks, but the bartender happily gave us utensils, as well as small glasses of beer. I tried the Black Hawk Stout, from the Mendocino line of beers, which was rich and flavorful, and the Saratoga India Pale Ale, which had a lighter, more citrus-y taste. The highlight, though, was when the bartender took us out back and let us sample a new beer straight from one of the facility’s large silver tanks: the Southampton Double White, which Olde Saratoga brews for Southhampton Ales and Lagers. The Double White was delicious, tasting as much like lemonade as any beer I’ve ever had.
Anyway, it seemed mighty generous of Olde Saratoga to let us hang out for hours and drink their beer for free, so of course I purchased a six-pack of the Saratoga Lager, which seemed like a good thing to bring to Maine over Memorial Day. Olde Saratoga is definitely worth a stop, and I hope to go back sometime soon.
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