Tonight I ventured out with my kids and friends to the Albany Pump Station. As far as brew pubs go (home of C. H. Evans Brewery), this is one of my favorites. They have excellent beer and food, and the atmosphere is perfect for a nice evening out. The Pump Station itself is actually one of the old pump stations used to pump fresh water up from the Hudson River (back when it was drinkable) into Albany, and has since been converted into a brew pub. The result is a restaurant with very high ceilings (roughly 50′), lots of windows, and a kind of old world industrial meets modern day decor. They have a beautiful large stone fireplace at one end of the restaurant, the kitchen and glassed-off brewery at the other, with a bar in between. Atop the bar is a 2nd floor devoted to their fermenters and aging tuns and casks. Just about everything is exposed. You can watch the kitchen crew prepare food, watch the brewers work (if you’re lucky), and generally take in all of the workings of the place.
The first of the two beers I had tonight was their Imperial Stout Plus.
Very malty with rich, complex layers of roasted grain. Light hoppy finish. Easy on the nose and taste buds, and masked the 8.5% alcohol quite well. Served in a stemmed goblet/tulip glass (a mild tulip curvature to the glass). I enjoyed this one quite a bit, and had I not had my kids in tow I could have easily fallen victim to the masked potency with multiple draughts.
The second beer I had was their Dry Stout.
I stuck with stouts not only because that’s what I started with, but I’d ordered a wonderful pulled pork sandwich, which a stout (ideally a porter, but they had none available) complimented nicely. The Dry Stout was much less potent, at about 3.8% alcohol, but as far as a beer goes, this was near perfect. It was incredibly well-balanced, neither malty nor hoppy, but a wonderful blend of both. I got a bit of mild fruit esters. Perhaps a bit of plum or black cherry, but nothing so pronounced as to give it away. An excellent compliment to a hearty meal, without the added bulk. Highly drinkable.