Since 1993, Brown’s Brewing Company has been brewing up solid beers and contributing to the rebirth of Albany’s sister city, Troy. Such regeneration does not happen overnight; only in the last decade have things really come together for this town along the Hudson, turning it into as much of a food-and-beverage destination as the capital itself. Along with a couple other classic spots — like Ryan’s Wake Public House — Brown’s was at the forefront, and key to shaking any negative connotations all too commonly associated with Troy (and many other towns now on the comeback in the so-called “Rust Belt.”)
Troy is proof that one should never underestimate the foundation a good pub or brewery provides for economic revitalization. (Of course, location doesn’t hurt either ... just imagine the money flowing north from a metropolitan area of 24 million if New York decision-makers got high-speed rail going!)
A cornerstone of the downtown for more than 20 years, Brown’s is now the largest brewpub in New York state, brewing more than 25 different styles of ales and lagers last year alone in their 15-barrel brewhouse. In 2013 they opened a new 20,000-barrel production brewery in North Hoosick to increase distribution across three states. Both brewing locations — featuring highly rated restaurants — were created from restored 175-year-old buildings, and combined get about 250,000 visitors a year. Not bad for a place once referred to as “Troy-let.” For some time, they’ve had a reliable core of brews highlighted by an exemplary oatmeal stout, and a cream ale. (It has been some time since sampling “Cherry Razz,” so, I will leave it at that.) In the last couple of years, the brewery has once again shown itself to be versatile and maintained its relevance — a difficult task in the larger and increasingly bloated beer market — with the introduction of outstanding beers like “Passion Fruit Mango Sour” and “Apricot Hop Tart Sour.” (Having a pilot brewing system is essential for such exciting innovation.) They also just came out with a new rotating IPA series, and the latest “#SUCHTASTE IPA,” brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops, is the best yet. Nearly a decade ago,
I scored a keg of Brown’s Whiskey Porter for my first pub with the help of a savvy saleswoman who finagled it away from an account that apparently was supposed to be the sole recipient of that barrel-aged, malty delight. (Oops.) Ever since, this brewery down the highway has been on my radar. And, if you’re in search of great beer in New York, Troy should be on your destination list too.
This week’s recommendation: Brown’s “#SUCHTASTE IPA,” a hazy, balanced tropical IPA brewed with Citra and Mosaic 6.2 percent ABV. Troy, New York.
—Colin Hubbell is co-owner of the Green Onion Pub and The Beer Hub in South Utica, New York.