Friday, April 7, 2017

Breaking. Barley: Two high school teachers cook beer after school at Artisanal Brewing in Saratoga

It was April Fools Day when I ventured up into Saratoga, New York to check out Artisanal Brewing Co.  This new outfit (open since July) shares space with a distiller in a metal building last used to make bicycle frames.

A set of the region's iconic Adirondack chairs sits out on the front deck, awaiting a first coat of paint or finish.  The location is some distance from the city's pricey downtown, located across the highway from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in the state park.

One of the draws here is that Artisanal was founded, is owned and operated by two teachers at Saratoga High School.  Both were working behind the bar on a Saturday afternoon.  Colin Quinn (French) and Kurt Borchardt (Technology), pulling pints and washing glasses.  Yes, the brewer has to do it all in the startup days.

They have resisted the  impulse to give their beers names like Study Hall Stout that would reflect on their day jobs.  Some titles evoke local geography, like SPA (Saratoga Pale Ale, a 3.6% session ale--Spa City being a nickname from the local mineral waters) or Trappist at the Track, a non-session trippel at 9.1%      
I limited myself to a wee taste of the trippel in. order to give a pint's justice to a Whole Lotta Trouble, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale weighing in at 9.9% abv.  A floral aroma and a rich mouthfeel, like that delicious black bread you can get in a Jewish deli down in the city.  The yeast, Colin says, is a proprietary culture they developed during the home brewing years that usually run up to a commercial opening like this,

The taproom offers Mexican dishes like burritos and tacos prepared by a restaurant in town and kept warm in a box plugged in on the bar.  The brewers are getting enough hops and grains from New York growers to meet the minimums of the state's new farmstead brewing license.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 (Visited 04/01/17)

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