A Good Beer Blog

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Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


Comments

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Craig -

So you've come to the dark side and accepted John Taylor into you heart, huh? I think Taylor is the lynchpin of this whole situation. Albany Ale lives and dies with that brewery. As I've said before, (forgive me Ron) "Shut up About John Taylor & Sons".... It's the next logical step.

Here's another tidbit on ole JT. His estate, facing Lydius Avenue (now Madison Avenue) was the last piece of property purchased by the city to complete Washington Park, in 1882. The Beaverkill, ran through his back yard. The Washington Park tennis courts now call the Taylor property home.

Craig -

Joseph B. and William H. Taylor wrote a preface for "Ale in Prose and Verse." That leads me to believe that they may have commissioned the whole book. Speculation, I know... I know.

Alan -

You're so mid-Victorian. But it would be neat to hold a beer fest at that park. Beats the heck out of some of the other sites, like the bus depot parking lot by the highway cloverleaf.

Gary Gillman -

You gents should organize a weekend in Albany to tour historical beer sites and even taste some beer; I'll do my darndest to get down there. I'd love to see the Chestnut Street location where Bill Newman brewed and whether the old bar adjacent is still there, not to mention the many sites Craig has mentioned.

I found this while searching around:

http://hbd.org/ensmingr/syracuse.html

While related to another city, Syracuse I would think bears some analogies to Albany. First, the main producer mentioned also exported his beers far afield; second, salt wends its way (of a fashion) in this brewing history, too - can't get rid of the stuff!

Finally, some of the references may assist with Albany's brewing history, directly or indirectly.

Gary

Alan -

Where are you, Gary?

I am a big fan of Syracuse and it's main street is called Salina as salt production was its main industry at first. It is a much younger community in terms of America, only opening up after the Revolution and really only in the early 1800s. But maybe another two hours drive to capital city is in order...

Gary Gillman -

I'm in Toronto Alan. But I can get to any of these places with enough notice.

Gary

Gary Gillman -

Look at this, their pale ale (and the others) sound great! That pale is itself a tangible connection to regional brewing history. This is via the Brewers Gold hops originally planted for Ballantine which started in Albany as you know.

http://www.sudsfactory.com/new/beer.htm

Gary

Craig -

There is a beer fest, well Tulip festival (Tulips, Holland, Dutch Albany, get it?) has a local (and not so local) micro beer tasting during it.

Gentleman, may I bring you back to topic. Only the neglected and criminally insane live in Syracuse. This is about "Albany" ale, because Albany is where it's at.

I think an Albany tour would be great, I do however suggest we do it in the spring!

Craig -

We can do a driving tour of all of the known brewery locations (including Newman's), including what is left of the Beaverkill and Washington Park. Hit Mahar's, the Lionheart Pub, Wolfs Biergarten and the Albany Pump Station on a mini pub crawl.

Albany welcomes it's Canadian brethren.

Alan -

I think we should think of this as Albany welcoming back its former overlords.

Gary Gillman -

Ah, UEL sentiment dies hard. :) Just let me know, I'm there.

Having spent some time in Syracuse recently, I must say it did test my dictum that any American city of any size has a range of interests to offer. I did have excellent barbecue and beer there though, so I was happy.

Gary

Craig -

Okay...okay, Dinosaur and Middle Ages are quality, other than that Syracuse is second rate, at best.

Oh and Alan, England still sees you lot, up north, as just a "colony" too.

Gary Gillman -

From Jess Kidden's historical beer pages, some good information on Wm. S Newman Brewing with photos and labels:

http://sites.google.com/site/jesskidden/newman's

I see the brewery was on Learned Street, not Chestnut, although perhaps it moved at one point. The tin-roofed building looks familiar though, from the seminar I spent there in the mid-1980's.

I wonder what Bill is doing today, he would only be about 64, and whether he still lives in Albany.

Gary

Gary Gillman -

Looking at a map of Albany online, I see Learned Street is indeed not too far south of the Hudson and somewhat westerly from the centre (Crown Plaza, say, where I used to stay in Albany). In other words, the former brewery site is exactly where I remember it. Chestnut Street must be a later address, maybe an office after the brewery stopped producing. Because, the business continued as a contract brewing operation for a time, Schmidt's used to make Albany Amber beer under license for Wm. S. Newman Brewing.

Anyway Craig, if Bill Newman is still living and active, it would be great to have him along on this historical brewing tour of Albany, I'm sure he would be interested in that. Once we select the weekend, I will make greater efforts to locate Bill. He had a true passion for great beer and his product (all draft in its heyday) was excellent. I'll never forget the first time I drank real ale in England, in the Sun Inn on lamb's Conduit Street, and when I had the first sip I said, it's just like Newman's ale, he nailed it.

Gary

Craig -

There is still a William Newman listed on Chestnut Street. I have no idea if it is him or not, I've never met him.

Gary Gillman -

That must be him, I think I see now what happened. It's good news, I'll be happy to contact him once we know we will meet!

Gary

Gary Gillman -

Alan and Craig, this is pretty cool:

http://www.realtor.com/property-search/Albany_NY/Learned-St

The way the river turns, I think Learned Street is north of downtown (not south) and to the east (not west), but I meant the brewery was on the Albany side of the river and to the "right" if facing the Egg.

I cannot see from panning up and down the street where Newman's brewery was. I wonder if the building was later taken down, there seems an empty space on one end of the street. The white tanks are interesting, but I don't think they were connected to the brewery.

Gary

Craig -

That area, is very industrial, comprised of a number of warehouses. Those warehouses are constantly in flux, and business come and go all time. It doesn't surprise me that the "Newman" building is gone.

That area and slightly east of there, was he canal basin and lumber district. Albany was also know for it's lumber processing facilities, because of all the logging in the Adirondacks. Most of the area was filled in when the barge canal was built and the Albany section of the canal closed (West of Erie Boulevard) North Albany was also home to a number of breweries – Quinn & Nolan (Beverwick), Andrew Kirk, Uri Burt and Peter Ballantine. The neighborhoods just to the north would become home to large amounts of Irish immigrants moving up the Hudson from NYC to Albany starting in the 1860s and continuing until the 1950s. The street names have a decidedly "Celtic" note to them – Rooney Road, Maguire Avenue, and Limerick Drive

A popular beer bar, Wolf's Biergarten, is near there now, it's actually across the street from the Kirk brewery.