The neat thing for me with the Albany ale stuff is that it is all micro. It is hard to make generalizations or abstractions because this is about one place. Yet it is one place over 400 years. There are a lot of eras over 400 years, maybe each with its own beer.
And, yes, yes, I know I might want to change the name of the blog these days to "A Good Albany Beer Blog" but remember - this is about you, not me. It's about you getting the point of all this. It is an illustration. Maybe even performance art. So, you have to admit you have bought in. And you want to know that the latest is that Craig "the Mole" Gravina with the New York State Museum sent me this:
I traced the basic path of all three Albany creeks - Beaverkill (bottom), Rutten Kill (middle), Fox Creek (top) from the 1790 and 1857 maps and overlaid that on the google map. Nineteen of the known brewery locations are on or very near a water source other than the Hudson. And I think I know why Boyd was drilling for water - pollution. As the population of Albany grew, it moved west away from the river. Which meant [Ed.: censored under the few remaining NY blue laws] flowed down hill, literally. The less people, less contamination. The breweries, further west, were moving up stream to try and out pace the population.
Serious neato factor. That is the map to the left. If blows up to something way bigger than your screen so be warned. We are loading most of the stuff over at the Facebook group just to keep this place sane but you see what is happening, right? You can't know what is going on with the brewers without knowing what is going on with the communities. So look at the map down here to the right. That is Albany in 1758. Rotate in in your mind one eighth counter clockwise and you will see the creeks line up. Fox Creek is the north end of town in 1758. That is, by the way, one hundred and forty or so years after brewing starts in the town. Notice how roads developed along creeks. And breweries near the creeks? Notice how the old 1600s Dutch town is still there? As are the late 1700s post Revolutionary suburbs to the south and the 1800s parks based on new ideas about wholesome living to the west? And the Egg. That weird Egg.
Why do I care about the creeks? Because if you can check out the water qualities and you cross reference the brewers and you add an insane amount of table salt, you may well replicate what the water was like that Albany ale in its heyday was like. But when was its heyday? And how far west were they?