February 25th, it’s 65 degrees out, it seems like April with the sun shining and the breeze whistling around us. A perfect day for the culmination of Saratoga Beer week.
My sister and her recently acquired fiancé (by which I mean he finally gave her a ring after 5 years) decided we would join the crowd for the final day. It appeared that every dog owner had the idea to go out for a walk at precisely the same moment, which Beth and I were not about to complain about. Buskers filled the sidewalk on Broadway, a wedding party took pictures in front of Adirondack Trust, and we even caught a man with a very large snake around his neck. I was later told by my older sister that it may be a red tail boa. It was as if the freakishly warm weather had whispered sweet nothings of rustling leaves only just let loose from the smothering of the snow and even the animals had to make sure it was true.
The picturesque main street of Saratoga reminds me a bit of the village in Manhattan, right around Washington Square. The beautiful view up fifth avenue, the brownstones emitting their air of superiority, the only main difference being that Saratoga is 92% white.
We decided to forego the main event as it was ringing in at around $50, not to mention they were sold out by the time we decided to go. Beth was determined to find an event that was giving out free glasses with the purchase of the beer and Victor and I had no argument. After a quick search through the event website we find one, the Olde Bryan Inn, and off we go.
Settled across from High Rock Park, at the edge of the Hilton’s parking lot, the Inn is a cozy two-story rock and wood formation. Having stood since the early 1770’s, the exterior emits its wise age. Inside, the rocks are still visible, with open beam ceilings, ornamental windows, and lights that resemble sconces.
We opted for seats at the bar. Beth asked our bartender, Shane, which brews would earn us the free glasses and we learned they were featuring the Saratoga Brewery Octoberfest Ale and Oatmeal Stout. Beth and Victor opted for the former and I the later. I enjoyed a good chat with Shane about how he is originally from Bayonne, just a few blocks from the apartment I just vacated.
As we settled in to our ales and enjoyed the homemade potato chips, we noticed the pewter mugs adorning the ceiling for what has been donned the “Mug Club.” The club is currently full, but if you could secure a spot you’d enjoy a $1 off a pint of beer and an engraved mug hung and ready to fill for each visit. Tucked in the corner they have some old-style mailboxes with names of students from Skidmore who were a part of the Mug Club 50 years ago with the Mugs tucked inside.
We enjoyed some lunch as well. I opted for the delicious, and what I was told famous, French onion soup. It was quite delicious, the perfect balance of bread to cheese to broth ratio. My sister tried the homemade mozzarella sticks that came with both marinara as well as raspberry sauce which was divine. Victor went with a salad, he’s prepping for jujitsu fight, so we won’t judge him too harshly.
As we finished our round, paid the tab, and grabbed our rinsed-out souvenir glasses, we discussed a possible second trip back. We each snatched a few chocolate mints at the door on our way out and exited toward Broadway to enjoy the last few minutes before the clouds rolled in.