Enjoy Troy. Well let me tell you I’ve tried. In fact in the last twenty years I have had occasion to visit Troy on nearly a daily basis, whether for education, work or pleasure. And let me say the irony of having to go to Troy for superior educational opportunities has never been lost on me, but I digress. Troy’s fine cultural attributes can also be saved for another day, because after all were here for the beer, and when ordered directly by the self proclaimed exalted ruler to seek out and try a new beer product found only in Troy, how could I refuse (well quite easily actually, but with a spare hour in he collar city, why not).
To break any suspense that may I may have inadvertently built in that snappy intro, the subject beer is Brown’s Brewing Aussie Hop Kicking Sauv Blanc Lager. Gotta say I wouldn’t go out of my way for this beer, oh yeah I already did. Now to be fair the beer is not awful. It is far more bitter than any commercial lager, with a hop level similar to many an IPA. And where they got the Sauv Blanc thing, well I suspect drinking may have been involved, but I just didn’t get it. Beyond the bitter there just isn’t much there. It has the very light golden color and plenty of carbonation, typical of a lager, so there again, not too bad. The problem is in the finish, it has the curse of the brew pub. What curse? That slightly icky taste (that’s professional speak for yucky) common to so many brew pub concoctions. It is that same off taste that follows many of Brown’s beers, and a lot of brew pub beers. The taste isn’t so noticeable in the Porters and Stouts whose heavy malts can mask the flavor, but it’s there none the less.
Brown’s is still worth a visit as their Pale Ale isn’t bad and their Harvest Ale is actually quite interesting. The freshness of the hops in the Harvest beer, with its locally grown and harvested flowers really shines. The downside for me is the sweetness of the malt. It dulls what might otherwise be an outstanding beer, were it a bit crisper it might be first class. Perhaps the Sierra fresh hopped ales have set too high a standard for me. The Harvest deserves an “A” for effort and is an approach to locally grown that really should be supported. That said Brown’s should be supported as well. It is a great space, though lacking some of the charm of the original Brown and Moran days and showing a bit of wear. Along with the adjacent Revolution Hall, Ryan’s Wake and Jose Malone’s Troy provides one of the few bright spots in the Capital District. And reportedly you can even get a good education in Troy, but I not so sure about dat.