I remember the heady days of 1996, when a boom in the creation of brew pubs in the Capital Region prompted me to write a cover story for the Albany Times Union's "Preview" magazine covering the trend.
"The tap is nearly wide open in the gradual brew pubbing of the Capital Region," it enthusiastically began.
But that was then, this is now. The Malt River Brewing Co. (above), which opened during that boom in '96, has closed for good. It was the last of the boomlet's enterprises.
Malt River, located in the Latham Circle Mall in suburban Albany County, was owned by Marc Weiss, whose father owned the long-troubled mall that was taken over by creditors earlier this month.
The other brew pubs also founded in '96 that previously bit the dust were The Big House in Albany, the Van Dyke in Schenectady, and the Original Saratoga Springs Brew Pub in the city of its name.
However, the region's first-ever brew pub, the River Street, Troy, establishment originally called Brown & Moran, later called the Troy Pub & Brewery and now with the name Brown's Brewing Co. emblazoned on its Web site, still is going strong under Garrett Brown, president and CEO, who has slowly been constructing another major brewing complex in rural Rensselaer County.
And Gary “Goose” Gosselin, owner of Brunswick Barbecue & Brew, a new restaurant in the former Styx Restaurant in Cropseyville just outside Troy, told me he plans to hook up his current beer-making equipment to turn the restaurant into a true brew pub this year. Incidentally, Malt River is one of the stops on Gosselin's extensive beer-making resume.
ON THE WEB
• Brown's Brewing Co.
• Brunswick Barbecue & Brew
• Dowd's Brews Notebook
• Dowd's Guides