Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Destination: Albany?

I know what you're thinking: Albany? Really? Destination? Beer?
Just say yes, especially to the last one. 

Albany is full of places that are great for beer. More are popping up every year. 

The most notable beer bars in Albany are probably Mahar's (known as one of the better beer bars in all of NY) and Wolff's Biergarten. Both are awesome, but I am not talking about those today. 

Today's post will follow our journey on my brother Mike's birthday. 

Olde English Pub

Olde English is one of the no-fewer-than 5 places that will give you free alcohol on your birthday. I'll run through the list at the end, but I have to warn you, that much alcohol will definitely kill you. 

I have to say, I really like Olde English. It is a classic English pub. Maybe it's because I'm nostalgic for my Scottish pubs, but who cares, it's a cool place to grab a pint. It also happens to be one of only a couple places in Albany where you can routinely get cask beer. Most of the beer you will find in Olde English is from the UK, so if you don't like mild bitters, subtle IPAs, smooth pale ales, or kickass Hobgoblins, then you probably shouldn't go here. They have a fantastic selection of whisky (pay attention to the spelling) at very reasonable prices. 

The bar staff at Olde English is awesome, many of whom don fun beards or mustaches. There are plenty of tables, so you can sit down, but it is rarely ever empty when I am there. Let's say you are hungry. The kitchen puts out some tasty English favorites: Fried Sausage, Daily Meat Pies, and Toasties. If you haven't had these things, I would highly suggest it. They make great pairs for the light English beers. 

Below you can see what Olde English gives you for free on your birthday.

Demon Mike Drinks His Tea

That, my friends, is a 3 liter teacup with 2 liters of beer in it. There is also a teabag filled with dry ice to keep your beer cold, but not dilute (science!). This is nice of them, but unless you want to pay for 4 beers to get what you want in the teacup, you have to go with either Strongbow or Fosters. Neither is great, but I'd go Foster's every time. 

Fancy Pinkie All Day Long

If you aren't interested in drinking a ridiculous amount of beer, you can ask them and they will probably trade in the teacup for a standard beer. Worth a shot. If not, your friends can help you with the teacup.  


Elda's On Lark


Generally, 2 liters of beer will make you feel pretty good and maybe a little full. The cure for this is to stumble up to Elda's On Lark. Here, they have a nice 2 liter boot for you to drink. Elda is extremely nice, and this shows by the fact that you can choose ANY beer to put into your boot. Mike opted to have Rare Vos. If you have ever had Rare Vos, you A) Probably know that it comes in .75 L bottles, B) Would never really think of drinking an entire bottle by yourself. This is over 2 full bottle of Rare Vos. Fortunately, they are cool with you sharing (provided your group spends at least $20 or so). They even light a sparkler and sing you happy birthday! Elda's is much more of a bar than a pub. They have darts and karaoke and a decidedly young vibe.  


Remember to turn it before the bubble hits. 


Places to get free beer on your birthday (in Albany)

Wolff's Biergarten: Free 2 Liter Boot of Hofbrau Helles
Stout: Free 64 oz. Jug of Beer (not sure what is available)
Olde English: Free 2 Liter Teacup of Strongbow or Fosters
Elda's on Lark: Free 2 Liter Boot of Anything
Bomber's: Free Giant Margarita

If you go to Wolff's, Olde English, and Bomber's on your birthday, you get a stamp at each place and get a free T-shirt at the end...and about the equivalent of 20 drinks. 

If it is your birthday and you want to come celebrate in Albany, let's do it! We can crash at Mike's! (Sorry Mike)

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at monksandmalts@gmail.com. You can send me cool photos too, if you like.


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