Albany has its fair share of places to go for good beer and good food. Allow me to introduce you to my new personal favorite place: The Merry Monk!
Located on the corner of N Pearl St. and Sheridan Ave, it is a haven of Belgian delight in Albany. First things first: Beer. Merry Monk has a fantastic beer selection that is almost entirely Belgian style, taking beers from some of the best breweries in the world. Their draft menu has some things that are rare to see anywhere. I am a little biased because they seem to have an undying love for Dupont beers (which I share). Getting to my point, you can randomly pick a beer from this list and not be disappointed.
I have shown the pictures of the menu above, not so you can see exactly which beers are there, but so you can see the quantity. I will vouch for the quality. Being almost entirely Belgian style, the menu is rather limited for those who exclusively enjoy hops. Don't think that all hope is lost for you though. Try a Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor or a Duvel Tripel Hop. You might just learn a thing or two. For those who like darker beers, stronger beers, or even just balanced beers, then I promise you a good time. There is also the finest selection of lambics in the region, if you happen to be on a lambic kick. Say you can't decide on a single beer, then just try four! They let you select four different draft beers to get in a flight. Perfect if you don't know what you want.
The decor (above and below), actually reminds me of walking into Ommegang's gift shop, right down to the cycling jerseys hanging from the wall. It is very welcoming, and depending on when you arrive, could be either really easy to find a seat, or virtually impossible to find a place to stand. Doesn't matter when you go though, because the place is awesome.
The beer isn't the only reason you should go, though. The food is fantastic. I have personally been three different times. Each time I got something different. First, mussels in a beer sauce. Second, a rack of wild boar baby back ribs. Third, a burger. Oh the burger. So good. If you get one thing here (besides beer), get the frites. They come with a dipping sauce of your choice from a selection of about 10 or so. Every single one of these is delicious. I suggest them all.
Doesn't that burger look delicious? The beer is great, the food is fantastic, and the people are always extremely nice, even when the place is crowded. If you live in the Capital Region (NY) and haven't made your way to the Merry Monk yet, I would highly suggest it.
The Merry Monk has passed the Lindsey Test (they have Saison Dupont on tap).
Seriously, go support the Merry Monk. They are a great business to keep in the Albany area, if for no other reason than me being able to continue visiting.