Albany: The Historical Beer Town?
Yesterday, I posted a blog about a new craft beer coming to Albany in the next few weeks. Today, reading beeradvocate.com, I discovered Albany's long lost history as one of the heavy hitters for brewing in the United States. Sure, it might not jump to mind when thinking of brewing now as much as maybe, Milwaukee, but apparently Albany was one of THE places for brewing in America's history. Who knew! You can read all the nitty gritty details and the whole timeline at beeradvocate.com, but here's some of the fun fact's that I found:
In the 1800s, "Albany Ale" was brewed and exported all along the Hudson River according to beeradvocate.com, and Albany was THE epicenter.
Bever-what?! In the 1600's, the town of Beverwijck (aka Albany under British rule) and the nearby Rensselearwijck had at any given time eight to twenty breweries. Think about it- in the 1600s the population was nowhere near what it is now. Eight to twenty breweries seems like it was a LOT. Also, some heavy hitters, like the Gansevoorts, had their breweries located in the Capital District.
Peter Ballantine, founder of America's 'oldest' ale, Ballantine Ale, originally came from Scotland to Albany in the early 1800s to apprentice in brewing. From that apprenticing in Albany came P. Ballantine & Sons later on in Newark, NJ.
Albany Ale at one point in the 1800s was found in every city in the Union, but also California, the West India Islands, and South America. Oh- and the Hawaiian Islands.
It seems according to what I gathered from beeradvocate.com that Prohibition was a turning point. After Prohibition, and hundreds of years as heavy hitters in brewing, Albany seemed to lose it's steam.