Glens Falls, NY, a suburb of Queensbury, is to most New Yorkers just a town between Albany and their weekend getaway of Lake George and the Adirondacks. A place to stop for gas or a quick meal before going to or returning from a relaxing weekend in the country. But for locals and those who bother to get off I-87 for longer than 15 minutes, Glens Falls has some really good beer. You can find it at Davidson Brothers Brewing Company.
As their website points out, Davidson Brothers began as a great idea…after drinking a few beers. While on a 1993 trip to Baltimore, the brothers, John, Paul and Rick, were introduced to the wonders of craft ale. They decided – with no restaurant experience – to start their own brew pub. Experimenting and researching for two more years, they put in the winning bid on a historic 130-year-old building at184 Glen Street. With both feet in deep water, Davidson Brothers Restaurant & Brewery opened in October 1996.
“I’d always thought that after everything it took to get the thing off the ground, I’d be overcome with emotion when that first dollar crossed the bar, but I was too busy,” says Rick on the pub’s website. They’ve had no time to rest since then.
Davidson Brothers (DB) offers an almost overwhelming selection of ales, lagers and stouts. That’s why I ordered the Ample Sampler for a tasting. The Ample Sampler was a pick-six of any of their eleven beers on tap in six ounce pours. For my sampler, I had the Brown Ale, the Belgian White, the IPA, the Scotch Ale, the Dacker and Brewer’s Choice #2 – the Swimmin’ Cow.
Here’s a quick rundown:
Brown – A traditional British ale, the Brown is 4.3% ABV and has a nutty/sweet flavor that I quite enjoyed.
Belgian White –This beer was divine, buttery and smoky with a touch of citrus. Dee-lish!
IPA – Here was the pleasant surprise of the day, an IPA I can enjoy! Unlike their beer-making brethren out West, the East Coast likes to go easy on the hops, which makes this the most enjoyable IPA I’ve had…ever. At 5.9% ABV, this is also a buzzy beer.
Scotch Ale – Slightly malty, this beer was served on nitro and had what I thought was an airy or gassy quality to it, like a whipped beer, which distracted me from the taste.
Dacker – Also a Scotch ale, but with more hops and less malt giving it a brisk feel compared to the regular Scotch Ale. What made the Dacker unique was that the recipe was from a 4th generation Adirondacker, Duncan Kincaid.
Swimmin’ Cow – This specialty brew is 5.5% ABV and a British Rye Cream. Also served on nitro, this beer did have an airy, whipped texture to it, but was still a nutty, creamy delightful beer.
Davidson Brothers had a huge menu with sandwiches, salads, and tasty entrées and plenty of good beer to wash it down. Because I was on the East Coast, I had to have the Crab Cake Salad. But that’s not all there was to DB. Some special people frequent this bar and we were allowed to sit in their hallowed seats.
My husband and I sat in Al and Millie Sutliff’s bar stools during lunch. Al and Millie have been regular fixtures at DB’s since it opened. Al, retired military, and his wife Millie, who occasionally still cleans houses, come into DB every afternoon and enjoy a pint of beer. They sit in the same seats every time. Well loved by the bar’s staff, the brewery had their names engraved on plaques on the bar for their 40th Wedding Anniversary back in 2002. They will celebrate their 50th Anniversary this September. DB also named the Sutliffs King and Queen of IPA back in 2010 because of their fundraising skills. For the last few years, Al and Millie have raised thousands of dollars for DB charities including Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Our bartender said if we stayed long enough, we could meet them later that afternoon (we’d have to give up our seats of course). However, we had a wedding to attend that day and couldn’t stay long enough. But we enjoyed their coveted bar stools and their favorite IPA during our short visit.
If you happen to see Al and Millie some afternoon, tell them thanks for the use of their bar stools. Although Davidson Brothers beer won’t make it to Colorado for the Great American Beer Festival this year, they do attend Glens Falls Brewfest, Saratoga Brewfest and opening day at Saratoga Horse Race Track every year.