Brew Biz: Werts and All

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

Brew Biz is a column written by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

Davidson Brothers
184 Glen Street
Glens Falls, NY 12801-3526
(518) 743-9026

I have been to Davidsons several times over the years. My brother lives down the road in Hudson Falls. I wish I could say I’ve interviewed the brewer, but seems to me that keeps changing… and at least in one case I’ve been avoided when the brewer found out I’m a writer.

No need to fear when Ken is here, it’s all about the beer.

I remember in the early years, back when Fred Flintstone started the first brewpub called “Brew Rock,” I tried to do a column on Bluegrass Brewing in Louisville, Ky, and the brewer was a friendly sort, until he found out I was a writer. Then it became a bit like trying to nail the contents of a mash tun to the wall. Some folks just hate being interviewed.

So, since I didn’t have time this trip to even be there when brewers are usually around: weekdays, this will be a short Brew Biz. Let’s just say I thought enough of Davidsons I have at least two of their growlers in my collection.

They have a nice outside beer garden that sits mid downtown Glens Falls, yet creates a special space. Being a bit space limited, they seem to have become quite adept at using their space well.

Here you will see some pictures of the inside of the pubs. Yours truly forgot his camera but found these on their Facebook page. One of these pictures is, I’m guessing, from when the pub was built and one is full of folks. It’s a narrow hall with a bar and the brew equipment behind a glass wall. It all reminds me of the old Market Street brewpub in Nashville, TN. I remember the waitresses telling me how hard it was to navigate when they were packed and I imagine Davidsons might be very much like that on a busy day.

Here is the outside of the building with no beer garden. I am assuming this is during construction or when they turned the downtown Glens Falls building into Davidson Brothers in the 90s.

A very interesting study is the Smoked Porter vs. their Oatmeal Stout. I actually found the Porter more like a Stout with a slightly soured taste: ala’ Guinness. Of course the smoke was obvious; more in the nose than the taste. Nice super pillow head that I swear had to have been poured by a Guinness tap, but not. Chewy: almost as if it has oatmeal in it and the odd sense of roasted barley which is more appropriate for Stout.

Where as the Oatmeal Stout did have the aroma of oatmeal, it didn’t have the chewiness or the taste of oatmeal, for the most part. In fact I thought it more Guinness draft like, somewhere between the draft and the Extra. The body pretty light: Guinness tap-like.

Of the two the Porter impressed me the most, whether out of style or not. Proof I’m no one’s style Nazi. If it’s good that’s what counts. Both black as hell. The head was good on the Stout, though not as impressive.

The IPA was just a bit problematic. Hello, where’s the hop nose? Put a hand over the sample, shake, and you’ll get just a hint of grapefruit: Cascade like, yet to the taste it was almost all bitter and a bit much for a classic American. I suggest doing more dry hopping and latter additions. A nice light gold, clarity good. Body just a bit light. Needs balance. And then I caught it: just a hint of phenolics as if the boil should have been longer, or maybe the boil was done with a method that would have simulated a homebrewer leaving the top on the brewpot. No other beer had this, so I don’t think it was the yeast.

Their summer beer was a neat take on an ale that tasted a bit like a nice, cool, classic, summer lager. Their Theatric Ale was even more so: I swear I caught a hint of those Miller corn notes one would expect. Both very light, pale yellow, nice and clear except chill haze. I preferred the first, but that’s would be my taste buds. Lawnmower beer classification, for those who like that classification, or any idiot who would even consider drinking and mowing.

Always looking for the biggest wallop, my greatest disappointment: no high grave kick my buds beer here the day I stopped by. This time of year their absence is not totally unexpected, but I’d love to have them serve some hardcore: even if just with one tap.

Hope to come back and do a brewer profile. I was told his name is “Jason.” One hopes he’s the brave sort. I’m so nasty… Hell no I’m not.

Why do I hope that? Because Davidsons deserves more than just this admittedly limited edition of Brew Biz.


Brew Biz: Werts and All, is a column dedicated to reviewing, discussing and commenting on all things beer including, but not limited to: marketing, homebrewing and homebrew/beer related events, how society perceives all things beer. Also: reviews of beer related businesses, opinions about trends in the beer business, and all the various homebrew, judging and organizations related to beer. Essentially, all things “beer.”

©Copyright 2011
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved



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