One region's Class of '96 brew pubs gone

LATHAM, NY -- I remember the heady days of 1996, when a boom in the creation of brew pubs in New York's Capital Region prompted me to write a cover story for the Albany Times Union's "Preview" magazine covering the trend.

"The tap is nearly wide open in the gradual brew pubbing of the Capital Region," it enthusiastically began.

But that was then, this is now. The Malt River Brewing Co. (above), which opened during that boom in '96, has closed for good. It was the last of the boomlet's enterprises.

Malt River, located in the Latham Circle Mall in suburban Albany County, was owned by Marc Weiss, whose father owned the long-troubled mall that was taken over by creditors earlier this month.

The other brew pubs also founded in '96 that previously bit the dust were The Big House in Albany, the Van Dyke in Schenectady, and the Original Saratoga Springs Brew Pub in the city of its name.

However, the region's first-ever brew pub, the River Street, Troy, establishment originally called Brown & Moran, later called the Troy Pub & Brewery and now with the name Brown's Brewing Co. emblazoned on its Web site, still is going strong under Garrett Brown, president and CEO, who has slowly been constructing another major brewing complex in rural Rensselaer County.

And Gary “Goose” Gosselin, owner of Brunswick Barbecue & Brew, a new restaurant in the former Styx Restaurant in Cropseyville just outside Troy, told me he plans to hook up his current beer-making equipment to turn the restaurant into a true brew pub this year. Incidentally, Malt River is one of the stops on Gosselin's extensive beer-making resume.
Brown's Brewing Co.
Brunswick Barbecue & Brew
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Rooftop bar braves Manhattan winter

NEW YORK -- Manhattan's largest rooftop bar and enclosed penthouse lounge isn't shying away from the chills of winter.

The 22,000-square-foot bar, called 230 Fifth, has installed an array of high-powered heaters surrounding its West Bar, the larger of the two rooftop garden bars.

The heaters are augmented by a wardrobe of about 1,000 "signature heavy-duty over-sized hooded red robes and an extensive selection of thermally hot cocktails served in extra large 18 ounce hand-warming mugs," as the management explains it.

230 Fifth has come up with a menu of cocktails for its first outdoor winter season, based on artisan fruit cider bases. They include:

• Hot Apple Cider with Apple Pucker
• Hot Raspberry Cider with Stoli Razberi Vodka
• Hot Peach Cider with Absolut Apeach Vodka
• Hot Pear Cider with Grey Goose Poire Vodka

In addition, a broad range of coffee-oriented drinks is offered, including the "Wired" double espresso topped by Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka.

The bar is located at 230 Fifth Avenue between 26th and 27th streets. Hours: 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Phone: (212) 725-4300.
National Drinks Examiner
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Toronto joins bottled water ban

TORONTO, Ont. -- If you're visiting here and have a thirst for a cold bottle of water, you might have more difficulty finding one than in many other towns.

The city has decided to outlaw the sale of bottled water in all municipal buildings, including local arenas.

While banning bottled water, the city did not ban any other bottled beverage.

The ban was approved in December by City Council, with the target of stopping such sales for all municipal premises from City Hall to golf courses by 2011.

Mayor David Miller's spokesman, Stuart Green, said the ban is part of the city's plan to divert 70% of its waste from municipal dumps by 2010.

Not only is the city eliminating sales of the plastic bottles, it also is instituting the following steps:

• A five-cent charge for every plastic bag customers use from a grocery or retail store, starting in June.

• A ban on biodegradable and compostable plastic bags.

• A ban on retail bags with rope handles or metal grommets by the end of next year.

• A request that retailers also provide shoppers with alternatives to having the pay for a plastic bag, whether by providing cardboard boxes or paper sacks for shoppers.

According to the Polaris Institute, 17 municipalities from five Canadian provinces have banned the plastic bottles, while another 45 municipalities are planning restrictions on bottled water.
Behind the bottle ban
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DC hotel opens a bar in its bar

A few of the offerings at The Scotch Bar

WASHINGTON, DC -- There's something new in town besides a presidential administration.

The prestigious Willard Intercontinental Hotel's Round Robin Bar is now featuring its own bar, The Scotch Bar.

It's a special alcove with its own intimate bar, small seating area and a very broad selection of newly compiled Scotch whiskies, including dozens of labels and ages from each of the regions of Scotland.

You can get all the details on The DCist.
Willard Intercontinental Hotel
Bar DC: A guide
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Survivors praise downed plane's pilot

From eTurboNews.com:

NEW YORK -- The pilot of the US Airways jet that crashed in the Hudson River Thursday is being hailed as a hero after all 155 passengers and crew cheated death.

The pilot, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (right), was praised by survivors and officials for coolly landing the jet belly-first onto the river, allowing passengers to make a successful evacuation from the stricken craft.

"He is the consummate pilot," said Lorrie Sullenberger of her husband, an Air Force Academy graduate who flew F-4 fighter planes while in the U.S. Air Force. "He is about performing that airplane to the exact precision to which it is made," she told the New York Post.

"It would appear that the pilot did a masterful job of landing the plane in the river, and then making sure that everybody got out," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "I had a long conversation with the pilot. He walked the plane twice after everybody else was off."

[Go here for the rest of the story.]

• Safe Water Landings Rare
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Flight cuts reduce flight delays

From ChicagoTribune.com:

U.S. airlines appear to have found the cure for chronic delays: operating fewer flights.

As they parked aircraft and shrank domestic operations last fall, American and United Airlines significantly improved the rate at which they delivered passengers to destinations as scheduled, new federal data show.

After posting the worst record for delays in November 2007, Chicago-based United finished fourth best one year later among 19 carriers. About 86 percent of United's flights were on time in November versus 76 percent during the year-earlier period, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Transportation.

Ft. Worth-based American improved its results from second worst for tardy arrivals in November 2007 to seventh best a year later.

The industry's overall arrival performance was much improved in November, aided by generally good weather during the busy Thanksgiving travel period and far less congestion in the skies.
Real-time Flight Tracking
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Eire's oldest brewery may become tour center

The Beamish & Crawford brewery in Cork

CORK, Ireland -- Brewing giant Heineken is considering a proposal to redevelop Ireland’s oldest brewery, Beamish & Crawford, in Cork as a tourist center similar to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

A heritage group set up to save the South Main Street brewery complex in the city center held what it described as “a very fruitful meeting” with the directors of Heineken yesterday at Heineken’s Cork headquarters.

Heineken Ireland announced in December its intention to close the brewery, with the resultant loss of 120 jobs. A committee comprising representatives of three heritage groups has since been set up in an effort to save the brewery building with its distinctive mock-Tudor facade.

National Conservation and Heritage Group chairman Damien Cassidy was part of the delegation that met with Heineken directors yesterday. He said the company had promised to “give close consideration to a sensitive development of the site” during a very positive meeting.

Cassidy said the delegation was taken on a tour of Murphy’s brewery and was impressed by the way in which Heineken had restored the historic building since it took over the company 10 years ago.

He said Beamish would continue brewing at the Cork site until March and the heritage group had asked Heineken to then consider transforming the property into a visitor center and microbrewery.

“The Beamish & Crawford brewery is either 300 or 400 years old. Nobody can be sure but it’s certainly the oldest brewery in Ireland,” he said.

The Cork Lord Mayor Cllr Brian Bermingham already has endorsed proposals for a heritage or tourism complex at the site.
Tourism Cork
Guinness Storehouse
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A-B eliminates its free beer

There's no such thing as a free beer under brewer Anheuser-Busch's new owner.

InBev, or formally Anheuser-Busch InBev, has stopped the practice of giving free beer samples in hospitality centers at its SeaWorld theme parks in Orlando, FL, San Antonio, TX, and San Diego, CA, and its Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, FL, and Williamsburg, VA.

You still can get beer at those parks. Now, however, it will cost you because beer still is being sold at those venues.

Fred Jacobs, spokesman for Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks, said the free samples had a narrow appeal among park customers. He also said the Belgian company plans to build more restaurants and other venues geared toward families with children.


Busch Gardens
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Body Art Ball sets tour schedule

The human body is, for many people, an integral part of the art world.

Think of them as canvases for painted-on swimsuits in Sports Illustrated magazine, or dancing on "So You Think You Can Dance," or performing in Cirque de Soleil.

Now, Tuaca, the Italian liqueur, is sponsoring the "Body Art Ball Evolution," which will tour nine U.S. cities from February 8 to April 20. The event is a choreographed stage show featuring painted performers illustrating the transformation of the human body into a canvas.

The tour will visit the following cities:

February 8: Phoenix, AZ, The Orpheum Theater
February 15: Denver, CO, The Ogden
February 22: Atlanta, GA, The Opera
March 1: Kansas City, MO, Uptown Theatre
March 8: Columbus, OH, Bar of Modern Art
March 22: Baltimore, MD, Rams Head Live (bartenders only)
April 6: Houston, TX, The Warehouse Live (bartenders only)
April 13: Dallas, TX, The Palladium Ballroom
April 20: Austin, TX, The Paramount Theatre
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Tuaca tasting notes

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