Friday, April 9, 2010

Vintage Brewing Company - An Update

A few weeks back, I was sitting at home on Thursday night. In fact, I had really just walked in the door and was sitting down to check emails when I get a text message: "done with poker, want to get a drink"

It's 8:45 on a Thursday night. I have work the next morning. I, literally, just walked in the door from a long night. I hadn't seen Mrs. MBR since waking up early that morning. F-it. Sure. What the hell. So, I call my buddy who had texted me to find where he was. "Vintage." Damn you. Damn you straight to hell.

I figure, after my little outburst a few months back, that I'd be thrown out of the place before I even walked in. Of course, in my own mind I have a vastly overrated sense of people caring about what I write. Nonetheless, it was reasonable to suspect that I would be persona non grata round those parts.

But, what the heck? I hadn't had their own beer yet. They'd been brewing for a few weeks at this point. I figured, I'll give it a shot. And, perhaps the Beer Talk guys had smoothed things over a little for me.

So, I agree. I went up and met my friend who was talking with a friend of his who happens to be an employee there. Turns out it an employee night for drinking. So, I ask if Scott Manning, the brewmaster is around. Better to just introduce myself, say hello, talk to him a bit, and see where he is. For the better part of the next 3 hours I sat and talked, and drank, with Brewmaster Scott and some of his Vintage cohorts. I have since been back once to have a beer.

And, I've got to say, the beer is pretty damned good. The star, in my opinion, is the Better Off Red, a West Coast Amber/Red Ale that, if you like hops, will blow your socks off. Hops come at you from all directions, but with a good, solid flavor and not just bitterness for the sake of bitterness. For 6.9%, it is dangerously drinkable.

I really enjoyed the Dedication as well. Similar to a Belgian Dubbel, it warms up well and has the typical sort of plum, raisin and fig flavors that I love in big, complex dubbels. The Dedication also has a noticeable (but not overwhelming or even off-style) hop presence.

I was less impressed with the Trepidation Tripel; I thought the alcohol was too strong of presence and that as it warmed up it got a little syrupy. As Scott pointed out, being in a brewpub prevents the kind of aging that make these styles really shine. Which, I believe is a fair point and given such a limitation makes it a relatively impressive offering, provided you drink it relatively quickly.

When I spoke with Scott he mentioned a new beer that he had in the fermenter that was more of a blonde-style but brewed with this crazy, Japanese hop (can someone help me out on this, the name of the hop is escaping me). When I was at Vintage earlier this week, it was finally on-tap and the beer is awesome. The hops give it an off-kilter, but fun and interesting flavor for a moderately hoppy Belgian Blonde-ish sort of thing.

I won't comment about the food because I haven't eaten out there since my original post. But, the beer itself is quite good, if a bit pricey ($4.50 per pint), but I think they have a beer special on Thursdays for $3. So, go on Thursday.


  1. Thanks for the update!

    I'm guessing on the Japanese hop variety here, but maybe Sorachi Ace? Seems to be popping up a lot lately. The hops growing boards have been discussing it, and it is the namesake of Brooklyn's upcoming special 750 ml release.

  2. Yep, Phil. That's what it is. Thanks. It is a darned tasty hop and might be pretty interesting in a Brooklyn special release (which, of course, we won't get here, which means I'll have to trade with a friend of mine out in Albany)

  3. I finally made it to the Vintage for the first time this past Thursday. We didn't order any food, but did get a couple of samplers for the table. I was very pleased over all with the quality of beer. Like you, I enjoyed the Red a lot (although I felt that it and the amber should swap names). My wife liked the hefe and the Belgians, and my friends were partial to the amber. And we all gave high praise to Scaredy Cat Oatmeal Stout. All in all there was something for everybody's tastes. The only wierd thing was when we sat in a booth around the bar we were told there was no more wait service and we'd have to go to the bar ourselves. Not a big deal really, but just a little odd.

  4. I will say one thing about the beers at Vintage, they pack a punch. Luckily I am just bus trip away from the place. I just wish they could throw a couple of session strength beers in the mix. Yea I know the weiss beer is around 5%, but hey I don't care for wheat beers.

  5. Thank you all for giving us a chance and trying my beers. We ended up calling the Belgian Pale "Rochambeau", it came in about 32 IBUs, 100% Sorachi Ace hops, around 6% abv. Also recently on tap is our "Golden", really more akin to a Koelsch...I can already hear the groans...but imminently quaffable. Can't decide to go English or Belgian with the summer "session" beers- any suggestions? English summer ale, classic mild, something like Chiswick Ale; or Witbier, Saison, ??


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