Thursday, May 16, 2013

Brewpub review: Crossroads Brewing Company

Crossroads Brewing Company is a brewery I've been familiar with over the past few years. I've seen them at every beer festival I've been to in this area, and I've had a few of their brews on tap at City Beer Hall. I've always enjoyed their "Outrage IPA" a lot, which seems to be their flagship beer. I've heard good things about their brewpub in Athens, but had never gotten around to making the trek there until recently. My friend Jordan, who is a craft beer enthusiast in progress, went with me to check out their brewpub in the quaint village of Athens.
crossroads 018
What's on tap at Crossroads Brewing
Crossroads has 10 beers on tap. Pints are $5 each, or you can get a flight of six 5oz samples for $12 (that's $0.40 per ounce). Since Jordan and I wanted to try all the beers on tap, we had to order two flights for the table. Right away I was little miffed at having to spend $24 to be able to try every beer. To put these prices in perspective; Brown's Brewing in Troy offers a flight of eight 3oz samples for $8.99 ($0.38 per ounce) and the Albany Pump Station offers a flight of eight 3oz samples for $7.50 ($0.31 per ounce). Sure you get more volume at Crossroads (30 total ounces instead of 24 ounces), but I'd prefer a larger variety even if it means less total ounces.

Here's an overview of the beers we tried:

(Pale Wheat Ale. 10 IBUs. 4.2% ABV)
Slightly lemony/slightly grassy, but overtly wheaty. We both found it refreshing and highly drinkable, but we'd prefer a genuine Hefeweizen.
crossroads 006
I was really anxious to dive into these!
Athens Honey Rye
(Red/Amber Ale. 13 IBUs. 4.7% ABV)
A light bodied amber, though the honey and rye still come through. We both thought it was the best of their lighter brews.

Brick Row Red
(Red/Amber Ale. 16 IBUs. 5% ABV)
Pretty generic for the style - mild maltiness, a touch of dry bitterness. I was indifferent to this, but Jordan gave it a thumbs down.

First Pitch Pils
(German Pilsner. 34 IBUs. 5.1% ABV)
Standard, by-the-book German pils. No adjuncts. Some grassy hop character. Does what it's supposed to do. I liked it more than Jordan.
crossroads 007
Because one flight just wasn't enough. We ordered two.
Brady's Bay Cream Ale
(Cream Ale. 18 IBUs. 5.2% ABV)
A subtle caramel/honey roasted peanut flavor. A smooth thirst quencher. Mild but quaffable.

Angry Pete's Pale Ale
(American Pale Ale. 35 IBUs. 5.3% ABV)
Lots of hop character for a pale ale. Could be mistaken for an IPA. Slightly toasty. We were genuinely impressed with this one.

Bandit's BPA
(Belgian Pale Ale. 45 IBUs. 6% ABV)
Similar to "Angry Pete's", but with a subtle Belgian character. They tapped this as we were finishing up and gave us a complimentary sample. We both enjoyed it.

Abbey Road
(Belgian Dubbel. 18 IBUs. 6.7% ABV)
Reminds me of Ommegang Rare Vos: slightly smoky/spicy character and some fruitiness. Jordan liked it a little more than me (she's a fan of Belgian beers).

Black Rock Stout
(Foreign Extra Stout. 44 IBUs. 6.8% ABV)
We both liked this one the best. Delicious roasted malt/coffee/chocolate flavors. Good dessert beer. Crossroads should promote this one more than they do.

Outrage IPA
(American IPA. 80 IBUs. 7% ABV)
A great West Coast style single IPA with lots of citrus and floral character. Nice bitterness without going overboard. Jordan isn't usually a fan of IPAs, but she liked this one a lot.

(Double/Imperial IPA. 95 IBUs. 9.3% ABV)
Something seemed off about this one. Overly sweet. Boozy. The only beer we both disliked (which is ironic since I tend to love DIPAs).
crossroads 009
The Brewery Burger
The food menu at Crossroads is pretty standard in terms of dishes: burgers, salads, chicken, appetizers, etc. They use a lot of locally sourced ingredients and list the individual farms on their menu. I tend to judge a brewery by its IPA, and I tend to judge a restaurant by its burger so I ordered "The Brewery Burger" for $11. The burger came with fries and caramelized onions. Bacon and sautéed mushrooms were an extra $1 each, and cheese was an extra 50 cents for a total of $13.50 (that's pretty expensive for a bacon cheeseburger). Jordan is a vegetarian, but thankfully they had a veggie burger on the menu for $12.

Though we both agreed that our food was good, I do have to raise an eyebrow on these prices. A good comparison might be The Bier Abbey in Schenectady which has "The Abbey Burger" for $9.50 or the "Uncle Sam Burger" at Brown's for $9.99 (both are bacon cheeseburgers of the same size and quality). Also, why is the veggie burger more expensive than the meat burger?

crossroads 011
The Green Burger (veggie burger)
I don't want to make it sound like I'm bashing Crossroads because I enjoyed the food, the beers were tasty, and the service was good. I also loved the atmosphere of being in the village saloon and the vintage décor (it was originally a 19th century opera house) Still, the evening wound up costing me $62 which is much more than I usually spend on a dinner for two. However, since Crossroads Brewing is probably one of the only restaurants in the village of Athens, and the only brewpub between Kingston and Albany, I think I understand their prices.

If you're considering heading down to Crossroads Brewing you're probably in for an evening of good food, good beer, and a nice atmosphere. I’d say it's a worthwhile trip.

Crossroads Brewing Company
21 Second Street
Athens, NY 12015
Phone:    518-945-2337 (BEER)
Mon: 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Wed - Thu: 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Fri: 4:00 pm - 12:00 am
Sat: 1:00 pm - 12:00 am
Sun: 1:00 pm - 9:00 pm

1 comment:

  1. Very enjoyable review -- hope you'll do more of these.