I wouldn’t say Albany is a craft beer haven, but I do think we’ve got a really good scene here. Seems like no matter where you go you’re never too far from at least a decent beer selection. Unless you go to the Times Union Center (TUC), then you’re S.O.L.
I was at the TUC Saturday night for the annual Union/RPI “Mayor’s
Cup” hockey game. For the sake of this blog, I surveyed the beer
selection of the entire arena. I was extremely disappointed by the
uninspired, pandering selection of boring beer. I don’t understand why
in this day and age, Aramark stocks their concession stands with the
most generic fizzy yellow beers on the planet. Budweiser, Miller, Coors,
Heineken, Labatt Blue, Stella Artois and Dos XX are all essentially the same damn beer! Craft beer aficionados will have to settle for “crafty” beers like Blue Moon, Redhook and Samuel Adams.
don’t even get me started on the prices. The cheapest possible beer you
can get in the arena is a 16oz can of any of the domestic macros for
$6.50 ($0.41 per ounce). There’s also 20oz draught pours for $7 ($0.35
per ounce), and 24oz cans for $9 ($0.38 per ounce). If you’re a big
spender you might opt for a 24oz king can of Heineken for a whopping $11
($0.46 per ounce)!
Here’s a chart I made of all the beers for sale at the TUC and their prices:
For the heck of it, I decided to get a can of Stella Artois. It’s
been a long time since I’ve had that beer and I’ve only had it on tap or
out of a skunky green bottle. While it wasn’t bad, it was bland and
watery – I could just barely tolerate it. I didn’t realize it until I
got back to my seat, but I had gotten hosed. A 14.9oz can of Stella
Artois was $7.50 – that’s over 50 cents per ounce! It’s the
most expensive beer per ounce at the TUC. In retrospect, I should’ve
played it safe and spent the extra fifty cents on a Sam Adams or
Redhook, plus I would’ve gotten over 25% more beer.
I’m going to do some investigative journalism on this and find out
why there isn’t any good beer available at the TUC. Don’t the people at
Aramark know the Capital District is embracing craft beer with open
arms? Surely the management of the Times Union Center must have an
inkling of this considering the great beer bars that are just down the
street. And why do they charge an arm and a leg for stuff that costs a
fraction of these prices at retail? Why do people pay premium prices for
cheap beer? What will you get next time you’re there?