For travelers into New York's Capitol District there is good news located at the Saranac Brewpub inside of the Albany Airport (ALB). This business is not affiliated with the F.X. Matt brewery in Utica, New York but has just licensed use of their name. Strategically located inside the security checkpoint, it is at the intersection of the three main concourses on the second floor. The interior includes a long, W-shaped light wood bar with a dimpled copper bar top and matching light wood bar chairs. A dozen tables and some bench seating offer space for 68 occupants, according to posted permit. New York State beer memorabilia populates some display cases and the surrounding walls. One largescreen TV is the main attraction for the high ceiling room. The whole establishment is non-smoking and very pleasant.
Along with a full liquor selection there is also a solid food lineup. Appetizers run $5 to $7 and include Stuffed Green Chili Peppers and Thai Pot Stickers. The Chili, Soup & Salad section ranges from $5 to $7 and includes Grilled Mediterranean Salad. Entrees are $11 to $16 with choices such as Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo and Eggplant Parmagean. The Brewhouse Deli list offers lighter fare such as a Vegetarian Wraps in the $6 to $7 range. Specialty Sandwiches such as the Saranac Char-Grill come in at $6 to $8.
Five Saranac brews are available on draught: Saranac Single Malt, Saranac Black & Tan, Saranac Adirondack Amber, Saranac Black Forest and Saranac Pale Ale. Bottled products include the Saranac Ginger Beer, Saranac Root Beer and the Saranac Light. The Black Forest is dark brown in color with a thick tan head. Light-bodied, it offers an even flavor balance with a very clean dark malt flavor without any harshness. There is a slightly coarse graininess in the mouthfeel before it finishes cleanly. Pints are $4.50, fixed by agreement to be within 10% of the local market price. No smaller sizes are available, but 22-ounce glasses are. Considering how bleak things used to be for travelers in New York's airports, the presence of the Saranac Brewpub is a welcome improvement. Of course, like all other airports in the U.S., no traveler flight information is available visually or audibly.
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - June