Albany County's craft beverage scene is booming. From the Warehouse District to the Helderberg Hilltowns, there has been a county-wide (and even region-wide) craft beverage movement. The Capital Craft Beverage Trail unites almost 50 local producers from across the entire Capital Region with special events such as Drink Albany and the CCBT Passport. Scroll on to learn about seven of Albany's breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries.
Housed in a former warehouse complete with twinkle lights, Fort Orange Brewing is full of industrial charm. The microbrewery is often buzzing with fun activities from cornhole leagues, to trivia nights, to arts & crafts workshops. With a rotating tap list, there are always a variety of beers available. Often the brewery's owners (a true home brewers to brewery-owners success story!) are behind the bar serving and chatting with patrons.
A downtown staple, CH Evans Brewing at the Albany Pump Station celebrated its 20th anniversary in Albany this summer. Located in the original water pumping station for Albany Water Works, this brewery's atmosphere is warm and cozy. Frequently, there are beers on tap with an Albany-twist such as "Skyway Sour," “Quackenbush Kolsch,” and "Capital Light Lager." Love what you are sipping on? Take a crowler or growler home filled with your favorite ale!
Nestled in the Helderberg Hilltowns, the Helderberg Brewery is a farm brewery operated by the Carey Institute for Global Good's Sustainable Communities program. The brewery's taproom is a quick 5-minute drive from the Carey Institute and located next to the Huyck Preserve trails. After an afternoon of exploring the trails and gazing at waterfalls, swing by the taproom for a refreshing pint.
New York's first farm cidery, Nine Pin Cider, is located in the heart of the Warehouse District. Discover unique flavors on tap such as Hunny Pear, Ginger, Cidre Rosé, Peach Tea and Earl Grey. Each variety of cider is handcrafted in small batches using locally sourced New York apples. The tasting room serves up gourmet sourdough pizzas and other house-made small plates, but the cidery often brings in local food trucks and restaurant pop-ups.
Albany Distilling is the city's first licensed distillery since Prohibition. Get an insider's look at how the distillery produces small batch craft spirits on a Saturday tour (reservations required!) of the facilities. The names of the spirits are often a nod to Albany, such as Quackenbush Rum or Ironweed Whiskey. After a tour, head to the nearby ADCo Bar & Bottle Shop to enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail. The bar is in a revamped 19th Century Nabisco factory with a massive outdoor patio.
Located between the historic towns of Hudson and Chatham, the Hudson-Chatham Winery is a wine-lovers destination. Explore the beautiful grounds on a vineyard tour, enjoy a glass of small batch hand-made wine, and soak up the breathtaking Hudson Valley views. The winery was voted the Capital Region’s Best Local Winery in 2011, 2012, and 2014, so it is worth the drive from Albany to taste what the buzz is all about!
Druthers Brewing is a Capital Region favorite. Sip on signature beers such as the All-In IPA and Gold Rule Pilsner, or depending on the season savor the Winter Warmer or Oktoberfest. Dine on house-made mac n cheese, the infamous beer cheese dip or an unforgettable burger. Between the craft brews and comfort food, this popular brewpub is a must-visit destination.