My Secret Garden

It’s not a bar. It’s not fancy. It’s exactly what this town needs and, frankly, I’ll probably regret telling you about it.

Just when I thought every cool beer spot in Rochester to be overwhelmed by fellow beer lovers, I have found a small slice of bliss at Malt & Market’s new beer garden. Owner Rohn Wallace converted the outdoor area behind his Monroe Ave specialty beer store and deli into an agreeable, peaceful little fenced-in beer garden. You can buy a growler of whatever five beers are on tap, or select single beers out of the specialty case, and enjoy them on premises outside in the sun or under shady table umbrellas. It’s a concept you find all over Europe, and it works well here too.

The kicker is, nobody knows about this place. Wallace has not really marketed the beer garden, and both times I’ve been there, my buddies and I were the only patrons. This makes it a hell of an alternative to expensive, crowded pubs. It’s not so good for Wallace though. He could use the business. Stop in, grab a beer and escape the world for an hour.

-Mark

Rochester, get ready for the Tap & Table

The Tap & Table, still something of a work in progress

Joe McBane is not one to shy away from ambitious goals. He took a leap of faith back in the day when he signed on to work at The Old Toad, an ocean away from his native Sheffield. When he opened his own place, the Tap and Mallet, he stayed true to an uncompromising vision of what a beer bar should be, gutting and reconstructing the building in the process. But opening his new restaurant, the Tap and Table, before July might be his most challenging task yet.

The Tap and Table will be different from the Gregory Street gastropub. Of course they’ll go heavy on the craft beer, but this place will have a full bar and broader menu which will lean heavily on locally sourced ingredients. The main draw, however, is going to be location.

This place is going to be pretty amazing. It’s located in Corn Hill Landing, on the water, with a view of Rochester’s prettiest side (that is, when the view isn’t cluttered up with local attorneys filming cheesy commercials). But that waterfront location forces McBane’s hand. He NEEDS to be open to catch the summer traffic. Knowing Joe, he’ll get it done, probably with just enough time to spare to let him enjoy a pint on his new patio.

Sometimes that cat just needs a-killin’

“So we took a couple of firkins,” Jules Suplicki, bar manager of The Old Toad explained in her cute English accent “And we mailed ‘em up to Allagash. We had no idea what they’d put in them. They shipped them back filled with Curieux.

“Cask-conditioned Allagash Curieux?” I asked, demonstrating my devastating logical abilities.

“Yeah. This is the first time that it will be availoable in Rochester on Cask.”

Jules was excited enough about this to print up a bunch of signs and make the tapping of the Allagash uber-beer a full fledged event. This Friday, January 11th, the two casks will be broached, and this Beer Advocate ‘A’ rated beer can be freely enjoyed by everyone who isn’t afraid to fill out a credit application.

I’m just saying… it won’t be cheap. but by the end of the night it’ll probably be gone.

-Mark

Out on the town with the new DSLR

In the interest of bringing Beercraft readers the finest quality beer-oriented photography, I headed over to the Tap & Mallet to practice large-aperture shooting with my new Canon Digital Rebel XTI.

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I forget which saison this is

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Rohrbach McBane’s Best Bitter meets Gaffel Koelsch

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I should’ve used a smaller aperture for this shot

-Mark

Beer School this Thursday

Oh, how the time flies. Once again, Bruce and I will host Beer School this Thursday at Monty’s Korner, at the corner of East and Alexander in scenic Rochester, New York. This week’s topic: winter ales.

Winter ale is a complex animal; a canvas many brewers use as a showcase of creativity. Often it’s a strong, tawny spiced ale with a great deal of malt sweetness. The spices vary from clove to cinnamon. Every now and then, there’s a hint of cherry, raspberry, or some other weird-ass fruit combination.

If it’s within your power, come join us at 7 pm. The tasting is free, and involves pizza. Hey, it beats the hell out of Christmas shopping.

-Mark

A step away from the norm at Monty’s Krown

Monty’s Krown is a cool bar: a well-worn neighborhood dive with a very good IPA selection. Lots of musicians and scenesters hang there, but it’s cool anyway. Plus, they have a “Family Guy” pinball machine.

I like the Krown because it’s comfortable. It fits like an old shoe. The people are laid back, it’s not a meat market, and everyone’s respectful of everybody else, so the vibe is very good.

Anyway, The Krown could always be counted on to have the best IPA selection in town, but not a great deal of variety beyond that. Starting next week, however, Manager Jen Clark will be stocking Duvel (bottled) on a regular basis. And nothing beats good Belgian beer when you’re trying to light up the “Stewie” target in Family Guy Pinball.

-Mark