C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station is exactly what a great brewpub should be, with award-winning beer, tasty food and a fantastic environment. Armed with a deep thirst, empty stomach and a camera, I recently visited the establishment for the benefit of the readership.
Let's start with the beer. The "Kick-ass Brown" is a three time Great American Beer Festival gold medalist in the brown ale category, most recently in 2008. This is a hoppy, malty beer with great balance. The other beers they make are very good, too. I recommend getting the sampler and going through the lot.
Great beer doesn't necessarily make a great brewpub. Essential, yes, but a brewpub lives and dies as a restaurant, so the food has to be able to stand up to the beer it's paired with. The Albany Pump Station does not falter in this regard. The menu offers a varied selection of both entrees and prices. I have yet to order something I didn't like, and I've heard the sentiment echoed from other patrons.
Finally, the environment is both spacious and intimate, with soaring headspace and great lighting. Take the stairs up for a sweeping overview of the dining and bar area, and give yourself a self-guided "tour" of the brewery.
The Albany Pump Station is easily accessible in downtown Albany, and is conveniently located near attractions like the Times Union Center and the Palace Theater. Check out the official site for directions, hours, the menu and more.
A view from above.
Sampler. (Photo courtesy Heather)