Celebrating Albany’s History: “Albany Ale”


C.H. Evans Brewing Co. Brews 19th Century Recipe of “Albany Ale”

Celebrating Albany’s History, 200 Year Old Beer Recipe On-Tap Now


ALBANY, N.Y. – C.H. Evans Brewing Co. at the Albany Pump Station teamed up with Craig Gravina, the author of “Upper Hudson Valley Beer” to brew “Albany Ale” using a 19th century version that was retrieved by Gravina. “Albany Ale” will be on tap exclusively at C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station starting today, September 2, 2015.

“Albany Ale” is a truly unique style, indigenous to the Hudson Valley, it’s not totally equitable to other styles of the time like a stout, brown, pale or strong but is similar to many of the larger more historically significant styles of beer. “Albany Ale” has also experienced many changes and adjustments throughout its history.

“This latest installment of Albany Ale is based on a recipe from the early 19th century. Craig Gravina, author of “Upper Hudson Valley Beer,” graciously dug up a version of this era of Albany Ale and we were fortunate enough to receive said recipe”, said Ryan Demler, Head Brewer at C.H. Evans Brewing Co. “We made a few slight variations (different yeast selection and a few different hops) but largely stayed true to the original style.”

Our version of the 1830s recipe uses New York grown and malted 6-row barley from Pioneer Malting in Rochester, NY as well as NY produced honey from B’s Honey in Watervliet. As with many older styles of beer, “Albany Ale” was brewed with hops, though at the time there wasn’t a distinction as to the types or timing of additions, so we took a bit of creative license here and used some cluster variety hops and a token amount of NYS grown Cascade.

This mid-strength beer (of the time) clocks in at 7.9% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and drinks rather crisp and clean for a recipe nearly 200 years old. The body is light, almost sharp and dry. The relatively heavy hopping rate (for the style) and heavy use of honey result in a brew that’s dry and has a pronounced bitterness that helps clean up the finish. A bit of “breadiness” comes through from the grain and works well with the subtly piney hop flavor.


 The Evans family has been brewing commercially for three generations with the original brewery in Hudson, N.Y. in 1786 and opened its current location in Downtown Albany in 1999.





The Evans family was in the commercial brewing business for three generations. The original brewery was built in Hudson, NY in 1786. It continued production until prohibition in 1920. Its award winning ales were well known in the Northeast and were even exported to England and France. Production levels peaked in 1915 when 65,000 barrels of beer were produced at the Hudson Facility.

The brewery bottled its own beer in Hudson at one of the country’s earliest bottling facilities (1889) and later at a plant in New York City. The family also malted much of their own grain in their malt houses at the Hudson facility. Neil Evans revives this rich heritage here at the Albany Pump Station. Surviving C.H. Evans Brewing Company memorabilia is displayed in the new facility, as well as pictures of the pump station as it appeared at the turn of the century.

The Pump Station Building

The Albany Pump Station consists of two adjoining buildings. The first building was completed in 1874, the entire structure being completed and put into service in 1895. Total floor space is 8,000 square feet and the roof trusses are 40 feet above the floor.

The Pump Station drew water from the Hudson River and pumped it under Clinton Avenue to Bleecker Reservoir, which is now Bleecker Stadium. In 1927 the pump station moved over 7 billion gallons of water. In 1932 the Alcove reservoir was put into service and the Pump Station ceased operation.

There are two, massive, overhead cranes which are still in place today. These cranes, completed in 1906 and 1909 and used for pump engine repair, are each able to lift 20 tons. These cranes were used to install the fermentation and serving tanks in the brew pub establishment now located in the building.