Vibe Check: Saratoga Living Beer Release Party
What went on at Whitman Brewing on Wednesday, plus SPAC's new culinary arts offering, Saratoga on Jeopardy, and a Netflix documentary starring Saratogian Suleika Jaouad.
Ever since our Covid-era virtual beer tasting with Northway Brewing, I’ve wanted to partner with a brewery on a Saratoga Living beer. After months of planning, a city-wide vote for the name, my first experience actually brewing beer, and an afternoon spent canning it, Wheat All About It, our collaboration beer with Whitman Brewing, finally hit the market this Wednesday.
And Saratoga showed up to celebrate.
“I would say this is better than a Blue Moon,” said Dan Graham as he sipped on his first glass of Wheat All About It. “But I don’t like Blue Moon.”
“Is there anything else you want, beer-wise?” Dan’s friend Andy Mink asked him after finishing his own beer.
“Uh, beer.” Dan said, trusting Andy to pick out a proper pour for him. (The pair was there pre-gaming a whiskey dinner with the Saratoga Whiskey Club at Kindred, which, Dan told me, is “par for the course.”)
Kirsten Lambert, former owner of Tailgate and Party, on the other hand, is a big fan of Blue Moon and our version of an orange-y wheat beer. “They had this party for me,” she told Paul Hennessey and me. “Wheat beer is the only beer I drink now.” While Kirsten said she’s enjoying retirement, her husband, Philip said he’s skeptical that it will stick, since Kirsten has “retired” twice in the past. Philip and Paul then went on to “workshop” some jokes, including one about a boyfriend who wanted to move in with a girlfriend who wanted to move on, and another about how Rudolph doesn’t really have it that bad. “Rudolph,” Paul said, “There are a lot of reindeer out there looking for work.”
Spencer Sherry had a more imaginative review of Wheat All About It. “It’s like your magazine,” he told me. “Mostly wholesome with a bit of a bite.” (No, I’m not quite sure what that means either.) The conversation, predictably, turned to Tiina Loite’s quote in my story on Saratoga Arts’ Foundation Experience event: “Speakeasy?” she said on the lower level of Saratoga Arts, which had been transformed into a speakeasy. “Yawn.” Despite being the mastermind behind the speakeasy in question, Spencer got a kick out of Tiina’s assessment, and then brought up the fact that it wasn’t very speakeasy-ish of The Coat Room to offer a free flatbread pizza promo on Instagram. “I mean, I took advantage—I went,” he added quickly after. “I capitalized on that, for sure.”
Elsewhere in the party, guests took repeat trips to the pizza table, musician Paul Lambert elevated the ambiance, and brewer Nick Meyer led tours of the brewery. Some attendees were far more invested in the tour—such as home brewer Dave Mueller, who asked about fining agents and if Whitman would ever brew a triple Belgian beer—than others—such as amateur bread-baker Maddy Halverson who only tuned in when she heard the word yeast. “I know about yeast,” she said excitedly.
Also in attendance were Taylor Rao and Jack Carpenter of Two Buttons Deep; Kim and Leigh McConchie, who blamed the empties on their table on Carly Conners; Carly Conners, who opted for an espresso martini instead of beer but in fact did not drink all the drinks on the McConchies’ table; Bright Sighted Media’s Christine O’Donnell, who’s producing the show Seriously Catherine, of which Saratoga Living After Hours is a partner (tune in next week for our first full episode!); the couple that met not at Single in Saratoga but because of Single in Saratoga; and Helen Mastrion of Hunt Real Estate, our proud presenting sponsor (and SLAH super fan!) who made the whole night possible.
As the clock drew closer to 9pm, Spencer and I marveled at how many people were still hanging around. “You’ve gotta love a good Wednesday night linger,” he said.
I approached one group of my coworkers lingering at the bar, and as I got closer, realized someone was talking about politics. An empty-handed Tracy Momrow looked at the beer in my hand. “Can I have a sip of that?”
See the rest of photos from the party here.
Quote of the Week
“Sometimes you just want to sit in an old, rustic hipster tavern.”
—Steve Struss on Whitman Brewing’s event space
Thank U, Next
One Wednesday party down, one to go! Join us this Wednesday—December 6—at Putnam Place for our 5th annual Capital Region Gives Back fundraiser, presented by Rotor-Matic Plumbing & Drain Solutions. The event will raise money for 10 nonprofits represented by 10 Capital Region do-gooders; choose which cause you want to support at checkout, and 50% of your ticket cost will go directly to that charity. The night will feature food by West Ave Pizza and Chicken, dessert by Bella Napoli, signature drinks by Saratoga Eagle and music by DJ Eric, plus a short program emceed by NewsChannel 13’s Mark Mulholland. Get your tickets now.
This Is Jeopardy!
Gansevoort’s Grant Cottage got a bit of a shoutout on Jeopardy! this week…without actually being mentioned. C’mon, producers, couldn’t you have at least said “Saratoga County home”?
Save the Date
This week, SPAC announced the next installment in its popular CulinaryArts@SPAC series: Win Son: A Taste of Taiwan, coming to The Pines at SPAC on Friday, January 26. The evening will center around the cuisine of Win Son, a Taiwanese-American restaurant and bakery in Brooklyn that’s on the Michelin list. In addition to exclusive samplings from the Win Son cookbook (think: five-spice buttered peanuts, pan-griddled pork buns, and mochi donuts), guests will hear from Win Son’s owner and chef about the culture and cuisine that has made Chinese food in America endure and evolve. Get your tickets now before they sell out.
Thursday night marked the official start of the holiday season in Saratoga as Broadway shut down for the beloved annual Victorian Streetwalk. Click the photo above to see some scenes from the evening taken by @seeninsaratoga.
Nearly three years after the release of Saratoga native Suleika Jaouad’s memoir about her battle with cancer and subsequent cross-country road trip, comes a Netflix documentary about her relationship with her husband, five-time Grammy-winning musician Jon Batiste. Part process film, part love story, American Symphony follows Jon’s journey in composing the eponymous symphony while living a “life of contrasts”—Suleika, who, since writing Between Two Kingdoms has had a recurrence of cancer. Called “one of the best love stories seen on film” by Variety, American Symphony is now available to stream on Netflix.