Implementing four generations of Italian winemaking techniques, Altamont Vineyard cultivates more than 20 kinds of grapes, carefully blending each variety to compose a small selection of handcrafted wines. Rolling green hills flanked by the Helderberg Mountains invite vineyard visitors to feast eyes on scenic vistas as they partake of scrupulously fashioned vintages.
At City Steam Brewery Cafe, the owners concoct some of the area’s finest beers, scoring “best of” awards from Hartford magazine and Connecticut Magazine. They also brew potent batches of laughter inside their 200-seat comedy show-room theater. Ensconced in the historic Brown Thomson and Co. building, which was the state’s largest department store in 1877, Brew Ha Ha once was known as the Last Laugh Comedy Club, where fledgling unknowns such as Ray Romano and Kevin James vied for laughs in the smoky rathskeller of a restaurant.
Reborn in 1997 under a new moniker, the standup speakeasy keeps its calendar packed with nationally touring comics and local joke slingers. During shows, guests can toast with mugs of handcrafted beer and make edible sculptures of their favorite comedian using menu’s custom burgers, pizzas, and omelets.
In the mid-18th century, distillers at Albany's first distillery, the Quackenbush Still House, crafted rum from Caribbean molasses, Hudson River water, and wild yeast. Instead of Quackenbush's large wooden fermenting vessels, The Albany Distilling Company's distilling duo, Matt Jager and John Curtin, rely on sleek, modern equipment to create their Quackenbush Still House rum. Updated gear, yeast, and water aside, Matt and John stick to Quackenbush's original recipe to yield the rum's smooth, butterscotch-flavored finish.
Their other small-batch spirits likewise pay homage to recipes of old, from the slowly processed Coal Yard New Make whiskey to Ironweed, a Prohibition-style whiskey aged in oak. Available throughout New York state, The Albany Distilling Company's libations are also served twice weekly at the distillery's very own tasting room.
A 17-foot-long red oak bar stretches along one of the rustic wooden walls inside Brookview Station Winery. Here, guests can sample vintner Ed Miller’s award-winning wines, which he makes from red and white grapes and locally grown fruits. Located at Goold Orchards, Brookview Station is perhaps best known for its apple wines, including Whistle-Stop White, a semi-dry white wine named 2007's Best Hudson River Region Wine by the Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Association. However, according to the Times Union, the winery has recently trended toward the use of other fruits, producing notable ferments such as The Conductor’s Cassis, a black-currant cordial handcrafted in the traditional style of French artisan winemakers. Visitors can graciously waft Miller’s wares at wine tastings held seven days a week.