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Food, Beer & Music Done Right

June 9, 2017

Man, I’m digging this spring. I’m tempted to call it summer. Because this is the summer side of spring. The winter side of spring is pretty sucky. But now? Now strawberries are in season. The CSA is making deliveries. It’s staying light until late at night. And all the free outdoor concerts have begun.

I can’t keep track of them all, but I was told the Times Union wrote up a summary and put it online somewhere.

Last night was both the first Alive at Five in Albany and the second Brown’s Summer Sessions in Troy. Maybe I did something stupid. I decided to go to both. Of course, that meant I had to miss out on the headliner in Albany. But I really couldn’t tell you anything about the guy who plays sax for the Rolling Stones.

For that matter, I can’t tell you the name of the headlining band at Brown’s Summer Sessions. They came from Philly. I know that. And just like the band that headlined at Brown’s last week, these guys had a ton of energy, a rock star attitude, and a killer sound.

But there’s something else that’s going on in Brown’s backyard that makes this extra special.

Once upon a time the Yanni’s truck was at Alive at Five and I got to try their famous calamari. It lived up to the hype. This year, no Yanni’s truck. The food options at the festival were pretty sparse. There was some flaccid pizza, a generic looking gyro and sausage grill tent, and a soul food truck that I had never seen before. Oh yeah, and there was some super sketchy ice cream truck selling packaged frozen novelties.

The soul food may have been fantastic, but I really wasn’t feeling like anything that heavy. Plus I was a bit put off by the fact that neither the food truck nor the grill tent listed prices for any of the food items they were selling.

That seemed like a clear indication of price gouging. So I left to get food elsewhere.

You know what’s better than overpriced food? Free food. And amazingly, for the second week in a row the tent was offering a lovely spread of treats for its users at Brown’s Summer Sessions.

Beyond that, the food vendors behind Brown’s are a cross section of Troy. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is there, Wolff’s Biergarten has wursts, and Slidin’ Dirty was slinging mini burgers from the truck. I treated myself to a blue cheese bacon burger with avocado, arugula, tomato, fried onions, and a horseradish cream. When ordering, I asked if they could make it a bit on the rare side. They did. And it was great.

Say what you will about Dinosaur, but I think the value equation changes when they are out and about selling food from the catering tent. Because then you can get a pulled pork slider for four or five bucks. Now, I haven’t tried this at Summer Sessions, but in the past when I’ve been to events where Dino was serving, I’ve been able to ask for my pulled pork with extra bark. And that has been fantastic.

You know what else I got at the Brown’s event that I didn’t at Alive at Five? A beer.

Surely this will sound snobbish, but I have no interest in drinking the macrobrews sold at most music festivals. When the top of the tap is Stella and Goose Island, I’m just not interested. I see those words, and in my mind they translate to “Fancy Budweiser”.

Naturally, Brown’s was serving their own beers, but they also had one on tap that was a collaboration between themselves and Troy’s own Rare Form. It’s called Troybot, and it is a blonde ale made with with lime zest and coriander. And as far as I’m concerned, at 5.25% with 20 IBUs it’s a perfect hanging-out-listening-to-music-by-the-water-on-a-late-spring-evening beer.

More than anything else, what’s going on behind Brown’s feels like a neighborhood block party. It feels authentic. It feels like it’s part of the community. It is Troy through and through. The stage is even set up in the shadow of the Green Island Bridge. Love it, or hate it, that steel monster is one of the defining visual landmarks of the Collar City.

Before heading home, I popped into the new Dutch Udder shop for some beer flavored ice cream. The Wit is made with malted wheat, coriander, orange peel, and banana. It’s clever, and more importantly delicious.

Of course, the tragedy of Troy is that there are a dozen things I wanted to do within walking distance, but just didn’t have the time or appetite to tackle.

But if I keep on showing up on Thursday nights for Brown’s Summer Sessions, maybe I’ll be able to cross a few off my list.

One Comment leave one →
  1. dorothy gaiter permalink
    June 10, 2017 12:58 am

    Hi Fussy, it was probably Burrs Berry Farm in South Dade County. John and I loved the strawberry milk shakes. The BEST ever! Hugs, Dottie

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