On Friday afternoon, I joined some colleagues at the new Albany Taproom for a drink and a snack. The place had only been open for six days, but the staff seemed to have found their rhythm, the wireless internet was functioning, and the beer was flowing.
Open and airy, the tap room is adjacent to its sister restaurant, Grazzy Burger. Although the registers are separate, a door connecting the two establishments permits a free traffic of beef and beer.
Maybe it's the absence of a flat-screen TV glowing in a corner, but the taproom's clean modern interior belies something old-fashioned about the bar. Much of the seating is at two large wooden tables where it's easy to imagine Albanians who arrived separately enjoying conversation together over a brew. After all, not all neighborhood discussion should be conducted online.
And on the subject of beer and society, this interesting piece in Sunday's New York Times posits that our ancient ancestors brewed beer before they started baking bread. The writer argues that psychopharmaceutical drinks provided an essential release from the rigid social codes that helped neolithic humans ultimately become such a successful species. In sum, no beer, no civilization.