Misty Bleu Farm Blog

About Misty Bleu Farm

Misty Bleu Farm is located in beautiful Washington County, New York at the head of the Black Creek ValleyMisty Bleu Farm produces hops for the R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.

Located on 50 acres in the heart of the Hebron Hills, Misty Bleu Farm is the home of R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.  The Brewery and Taproom are open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 9:00 pm.  Come experience true field to glass farm-brewed beer at our farm, nestled among green hills and stunning natural beauty.  Our farm boasts over 600 feet of frontage on the West Branch of the Black Creek, with waterfalls and rushing cascades.  Tours of the brewery and grounds are available.  The Farm and Brewery are also available to be rented out for special events.  Please visit the brewery website, www.rstaylorbrewing.com for more details and directions.

Follow our journey as we create the Most Beautiful Farm Brewery in America!


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Restaurant Review: The Merry Monk in Saratoga Springs

Misty Bleu Farm - Sunday, April 07, 2013

A couple weeks back for my birthday, Rich and I tried out the Saratoga Springs outpost of the Merry Monk in the old Tiznow location on Henry Street.  Henry Street is fast becoming the most hip pub -hopping destination in Saratoga.

 According to Ian, the menu is more abbreviated at the downtown Albany location, and  I'm glad they expanded it here.  In addition to their famous mussels frites selection (there are about 6 or 7 different choices sold by the pound or two pounds), they offer the prerequisite steaks, salads, sandwiches, etc. that you'd expect to find on any good pub menu.

Here's a picture of our mussels frites with the bisque preparation:

 

After the delicious mussels frites ( the one pound order was more than enough for the two of us for an appetizer), I made a pig of myself and had the steak AND then had the Belgian waffle with ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. 

All the food was excellent and complimented their extensive Belgian beer list.  In addition to having about 7-8 beers on tap, they had about a two page list of Belgian beers by the bottle.  It is a considerable list, with most bottles being in the $8.00 - $10.00; very reasonable when you consider what many bars and restaurants charge for mediocre wines by the glass nowadays. 

The Saturday night we were there was not overly busy.  In fact, there were still tables available when we left at 7:00 pm, prime dining time.  However, they seemed a little light on the number of waitstaff in the dining room.  Our server was very nice, but she seemed rushed and was not always around when we needed something.  The only other down side was the noise level in the room.  It is just that - one big room with the bar on the left with some high top tables and the main dining area on the right.  Even though they were not full on the night we were there, I found the noise level to be uncomfortable. 

We'll definitely be back.  The Merry Monk is a serious Belgian pub, not kitschy in any way.  And while some may balk at a bar/pub serving only Belgian or Belgian style brews, there's certainly more than enough variety in the Belgian beer canon to satisfy most beer lovers.  Plus, the food on the Monk's menu is very beer-friendly, making for a very fun night out in the Belgian tradition.

Restaurant Review: Boca Bistro in Saratoga Springs, New York

Misty Bleu Farm - Friday, March 01, 2013

We visited DZ Restaurant Group's latest entry on Broadway in Saratoga Springs, the Boca Bistro, twice now.  We visited once as a couple and once as part of a foursome.  Both times, both on busy nights, we were pleasantly surprised to find good service, a convivial atmosphere, and delicious food.  We had been informed by some Saratoga denizens in the know about a recent dining experience considered less than stellar.  I have to say now after two trips, I am thoroughly enjoying this restaurant.  While this is, indeed, an Americanized version of Spanish food, the menu is thoughtful and just ecclectic enough to attract a wide audience.

 

In a side note:  In the winter, avoid sitting near the entranceway from outside.  The first night we were there we were given a table along the glassed-in entry, and a steady cold breeze blew in around our feet and legs.  The excellent service we received throughout our dinner took the edge off our chill, though.

On both evenings, we ordered the paella - the house specialty.  The seafood paella was studded with plenty of mussels, shrimp and a surprise of tender calamari.  The chicken and chorizo paella, which we had on our second visit, had some seafood as well as authentic chorizo.  It was definitely a bit spicier than the seafood-only version.   The seafood on both occasions was fresh and delicious.

 At $22 per person, it is not necessarily an inexpensive proposition, but the paella is presented in a big paella pan at the table, so it makes for a fun family-style experience.  The portion sizes are more than generous, and the pretty presentation makes it seem very impressive. If you do order the paella, plan on waiting a bit longer than you normally would expect for an entree to arrive.  The server on our first visit was nice enough to point this out, so we expected the wait.  On our second trip, the server did not inform us of it.  They should make a habit of letting guests know about that.  We were told the additional time was needed as each order of paella is made from scratch.  Here's a snap of the seafood paella for two:

The only fault I had with the paella was the use of green peppers instead of red peppers only.  Just a pet peeve of mine.  Also, I detected a few florets of cauliflower and broccoli in there, too.  Not exactly authentic, but at least there were a few vegetables in there. 

In addition to the paella, the rest of the menu is devoted to a few entrees and a tapas-style selection of other Spanish-influenced and Mediterranean offerings.  The serrano ham and cheese fritters are excellent, and the portion size was more than enough for two:

 

We rounded out our second visit with a few glasses of red wine, a couple of margaritas and some of their house white sangria.  I thought the margaritas were so-so, nothing to write home about.  The white sangria was slightly better than average - again I think they could have done better. 

We skipped dessert the second visit, but I had the churros and chocolate the first time I was there.  Cinnamon and sugar dusted donut sticks with hot chocolate to dip them in?  What can I say?  More restaurants should have this dessert on their menus.  It's a winning combination. 

The damage:  For a party of four with four glasses of red wine, 2 margaritas, 2 glasses of white sangria, 2 appetizers and a paella for 4 with no desserts, the bill came to $162 including tax.  With the tip it came to $200 even.  I thought this was pretty reasonable for an evening out for 4 adults in Saratoga Springs.  We can't wait to go back, and I think at Boca Bistro it's the more the merrier.

This is Beer Week 2013 in Saratoga Springs! Other Beer News

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, February 18, 2013

We'll be attending the beer festival on Saturday in Saratoga Springs, NY.  We've got it all figured out.  We'll be staying at the Gideon Putnam hotel (special room rate thanks to my sister!) so there's no worries about driving home or even driving back to the hotel.  They have a shuttle that will pick us up - awesome!  We have dinner reservations at Boca Bistro on Broadway for after the beer tastings, and I'll be reviewing the Bistro in a later post. 

A few things about last year.  I believe they have done away with the tokens - yay!  Your entrance fee paid for a small tasting beer glass and five tokens last year, and those went pretty quickly, obviously.  We have heard that this year will be unlimited beer, so we'll see.  The only other peeve from last year was that some of the exhibitors were asking more than one token for a sampling of their beer (the brewery name starts with "O", hint hint).  Let's hope they've done away with that, too.

We're looking to place our order for hop rhizomes and/or plants by March 5th.  We will be putting in an experimental planting in the front field this spring.  We'll provide growth updates throughout the spring and summer and let you know which varieties we are growing and how well they do.  The farm is a Zone 5a, if I am not mistaken, so we have to be careful about cold hardiness. 

Rich attended the Farmer-Brewer Workshop at The Carey Center in Rensselaerville on Saturday.  Very informative.  For those of you not already aware, the second wave of the craft brew revolution is here.  Now comes the hard part of sourcing larger and larger shares of the farm-brewed beer ingredients from New York State farmers.  And we'll need more malt houses.  This thing is just gearing up, people.  The current environment here in New York State for brewing and distilling is akin to what was going on in the wine indurstry the Napa Valley of California in the late '60's and early '70's.  The only difference is that New York State government seems to be ready and willing to push this along.  Seems hard to believe.  It is an exciting time to be a beer and spirits drinker in New England now.  Lucky us.

Review - Henry Street Tap Room, Saratoga Springs NY

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, December 03, 2012

  

Two weeks ago, we visited the fairly new Henry Street Tap Room, just off the main drag in Saratoga.  Luckily, we got there early on a Saturday night, as by 5:00 pm all the tables in the place were full.  That is part of the charm and will also be part of the frustration with this place - the diminutive size.  

 Rustic industrial chic is the interior scheme, with what appeared to be a real wood-burning fireplace in one corner.  On a chilly November night, the place seemed cozy and convivial with a mix of long tables and high tops accommodating different sized groups. 

While Rich was impressed with their beer menu, it was hard not to notice their heavy reliance on IPA's, which seemed a bit odd given the time of year.  We'll check back soon to see if they've moved their beers on tap into the winter drinking season.  Both of us were impressed by their scotch and whisky collection and the excellent cocktail menu incorporating them.  I'll be trying those next time when I'm not designated driver.

The food we had was delicious - I had the duck quesadilla and Rich had the venison chili after chomping on a nicely designed cheese plate. 

 

Only problem - we were still hungry after those plates.  The sausage plate we then ordered could have used some bread to sop up all the juices and the pretzel with beer cheese was, well,  interesting, but certainly no more than a snack.  I topped out the meal with a $7.00 stout cupcake.  Expecting an extra-large cupcake for $7.00, I was disappointed with a smaller than average sized cupcake.  And the bacon it came with wasn't even candied.  I think they can do better than that.  The rest of their menu shows they can.  So, for the time being, don't expect to get filled up by what's on the menu.  It's more for grazing and snacking as you make the Henry Street Taproom your first destination for a night spent out on the town.

Restaurant Review: Head to Head: Olde English Pub vs. Druthers Brewpub

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, November 05, 2012

Since we're planning to establish a brewery on site on the farm, we deemed it important to begin doing market research.  Like that was going to be a problem - eating out and drinking a lot of different beers.    We started off with Ian's recommendation, which was the Olde English Pub in downtown Albany on Thursday night. 

The decor is pretty simple - plain walls, burlap at the windows, a few old photos and lots of long old tables and chairs.  In fact, they had some of the smallest antique chairs I think I have ever seen.  Owen looked like Buddy the Elf sitting in the chair he was given.  They were surprisingly busy for a Thursday night, but we found a table upstairs against the back wall.  Service was brisk and casual.  I like the limited menu.  It just makes things easy.  The fish and chips was pretty good, so were the wings and chicken pasties.  For inexpensive bar food it was more than passable.  No dessert - but I wasn't really expecting that.  Ian and Rich enjoyed choosing from the eclectic beer list - all established brands like Samuel Smith's.  It's pretty hard to beat these old school English brewers - they've been doing it a long time.

And that is pretty much the challenge for the Druthers Brewing Company in Saratoga Springs, which Rich and I hit up fairly early last Friday night.  I have to say I am completely jealous of their outdoor courtyard, which you have to walk through to get to the restaurant and brewery.  Complete with an outdoor bar and lots of tables and chairs, it's going to be a happening place come racing season.  Inside, the restaurant and bar is surprisingly small considering how much was spent on the project overall - I hear it was about $2.5 million. 

 Given that, they're going to have to get a lot of butts in seats with a quick turnaround to make a go of it here.  The entire top level of the building is given over to brewing equipment not bar space or dining space, so they paid a premium for all that brewing space.  Does it really make a difference whether you brew the beer there on site at the restaurant or at some low rent warehouse space?  I guess they're going to find out. 

Rich ordered the Druthers brown ale right out of the starting gate.  His opinion was that it was so-so.  Not a good start.  In order to be successful as a small craft brewery, you have to make beer that is just as good or better than what is otherwise commercially available.  Otherwise, why would people go out of their way to drink your beer when the commercial stuff is easier to obtain?

For dinner, we ordered the calamari and the beet salad to start.  Just like the Olde English, their menu is a bit abbreviated, which I find refreshing.  It was inventive without being completely off the wall.  Calamari was very good - the portion was easily enough for 2-3 as an appetizer.  The beet salad was an odd size.  A bit too large for one person as a starter salad yet not quite substantial enough for an entree.  The greens were fresh and crisp, although the dressing didn't really do them justice - it just kind of clung there without adding much.  The beets were a hair too vinagary for me, and the salad was definitely missing something - it needed one more element besides the toasted pumpkin seeds, which were awesome.  I would have added a bit of blue cheese or perhaps some smoked gouda to the salad to cut the vinegar bite of the beets and add a bit of substance and richness.  Then it would have been perfect as an entree salad.

 We then each ordered the pasta bolognese bake - which came in a pretty good sized skillet.  Nice, but again nothing out of the ordinary.  Rich liked his second beer better - it was served in a small glass this time, but after tasting it I concluded it was not exactly for everyone and wouldn't be something you'd want to consume in any great quantity.  Dessert was a bust - carrot cake, "gluten free" chocolate cake and an ice cream cookie sandwich - they're going to have to ramp it up a bit in the dessert department. 

The draw at Druthers is going to be their courtyard, certainly not the beer and certainly not the food - both of which others in Saratoga are doing way better right now.  Inside, their space is incredibly cacophonous and not conducive to a casual conversation with a group of friends over a few micro-brews.  Apparently they didn't factor sound control into their $2.5 million budget.  The Olde English has a quaint courtyard at the back and front of their building, as well.  But the Olde English, for all it's Matt Baumgartner derivative schtick has real charm and a genuine cool factor.  For all their effort - Druthers comes up short in this regard.  There's a generic, warehouse-y feel to the place - not a real identity.  Perhaps this will come with time, but even their logo seems somewhat derivative to me. 

The Albany bar scene is tough, but the Saratoga bar scene is brutal.  Druthers needs to ramp up their efforts on their beer and food in order to compete and thrive.  We'll check them out again in a few months to see how they're doing.