“He was a wise man who invented beer.”

Plato

I don’t visit the Saratoga Casino and Raceway (342 Jefferson St, Saratoga) often but I do it enough that I earned a deal on a room at the Gideon Putnam (24 Gideon Putnam Road, Saratoga Springs). Beerweek20131I’ve never stayed at the Gideon before but we figured that there was no better weekend to take advantage of this deal than Saratoga Beerweek. I took part in beer week last year thanks to an online deal and it came with a glass and tokens for five beers. This year, the price was $40 and you were allowed unlimited beer tastings. I wasn’t able to afford it last year but I did go around bar to bar the night before and tried a few new local beers. the Gideon Putnam is only a short drive to Broadway and the rest of the strong nightlife side streets. If you’re worried about parking, you can take a shuttle from the hotel as long as you call in advance so it’s ready but the shuttle stops running at 11PM so if you intend on leaving downtown after that, make sure you have a cab number to bring you back.

For dinner, we had a Groupon to Irish Times Pub and Restaurant (14 Phila Street, Saratoga) and decided to go there. Plus, what’s a better place to start Beerweek than an Irish bar? At least in my opinion, there’s no where else to begin. Beerweek20132To start, I ordered an Oatmeal Stout from Brown’s Brewing Company (417 River St, Troy). According to their website, the stout took home a Gold Medal at the World Beer Cup in San Diego in 2004. It has underlying flavors of caramel and chocolate with a 5.25% abv which is pretty high for a beer but usually expected from a stout, compared to Guinness that tends to run a lower to mid 4%.

Irish Times offers a lot of what you would expect from an Irish restaurant with staples like Guinness beef stew, fish and chips and a reuben. We happened to go out on a Friday night during Lent and being the good Catholics that we are, were forced to lean toward the vegetarian or fish options on the menu. I decided on the Crab Cake Sandwich ($12.99) topped with a Red Pepper Aioli, lettuce and tomatoes on a Kaiser roll. We also had at the table, Coconut Shrimp ($9.99) that was Butterflied shrimp encrusted in coconut and Japanese breadcrumbs, deep-fried and served with a tropical Mango Chutney and potato crab cakes ($11.99) served on a bed of field greens with a Red Pepper Aioli sauce. I really enjoyed my crab cake sandwich but didn’t feel the need to eat it on the Kaiser roll. The Red Pepper Aioli was delicious and paired well with the crab cake, it gave it a different taste than the usual plain aioli that is served with a crab cake. Next, we stopped at the Saratoga City Tavern (21 Caroline St, Saratoga) where they were focused on Davidson Bros (184 Glen St, Glens Falls) on tap. The only Davidson Bros. available at that time were IPAs and I don’t usually enjoy the hops so I instead ordered a Fireball Whiskey and Coke. Though this product isn’t local, I have to say that if you like Red Hots and haven’t had this Whiskey, it’s worth a try- you’ll probably enjoy it!

The next morning we had breakfast at the Gideon Putnam and it was so delicious, it hit the spot. They had a great variety in their Breakfast menu, everything sounded delicious. Beerweek20133I ordered a New York Everything Bagel with Onion and Chive Cream Cheese and Smoked Sockeye Salmon ($3 for the bagel, Add Salmon $4) along with a yogurt parfait with fresh berries ($6). Everything was delicious. The salmon was wonderful, very fresh as were the berries in the yogurt parfait. The yogurt in the parfait was plain and the first couple bites weren’t that delicious but after I had room to mix in the granola and berries, I almost ate the entire thing. That was probably one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a while, I was really happy with the quality of the food.

The room we stayed in was very comfortable and the hotel did offer free wi-fi which I liked. I feel a hotel should offer free wi-fi, even if I have to go to the front desk and get a free password though that wasn’t the case with the Gideon. If you decide to stay at the Gideon, take a look at the Roosevelt Baths. Though I didn’t have the funds or time to utilize how close I was staying, I’ve only heard good things about the experience. As I figure, if you’re from the area, you’re saving money on gas or airfare to take a vacation in another area, use that money on pampering yourself. Have you ever stayed at the Gideon? What was your experience?

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