New Albanian Brewing Company
415 Bank St
New Albany, Indiana
Visited on February 15, 2008
New Albanian is one of my favorite small breweries that I’ve been to. I loved the lounge area with a ton of couches and comfortable chairs, even despite the fact that it was incredibly smoky. Luckily, they also have a large, more family-oriented space that seemed to be smoke-free.
New Albanian is really more of a beer bar than a brewpub. They have a ton of bottles to choose from. They do still have a few of their own selections, however, and they tend to be pretty solid options.
Also, the pizza is awesome.
Rich O’s Public House… Now this is what a brewpub should be. A uniquely decorated small pub with various rooms and corridors filled to the brim with young patrons, seasoned veterans, and everyone in-between. Besides the two tiny bars there are couches, leather chairs, coffee tables, and other randomly accumulated furniture to sit at and have a beer, appetizer, or entree. There are also tables and chairs, but few (if any) are the same. It’s a dark, smoky pub that just screams authenticity. Now on the other side of the wall is Sports Time Pizza, which is much more family friendly. It’s cavernous, with a good mix of booths and counter-style tables. Kids are welcome, there are a few plasma televisions for the sports game, and there’s a decently sized bar. And let’s not forget about the GIANT chalkboard with the beer list, even though they can only fit about a quarter of their massive selection on it.
The food is pizza, pizza, and more pizza. There are other things on the menu, but I don’t know why anybody would even bother. The traditional crust (which I had) was simply delicious, and possibly the best pizza I’ve ever had. You can get up to 10 toppings, which somehow costs the same as 5. But they also have deep dish, and these are works of art. They truly look like pies with the crust, perfectly baked to a golden brown, sticking several inches above the thickly piled toppings, cheese, and sauce. They also have upside-down deep dish, which I didn’t see, but it sounds pretty interesting.
Their own brews were the one weak point of this establishment. They typically have four of their own on tap with a constantly rotating seasonal. The Old-15 B Porter was a decent choice with a complex malty taste and mild hops. The community dark was rather bland, mainly because it’s a dark ESB (which I’ve never heard of) meant to appeal to the masses. Their Elector and Croupier are very hopped, and would please any hophead. They didn’t even have their famous Hoptimus, which probably has a hoppiness off the charts. Their seasonal at the time was the Elsa Von Horizon Imperial Pilsner, and this was my favorite. Delicately hopped, slightly sweet, and very complex for a pilsner. My only complaint was the lack of a description for each of the beers on a handy menu, although maybe I just didn’t see it.
I also give them some bonus points for their “guest” beer selection. I mean they quite possibly have about 225 selections of beer from near and far. They range from $3.00 bottles of local craft beer to $35 dollar 750-mL bottles of Belgian Lambics and German Meads. It boggled my mind and was, honestly, quite overwhelming. But despite the high number, not a single light American lager amongst the choices. Kudos!