Citizens of Hudson rarely require a reason to stop by the Spotty Dog Books & Ale for a frosty glass on a summer afternoon, the establishment regularly offering the perfect combination of brewskis and reading material – and frequent musical entertainment, as well. But in case you need an excuse, the Hudson Area Library History Room Committee is hosting its monthly Local History Speaker Series there on Thursday, August 6 for a fundraiser benefiting the preservation efforts of the history collection at the Library.
“Local Beer Meets Local History” will feature Craig Gravina, author of the book Upper Hudson Valley Beer, and Neil Evans, owner of the C. H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station in Quackenbush Square, in conversation about the tradition of beermaking in the region. Evans will speak on the history of the Evans Brewery prior to Prohibition: His family was in the commercial brewing business for multiple generations at the original facility, built in Hudson in 1786. Production continued there until 1920, with levels peaking at 65,000 barrels of beer in this location – one of the earliest bottling facilities in the country. Now the Company’s rich heritage has been revived at the Albany Pump Station, where turn-of-the-century photos and other memorabilia can be seen.
Gravina, admitting to be a world-class beer-drinker and aficionado of beer culture, will share his vast knowledge of other breweries operating in the area during the same time period. Researching the brewing history of his hometown of Albany, he discovered the long-lost story of Albany Ale: a mystery that caused him and blogging friend Alan MacLeod to form the Albany Ale Project. Now an international research endeavor focused on bringing the history and stories of a once-vital industry to light, the Albany Ale Project has taken them on a journey spanning nearly 400 years, from the arrival of the first Dutch brewers to the 21st century.
The renaissance of craft-brewing in the upper Hudson Valley is a subject near and dear to Evans’ and Gravina’s hearts. At the event at Spotty Dog, a tasting of Evans Ales will be offered along with a pint of your choice for $15, with proceeds to benefit the Library’s History Room, which houses a special collection pertaining to the City of Hudson, Columbia County and New York State. It includes books, maps, documents, artifacts and photographs, many of which were donated over the years. The History Room Committee offers educational, recreational, aesthetic, cultural and informational programs, services and materials to the public free of charge.
Soon to be housed in the newly renovated Hudson Armory – it’s anticipated that the Library will move in by the end of this year – the History Room will be located in the large turret at the southwest corner of the building. The Committee is currently in the process of creating an oral history audio archive and a mini-museum of artifacts. Progress in raising funds and converting the first floor of the Armory for the new 12,000-square-foot Library is ongoing.
Currently located at 400 State Street, the Hudson Area Library History Room is open on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and by appointment. For more information, visit https://hudsonarealibrary.org or call (518) 828-1792.
Hudson Area Library History Room Committee Fundraiser: Local Beer Meets Local History, Thursday, August 6, 6 p.m., $15, The Spotty Dog Books & Ale, 440 Warren Street, Hudson; (518) 671-6006, www.thespottydog.com.