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Quality events for this weekend

Friday June 03

Half Light Presented by Exhuman at Fuze Box: Goth night!

Hounds Of Hate, Krimewatch, Exit Order, Meter Feeder, High Card, Throat Culture, Bad Eric at Pauly’s: Presented by WCDB.

Studio 54 at Oh Bar: Disco jams from DJ Tall Matt.

Saturday June 04

Albany VegFest at PCC: Veg out.

Caustic Method, Apastron, Head Of Hydrus, Construct Paradise, and Breathe The Skyline at Fuze Box: Metal.

Freihofer’s Run for Women at ESP: Morning race.

Wolff’s to Wolff’s Bicycle Ride: Albany to Troy bike ride.

The Sandlot at Madison Theater: 35¢ matinee screening.

Asa Morris & the Mess, The Stable Gentlemen, Totally Gnarly, and The Escape at Putnam Den: Rock/folk/alt.

Spooky Hat, Blue Ranger, Comfy, Another Michael, Loveport, and Slayer Kitty at WCPH: Alt/rock/indie.

Botanica with DJ Ephraim Asili at The Half Moon: Dance party.

Improv Jam at The Low Beat: Sorry Not Sorry’s first open improv jam.

Sunday June 05

Art on Lark: This has been moved to July 16.

Albany Comic Con at Radisson Hotel Albany: You know.

Bill Burr at Palace Theater: Comedy show.

All weekend

Art Omi: The sculpture fields are awesome.

Day trip to MASS MoCA: Pretty drive and a great museum.

The NYS Museum: Bunch of great exhibits and it’s right in your backyard.

Second-run movies at the Madison Theater: Only five bucks!

Movies at The Spectrum: First run, independent movies at a small centrally located theater.

Farmer’s Markets: Troy, Delmar, and Saratoga on Saturday, and Schenectady and Saratoga on Sunday.

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Coffee in Albany

I’ve written about coffee for a while, but there has been a substantial change in the coffee options in the past few years, so it’s worth looking at as a whole. Especially since some of what I’ve written in the past is not true anymore.

I drink my coffee black and have been doing so since 2008, so keep that in mind when reading my recommendations. If you normally add cream or sugar to your coffee, you’re most likely used to drinking coffee that is roasted with the intention of hiding bad favors rather than being roasted with care to highlight the nuanced flavors of each specific coffee. Those who add sugar and/or milk tend to prefer dark roasts, as a light-to-medium roasted coffee won’t have the “strong coffee flavor” which is able to cut through the milk. This “strong coffee flavor” is generally just the flavor of an over roasted coffee bean, which is not representative of that specific coffee itself. Lighter to medium roasted single origin coffee’s goal is to bring out and highlight certain desirable characteristics of each specific lot of coffee, and is typically listed on the bags as crazy taste descriptors such as root beer, jasmine tea, prosecco, or guava. Try one sometime.

Cafes

Here are the places I’d recommend getting coffee that have a spot to sit and read a book or chat with a friend.

Superior Merchandise Co., 4th St, Troy

Superior Merchandise bill themselves as a “design shop + coffee bar”. They recently added a bottle bar where you can buy rare Nordic beers to take home, and they also have two beers on tap, a bunch of bottles, cider, and canned wine (it’s surprisingly good). In addition to this, they have the strongest coffee program of any shop in the area. Everything from their cheapest batch brew to their $5 signature drinks is considered and well executed. Their coffee comes from select roasters that change every few months. They also host coffee classes about brewing at home with different coffee apparatuses such as the Kalita Wave or Aeropress. They even bring in extremely rare, pricey coffee from somewhere in Scandinavia once a month for the aptly titled Scandinavian Saturdays.

Stacks Espresso Bar, Lark St (Soon to also be on Broadway)

The focus at Stacks is coffee. They are a multi-roaster shop which is still quite rare in this area. That means they have many different coffees from many different companies. They have a small selection in their bakery case of goods from local bakers. Their espresso is among the best in the area, and they usually have more than one option ready to go for espresso. It’s typically their house blend espresso as well as single origin or espresso blend from a featured roaster. I’d recommend avoiding the house coffee, and opt for an Americano with either the house espresso or guest espresso, or a pour over if the shop isn’t too busy. As mentioned, they do pour overs on the Wave or Aeropress, iced pour overs, cold brew, macchiatos, etc., and even pumpkin spice lattes if that’s what you’re into.

Lucas Confectionery, 2nd St, Troy

The Lucas Confectionery is a wine bar in Troy. They have coffee from Portland, Maine’s Tandem Coffee Roasters that you can get as a french press, pour over, or espresso. I’d recommend avoiding the espresso and instead opting for a french press or pour over. You can also buy bags of whole bean coffee from them. They are currently in the process of opening Little Peck’s, an all day cafe, which right out of the gate should be an extremely strong contender for best shop in the area.

Tierra Coffee Roasters, Madison Ave

Tierra Farms is a big company based in Valatie that mostly makes granolas and roasts nuts, but also roasts their own coffee. On Madison Ave they have a store where you can buy all their bulk nuts, coffee, granola and more. Their store is right next to their cafe, which has a nice food menu, beer/wine, and coffee. They do Chemex, cold brew (via Toddy and Hario tower), standard drip coffee, and all the flavored lattes you can dream of. Tierra coffee is not as much of a specialty coffee house as they are a nice cafe that happens to roast their own coffee good enough, but most likely not up to “specialty” standards.

I can not in good faith recommend Uncommon Grounds, Hudson River Coffee House, Delaware Trolley House, Emack and Bolio’s, Bonobo, Stagecoach Coffee, Iron Gate, Mug Shots, or Daily Grind solely for their coffee.

Beans

If you’re a nerd like me and you make your fussy coffee at home, there’s plenty of spots to grab a bag of high quality, freshly roasted coffee beans and not have to pay for shipping.

Brew, Lark St

Brew is a craft beverage shop on Lark St that mainly sells craft beer. They also sell Tandem Coffee, Stumptown, Intelligentsia and more by the bag. They also have coffee brewing supplies such as Chemex, Aeropress and french presses. In the summer they have cold brew and iced yerba mate by the cup, and generally hot coffee by the cup all the time.

Stacks Espresso Bar, Lark St

They have a few shelves of coffee (and brewing supplies) from a revolving selection of roasters, as well as their house-roasted coffee, which I would avoid.

Superior Merchandise Co, 4th St, Troy

Always stocked with fresh bags from whatever roasters they currently have on bar. You can try a cup of each before buying your bag via pourover if that’s what you’re into.

Tierra Coffee, Madison Ave

They have a million different kinds of coffee for sale in their retail store. I would stick to the single origin options listed as light roast only. My last bag of their blonde blend has been closer to a Full City Roast (while listed as light), which shows a massive quality control issue, so proceed with extreme caution.

If you are looking to make your own fussy coffee at home, you can do so easily via pourover or using an SCAA certified machine with fresh coffee, a good burr grinder, and a way to make water hot.

Last updated: May 27, 2016

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Upcoming at SMCo.

SMCo. has a few events in the works, and they’re all in the next few days.

• Tomorrow, May 25: Peaer, Better Pills, Thomas Quinttus, Russel the Leaf: Lo-fi, alternative, indie, rock.

• Friday, May 27: TNO with Erik Savage: Maybe Someday, Probably Not reception. With live music 8-10pm from Rechorderoys, Carl Daniels, and Yellow Teeth.

• Sunday, May 29: Turntables + Bagels with DJ Tall Ass Matt: Boogie your hangover away.

Click the titles of the events above to find out more. Mark your calendar and bring a friend.

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2016 Alive at Five Lineup Announced

Mayor Sheehan announced the 2016 location and lineup for this year’s Alive at Five. The location has moved to Broadway at Tricentennial Park due to construction at the Corning Preserve.

The lineup is as follows:

June 9: Dr. John & The Nite Trippers with Jocamo

June 16: The Joy Formidable with Good Fiction

June 23: Tony! Toni! Tone! with Tameka Amar

June 30: The Chronicles (As Earth Wind And Fire) with Thump Gospel (As Michael Jackson)

July 14: Enter The Haggis with Hair Of The Dog

July 21: Bloc Party with Titanics

July 28: Locash with Skeeter Creek

August 4: Molly Hatchet with Tumbleweed Highway

For more info head to albanyevents.org

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Berben and Wolff’s Vegan Delicatessen opening Tuesday

Berben and Wolff’s Vegan Delicatessen will be opening it’s doors for a soft opening on Tuesday May 17 at 227 Lark Street.

Berben and Wolff’s have been supplying the seitan to local restaurants such as New World, The Ruck, Madison Cafe, and more for a while and I’m incredibly excited for them to have their own space. I’m also excited for other restaurants to start to compete in the vegan space as well as the “actually make something good and/or take some risks” space. (Side note: The Ruck, a very unlikely bar to cater to vegans has added a ton of great items to their menu in the recent past that are vegan, and are often sold out from demand.)

Their opening menu looks incredibly good, and includes items such as a popcorn mushroom po’ boy, a seitan philly, a cuban sandwich, bbq jackfruit and much more.

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Head to the Berben and Wolff Facebook page to stay in the loop.