By Paul Post
Common Roots Brewing Company, best-known for its popular craft beer and ale, now helps people start their day right by serving up fresh coffee, roasted on site, and a selection of tasty breakfast sandwiches.
The Café, open 7 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday, is located in the firm’s spacious new multi-purpose building, which Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado christened during recent ribbon cutting ceremonies.
“We started roasting our own coffee because it’s an important ingredient for some of our beers like our Coffee Cup stout,” said Bert Weber, who co-owns Common Roots with his son, Christian. “It became kind of a progression after that. While we’re making coffee we thought it might be a nice way to introduce the public to this space. So we have a lot of people coming in now for coffee and an egg sandwich or breakfast burrito. It’s exposing the space to people who might see it as a nice place to have a celebration or party.”
The new building, called Bierhall & Barrel House, is on the south side of Common Roots’ restaurant and brewery, at 58 Saratoga Avenue in South Glens Falls.
The $3.6 million structure, aided by $450,000 in state economic development funding, can accommodate up to 200 people and has already hosted a wedding and a travel program about a local adventurer’s trek to the Himalayas in Nepal.
“This gives us a lot of opportunities,” Weber said. “The acoustics are pretty good so we might use it as a live music venue at some point, too. It’s multi-functional. There’s a full kitchen so there’s a special menu for events like weddings, banquets and celebrations. When there’s no event going on, we can use it to handle overflow from the restaurant and serve the same menu that’s over there.”
The building was originally planned to provide warehouse space for brewery cans and kegs, which come in by the tractor-trailer load.
“Then we thought, while we’re at it, if we’re going to build a warehouse maybe we can take care of our event needs, too,” Weber said.
A blaze in the large stone fireplace creates a warm, cozy atmosphere that’s especially welcome on cold North Country mornings. Handsome wall designs are patterned like mountain peaks, a reflection of Weber’s passion for hiking and outdoor recreation.
The Classic breakfast sandwich is comprised of a farm-fresh fried egg served with a choice of cheese (American, cheddar or gouda) on a brioche bun. The Breakfast Burrito is farm-fresh scrambled eggs and choice of cheese in a whole wheat tortilla.
Add-ons, for a nominal extra price, include but are not limited to chipotle or kimchi aioli, bacon, sausage or black bean patty and fried potatoes.
In addition to The Café and banquet hall, the new building also has a separate “wild brewery” area. At the main brewery, all ingredients that go into beer are tightly controlled.
“That’s our clean ale program,” Weber said.
At the “wild brewery,” young beer is brought over and fresh air flows in on nice cool spring and autumn evenings. “We allow nature to kind of infect and inoculate the beer with bacteria and yeast,” he said. “It’s very exciting because you’re never really sure what you’re going to get. It becomes a very interesting process for our brewers. It’s a niche market for us. This new space allowed us to bring those beers back into our portfolio.”
Activity at the new Bierhall & Barrel House has created several new jobs and plans call adding more staff next year with the return of warm weather.
Common Roots will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2024. The brewery was completely gutted by a devastating fire in March 2019, but the Webers bounced back quickly by making plans for a bigger, state-of-the-art facility with a restaurant, which the old building didn’t have. There’s also a highly popular outdoor beer garden where guests congregate on summer nights.
The breakfast venue is one of several ambitious new ventures the Webers are pursuing in their rapidly-growing business.
They also recently completed the $3 million purchase of Albany Pump Station from its parent company, C.H. Evans Brewing. The brewpub, which opened in the late 1990s, is housed in an historic brick building at Quackenbush Square in downtown Albany.
“We started negotiating last March,” Weber said. “They were looking to sell to a family-run business and our distributor recommended us to them. It really came out of the blue to us, but we love that building and that area. It’s really cool. As a company we were looking to get more involved in the Albany market, too. It’s a really good opportunity for us. Everything just came together.”
The site is currently closed for renovations. Plans call for reopening about two months from now with a new name: Common Roots Brewing Company, Albany Outpost.
“We wanted to re-brand it,” Weber said. “All of our beer is still scheduled to be brewed up here. It’s much more efficient for us. The brew system down there will stay intact and we’ll use it for small batches. We’re also re-doing the kitchen and changing the menu a little bit to reflect what we do up here.”
“It just needs some updates because it’s an old building,” he said. “We’re happy and honored to take it over.”
On yet another front, Christian Weber and his wife, Melanie, recently purchased the oldest building in Glens Falls, a quaint brick structure at the foot of Glen Street hill on the south side of the Sawyer building, directly across from Cool Insuring Arena.
Dating back to about 1800, it once housed an early blacksmith shop.
Workers have already given the structure a new roof and refurbished the brick exterior. Christian and Melanie simply admired the building and wanted to see it restored before suffering irreversible deterioration.
Plans call for shifting coffee roasting operations, under the direction of employee John Reed, from Common Roots’ brewery to the basement of the old Glens Falls building so that coffee aroma doesn’t impact beer and ale flavor.
There are no immediate plans for the Glens Falls building’s upstairs area.