Saratoga County craft beer lovers will soon be getting another spot where they can sip on locally brewed suds. This May, pharmacists Brian Fox and Nathan Rogers will open Active Ingredient Brewing Company, a brewpub serving up pizzas, wings, salads, sandwiches and, of course, beer, in the former location of Wired Coffee in Malta’s Sitwell Plaza.
Fox, a Greenfield resident, and Rogers, who lives in Mechanicville, met through work at the Amsterdam Walmart’s pharmacy. Both were home brewers, and after becoming friends decided to take their shared hobby to the next level. Together, they landed on the name Active Ingredient, a nod to their pharmaceutical background (both men are still practicing pharmacists), and on Malta as the location for their future brewery. “It’s very up and coming,” Rogers says of the southern Saratoga County town. “It has a large residential population and a very small commercial footprint. It has a lot of people that need more commercial facilities to frequent, because there’s just not enough here.”
So, what should future frequenters expect from Active Ingredient? For starters, classic brews including a New England IPA, honey kölsch, porter and Belgian witbier. “Our beers are—I’m not going to call them simplistic, but they’re tried-and-true types of recipes,” Rogers says. Active Ingredient will also offer a sour, which will be served plain or with one of several flavored syrups, plus a cider, a libation most breweries don’t offer. All of these, plus some rotating seasonal options, will be available in the brewery as well as on its large patio.
Active Ingredient will be Malta’s second brewery and located practically a stone’s throw from the town’s first, Unified Beerworks. The two breweries are so close that it begs the question: Can the market support two beer businesses? “You’re seeing the amount of beer that’s being consumed by people going down, because it tends to be more craft beer now,” Fox says of the brewing industry at large. “The total volume is going down, but the amount of craft beer is going up. So you’re not seeing one-hundred-barrel breweries come in. You’re going to see 10 small, 10-barrel breweries come in.” And that’s what Active Ingredient will be.
Of course, it’s not just beer they’ll be selling; there’s the food component, too. (Unified Beerworks has food trucks on site, but not its own kitchen.) “In essence, we’re a brewpub,” Rogers says. “It’s one of those things where you’re getting the added bonus of having a beer brewed in-house, but you’re going somewhere to have a meal or an appetizer. I don’t think that ever goes out of style.”