The Hill at Muza is a city-based beer garden that translates to an Eastern European hideaway
The Hill at Muza features a well-manicured beer garden where guests can enjoy European brews that are often brighter and more golden than their American cousins.
The urban renaissance that is transforming Troy’s downtown has been well documented, but also lamented—it hasn’t spread very far from the city’s core. One exception, however, can be found up the hill, not far from the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where year-old The Hill at Muza offers those willing to take the path less traveled to a truly unique drinking establishment.
It calls itself “a bar, a beer garden, a European staycation in Troy.” The first two are indisputable, and the third is forgivable hyperbole. Entering through a narrow alley behind the restaurant Muza—The Hill’s official address is The Black Gates at 379 Congress Street—you feel a bit like you’ve stumbled onto one of those hidden boîtes that line an Old World European city street. Once inside, you discover a multi-level space that continues that same vibe. An enclosed bar features community tables, but step up and you’ll find yourself in the lush, landscaped beer garden. Come colder weather, the garden offers a fire pit and flame heaters, and the outdoor space affords lovely, hilltop views of sunsets over Troy.
The Continental approach runs through the beer selection, too, which showcases half-liter bottles of Polish, Czech, and other Eastern European brews, while the small-plates menu offers variations on the foods of that region sourced from Muza.
Adam Siemiginowski, son of Muza’s owners, conceived and created the bar with partner and high school pal Tim Tyrrell (both are now 30). Though they also serve American beers and food for the less adventurous, going all-in is the best way to experience The Hill. “European beers are more bright, golden beers, like pilsners and lagers, and they are a bit stronger than American beers,” Siemiginowski says. Pouring half-liters, Tyrrell says, adds a great option for guests excited to sample something different. “The beers are very pure, with limited ingredients,” Tyrrell explains.“One of the beers has mountain spring water in it.”
The duo has held special events, including a Christmas-tree lighting and a Dyngus Day celebration, a Polish holiday held the day after Easter, that really “hit a nerve” with the 500 or so Polish expats and their friends who came to celebrate. (They even put a spin on the popular “Enjoy Troy” civic logo, printing t-shirts for the occasion encouraging patrons to Enjoyski Troyski.)
The Hill at Muza is something different from the many new microbreweries sprouting like hops-infused mushrooms up and down the Hudson Valley. “It’s really rewarding to hear people say they feel like they’ve stumbled upon a hidden gem,” Tyrrell says. “You wouldn’t know it was here, and you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of a city.”