The Hudson Valley has a bonafide beer trail, people. That is to say – 30+ craft breweries with tours, tastings, and pub grub spread throughout 10 counties, including Dutchess, Rockland, and Westchester. Here, we dive into just 8 of them – all less than 2.5 hours from NYC.
Hop on the Metro-North Hudson Line at Grand Central and ride about an hour to Peekskill and you’ll be dropped off right at PB’s door. The riverfront bi-level brewer is a brewpub, not a production brewery, so their focus is on those drinking in house; something owner Keith Berardi calls a “tank to face” approach. The ground floor is a brewery space and bar, while the second level is a restaurant with an open kitchen that serves up classic tavern bites like poutine, Jaegerschnitzel and hand-cut fries. Stop by on Tuesday for trivia and you’ll likely run into a young, bearded and tatted crowd sipping on house beers like Born to Be Mild (a British style mild ale) and Paramount Pale Ale (named for Peekskill’s iconic Paramount Theatre). PSA: make sure to grab some cans for the ride back, since you can legally drink on the Metro-North.
Captain Lawrence is one of Hudson Valley's OG craft brewers, having opened their first tasting room in Pleasantville in 2006. While their operation started small, they quickly outgrew their space and in 2011 expanded to Elmsford, just 5 miles down the road. The brewery has a distinct fondness for craft sour ales which are fermented in oak wine barrels, and if you're interested, half-hour tours take you through their Fermento Funk Facility – the barrel room – as well as their Pilot Batch System – a seven barrel brewhouse where they ferment experimental styles which aren't ready for mass brewing. The end of the tour drops you out in their tasting room, of course, where you can sip on 10 on-tap varieties including Aqua-Cola and Autumn’s Revenge.
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Tucked away in a brick building along the Hudson, Newburgh’s eponymously named brewery rocks an enormous taproom (think exposed brick walls, timber beamed ceilings, and biergarten-style tables and benches) that’s worth more than a one-off visit. Don't skip their tap list food pairings; if you’re going for the Checkpoint Charlie Berliner Weisse (a tart but light German classic), your best bet is a seasonal farm fresh salad; if you’re leaning towards Spruce Mousse (a Black Saison brewed with chocolate and spruce needles), treat yourself to some dessert.
The family-run Broken Bow Brewery came out to play at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, and brought home a gold medal in the Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale category for their Old Split Foot draft. Drop by their warehouse space in Tuckahoe and you’ll find a dog-friendly beer garden with cornhole, Cards Against Humanity and live music. If you’re interested in learning more about BBB's process – from grain to glass – you can tag along on a half-hour tour which is led by an assistant brewer and concludes with a tasting of six different styles.
If $3 mason jars of beer and five whole nights of live music (with next to no cover charge, ever) don’t sell you on a craft brewery, then we’re not quite sure what will. Keegan Ales has both, plus a pub which doles out classic comfort foods like hot pretzels, pulled pork sandwiches and grilled cheese. On tap now is Mother’s Milk (milk stout with hints of chocolate), Hurricane Kitty (a bold IPA), and Old Capital (an any-occasion crisp and refreshing brew), all three of which were first batch beers when the brewery opened in 2003.
Like most microbreweries, Sloop Brewing Co. started off as a passion project in a retrofitted garage (this one in Poughkeepsie). After three years of nano brewing, owners Adam Watson and Justin Taylor took their business up a notch and expanded. Partnering with Vosburgh Orchards, a 134-acre working apple orchard upstate, Sloop moved shop to take up residence in their 19th-century Dutch beam and post barn. Now, the brewery’s free “Sunday Sessions” bring some of the Hudson Valley’s best talent to their tasting room stage, while eager audiences sip on varieties like Cloud Jumper IPA (light with notes of passionfruit and orange), Sauer Peach (tart berliner weisse fermented with real peaches), and Half Baked (oatmeal stout).
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Are you running a nano-brewery in your garage? Do you *wish* you were running a nano-brewery in your garage? If so, Rare Form Brewing Company may be able to lend a hand. Since they started as homebrewers themselves, they occasionally post open-calls for up-and-coming brewmasters. Bring in two bottles of your best stuff, and if you’re chosen by their tasting panel, you’ll brew your beer at their five-barrel facility and it’ll be served in their tasting room. If you're more of a drinker than a do-it-yourself-brewer, you can always just stop by their shop – in the old Troy Hardware Building – to down pints of Sabbatical Session Ale (light, crisp and citrusy), Wee Plaid Scottish Ale (rich, caramel-y and malty), and Satan’s Gut Oak-Aged Imperial Stout (dark espresso stout aged in whiskey-soaked American oak). They don’t have a restaurant, but they do serve up a mean charcuterie board and they’re known to host pop-ups from local chefs.
Small batch beers are crafted with eight varieties of hand-harvested hops at Westtown Brew Works. Appreciate the home-grown nature of core brews like Bad Archaeology (pale and roasted malts, wheat and spices) and Sugar Shack (porter fermented with local maple) from their barn taproom or outdoor patio, both which boast scenic hopyard and countryside views. If you drop by on the weekend, it’s also likely that you’ll find a wood fired pizza truck or fire-y pit BBQ.