I hope everyone kicked off the new year and decade in proper fashion with friends, family and sudsy refreshments!  How about a resolution you can stick to?  Try a new beer each month this year and make them different styles and brands.  Perhaps log them in the Untappd application for future reference of the new finds that you liked and recommend to friends.

As part of a new New Year’s Eve tradition, we rallied with a great group of friends to a local joint (Jimmy’s), whooped it up accordingly, and a good time was had by all.  Please do check out Jimmy’s Tavern at 156 Bedford Road in Katonah. It is a warm, established, and well-priced pub—something that is, unfortunately, scarce these days.  A good selection of standard session beers including Pabst and Yuengling as well as Captain Lawrence Pale Ale for crafty folks.  Regulars mingle with newcomers and all enjoy pool, darts, TVs with sports on, an epic jukebox, seasonally festive décor, and a friendly vibe.  Good pub-y lunch menu (top notch wings, wraps, burgers) served Tuesday through Sunday (though give them a call to confirm days/times, 914-232-1027).

Field Trip: Rushing Duck in Chester
1 Battiato Lane Chester, NY Chester, NY 98109; rushingduck.com

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Over the holiday break, our local Fish Whisperer and I ventured into Orange County to the small town of Chester.  Not only is Chester the birthplace of Philadelphia-style cream cheese, it’s also home to the *awesome* Rushing Duck Brewery.  I say awesome because I’ve been a fan since being introduced to the Rushing Duck Brewery line up several years ago by my beer mentor (currently our West Coast correspondent) and a visit to the source was way overdue. 

This former tractor repair shop building is nondescript but don’t let that hold you back from entering a now retro garage with a large room, high ceilings, plenty of tables and chairs, and a welcoming huge old-school bar.

We were greeted by Josh the taproom manager who was very welcoming and had expert knowledge of the Rushing Duck flavor profiles amongst the 20 beers on tap that include “guest beers” from other local breweries.  Several pour size options are available, and we settled in on 4-ounce flight samplings of all the Rushing Duck beers at a very reasonable price of $9 for each of our 5 flight size pours. Note: all the prices are easy on the pocket.

As we absorbed the ambience (and beer) we chit chatted with a few different groups of local folks as well as others who were visiting family locally for the holidays and felt the urge to check out the local craft brew scene.  It is a rural area of New York and I would describe the scene as a slice of Americana, meant in the best possible way, with excellent craft beer as the common bond.

Beer wise, they’re known for their aptly named War Elephant which they describe as an “unapologetic 8.7% Double IPA” and gives the consumer delectable tastes of grapefruit, tangerine, and other citrus fruit.  There’s a session version cutely named Baby Elephant weighing in at 4.4% abv.  I recommend both!

Other excellent Rushing Duck choices include:

Vienna Lager: I love this old school style and Rushing Duck’s has a fully bodied 6% abv with hints of bread and nut.

Wanda project: Named after one of their fermenters, Wanda is a hoppy wild ale.  These styles are akin to sours and perhaps a bit mellower.  This 5.9% offering was aged for 3 months and deliciously different.

R&D Vic Secret: This a research and development effort from Rushing Duck that uses a hop I’ve never heard of called Vic

Secret and I found the overall taste very nice and crisp.  I brought some cans home from the brewery.

Beanhead Coffee porter: Excellent!  A 5.7% abv robust porter paired with Guatemalan bean coffee roasted by Java Love Coffee Roasting Co.

Barrel aged Ded Moroz: I didn’t happen to be driving on this journey so was designated imperial stout tester. I volunteered to test this 11.6% abv Russian Imperial Stout with a deep flavor profile of dark chocolate, coffee, graham cracker, overripe fruit, amongst others and I’m glad I did.  Epic!

Along came some hunger… Typically, there is a food truck Thursday, Friday, and Saturday but we attended mid-week.  No problem, as the local Mexican restaurant Sabor A Casa (https://www.sabor-a-casa.com/) was happy to deliver some tasty chicken tacos adorned with just the right amount of cilantro.

I’d give Rushing Duck taproom an overall A+ and suggest you give it a try in person or find their beer locally using this link: rushingduck.com/find-our-beer.

Other Beers I’ve Had Recently and Liked (It was a long holiday break)

Founders Brewing Co Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS): At 11.6% abv this is a heavy hitter and very likely a poor idea for breakfast.  That being said, it’s got a magnificent blend of coffee and chocolate and if that weren’t enough, it is then aged in bourbon barrels.  Currently on tap in nitro form at Brew & Co.

Kent Falls Air Guitar At Work While No One is Watching: Hands down the best names of a beer I’ve ever come across and the can art characterizes the name very well.  Terrific piney, floral, citrus, and berry profile packed into this session-y 5% abv offering from the renowned brewery out of Kent, Conn.

Oxbow Brewing Company Farmhouse Pale Ale: My daughter’s friend and one of my 7 Instagram followers is following her dream of becoming a brewer and got a job at Oxbow in Portland, Maine, recently. She very kindly brought over a great Oxbow selection while visiting over the holidays.  All were terrific but this 6% abv Farmhouse is an excellent representation of the classic Belgium style (mellow, lighter in color, fruity, lightly spiced, low bitterness, effervescent).  

Additionally, Portland is very high on my must visit list.  Why? Portland, Maine, is Top U.S. Beer City (per a SmartAsset / brewbound.com study).  “Despite having a population below 100,000, Portland is home to 17 microbreweries—one for every 4,000 residents”.  Think about that…  Who’s in?

All the best for 2020.
The Katonah Beer Man: TheKatonahBeerMan@gmail.com i: Instagram thekatonahbeerman, who wants to be the 8th follower? Smithsonian archive of past articles can be found here: https://www.tapinto.net/ and searching “bart” 


Brew & Co: Food Trucks Every Friday
914-666-3600 | info@brewandcompany.com | .brewandcompany.com/ | 532 Bedford Rd, Bedford Hills, NY 10507
Vista Beer & Beverage: come by brewery tastings the first and third Friday of every month and check out their newest selections while your there.
https://vistabeerandbeverage.com/ | 204 Oakridge Common South Salem, NY 10590 | (914) 533-0100 
*Please reach out with upcoming beer or related events as I am happy to spread the word