“Travel brings power and love back into your life,” Rumi.
Though I do not know much about Rumi, I can say that I wholeheartedly agree with his quote and, as you may have expected, find a natural extension to beer. In the sudsy world we live in there are an abundance of beer and beer related destinations near and far from us no matter where we are with most having almost equally interesting ambiance and food offerings.
I have recently done some local travel, checked out some breweries and beer shops, and have included my thoughts in this column. I commit to you, dedicated reader, to continue this quest for quaff to inspire you to gas up the car or jet and see what’s outside your geographic comfort zone. Please also send along places you have tried and liked.
Sloop @ The Factory, Hopewell Junction
I recently spent a Sunday afternoon with a renowned local landscape architect and all around food and drink guru at the Sloop Brewery in East Fishkill (Hopewell Junction), NY. You may know Sloop from its flagship Juice Bomb: a delish 6.5% abv low bitterness tropical hazy IPA. This brewing location called “The Factory” is as inviting and interesting as the beer itself. Located in a former IBM semiconductor plant and down a long hallway you’ll find a restaurant / tasting room combination that gives off a retro feel with exposed pipes and ducts all painted in a pleasing blue hue. We bellied up to the bar to survey the offerings – noting old circuits visible through the transparent bar top. There are 10 taps of Sloop beer plus a tap or two of a guest beer listed on a cool movie marque style light up sign and cans of most all flavors to go. As observant readers will note I am fond of the word “curate” and sure enough, they have curated flights where they pair 5 harmonious choices together. We quickly did the math and got both curated flights so we could sample all 10 (small tasting glasses). All solid choices but the uniqueness of both the Clementine Crush Berliner Weisse (4.8%) and Sangria Red American Wild Ale (6.7%) stood out to me. Hold the phone because the menu rocks as well with burgers, pizza, tacos, and some nice and spicy Asian fusion choices all prepared in a big open kitchen. We collectively had and liked the Crispy Cauliflower taco (with chili rojo, cotija cheese, spiced pumpkin seeds, red onion, fresh pineapple, & cilantro) and the spicy Dam noodles (w/ pork, scallions, sesame, sichuan peppercorn, & chili oil). Add on top of all that a spacious kid’s area with cornhole and free play arcade games and you have an outing I do recommend.
755 East Dr., Suite 106 Hopewell Junction. sloopbrewing.com.
Hudson Valley Brewery, Beacon
Since our beer-food-water proportions were well within our limits we leveraged our vintage Garmin GPS system and realized the cool-hip town of Beacon NY was literally on our way home and certainly worth a stop at Hudson Valley Brewery. Located right in the town of Beacon with plenty of parking, the Hudson Valley Brewery tasting room entrance is in the back of the white cinder block warehouse. Upon entering this cavernous hall, you’ll be greeted by funky music, wood communal picnic tables, barrels stacked on the walls and a bar with knowledgeable and nice staff. Though renowned for a variety of sour styles the descriptive beer list included IPAs, double IPAs, a crisp Pilsner called Hudson Valley Feel No Way 5% abv, and a super-sessionable Hudson Valley Table Beer squeaking in at a mere 3% abv. Table beer is an old school name for a “beer for everyone” and was commonly served at the family dinner table for all to enjoy (and still be able to do homework later).
On to the sours. I have mentioned in prior columns sours with fruit in them work for me and Hudson Valley certainly has an excellent selection that include sours made with such fruits such as blackberry, peach, prickly pear, and orange. They serve in 4, 8, or 14 ounce pours and limit to ordering two at a time. With this kind of model in place, I highly recommend “sour curious” folks like I once was to head directly to Hudson Valley Brewery and experiment with a few small sour pours off their creative list.
On top of a funky cool environment, they have rotating food trucks outside. On the day we were there the BBQ truck also had a watermelon feta salad that was soaked in HVB peach sour beer. Check calendar for food truck schedules. Next step for me: figure out what other food(s) go with sours.
I anticipate Beacon itself being a destination for several more columns including stopping by the Dia:Beacon art museum. Occupying a former Nabisco box-printing factory it houses a collection of contemporary art from the 1960s to the present. It also happens to be a stop on the Beacon free bus loop which, as luck may have it, also includes a stop near Hudson Valley Brewery and collectively sounds like a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. To do list: More Beacon please.
Tasting room is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
7 Main St, Beacon, 845-218-9156, hudsonvalleybrewery.com.
There is a new-ish craft brew bar in town! Beer Noggin residing in Mount Kisco is a Craft Beer Bottle Shop and Taproom with the original outpost in Bronxville. I’ve been a few times and was pleased. Beer Noggin has sort of an industrial feel with darkish walls, low lighting, cool music in background, and funky art on the wall. I like their selections across 12 taps presented on a crisp electronic beer list with names, descriptions, pour sizes, and costs. I am a big fan of “colabs” which mean two breweries collaborate on brewing a new unique beer together. I’d say the craft beer industry embraces the concept that there are plenty of customers out there for everyone so let’s all offer them our best! Beer Noggin had a colab from Allagash & Brasserie DuPont Farmhouse 8.5% which was spectacular! There are crowlers (canned growlers) to take home tap beer and a 3-panel cooler stocked with excellent selections and all can be sold as singles. Food wise expect snacky stuff like popcorn but the very good Tijuana Mexican Grill is just 20 paces away and Beer Noggin encourages bringing in food. Try Beer Noggin and let me know how you like it!
41 S Moger Ave, Mt Kisco, NY 10549, just down the side plaza from Starbucks, beernoggin.com, 914-602-0220
Grand Central Beer Table
For you commuters: please check out Grand Central Beer Table. Super tiny shop with surprisingly expansive craft selection of bottles and cans all available cold to go for a crafty suds sipping commute home. Insider tip: bring your own opener along as they’re happy to sell you one… or you can try that trick with your teeth from college but is that wise at this age?
22 Grand Central Terminal, Across from Track 13, in the Graybar Passageway
Vista Beer & Beverage: large selection of Oktoberfest beers, check out the website for new arrivals and tastings; vistabeerandbeverage.com, 204 Oakridge Common South Salem, 914-533-0100
Brew & Co: Rotating Food Trucks Every Friday! Cask night last Saturday of each month. 914-666-3600, firstname.lastname@example.org, brewandcompany.com, 532 Bedford Rd, Bedford Hills.
Please reach out with upcoming beer or related events as I’m happy to spread the word.
The Katonah Beer Man, TheKatonahBeerMan@gmail.com