Statistics show beer consumption per capita (aside from a small abode in Katonah) is down for the last few years.

However, do not despair for the craft beer industry, as statistics also show a rising trend in the purchase of craft beer! I credit the breadth of craft brew flavors for this trend—distinct flavors that actually come through with each sniff and sip!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like saying “Dilly Dilly” as much as the next person and have also been known to buy a 30 pack or have an ice-cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. I just want to applaud all of you who are open-mindedly embracing crafty quaffing by trying new flavors, styles and venues for craft beer.

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In addition, please give it up for the ladies as craft beer and hard cider consumption is rising among that demographic as well (more on ciders in a future column). Let’s hope these trends continue to energize and provide momentum to the craft brew industry. (See statistical reference credits at end of article.)

Music Venue

I read my colleague Rick Melen’s recent column about getting out of your house more often to see live music and Rick and I are in harmony on that goal.

A few weeks back, an easy ride to Portchester brought a few of us like-minded music fans to The Capitol Theater, a terrific 1,800-seat live music venue with a great atmosphere and impressive tap beer lineup.

We saw a band called JJ Grey & Mofro, whose blues-rock-funk (and they can bring the funk!) vibe I can wholly endorse for your listening pleasure.  The bar, Garcia’s, is adjacent to the venue and not only has 20-plus beers on tap but includes both Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine and Sloops Juice Bomb—two model representations of citrusy double IPAs.

Note for your wallet: please come with it pretty full as prices are a bit high, but hey at least you’re still in Westchester County! It is an ornate theater rife with memories (Jerry Garcia counted it as one his favorites). Downstairs is standing room only, which is why, given our age, we booked seats in the upstairs loge.

Another advantage for the dual music-lover-beer-connoisseur is that they simulcast the show at the upstairs bar so you will not miss a minute of the show rehydrating. Food wise, ahead of the show (and if my cards are on the table, and also after the show) we ate some solidly authentic Mexican “base-up” food at El Tio just next door on the corner at good prices along with a decent lineup of Mexican suds.

The “Cap,” as it’s also called, has a very eclectic line up from Phil Lesh and Friends to Indigo Girls, so please check them out (

Beers: Some Locals to Enjoy (and Epilogue to Beer Festival)

Dedicated readers will recall we took a field trip to the Westchester County Beer Festival late last month. I will say most all of our participants followed the BFSS (Beer Festival Survival Strategy) outlined in last month’s column and, along the way, we found some “hyperlocal” EXCELLENT beers to recommend:

Bull & Barrel Brew Pub Angel’s Soul Hazy IPA (Brewster, NY, 7% abv):  Have any you ever been to Bull & Barrel? It is a short ride to Brewster located at 988 Route 22. It is an eclectic place with something for everyone: a good looking menu, friendly staff, brewing done on premises with good flavor choices, as well as a mechanical bull... so, there’s that. Perhaps it’s best to try your hand before sampling the brews.

Bull & Barrel already makes a great American IPA by the name of Devil’s Blood (7% abv, scary name, good beer). Perhaps to repent they have added a hazy IPA called Angel’s Soul (7%), which I can highly recommend. Hazy is exactly what you may think: opaque and typically citrusy.

Yonkers Ray’s IPA (Yonkers, NY, 6.2% abv): We tasted and loved this juicy IPA and, in particular, the finish, which was super smooth. Yonkers also makes a delicious 914 lager (5.2% abv), which is an old school sessiony style called Vienna that is more malt forward than hoppy, for those of you who would like a change from the all-hop-all-the-time world we live in today.

Wolf & Warrior Empires Stouts Back Oatmeal Milk Stout (White Plains, 6.1%): I like coffee. I like beer. I love when beers have coffee flavor aroma and/or taste and this one did the trick with an overall smooth creaminess guiding you from initial to final sip.

Your Beer Shop is your friend! Check one out to find some of the beers mentioned above and do some exploring. Often, they have beer tastings on the weekends—an excellent and economical way to try some new brands and flavors.


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