It’s good to be back tirelessly scouring the countryside for cool venues to hang and try unique beers—for you, the dedicated reader. Since last column I hit a few places and brought along some great company on these jaunts (students of the game one might say). I’m happy to report all places were engaged in the current safety standards and, more importantly, the patrons were respectfully practicing safe mingling as well.
Hardscrabble Cider at Harvest Moon Orchard
Yet another gem in our area! Hardscrabble Cider, founded by three brothers, is d a micro farm-cidery meaning they grow the apples that are used to make the wide variety of delicious and creative hard ciders. Fermenting beer and cider have similar processes but differ on ingredients. Cider is fermented from apples (big surprise) whereas Beer leverages malted barley. But, in the end, it’s the yeast that does the heavy lifting for both—converting fermentable sugars into alcohol. I’ve never made cider but may want to give it a whirl someday.
Mrs. KBM (the apple of my eye, get it?) and I ambled up to this establishment backdropped against a stunning Norther Westchester view of orchards and wide-open greenery that, almost, makes you happy to pay the taxes you do to live here… I digress
The cider tap room is to the left of the charming Harvest Moon Store that sells all sorts of cheeses, meats, vegetables, as well as a nice assortment of prepared foods (including the addictive Cider Donuts). The tap room itself is an homage to New York State libations as all the liquids there are all made in New York. An epic selection of N.Y. bourbon includes those from one of my faves: Taconic distillery (try their Rye as well) along with products from Hudson distillery and others.
Onto the taps! Also N.Y. focused, these 8 taps are almost equally divided in half by Hardscrabble ciders and craft beer including the always pleasing Southern Tier and Sloop. The nice bartender was happy to serve us a few tastes of cider (all about 6.5%) before committing to a full cup. Genius-ly, he also suggested mixing and matching different cider flavors together. I love that—think of the permutations!
The jalapeño cucumber was a bit too spicy for me despite my geographic upbringing but was just right when mixed with the berry notes of the Fruit of the Farm cider. After refusing to eat beets throughout most of my life I decided to face my fear and get a glass of the Black Dirt Beet cider. It was actually delicious with just the right amount of beet and practically no dirt (I jest). If only my mom would have given me this option growing up.
We enjoyed our beverages on their large flowered patio overlooking the beautiful views.
In pre-pandemic times they hosted a wonderful (and free) music series on Friday and Saturday nights accompanied by different food trucks. Folks of all ages would attend as the venue is great for kids to explore a bit while still staying in sight. Who doesn’t like visiting goat babies? The GREAT news is that they have recently reestablished the music on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 6 p.m. (reservations required to ensure proper distancing).
Check their website for details and plan a visit: harvestmoonfarmandorchard.com, 130 Hardscrabble Rd, North Salem, 914-485-1210.
Our West Coast correspondent turned me on to Peekskill Brewery’s terrific suds and food soon after they were established in 2008 but, yet, I had never made it to the brewery itself. So, two friends and I (one doing his best Ron Duguay imitation with his COVID flow out the back of his hat..) headed westward on a recent afternoon.
They’ve done a commendable job reimagining their outdoor parking lot into an inviting outdoor “Bier Box” as they call it with many properly space umbrellaed tables. A large converted shipping container houses the outdoor beer and BBQ food service—both with well defined “X marks the spot” markings to keep everyone distanced. Well organized to be sure and folks who were enjoying the day while also respecting mask on while at your table, off otherwise.
We were fortunate to snag a table and perused the beer list to find a nice selection. Collectively we ended up having:
Simple Pineapple: a 4.5% fruited sour which refreshed without the full-on pucker of a straight up sour; Valley Life: 6.5% IPA which provided pleasing grapefruit and tangerine flavors; and
Skills Pils: 5.4% classic German Pilsner, the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon in the Bier Box.
But wait, the food was also noteworthy with BBQ’d chicken, pulled pork, or brisket choices along with sides of baked beans, coleslaw and the like.
On top of all that, there was an awesome soundtrack playing the whole time ranging from The Allman Brothers to one of my recent faves Slightly Stoopid. Great vibes all around.
We stuck our heads inside their long barroom adorned with funky art on the walls, a dart board, and .. a… Beer Bot—literally a beer vending machine with all the canned Peekskill Brewery choices. Christmas in July?
Other aspects of Peekskill Brewery that may not be directly related to beer but that I admire are that they’ve partnered with local artists for their can art and credit the artist on the can (which I like a lot). In addition, they’re quite “woke” (as the kids say) - their
Instagram bio is a link to SURJ, https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/
Team consensus: a great day worth repeating.
Visit: peekskillbrewery.com, 47 S. Water St, Peekskill, 914-734-2337
Food Truck: Please check out the Bazodee Street Foods. Epic Trinbagonian & Global Street Food Fusion including their awesome rice bowls with choices like Jerk or Trini style chicken plus veggies spinach and cabbage. Family owned and operated. They post up at Brew & Co lately but check their Instagram for schedule: @bazodeestreetfoods
Halston Media: Halston is the parent company of this fine newspaper you’re reading and could use your support. I can vouch that they are very nice folks who did such things as offer FREE advertising in their papers to local businesses during the pandemic to help those businesses out..., check out: halstonmedia.com/subscribe.html
Brew & Co: Food Trucks and rotation of great beer weekly, get 15 percent off your purchase by mentioning The Katonah Beer Man. 914-666-3600, firstname.lastname@example.org; brewandcompany.com, 532 Bedford Rd, Bedford Hills.
Check out our friends at Vista Beverage who are currently offering curbside pickup and delivery only. Friday and Saturday 2-6 p.m.. Home delivery $20 minimum 6-mile radius on Tuesdays. Visit: vistabeerandbeverage.com, 204 Oakridge Common South Salem, 914-533-0100.
Hope all well and healthy with you and yours.
The Katonah Beer Man
i: Instagram thekatonahbeerman, plenty of room available
s: Smithsonian archive of past articles can be found here: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/katonah-slash-lewisboro/sections/food-and-drink/articles