If you’re among the many whose idea of heaven is enjoying a cold beer (or two) on a steamy summer day, head straight to one of these 13 craft breweries where you can relax outside and sample some of the Hudson Valley’s sensational suds.
Stopping by Captain Lawrence’s beer garden is like going to a block party without the hassle of bringing a dish—and who doesn’t love that? Go with groups of friends and family to gather around picnic tables and beer barrels that double as high-top tables. The relaxed setting makes summery beers, like the crowd-pleasing Citra Dreams Hazy IPA, go down easy—especially when sipped between turns of Giant Jenga or cornhole. When you work up an appetite, dig into wild mushroom pizza or a bacon burger with caramelized onions. Consider visiting on Thursdays after 6 p.m. for Community Pints, when Captain Lawrence donates proceeds to various organizations; give $5 or more and get happy hour prices. (Their second location in Mount Kisco has outdoor seating as well.)
During the dog days of summer, Clemson’s outdoor seating area in Middletown transforms into a balmy oasis, thanks to a system that releases a cooling mist over the umbrella-shaded picnic tables. Vines growing up the brick wall and trellis canopy give the space a tropical vibe—the perfect atmosphere for sipping I Dream of Coconuts, a smooth cream ale with just the right amount of coconut flavor. The menu is also a dream: start off with the excellent black dirt onion dip and house-fried kettle chips, then dig into one of nine fan-fave burgers. We personally can’t get enough of the Big Bad Wolf (bacon, bacon aïoli, onion jam, Taylor ham, and smoked gouda) or The Hacksaw (beer cheese, bacon, jalapeños, onion fritz, and lettuce on a pretzel bun).
The old Hillsdale Mercantile Building on Anthony Street once housed a variety of booming businesses, like general stores, a shirt factory, and beer bottling. A hundred and fifty years later, it’s home to Roe Jan Brewing—a brewery and restaurant with an impressive 1,200-sq.-ft. beer garden. You’ll find a whole lot of wood here: the brewhouse has glossy, wooden floors and outdoor seating is covered by a gorgeous cedar post-and-beam structure. Order one of their most popular drafts like Yonderview, a bright IPA, the hazy 22.5 NEIPA, or the tart blackberry sour, Emma. Plenty of snacks and gastropub delights are on the menu: small plates of disco fries (poutine), fresh pickles, and beer cheese are a good start, and sandwiches like the Drunken Pig (pulled pork, coleslaw, and drunken BBQ sauce) and Bird in the Hand (breaded fried chicken and green goddess slaw) are delicious as well. Be on the lookout for the monthly live music schedule and pop-ups from food joints like Mei’s Handmade Dumplings.
This excellent brewery operates out of an old mechanic’s garage and has an intimate outdoor area with umbrella-shaded picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. They regularly release experimental hoppy beers that are always worth trying, but you can’t go wrong with Subversive Saison, their flagship farmhouse ale, on a hot day (all the beers are crafted from locally sourced ingredients). Pair your draft with a smash burger (a best seller) and loaded beer cheese nachos, which joined the menu this summer. Consider visiting on a Sunday when Subversive hosts a special outdoor brunch and live music.
You won’t need a passport to get authentic German cuisine—just head over to Sullivan County. The two-year-old Cochecton Pump House offers up crispy schnitzel sandwiches, Bavarian pretzels, brats, and a wide selection of local wine and beer on tap. But what really makes this spot special is the setting: a once-abandoned 19th-century brick building that has been transformed into an open-air beer garden, complete with hundreds of twinkling string lights and a stage for artists to bring the (pump) house down. Come for live music Thursdays–Sundays, along with the occasional dance party.
There’s never a dull moment at this brewery that’s forever a beer-bash. Every Friday night, Sunday afternoon, and select Saturdays, blue grass bands and guitar riffs enliven Tin Barn’s outdoor space, thanks to flawless acoustics enhanced by a natural rock wall backdrop. The brewery’s garden features a bi-level deck and more than 400 seats, so there’s no doubt you’ll find a great spot to kick back and relax. Beloved Tri-State Area band The Mighty Spectrum is coming on August 20—a perfect day to enjoy a house-made pizza and a fruited sour, beer slushy, or one of their popular IPAs.
Tin Barn—a Sugar Loaf-based brewery that’s gained a loyal following for its IPAs and sours, fun ambience, and funky can art—opened a second location in Dundee, next to Seneca Lake. Like its Orange County sister, this Tin Barn serves up fab drinks (we love the Watermelon Suger High fruited gose), modern pub fare, and live music on weekends. – Francesca Furey
Ancient Egyptians loved beer. Everyone, including kids, drank the nutritious, sweet brew daily.
If you’re looking for a true taste of the Catskills, head to the base of Hunter Mountain for this rustic gem. Located on an expansive 127-acre dairy farm, the brewery takes pride in foraging local maple bark for its Saphouse maple brown ale, using Catskill well water in the False Summit lager, and brewing its Brookie American lager with Mohawk Valley-grown white corn. Plus, their beer cans have some of the coolest art around. On the weekends, West Kill hosts food trucks, pop-up eateries (including stuffed bagels from Woodstock’s Moonrise Bagels), and fun events like oyster parties.
Before becoming a full-blown brewery with 15 barrels, Woodstock Brewing was just a half-barrel pilot system run by two friends out of a garage. They’ve upgraded big time: you’ll find an Instagram-worthy taproom, a large outdoor seating area complete with fire pits, ample seating, views of Slide Mountain, and a kitchen churning out tacos, smash burgers, and amazing onion rings. No matter what you order, wash it down with the Baby Dragon pale ale (their most popular beer), or 12 other drafts on tap.
Brews like the crisp low-ABV Porch Beer (the go-to for summer) somehow taste even fresher when enjoyed under the covered pavilion at Arrowood Farms. Or settle in at one of the picnic tables, surrounded by hops and fruit trees. Menu favorites like fried chicken and fried oyster mushroom sandwiches are elevated with house made pickles, honey from on-site hives, and farm-grown lettuce. Bring a fun activity (we’re thinking frisbee, Kan Jam, and Spikeball)—Arrowood’s sprawling lawn is ideal for games. This farm brewery is also the spot for outdoor music and festivals— hosting big events like the annual Levon Helm Studios’ Dirt Farm Festival; swing by Arrowood on August 19 for Motown and R&B tunes from Soul City.
Weekend cookouts go upscale at Indian Ladder Farms’ beer garden. Not only does the 106-year-old farm smoke cuts of local meats every Saturday and Sunday—it also offers pairing suggestions of farm-to-glass beers and cider. While relaxing in one of their Adirondack chairs, take a look at the beautiful apple orchard—it’s where wild yeast thrive before gathering on the wort used in ILF’s Koelschip wild ale series, giving it a distinctive sour flavor. There are a few farm perks, too, like taking a walk along their picturesque nature trail and pick-your-own berries and apples.
People have been drinking beer for nearly 7,000 years and the original brewers were women.
A large outdoor tent offers ample shade at Obercreek, but if you don’t mind a little sun (and bringing your own chair), you’re welcome to set up shop just about anywhere on the organic farm that surrounds the brewery. The staff highly recommends quenching your thirst with Sundial, a brightly flavored American IPA. If you like stout, their French Press is terrific. For more action, come on the weekends when Obercreek heats up its pizza oven and hosts live music.
Though just a few miles from downtown Poughkeepsie, Plan Bee feels worlds away from city life. Plant yourself at one of the many picnic tables at this organic farm and sip on a coriander-infused Garden Beer or the beloved farmhouse ale Karnet surrounded by 300 wooded acres. On weekends, there are visiting food trucks (grab some Japanese comfort food from Rolling Yatai on August 13–14) and live music on the outdoor stage.
There’s nothing like enjoying an ice cold beer while gazing at this nearly 200-year-old farms’ hops and flower fields. From pop-ups of gourmet grilled cheese and killer bianco perfetto pizza pies courtesy of Pizza Nightmare to live acoustic and folk tunes and Grateful Dead cover bands, there’s always something new to experience at Vosburgh Brewing. The one thing that you can always count on: an excellent on-tap lineup including the brewery’s two signature beers: How Lucky, an NEIPA, and Terra, a pilsner, both perfect summer sips.
George Washington insisted that his continental army soldiers have a quart of beer as part of their daily rations.
Related: These 10 Trendsetting Breweries Lead the Hudson Valley Beer Scene