Historic building. Brand new brewery. It’s a combination that has already worked well in the Hudson Valley (hint: think Newburgh and Athens), and beer fanatics from around the region will be rejoicing when the Mill House Brewing Company finally opens their doors on Poughkeepsie’s Main Street any day now.
Situated in the historic Mill House — most recently the home of the beloved Mill House Panda Chinese restaurant — the brewery features three floors and more than 200 seats in 5,000 square feet of completely renovated space, in which patrons can mix and mingle while sampling new brews and munching on upscale pub grub. “We got into the building in March and have really torn it apart,” says proprietor Chris Crocco, formerly of neighboring restaurant Brasserie 292. “We found all types of cool things, like a flag with 42 stars on it; we found out that was from around 1917. Then there was an old menu from when this used to be the Mill House Restaurant. There was onion soup on there, which cost something like 25 cents.”
Crocco said that he and his four partners were so taken with the building that it prompted them to change the brewery’s name. “Originally we were going to call it the Mill Street Brewing Company, but then a few months ago we decided to change it to the Mill House. Everybody knows this old building, and we wanted to keep the name alive.”
The main floor will feature a tap room with about 50 seats and an additional “artist’s room” that has a bar area overlooking the open kitchen. “That’s where all the action is,” says Crocco. “There are a lot of discerning palettes in the Hudson Valley, and having an open kitchen is a big draw. Crew [Restaurant] has a beautiful one; we’re really going to take it to the next level.”
|This Kölsch-style hybrid is not your Daddy’s “Lawn Mower” beer; a take on a classic German style that quenches the thirst with a crisp noble hop finish. A German Pilsner base with Vienna and acidulated malts.
5.0% ABV, 21 IBU, 3.5 SRM.
|High alpha American hops flood this amber ale. Seven “C” hop charges, from a first wort hop to a flame out addition, give it a complex hop profile. Two row base with CaraAmber, acidulated malt, and Victory build a malt profile that stands up to the hop schedule.
5.1% ABV, 40 IBU, 7 SRM.
|This Scottish Wee Heavy is a malt bomb. Aged on oak, this beer is complex and warm, like a handmade quilt. Two row base with Munich, Crystal 40, Carafa II with a touch of black patent, all balanced with a simple Fuggles schedule. 8.2% ABV, 23 IBU, 17 SRM.||This roast-forward American stout’s velvety mouth feel has a nicely balanced bitterness. Two row base, roasted barley, Carafa II, flaked oats, flaked barley, chocolate malt, and black patent malt balanced with a simple schedule of American “C” hops. 6.1% ABV, 44 IBU, 35 SRM.|
The second floor — which partially overlooks the first — will house “big, chunky farm tables,” says Crocco — although they will not be communal tables. “This isn’t Brooklyn, after all,” he says. The third level, with its barrel-vaulted ceiling, will have an additional dining area.
And what’s everyone going to be ingesting once they’re in this extraordinary edifice? The food will be under the direction of executive chef, and Crocco’s brother, Dan. “We’re going to do a lot of things in-house — our own charcuterie and house-made sausages,” says Crocco. “It’s not that we’re going to be doing a whole nose-to-tail thing, but sometimes we will go there, too.”
Crocco says the menu — which will also feature burgers, steak, and pasta — will change weekly, sometimes even daily, and will always offer beer-food pairing suggestions. Of course, a lot of the food will also be infused with beer. In fact, Crocco says they’ll be cooking with beer “whenever possible.” For example, chicken wings will be brined in beer, and they even plan to use the “worts” — “the green sugar water from the hops” — to mix into their butter.
And finally — what about this beer? Mill House has ten taps, and will be serving up a variety of ales only. Crocco says they will kick things off with six flagship brews (see below). And who is actually making the beer? Two lucky-duck best friends — Larry Stock and Jamie Bishop.
“They’ve been home-brewers for five years. This is a dream come true for them,” says Crocco. “To take a hobby and turn it into this dream career. Come on — wow!” And don’t let their amateur status worry you. Says Crocco: “Their knowledge is second to none.”
For more information, visit www.millhousebrewing.com.