Like any budding brewer, Lauren Van Pamelen got her first taste for homemade hops at – you guessed it – home. At the time, Van Pamelen was living on Long Island with her father, Dale, a longtime entrepreneur in New York City and Long Island. One fateful day, she brought home a homebrew kit and quickly got to work on it, transforming her kitchen into an unofficial science lab.
“Out of the first five brews I made, the first one was the best,” Van Pamelen recalls, adding that her father teased her to no end about her new hobby. Soon, however, he dove into the passion project too, and the duo found their preferred father-daughter activity.
For the younger Van Pamelen, however, brewing was more than just a thing to do on the weekends; it was a lifestyle. After finding her groove in the homebrewing scene, she enrolled in the intensive brewing science and engineering program through the American Brewers Guild in Vermont. She earned her certificate, then went to log hands-on hours at Oyster Bay Brewing Co. in Long Island.
All the while, she dreamed of opening her own brewery. When she moved to the Hudson Valley just over four years ago, she knew her time to jump into the local craft beer industry was approaching. Working with her father, she began scouting for potential locations in the Warwick area, near where she lives.
“We wanted to be within reach of New York City, but for [the brewery] to be an escape,” she explains. After her pursuit of one property fell through, she stumbled across an old tin barn in Chester that was a mile away from the original. Coincidentally, the barn, home of the now-closed William J. Jenack Estate Appraisers & Auctioneers, looked exactly like the old logo that Van Pamelen designed back in 2015.
Currently under construction, Tin Barn Brewing anticipates an opening near the Sugar Loaf arts community in summer 2020. In true Hudson Valley fashion, it will operate as a farm brewery that utilizes as many local ingredients as possible. Lauren Van Pamelen will serve as head brewer, using her collected hoppy knowledge to concoct the New England IPAs for which she hopes the brewery will be known.
Although Tin Barn’s open date depends largely upon COVID-19 protocol and the completion of construction, Van Pamelen plans to roll out a sneak peek of her fruit-forward IPAs this spring.
“Half of our fermenters are currently full (all with IPAs),” Van Pamelen reveals, adding that the brewery’s first launch will feature one New England IPA and two Double IPAs. “We’re in love with the northeast-style IPA. It’s a lot of citrus.”
If all goes well with with production, she hopes to drop her first three brews – dubbed Turn the Tractor, Behind the Barn, and First Harvest in honor of the brewery building – around Memorial Day weekend. Because Tin Barn sits on an open landscape, it’s optimized for socially distant beer pickups.
“[We have] a very large parking lot so there’s a lot of space for everybody to spread out,” she explains. Once the can drops are up and running, Hudson Valleyites will be able to swing by on set dates to grab four-packs of Tin Barn’s 16 oz. cans for drinking at home. The brewery will start up with cans to-go, although it plans to offer growlers once the taproom’s interior is ready for business.
First, however, she needs to complete training for her canning line. Normally an in-person procedure, the run-through is now virtual to ensure safety. After that, she’ll be ready to can her first-ever run of citrus-style IPAs.
As for the interior of the brewery, the 12,000-square-foot space will hold a kitchen, a brewhouse, and a taproom to create distinct spaces for cozy seating, dining, and lounging. Keeping in line with the trend among brewers to rotate selections often, Van Pamelen will switch up her offerings regularly and include a medley of sour beers, stouts, and easy-drinking brews. In total, Tin Barn will serve a regular menu of four to five beers, along with seasonal specials and local ciders and wines.
In terms of construction on the Orange County edifice, Van Pamelen is working with Triple R Development to craft a venue that walks the line between modern and rustic. In the lodge-inspired section, a cozy fireplace that Van Pamelen built and stained herself will be surrounded by leather couches for easy beer drinking. Also onsite, a pizza oven will churn out the dough recipe that Van Pamelen thinks she’s finally perfected. Even the bathrooms, which are designed like old-timey outhouses, incorporate the farmhouse theme.
“We don’t want it to be dark with too much wood, but we want it to be light, bright, and inviting,” she explains, noting that the hotspot will be open to families and their four-legged friends, with juice boxes for kids, pizza for all, and a watering stations for dogs. Van Pamelen’s golden retriever, Barley, will likely be a frequent visitor onsite, after all.
As summer – and an opening date – approaches, keep an eye out on Tin Barn’s Facebook page for development updates and sneak peeks into what to expect at the brewery.
Tin Barn Brewing
62 Kings Highway Bypass, Chester