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 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. Tin Barn Brewing opened its doors around Memorial Day 2020 and has quickly captured the hearts of IPA lovers across the region.
“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.
Almost a year after opening its doors, Tin Barn Brewing debuts an engaging brewery experience near the Sugar Loaf arts community in 2021. In true Hudson Valley fashion, it operates as a farm brewery that utilizes as many local ingredients as possible. Lauren Van Pamelen serves as the head brewer, using her collected hoppy knowledge to concoct the New England IPAs for which she hopes the brewery will be known.
Kettle-hopped, bio-hopped, and triple dry-hopped, Queen Citra NEIPA showcases big, bright, citrus notes and a wonderful aroma. The Oh! How I’ve Dreamt of Taps NETIPA is packed with oats for a unique mouthfeel. “We’re in love with the northeast-style IPA. It’s a lot of citrus,” she says, adding that the brewery’s first launch featured one New England IPA and two Double IPAs. Outside of the hazy realm, Van Pamelen experiments with fruited sours and dark stouts. For one recent imperial “pastry stout,” she conditioned the beer on banana purée, crumbled chocolate chip cookies, bourbon tincture, cocoa nibs, milk sugar, and vanilla for a delightful dessert-y beer.
For Memorial Day weekend 2021, Tin Barn Brewing debuts a large outdoor patio, with an outdoor bar coming soon after.
“We are building a deck that is 56′ by 24′ with seating above and below. It will create a courtyard with approx. 8500 sq ft of seating. There will be a second outdoor full service bar with beer slushy machines,” Van Pamelen reveals.
Because Tin Barn sits on an open landscape, it’s optimized for outdoor music and space 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. Hudson Valleyites can swing by to grab four-packs of Tin Barn’s 16 oz. cans for drinking at home, or stay for a marvelous food-and-beverage experience.
Also onsite, an Italian dome oven churns out the dough recipe that Van Pamelen perfected herself. The 14-in. pies come in varieties like “The Forager,” featuring an herbed ricotta base with sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella, pecorino romano cheese, and white truffle oil, or “The Shelburne,” a red pie with mozzarella cheese, peppadew peppers, and spiced pepperoni. Vegan visitors can sub in nut-based ricotta cheese, and even the pickiest eaters will adore the large Bavarian pretzel.
Every Friday and Sunday in the summer of 2021, Tin Barn Brewing hosts live music from its recently completed outdoor stage. Tons of different acts keep things fresh in Sugar Loaf, covering unique genres like ’80s new wave.
As for the interior of the brewery, the 12,000-square-foot space holds 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 switches up her offerings regularly and includes a medley of sour beers, stouts, and easy-drinking brews. In total, Tin Barn serves 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 worked 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 is surrounded by leather couches for easy beer drinking. 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 is 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, is a frequent visitor onsite, after all.
Tin Barn Brewing
62 Kings Highway Bypass, Chester