One of the few female brewers in the Hudson Valley, Tin Barn Brewing’s Lauren Van Pamelen never figured to be one of them. Until about 2009, she didn’t even drink beer. Then, she tried a hazy, citrusy, hoppy IPA. “That was what my dreams were made of,” she says now.
She bought a homebrew kit, and began experimenting in her kitchen. After earning a brewing certificate from the American Brewers Guild in Vermont, and volunteering at Long Island’s Oyster Bay Brewing Company to hone her skills, Lauren began planning to turn her passion into her own brewery.
An optician by schooling and trade, she gave up her business, and partnered with her father, Dale Van Pamelen, a serial entrepreneur, who sold his business to help fund the brewery. In 2015, just after moving to Warwick, where she planned to build a tin barn to house her new venture, Lauren discovered the actual metal barn she envisioned in Chester, near Sugar Loaf. “What we drew in our logo, we found in real life,” she says. “It’s perfect.”
In May 2019, work began to turn the barn into a brewery, but red tape, delayed permits, and contractors stalled progress. “Everything takes longer than you think,” recalls Lauren, who postponed the original fall opening until spring 2020. “Once COVID hit, we shifted our priorities. Our focus went into cans because that was all you could do [at the time]. Now, we’re focusing on the tasting room and getting the interior open.”
Tin Barn officially opened on Memorial Day weekend with a series of can releases and an outdoor space for drinks and food. (As of press time, the interior was still in progress, with a targeted September opening date, pending the latest COVID-19 regulations.) The rotating lineup of cans features primarily hazy, hoppy, New England-style IPAs and sours, with new beers released every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
To go with Tin Barn’s beers, a gas-fired oven turns out thin-crust pizzas, including a fresh mozzarella-topped Margherita and a pepperoni-Peppadew pie with fresh basil, while The Helm food truck serves pulled pork, ribs, and IPA mac ’n’ cheese on weekends. “Most people are very understanding,” Lauren says of NYS regulations that require customers to purchase food along with alcohol.
Eventually, Tin Barn plans to partake in the many events that come to the Sugar Loaf area each year, and to hold some of its own. An outdoor pavilion is also in the works to cater to both two- and four-legged guests. “We really want to create a family-friendly and dog-friendly environment,” she says.
Open Thurs, 3–7 p.m. (to-go only); Fri, 2–8 p.m.; Sat, 10:30 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sun, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
62 Kings Hwy Byp, Chester; www.tinbarn.com