Photos by Jonathan Hernandez
Two Villains Brewing Company is here to sate Rockland County’s thirst for hop-forward ales, saisons, and stouts.
You’d think by now there wasn’t a town or village in the Hudson Valley that didn’t have its own brewery. It sure seems that way — but until this past November, one of the most popular locales was brewery bereft. Thanks to Jon Fernandez and Sean Stampfl, Nyack has finally emerged from its dark, draft-less age. Two Villains Brewing Company opened last fall to complement Nyack’s burgeoning food scene with the most local of local brew.
Fernandez and Stampfl, friends for about 15 years and co-workers in restaurants in New Jersey, got into home brewing “out of boredom,” Fernandez says. “We had time to hang out and make beer.” They entered six beer competitions and won five awards, and decided to go into business.
At one of those competitions, they met the owners of Brix City Brewing in Little Ferry, NJ. “They were impressed and offered us internships, which became full-time jobs,” Fernandez said. Over the next four years they learned the trade, and in 2019 began looking for their own spot in earnest.
They knew right away to look in New York State. They wanted a full bar and restaurant with the brewery, and “We liked the freedom New York offered us,” Stampfl says, referencing the state’s much friendlier laws. “It was always about the full experience for us.”
They also knew they wanted a town that didn’t have a craft brewing presence yet. “When we heard Nyack was recently zoned for a brewery, it made sense to open shop here,” Fernandez says.
They renovated their space, the former Bourbon Street of Nyack restaurant, and decorated it with comic book and pop art to reflect the Two Villains name. “We are self-proclaimed nerds. We love comic books. As home brewers we referred to ourselves as two villains, and it kind of stuck,” Fernandez says. “It fit our personalities.”
As beer nerds they are more small-d democratic. “We like everything,” Fernandez says. “We think it’s important to have diversity in your draft list.” As businessmen, they know to satisfy the crowd as well. “We go with the trends too, and hoppy is always king,” he says. So they focus on hop-forward ales, but also enjoy producing saisons, stouts, and a cream ale on their seven-barrel system. On the food side, they are “slow-rolling” into a full menu that will lean toward southern-style pub fare.
Speaking in March, as COVID-19 was changing everyone’s lives, Two Villains was forced to close to customers and shift its focus to take-out, which of course hurt business. “We did get a good amount of support, but until we all get used to this, we are definitely taking a hit,” Fernandez says. “But we are all in the same boat. Have to take it day by day. The end game is still to provide a comfortable and cozy spot to drink, eat and have a good time. We are excited to be in town. It is a dream come true for Sean and me.”