There’s nothing like knocking back a nice cold one after your nine-to-five. It’s even better when it’s freshly made. But making beer is hard work, too: hauling sacks of grain in between kettles, getting sprayed down with yeast, and lots of cleaning — endless cleaning. Poughkeepsie’s newest brewpub, Blue Collar Brewery, doesn’t want to hide from all the hard work, even if they enjoy relaxing with a beer in hand as much as anyone else.
“We’ve tried to create a very laid back atmosphere that’s free of pretension,” says brewer Randall Marquis. “It’s a place that has a lot of our own personality in it. We love beer, sports, food… and really, we love to work, too.”
Even the location — a building that was originally home to the meat packing company Morris and Co., and numerous other blue collar businesses thereafter — is meant to serve as a reminder of the importance of work ethic.
“We wanted people back in the building, manufacturing American products and earning their living,” Marquis says. “The building has been designed to showcase the two main work areas of our business: the kitchen and the brewery. To get to the customer space, people must walk the length of the building, past our open range kitchen and the entirety of our brewery.”
Beers are currently only available in the brewpub, though Blue Collar does plan to distribute eventually. The draft list will turn over regularly, as the staff enjoys experimenting with new creations, and feel that drinkers crave innovation, too. For those seeking at least some familiarity, the brewery will structure these new brews into five categories: light, pale, dark, seasonal, and brewer’s reserve. On tap now at the brewery is a cream ale (light), rye pale ale (pale), smoked brown porter (dark), buckwheat honey dunkelweizen (seasonal), and an IPA (brewer’s reserve).
Marquis describes the food menu — which is cleverly divided into ”shifts” (courses), “break time” (small plates and sides), and “closing time” (desserts) — as “simple, but fresh,” with an emphasis on sandwiches and burgers.
Those thirsty for a beer after a hard day of work can visit Blue Collar at 40 Cottage St. in Poughkeepsie — the brewpub is open seven days a week: Mon.-Thurs., 3-11 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; and Sun. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Derek Dellinger is the creator of the brewing blog Bear-Flavored.com, brewmaster at Kent Falls Brewing Co., and author of The Fermented Man, out 2016. He leads homebrewing workshops and classes in the Hudson Valley with Beacon Homebrew.