The town of Roscoe, Sullivan County, has until recently been known for one thing: trout. So much so that in 2011, Roscoe was named the Ultimate Fishing Town – USA in a contest put on by the World Fishing Network. Naturally, that honor inspired the town’s leaders to make beer.
And so the Roscoe Beer Company was brewed into existence. After the award, Phil and Donna Vallone, two of the town’s biggest boosters, attended the New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Center in Manhattan. “All these people were coming up to our table, sharing their stories and experiences of our town,” says Donna. “We took our affinity for our community and married it with our love of craft beer.” They enlisted some friends and launched the brewery last year.
“It starts with a love of Roscoe,” operations manager Tera Luty concurs. “Everybody seems to know Roscoe for its fishing and camping. People pass through it on their way to colleges. [The founders] thought, ‘What else do we need? Why not our own beer?’ ”
Their first offering was called Trout Town American Amber Ale, a deep amber-colored pour with a hint of citrus at the finish. Brew master Joshua Hughes has recently installed a larger, five-barrel system, and he now produces Trout Town Brown Ale and Trout Town Rainbow Red Ale as well. “We want to have a well-rounded beer menu, and that’s what we are focusing on now,” says Luty.
The brewery has a small tasting room and gift shop, but no plans for a pub. “This is a community effort, so we encourage people to go to the local eateries,” Luty says. “Roscoe is a very small town, and every restaurant in town that is able to sell beer sells our beer. We focus more on being family and friends. We are all working together toward a common goal.” She left a job with a construction company to join this sudsy civic project. “It sounded like a fun little adventure, and an adventure it has been,” she admits. “Business is business, but it’s fun to talk to people who are interested in this, the real beer enthusiasts who are willing to experiment.”
Experiment, but only to a point. “We have a suggestion box about what the next flavor should be, and we had some comedians suggest a trout-flavored beer,” she reports. “I’m not sure that would be a hit.”
The brewery is open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. You can also find their beer in ShopRite stores, Beer World, Beverage Barn, and other locations listed on their Web site. But to really get into the spirit, head over to Ultimate Fishing Town – USA yourself. “Foot traffic in Roscoe has increased because we are here,” Luty says. “It’s just what the community needs.”