Photo courtesy of Sloop Brewing Co.
Whether they’re experimenting with unconventional flavors or crafting sustainable brews, these spots keep beer lovers coming back for more.
Sweets lovers, take note! Ever wanted to try a peanut butter banana French toast DIPA? Or, a molten lava cake imperial stout? True to its name, Decadent Ales offers opulent, over-the-top IPAs and stouts inspired by candy, pastries, and desserts. While the beers might sound sickly sweet, brewer Paul Pignataro keeps them dry, resulting in unique and innovative flavor combinations.
If you thought car air freshener was Middletown’s greatest export, you probably haven’t seen the internet auctions for Equilibrium IPAs and sours. Founded by MIT graduates Peter Oates and Ricardo Petroni, the brewery takes a scientific approach to beer, even naming products after equations and concepts: “Mass x Acceleration,” for example. The brewery maintains an average score of 4.24 on beer-rating platform Untappd, making their beers some of the most popular and sought after in the country.
Sean Bowman and Tim Czarnetzki helped co-found Seattle’s popular Urban Family Brewing before returning east to start Foreign Objects. However, unlike many first-time brewers who take huge loans to purchase their own commercial equipment, the industry veterans now brew on another company’s set-up, leaving them with more money to spend on ingredients, development, and distribution. Try Wet Gravity or Precision Neurosis, both juicy New-American hoppy ales.
The brewers behind Beacon’s greatest attraction are so innovative they invented their own beer style. Often copied but rarely perfected, the Hudson Valley Brewery Sour IPA is a true New York delicacy. Creamy, tart, and smooth, the style has earned the brewery the same type of cult following as Equilibrium and Obercreek. Try the Amulet, a SIPA with lactose, blueberries, and hibiscus flowers, or the Soleil, a SIPA with lactose, pineapple, marigold flowers, and rose petals.
Garnerville and Beacon
Five years ago, brewers tried to smack people in the face with flavor. But over the last half-decade, many brewers have made a quiet shift toward low-ABV session beers, which allow drinkers to consume a few beverages without feeling terrible in the morning. One of the leaders of this movement was Industrial Arts, which makes easy-drinking but flavorful beers like Pocket Wrench, a 4.5 percent ABV pale ale.
Founded in 2008, Peekskill isn’t only one of the OG craft breweries in the Hudson Valley, but on the entire East Coast. They were one of the first to focus on the importance of local ingredients, an ethos that also influences the on-site brewpub’s food, and set the course for the Hudson Valley’s farm brewery scene. Choose two classics and pair a soft pretzel with an Eastern Standard IPA.
If a single brewery typifies the Hudson Valley craft beer experience, it’s Plan Bee. From their earliest days serving at the Beacon Farmers’ Market, Plan Bee founders Evan and Emily Watson have focused on creating sustainable beers with a sense of place. Their 10-barrel, steam-fired brewhouse, located inside a three-story barn from the 1830s, produces wild farmhouse and sour beers with 100 percent New York State ingredients.
One of the more urban Hudson Valley breweries, Rare Form brings worldly inspiration to the Valley. Try the 4.7 percent ABV Practically Magic, which takes notes from limonada de coco, a traditional coastal Colombian beverage. Also on the roster are Confetti, a Mexican lager made with New York corn, and Royal Coconut Cream Ale, a play on the Upstate New York classic with toasted coconut.
Founded in 2011, Sloop helped popularize the Hudson Valley as a craft beer destination through Juice Bomb, its flagship hazy IPA. In 2018, the brewery opened a new 25,000-sq-ft facility in the former IBM plant in East Fishkill, featuring increased production capacity and handcrafted pizzas. Grab the Soprano pie with house-made fennel sausage and, of course, a Juice Bomb.
Many brewers have tried to make a living with “brewer beers,” the type of light, incredibly technical lagers that the most talented brewers like to make and drink. Most have failed, but not Dan Suarez. The co-founder of Suarez Family Brewery comes with a pedigree from the highly fetishized Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro Bend, VT, and makes what is hands-down the best lager in the country: the elegant, impeccable, 4.8 percent ABV Palatine Pils.