I was inside imbibing on the first Saturday Woodstock Brewing opened its doors to the public. Joining me was a sizable crowd on a frigid January afternoon, quite surprising, considering the newness of the venue. A mix of millennial beer aficionados, some with young children, local residents of all ages, and weekenders, all enjoyed connecting in this festive oasis. Woodstock Brewing had nearly 11,000 Instagram followers before opening day, thanks to strategic planning over several years.
In an enormous space, 8500-square-feet, partners and brewers, Woodstocker, Rick Shobin, and Mount Tremper resident, Scott Shimomura, serve up 16 taps with intriguing names like “Parabolic,” Between Two Points,” “Rhetoric,” and “Entropy.” I sampled two brews and enjoyed both — clean, crisp, and slightly fruity (apologies for the clichéd description, but this accurately sums up both beers). Creative small plates will be served in the near future; Rick is in the process of hiring a full-time chef. Another addition may be a “children’s corner.”
Rick and Scott were making beer for years when there was only one brewery in Ulster County, pioneering Keegan Ales. During this self-taught experimental stage, they kept their day jobs. Both have business backgrounds: Rick on Wall Street and Scott in marketing.
I asked Rick what distinguishes Woodstock Brewing’s craft beer as opposed to others. He spoke about select ingredients, high water quality, and the perspective of the brewers: their signature.
A delicate chemistry is involved when making great beer: mineral content of the water is key. Woodstock Brewing has a large on-site well used exclusively for making the beers. The water is filtered with sand, nothing else. Water treatment and fermentation temperature determine taste. These two thoughtful brew-masters have created a winning combination.
I’m looking forward to returning for a glass of “Permanent Midnight,” the robust porter the owners describe as “a dark wonder.” Rick Shobin comments on his life so far: “It’s time for things to take root,” so he’s devoted himself to “doing something fun in an amazing place!”
5581 Route 28, Phoenicia
Open Thursday 2 – 8 p.m.; Friday 2 – 10 p.m.; Saturday noon – 10 p.m.; Sunday & holiday Mondays noon – 8 p.m.
Long-time Woodstock resident, Joanne Michaels, is the author of 10 books, including THE HUDSON VALLEY AND CATSKILL MOUNTAINS: Only The Best Places (the 10th edition will be published in May 2018), LET’S TAKE THE KIDS, HUDSON RIVER JOURNEY, HUDSON RIVER TOWNS and HUDSON RIVER VALLEY FARMS.