Defiant Brewing Company, Pearl River

The best brews and news to come out of Pearl River’s Defiant Brewing Company in 2013

Neill Acer has been brewing in the Valley for close to 18 years, but it was only seven years ago that he branched out on his own. “I wanted the freedom to make any kind of beer I wanted and serve it at any temperature I wanted,” he recalls. “The name Defiant comes from that feeling.”

The brewery is brilliantly located across the street from the Pearl River train station. “Some people want ‘next stop service,’ where they go ‘I have nine minutes until the train gets here.’ We try to be fast for them because you don’t want to be left behind,” says Acer. “But a brewery is a good place to be stuck.”

The brewery — which produces about 30 barrels per day — serves a limited BBQ dinner Wednesday through Saturday (ribs and brisket are the big hits). Guests who are curious about the brewing process can take a tour at any time. “We don’t have formal tour times because then we’d have to say no to people if they didn’t show up at the scheduled time. You’re on time whenever you arrive,” Acer says. Try to stop by at the beginning of each season, when Acer throws festivals in the parking lot to debut his seasonal brews.

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Defiant’s more unique concoctions come in the form of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse line of stouts. Each beer is named for one of the Horsemen — Stefanos, War, Pestilence, and Death — and builds off the others. Stefanos goes down nice and smooth; War incorporates smoky elements; Pestilence has some tart flavor; and it all culminates in Death, which is a thick stout that pours with a brown head and has 15.8 percent alcohol. “It’s the biggest, most intense stout we make: roasty, rambunctious, and warming,” says Acer. “It’s a fun beer.” 845-920-8602;

Cheers to: A line of craft sodas called Training Wheels for kids
Don’t miss: Shandynanigans, the brewery’s summer beer that is a mix of their Shandy and Orange Cream Ale
Visit on: Monday or Tuesday; you can see the brewers in action

» Back to Ultimate Guide to Local Beer in 2013


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