There were days over the past year when Allen Wallace was something of a one-man show at Soul Brewing Co. in downtown Pleasantville, making his beer and selling cans and growlers at the door.
Soul opened on March 14, 2020, just as the coronavirus turned the world upside down. A ribbon-cutting and party were canceled, although the brewery did begin doing business. “We did the opening and got shut down two days later,” Wallace says. Now you can find the brewery buzzing on weekends, with local bands playing and patrons filling tables both indoors and outdoors.
Soul (Wallace says the name comes from his love of soul music, yeast being the soul of a beer, and the brewery being a labor of love) is a dream realized. Wallace says he wanted to open a brewery since he started brewing at home in the late ’90s. Soul is modeled on the small breweries he fell in love with in Europe when he visited with his wife, Freya Martens, (whose parents live in Brussels and who helps out at busy times at the brewery) during their honeymoon. “Small breweries that really served the community and where you’d go on a Sunday afternoon; they were gathering places for the town,” which is what lit the fire in Wallace to leave his advertising career in New York City.
Wallace created his own Westchester gathering place, and now that customers are returning to bars and restaurants, Soul is hosting trivia nights each week, as well as live music most Sundays. But the appeal of the place starts with the excellent beer.
Wallace has plans for a greater brewing capacity and is exploring the potential of a roof deck and garden. The ’60s R&B star Brenton Wood once sang, “You’ve got soul; you’ve got too much soul.” Wallace is betting that his brewery has just the right amount.
Current favorites include the West Coast IPA called Sly (“which sells like gangbusters”), the hazy IPA called El Tropical, and a honey blonde ale brewed with honey from Hudson Valley Apiaries, as well as the Empire Pale Ale, made with New York State ingredients. Of course, there are Belgian influences, too, like Platinum Dragon — a dry-hopped triple ale — and Soulstice Dark, a strong ale with figs and cinnamon.
Soul Brewing Co.