When it comes to great beer, one thing is certain: It’s worth traveling for. Spending a day centered around a Hudson Valley brewery is the groove I’ve been on lately, especially now that the weather has turned for the better.
To help you get on that very same flow, here’s a trio of my favorite craft beer havens — and a few bonus food and drink stops to make along the way. Round up a few beer-loving friends, pile into the car, and spend the day at a brewery.
Oh, and don’t forget to pack a cooler to keep your to-go stash cold. You won’t be able to resist the urge to stock up.
2278 Rte 9, Hudson; 518.537.6464
Credibility is often discussed when a brewery opens — and Dan Suarez has that. Before opening his own brewery, Suarez worked at Sixpoint, one of NYC’s original craft breweries, and shortly thereafter he was Hill Farmstead’s first employee.
At Suarez Family Brewery, he’s straying from IPAs, favoring instead what he likes to call “crispy little beers.” Think unfiltered lagers, pilsners, hoppy ales, and funky country beers, some with local fruit infusions like an occasionally offered morello cherry beer.
What Should You Drink?
Everything. Their crushable, fluffy headed pours are only ¼ liter each, allowing you to sample a bunch. They’re all moderate in alcohol content so there’s a good chance you won’t fall on your face afterwards.
But I’m Hungry!
Feel free to bring your own grub; the brewery only serves sourdough pretzels, made by a local resident. (Definitely order one and another to take home.) For a quick bite in the area, try a sandwich or an epic smash-style burger at Otto’s Market in Germantown, a deli that doubles as a market.
Still starving? Gaskins — owned by Suarez’s brother — is a sit-down restaurant that showcases the regional bounty with beautiful, delicious American dishes.
Not too far away in Ancram is highly regarded Hillrock Estate Distillery. Make an online reservation for $20 and you’ll get a tour and guided tasting of their bourbon, rye, and scotch.
1946 Campus Dr, Hyde Park
In 2016, the Culinary Institute of America opened a teaching brewery in conjunction with Brooklyn Brewery so students could learn the ins and outs of brewing science, beer and food pairings, and general gastropub-business knowledge.
Under the tutelage of brewmaster Hutch Kugeman and Professor John Fischer The Brewery at the CIA won top honors, taking home the title of 2019 New York State Brewery of the Year at the New York State Craft Beer Competition. The Brewery also took home a gold medal for Br-Br-Br-Brown, a brown ale created by the students as part of the class curriculum.
What’s On Tap?
Before or after your campus tour — because you should do that — grab a refreshing Mise-en-Place Wit or sip on a Cleaver IPA, an old school India pale ale bursting with American hops and floral notes. You should have no trouble finding either at campus eateries.
Are You Really Asking About Food?
It’s the freaking CIA! You can eat at one of the many fast-casual counters at The Egg Student Center; get a bit fancier with a sit-down meal at American Bounty, something Italian at Ristorante Caterina De’ Medici, or a little French food at The Bocuse Restaurant; or grab fresh baked goods, sandwiches, and salads at Apple Pie Bakery Café.
7 E Main St, Beacon; 845.218.9156
Pucker up! Sours aren’t for everyone but for those that dig ’em, are in for a treat. Set just below Beacon’s main drag in a bare-bones warehouse (use a map app if you’re unfamiliar), Hudson Valley Brewery is churning out some of the best sour IPAs you’ll have in New York. The brewery is known for conditioning its often-colorful beers with tropical fruit and those wine barrels you see in the taproom are to store beer, so they pick up flavor characteristics from previous batches.
There’s no telling what they’ll have when you go. Sour lovers will have no trouble getting through the entire list, especially with the option of smaller four- or eight-ounce pours.
On the non-sour end of the spectrum, try Pillow Hat, a soft, juicy session IPA that’s sometimes obtainable in cans. Don’t leave without a four-pack.
Occasionally a local restaurant will station a pop-up outside of HVB’s entrance but if not, you’re welcome to BYOF or have food delivered. In Beacon, check out Tito Santana Taqueria and Dogwood for elevated gastropub fare, sandwiches, BBQ, and expertly made cocktails.
If you went to Suarez and flew past Sloop Brewing @ the Barn, no worries. There’s a newer Sloop @ the Factory in East Fishkill, about 20 minutes from Hudson Valley Brewery. Go there: They have more drafts than the Barn and they have food!
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