Craftsman Ale House: At the Heart of Harrison, Awesome Spirits Like Widow Jane and Pine Barrens

PLUS: Beer and Barnacles at Armonk’s Moderne Barn and house-made sodas at Village Dog

Craftsman Ale House:
The Great Spirits Bar Hiding in Beer Bar Clothing

What! Recently, we slung into Craftsman Ale House looking for a great beer bar—and we were not at all disappointed (PS: make sure you get a flight). But just as we got to the last page of the dense, tri-fold drinks menu, insight dawned. Totally out of the blue, it turns out that Craftsman is one of Westchester’s best spirit bars.

Oh, folks, we’re talking Widow Jane, both the bourbon and rye. You know this stuff; its parent company is the fabled Brooklyn chocolatiers, Cacao Prieto. The company’s cacao farms in the Dominican Republic are internationally recognized models of good, clean and fair food production that have earned the praise of even Blue Hill’s Chef Dan Barber. Widow Jane trucks its water to its Brooklyn distillery from the Rosendale, NY, limestone quarry that yielded the stone for the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. According to Widow Jane, it’s the minerality in limestone rich water that makes the great whiskies of Scotland. Wanna taste for yourself? Hit the Craftsman, where you can get a shot of either Widow Jane Bourbon or Rye for $9 ($15 for a double).

Then there’s the Pine Barrens Single Malt Whisky out of the North Fork of Long Island. It’s distilled—not from malted barley— but from a beer that you can buy in a bottle, Long Island’s Blue Point Old Howling Bastard to be precise. The Old Howling Bastard is slightly unusual in both in its high ABV (10.0%) and its ingredients. It’s made with English barley and Vienna malt along with the hops. Check it out at Craftsman, $9 for a shot, $15 for a double. Folks, there are twenty of these exceptional and interesting whiskies on offer, and I didn’t see one ho-hum label. Pounce.

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Plus, there are other spirits besides whiskey, including the Hudson Valley’s own Black Dirt Apple Jack Brandy out of Warwick, NY.  Admittedly, this is a very whiskey-like applejack (it’s aged for seven years in oak barrels), but, technically, it’s still a brandy. Then there’s the Dogfish Head “Jin”, because, apparently, the wildly inventive brewer Sam Calagione could not be restrained to beers. His Jin is distilled with juniper berries, coriander seed, cucumbers, and whole-leaf hops because, well, why the hell not? He’s Sam Calagione! The Jin is bit pricy at the Craftsman ($11 shot/$20 double), but, seriously, when is Dogfish Head ever cheap?

You like rum? Well, Craftsman offers both the light and dark rums of Cacao Prieto, plus eight more from other cool distillers (and not one is Bacardi). How about tequila? They have the weird-a** New Holland “Hopquila” a strange white spirit flavored with hops that could only come from Wisconsin.

So, in short, if you like all manner of exotic and on-trend spirits, hie you down to The Craftsman Ale House and start working down the list.

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Beer and Barnacles at Moderne Barn
July 31, 6:30 pm
$75 per person

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From the site: “Moderne Barn celebrates summer with live entertainment, craft beer, tasty food, and a tribute to the Armonk Volunteer Fire Company.

The reception-style affair will feature passed hors d’oeuvres of bold American Seafood prepared by Chef Ethan Kostbar, food stations with pulled pork sandwiches along with a tasting table of in-house pickled dishes, beer from The Bronx Brewery, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, and Sixpoint Brewery, and live music from Hal Prince Music & Entertainment.

Leading up to the event, through July 30, guests will be able to support the Armonk Volunteer Fire Company with purchase of a ‘Fireman’s Flight’ of Wine Director Matthew Christoff’s selected draught beers. A portion of the proceeds from the Fireman’s Flight will be donated to the fire company.

Ask for Chelsea Ventimiglia at (914) 730-0001 or fill out our Beer & Barnacles Reservation Form and fax to (914) 730-0006”

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House-made Sodas at Village Dog

What if you were really thirsty and you wanted a soda, but you couldn’t ethically get down with the two Death Star brands, Coke or Pepsi? Why, you’d hit Village Dog for any of its refreshing, house-made sparklers. We’re talking ginger ale, orange, or a changing seasonal option (like the sweet watermelon, pictured here). Yum.

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