The Captain’s Log
Whiling away a summer day with a Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA in one hand, and a bocce ball in the other, poised to give it (the ball, not the beer) a hearty toss down the lane…
Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, huh?
The bocce court has been constructed on the lawn outside, and Captain Lawrence Brewing is just awaiting final approval from the Town of Greenburgh to pull the wraps off it and play ball. Owner Scott Vaccaro says it won’t be long now.
“We’re optimistic that by the first Saturday in June, you’ll be able to play bocce and drink beer on the patio,” he says.
Summer is shaping up to be a hot one at the brewery. After months of contemplation, Scott has picked the first beers for the new experimental brewhouse. There are two: what he calls a “hoppy wheat-based pale ale, dry hopped with Palisade,” that’s been dubbed “Batch 1”; and the brewery’s first employee brew, from Captain Lawrence vet Scott Tobin. His “Batch 2” is a toasted coriander wit beer (the Belgian white beer style) fermented with German Kolsch yeast.
Those are expected to be ready for public consumption in the next couple weeks.
“We’ve christened it!” Scott says of the pilot system.
Brewing in the new brewhouse, he says, was similar to cooking in a new kitchen—there was a bit of a learning curve as he and the gear got a feel for each other, which in Batch 1’s case, knocked what was initially to be an Imperial IPA down to the pale ale range.
There will be 10-15 kegs of each available to taste. They’ll go fast, but Scott says there will be a steady lineup of new creations coming out of the pilot system.
With Father’s Day less than a month away, the annual St. Vincent’s Dubbel, a Belgian-style Abbey ale released each year for Day of the Dad, will be available in 750 ml bottles (five out of five dads preferred the St. Vincent’s to a necktie or aftershave). Meanwhile, Hops & Roses--a nod to Axl, Slash and the G&R boys in the form of a golden ale flavored with hibiscus, rose hips and elder flowers, and stored in oak barrels--will be bottled in the next few weeks. Smart money says that brew’s reviews will be better than those for “Chinese Democracy.”
And as anyone who’s been in the tasting room the past few weeks can attest, the spring favorite Golden Delicious, aged in apple brandy barrels, is currently available in samples and bottles. That flavor-rich trippel ale packs a serious punch.
So does the Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA, which has been hauling home hardware at a Michael Phelps-ian pace. The Reserve snagged silver medals at the Tap New York Craft Beer Festival last month, including one for Best Craft Beer, NY State, then made Time Magazine’s elite “Nine Beers You’re Drinking This Summer” list. (Alas, not the issue with the nursing toddler on the cover.) “An extra hoppy India Pale Ale at a whopping 9% ABV,” said Time.
Speaking of time, Scott says he hasn’t had enough of it recently to hang out in the tasting room on weekends, thanks in large part to his baby boy. The bocce court, however, may change that. “Once that’s ready,” he says, “I’ll have to teach Drew how to play.”
--Michael Malone (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Tuesday through Friday (retail 2-7 p.m., samples 4-7 p.m.); and Saturday, with retail and samples 12-6 p.m., and brewery tours at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in beer, for “Notes From the Tasting Room.”