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Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room, Vol. 37

What people are drinking, and what they're thinking, at Captain Lawrence Brewing each week.

The Captain’s Log

Captain Lawrence Brewing welcomed two new members to the brew crew last week, as a mammoth pair of fermentation tanks made their way from Oregon to Elmsford, then proudly took their place in the brewery’s skyline of gleaming brew vessels. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a few grand easy; check out the vid here if you care to see how a giant fermentation tank is installed.

“We needed more tanks to make more beer,” says Scott Vaccaro, Captain Lawrence owner.

More beer, indeed. The tanks will help Captain Lawrence crank out 23,000 barrels in 2013—up from 15,000 this year, and 600 in the brewery’s inaugural year, 2006, if you’re scoring at home.

People well beyond downstate New York will get to enjoy these special craft brews in a matter of weeks. Just in time for Christmas, the people of North Jersey will get a memorable holiday gift—Captain Lawrence’s first-ever India Pale Ale, named Re-Intro IPA, will be for sale in the Garden State. The name is a nod to the recent past—Captain Lawrence had ventured into the land of Bruce and Bon Jovi and the Bada Bing three years ago, before deciding to focus solely on its home state.

Just as notably, when January rolls around, Captain Lawrence brews including the Freshchester Pale Ale, Captain’s Kolsch and Brown Bird Ale will be available across New York State—from Buffalo to Albany to Rochester, and the various hamlets and burgs in between.

“We hope people in New York State are thirsty for our beer, and find a place for it,” says Scott.

Closer to home, Captain Lawrence’s new digs turn one in December, at which point we will stop calling the Elmsford HQ “new.” The brewery’s got a dark and rich new Smoked Porter, available in 16.9 ounce bottles in the tasting room for the first time in Elmsford, along with the tasty, and timely, Winter Ale, which Scott describes as a “malty amber-to-brown ale,” made with German yeast and an intriguing, and super-secret, blend of winter spices. It is on tap in the tasting room.

Captain Lawrence is also seeking to make a little history in the experimental brewhouse. Scott and his team will “max out the system,” as he puts it, in producing its first-ever imperial stout. “It’ll be big and malty and rich,” he says.

This one will, as your grandfather used to say, put hair on your chest—expect an ABV up into the mid-teens. “We’ll shoot for the moon,” says Scott.

Randy Shull’s Chico Loco wit beer didn’t take the Pilot Batch Election honors (the Six N’ Change black IPA won), but Randy is back in the tap lineup with his smooth and sweet Chico De Leche milk stout—the 19th brew to come out of the experimental setup this year.

“That’s the beauty of the pilot system,” says Scott. “We can do whatever we want, and just have fun.”

--Michael Malone

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 on the hour, starting at 1. The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in Freshchester Pale Ale, for “Notes From the Tasting Room.”

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