Monday, October 3, 2011

Hyde Park Brewing Company

Just north of Poughkeepsie on Route 9D sits the little town of Hyde Park which is best known as the home of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Not far from there is the Culinary Institute of America which turns out some of the best chefs in the East.  However, right across the street from FDR’s house is a brewery that has made a name for itself with residents of Dutchess County and beyond.  Hyde Park Brewing Company has been in business since 1995, which by craft beer standards is practically ancient. 
According to owner, Joey LoBianco, the key to their success has been providing a quality product to their customers.  “We saw a growth in this industry in the 90’s but it dropped off shortly after that.  Many of the micro-breweries that started when we did are no longer around. “  But they stuck it out and kept on brewing tasty beer and were around to see the “second wave” as Joey puts it. “This wave is bigger than the first and will carry us further.”
Joey and his sister Angela provide their customers with delicious food and beer brewed on site.  On a recent visit, I sampled both and was not disappointed. As usual, I started with a flight of their most popular beers in order to determine which I would have with my meal. 
Brewmaster, John Eccles, brews in the European tradition using only British, German and Belgian malts.  The Big Easy Blonde is the lightest of their ales and a good place to start.  As the name implies, it’s a very smooth and easy drinking beer.  Next was a rye ale that had too much of a sour flavor for me. The red rye, however, had enough bitterness to hide the sourness.  The Winkle pilsner was clean going down and finishing but with more flavor than your typical American Pilsner like Bud or Miller.  The Rough Rider Red Lager had a good combination of the previous two beers and a fine ruby color.  Last, but not least, the black lager had a nice smoky taste reminiscent of a stout without being too filling.  And the winner is  . . . The Winkle, which just happens to be their signature beer.  It had all the right qualities of a good drinking beer without tasting too watered down like the macro pilsners do.
For lunch, I had the drunken turkey sandwich which was topped with mayo made with, you guessed it,  Winkle lager.  Executive chef, Michael Connolly, who is a graduate of the Culinary Institute, uses local ingredients in his dishes.  The beef, pork and poultry come from a local farm where the animals are grass fed supplemented with the spent grain from his brewery.  Uphill Farm, which occupies 300 acres in nearby Clinton Corners, uses no antibiotics, steroids or other hormones on their animals.  The care taken in raising and preparing this meal came through in the taste, which was delicious.

The brewing vats are staged above the bar which, for a brewery lover like me, made for perfect dining ambiance.  But for those less inclined, there is a dining room in the back or outdoor seating on nice days.  This brewery is a must see destination when you are driving through the Hudson Valley this fall. Combine some fresh craft beer with your foliage trip this year. (Hey, that rhymes!)
It was FDR who said, "I think this would be a good time for a beer" in 1933. He ended prohibition and put the breweries across America back to work. Joey LoBianco adds, "Our building sits on what was once Roosevelt ground. He was born, raised and buried right across the street and we're damn proud to be his neighbor".

No comments:

Post a Comment