Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Meetup at the Captain Lawrence Brewery

This weekend I organized a visit to The Captain Lawrence Brewery in Pleasantville, NY with 10 members of the Tristate Beer Lovers Meetup.  My friend Steve and I arrived a little early in order to get a lay of the land before the others got there.  The brewery is set in an industrial park in a non-descript warehouse.  As we walked up to the entrance, we couldn’t help but notice dozens of wine sized empty beer bottles lined up on a picnic table and nearby windowsill.   On closer inspection, I noticed that these were not CL bottles but other great craft beers from all over the country.  There was a bottle of Alaskan beer and others that I recognized as being hard to find, limited releases. 

 Apparently, there was a release of special, oak aged brown ale that morning and the attendees brought some of their own special beers to share with other beer lovers. In order to even get a ticket for the release, people had to show up before midnight the night before and then come back early the next morning to wait on line.  This might sound like a lot of work for a couple of bottles of beer, but the regulars at these events make it into a party by bringing along and sharing some of their best craft beers.   A review of the release and the sharing can be found here.
 Steve and I entered the brewery and were pleasantly surprised to find out that all the beer they were serving was free.  I started off with their standard brown ale that I thought was good but not over whelming.  The smoked porter I tried next was very good though.  It had a nice rich taste but didn’t knock you over with the burnt maltiness. 

I took this beer with me on a tour of the brewery.  Scott, the brew master explained the brewing process and passed around examples of the malts and hops for us to smell.  He explained that this was one of the last tours they would be giving at this facility because they are moving at the end of the month to a bigger location about 5 miles away in Elmsford, NY.   Scott pointed to the huge fermentation vat and said, “We are going to be increasing our capacity five times so we needed more room for the bigger vats.”  They also will be finally producing their beer in 12 ounce bottles. 

After the tour, we went back to the tasting room to continue sampling. I tried a beer called “Family Meal” that was made with cinnamon and ginger and was impressed by its sweetness.  But it was the last beer I had called “Drew’s Brew” that was my favorite.  This one had some of the sweetness of the previous beer but with a nice IPA kick.  After going back for seconds on the Drew’s, I decided to fill up a growler to take home.  At 8.5% ABV I wasn’t going to stand around drinking this one all day long.   At this point I could have used something to eat, but I guess the brewery isn’t allowed to serve food on premises.  I did notice some more experienced tasters who brought baked goods and pretzels.  Note to self: Next time, think of more than just the beer.


  1. Now, if only Captain Lawrence could take their beers and move them over to Defiant, we'd all be set.

    /Defiant is terrible.

  2. It would be nice to have Captain Lawrence in our back yard like Defiant is. For the time being we'll have to grin and bear it.