Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Hop in Beacon, NY

Happy Easter everyone!  I had a fun pre-holiday experience last night at the grand opening of a new craft beer store in the Hudson Valley.  The Hop in Beacon, NY opened its doors about a month ago, but yesterday officially announced its intentions of bringing craft beer to Dutchess County and beyond.

This cute little store at the end of Main Street has a fine selection of about 100 different beers for sale "to go" and another six on tap for growler or glass fills. They also have a section of local artisinal "beer" foods like cheeses, pickels and all kinds of sauces.  Their menu currently consists of a few sandwiches, soups, salads and some creative uses of beer and ice cream for dessert.

My wife Doreen and I arrived about a half hour early and the place already had a decent sized crowd.  People were ordering goblets and pints of draft beer and wandering around the store browsing the wine racks filled with 750ml bottles of craft beer.  We made our way to the bar and ordered a Dogfish Head Red and White and a hefe weissen from Sixpoint.  The latter was a little light for my taste but the Dogfish was exceptional.  This is a combination of a Belgian White Ale with red wine and it really works.  The fruitiness of the grapes and the slight hopping blended well on the palate. 

We each ordered a grilled cheese that was made with caramelized onions and was delicious.  WE met the rest of our group at the long, communal table in the center of the store that doubles as display case for some of their 12 ounce offerings.   We all received wrist bands from John Kelly who, along with 3 other locals, owns this establishment.  John and one of his partners are Culinary Institute grads and it shows in the design of the store (he built the communal table) and the presentation of the food and drink.   The wrist bands were to be used along with a ticket for one free beer at the “beer garden” behind the store. 
We walked out and around back to a fenced in area containing about a dozen tables, propane heaters and most importantly, more kegs.  They were pouring selections from Colorado’s Left Hand Brewery,  Lagunitas from California and  Westchester’s own Captain Lawrence.  I had the Captain’s Kolsch and found it crisp and refreshing. I was able to sample Left Hand’s Smoke Jumper which is an Imperial Porter.  This beer, which pays tribute to the brave souls who fight forest fires, had a wonderful smoked cheese flavor finished with a chocolate kiss.  The 9% ABV had a warming effect on this chilly night.

Back inside, we discovered that we could order any 750 ml bottle in house and drink it there for a $7 corking fee.  So we split a Founder's Crumudgeon's Better Half which is brewed in bourbon barrels with maple syrup and molasses. The sweetness led off every sip and complemented the whiskey finish nicely.

The overall feel of the The Hop was one of cool NYC beer bar in upstate New York.  There is not much else I could ask for in a craft beer store other than more selection on the bottle side.  But they just opened and I’m sure they will be adding to their list as time goes on.  This, along with the rotating tap list, will require another visit in the near future  . . .    What? Someone’s got to it.  Cheers!


  1. Great Blog Guys...will serve as a great reference for my tri-state area beer excursions (beercursions). I recently started a blog called please check it out when you have some time. My focus is on any and everything craft beer related in CT

  2. @Kevin, Thanks for the comments. I like the reviews you've done so far. The Tristate group has more NY/NJ writers and we'd enjoy having a CT prespective. So if you'd like to contribute, we'd love to have you. There's plenty of great craft beer places to go around. Cheers!! Mike