During our time in Pittsburgh, we received multiple recommendations to visit Roundabout Brewery while in town, so we made our way over there on April 23rd, 2014. Husband and wife, Steve & Dyana Sloan, are running the operation on their own in the Lawrencville area of Pittsburgh utilizing a 6 barrel brewhouse. Steve has been working at breweries for years – one in Florida, one in Hawaii, three in California, one in Colorado, two in Missouri, three in Pennsylvania, plus a winery in New Zealand – and the time came to finally open up his own. Roundabout recently celebrated their one year anniversary in July with an event at the taproom where they had live music, BBQ, and Ice Cream. Their brews can only be found on tap in the taproom, as they made the decision to not distribute off-site in order to have full control over how their beer is served. You won’t want to miss out on the deliciously unique New Zealand & American themed beers that Roundabout is brewing, so definitely make time for a visit to the brewery when you’re in Pittsburgh.
Newburgh Brewing is located in a huge 4-story warehouse that has an absolutely stunning view of the Hudson River. Owners Christopher & Paul met when they lived in the area around the age of 12 and, after a stint of going their own ways in life, came together to open up the brewery. With twelve beers on tap on the day of our visit, it’s not hard to believe that we were there for an extended amount of time (in comparison to the amount of time we normally spend at each brewery) hanging out with the staff and some of the locals. The taproom is one of the largest we’ve seen on our trip and the physical bar is a work of art. The great beer, atmosphere, and people make this a top notch brewery that you cannot miss.
Once we were done with visiting breweries in Connecticut, we headed back into New York for the second time where we first ended up at Peekskill brewery in Peekskill, NY, north of NYC near White Plains. This is the first brewery we have been to that sends every single wort of theirs through a coolship after boil and they offer multiple different styles. As for the facility, it is a 3-story building with the Cheers-like bar area and brewing space on the first floor, a more upscale, family-dining area and grain room on the second floor, and the coolship is located on the third floor with some storage space and offices. The train from Grand Central Station in NYC comes right by the brewery, is about an hour commute, and the view of the Peekskill Bay is incredible from this location. Next time you’re in the area, be sure to enjoy everything they have to offer with a good beer in hand!
Our visit to Captain Lawrence Brewing Company was during their public hours on a Sunday afternoon. The weather outside was perfect for their outdoor area with picnic tables, so they were filled up with locals enjoying some beer in the sun. As we sat there tasting each of their beers, we were asked about our experience there by Michael Malone, who maintains Notes from the Tasting Room. Later, we followed the tasting room manager, Aaron Pozit, through the public tour at 4 pm with just five other people and learned about the company’s history, brewing process, and equipment. Unfortunately we were about a month early, though; they just had an Annual Pig Roast that was held on May 17th…
Although Sixpoint is not open to the public at all, we were able to get in contact with them to set up some time to check out their Brooklyn facility in the Red Hook neighborhood on a Friday afternoon. Most of the staff was there working away, but everyone took some time out to say hi to us, gave us samples of just about every beer they had at the time, and even offered us a slice of pizza. Most of our time was spent with Jamie who walked us through all of the areas of the brewery, including the second floor break room/ office/ kitchen/ bachelor pad area; the view of New York City from the roof is incredible. The experience there was top-notch and I cannot thank everyone we met enough for being as kind as they were. We were also told that some exciting news is on the horizon in regards to their Brooklyn facility, so make sure to look out for that!
We visited River Horse Brewing Company in NJ on National Beer Day, however they were not open to the public so we were given a private look at the inside of the brewery while the staff told us all about what makes River Horse unique. It was obvious that they work hard to make a great product rather than get wrapped up in the glamorous media side of brewing. The head brewer Chris said: “It’s fun and it’s great; I love it. There’s nothing else I ever want to do or plan to do, but we’re working in a factory. We’re not ‘too cool’ for anything, ya know?” All of the beer we sampled was straight forward, clean, & well-done, all of the staff were great to talk to and humble, and the facility has plenty of room for expansion. Gotta love the art on their walls.
We ended up sleeping in our van again as soon as we crossed into the state of New Jersey coming from Delaware, then visited with the brewing staff at Flying Fish Brewing Company in Somerdale, NJ on the afternoon of Friday, 3/28/2014. As we walked around with the brewery manager, Barry Holsten, we found out that Flying Fish is the most sustainable brewery in the Philadelphia Region. They built into energy saving features in all areas when they moved into their current facility, including: converting to high-pressure steam for sanitizing instead of chemicals, using ‘solar tunnels’ that allow sunlight to light the warehouse to augment energy efficient lighting, have 470 solar panels on the roof, use recycled cardboard with low levels of one color of ink to package, and do not distribute nationally so that fossil fuels are not burned.
Our earliest appointment so far was at 9 am on Wednesday, 3/12/14 with Midnight Brewery, who we met after slamming down some coffee and making our way from downtown Richmond over to Rockville. Upon our arrival, we spoke with brewer Becky Rudolf and owner Trae Cairns who told us that “We have a passion for craft beer and really take the beer personally. If somebody doesn’t like it, I want to know why. If people love it, that’s great, but if they don’t like it, I want to know why. To me, that’s really an extension of our craft, and when you find a beer that people like, you stick with it.”
On Monday, 1/13/14, we made our way out to Guadalupe Brewing Co in New Braunfels, TX. The first thing we noticed after walking in the door was a unique wood-paneled fermenter tank, which the headbrewer, Ryan Bishop, told us was hand-made in order to keep added insulation in place. He said they have a “Franken-brew” system since much of their equipment was pieced together, including the dairy pasteurizers repurposed as a mash tun and a hot liquor tank.