Brewery Name: Peekskill Brewery
Type of Brewery: Brewpub
Location: Peekskill, NY
Background: Before California was DC and before DC was New York for me. I grew up just a few miles from Peekskill and know it pretty well. Took my driving test there when I was 16 and worked some early-in-life food service jobs in the area, too. I hadn’t been back in quite some time, and while I was gone the beer scene arrived.
It’s no San Francisco or Burlington but I’m glad to see the craft brewery movement starting here. I won’t lie, I’d have been pretty bummed if this brewery was disappointing, but I’m happy to say that it was extremely enjoyable. Really glad I was able to stop by and am looking forward to increased distribution and maybe another visit in the future!
Growlers: Growlers are available, but for a pretty limited amount of the taps. About half of what’s pouring is available to take home growler-style at any given time, it seems.
The Beers: Peekskill has a pretty wide-ranging taplist, which is always a fun way to go into tasting. I have become so accustomed to super hoppy beers that I sort of expected to be a little lower on their IPAs and pale ales, but to my pleasant surprise they were some of the best ones I tried. As you can see, I decided to try every beer they had (13 when I was there), but here are a few of the highlights:
Vibe: Peekskill Brewery has a pretty successful industry-chic vibe going for it. Lots of black metal, stainless steel, and large scale wall art and drawings. There is an upstairs seating section for a meal-oriented experience and a decent size bar with additional seating on the main level.
They seemed a bit short-staffed when I visited, but the folks who did help me were great. They encouraged small pours and spent a good amount of time talking us through their recommended tasting order. It’s always a major plus to have a craft brewery experience that involves staff being excited about their product.
Once you get past all the visual aspects, there is a little bit of a pub vibe going on with big, long wood tables, big beers, and a really good level of noise when they fill up. The chalkboard beer list, wall drawings, and extremely well-done can art confuse your senses once more into more of a studio vibe this time. All of these different elements somehow work really well together and give Peekskill Brewery a really great vibe.
Dogs: No dogs inside, but this was another cold weather visit for me. It looks like they may have some space outside for seating when it's warmer, but was hard to tell with snow on the ground
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$$. Truly middle of the road. I expected everything to be about a buck cheaper, but certainly wasn’t put off by the pricing. Full pours run between 6-8 bucks and food is fair as well. The small pours are affordable if you’re going for a full spectrum too!
Food: GREAT food menu here. In my mind, a best-of-both-worlds menu as far as brewpubs go. They’ve got that upscale bar menu going, with apps like beer mac n cheese, carnitas nachos, and fried pickles, but also offer wings, burgers, and a few larger scale dishes like fish and chips. Everything is priced pretty fairly, and portions seemed real solid (admittedly I did my classic liquid dinner, unfortunately).
Final Thoughts: Really happy to see a good craft brewery pop up in my original stomping grounds. For whatever reason, it seems like the huge swath of New York between the finger lakes and the city are late to the beer game, but hopefully Peekskill Brewery is a sign of good things to come. Without a doubt some of the better beer I’ve had from the region, and the brewery is a great place to stop and hang for a while.
Pete: Aslin has always been a favorite of mine. Ever since my first pilgrimage out to Herndon, it has had my support. I have gone there on my birthday, after a long week, or even just because a release looked good, and this trip coincided with my graduation from law school. It seemed like the perfect time to get out to the brewery to check out a can release.
I started to visit Aslin when they only offered crowler releases in very small batch numbers. Now they have a huge line for stacks and stacks of their cans. The place has become unrecognizable ever since the city informed the brewery that they could no longer serve on-site anymore. That was sad, but that space was always tough to be in because it really was so small.
As the brewery grew in popularity, the ability to sit and enjoy a beer at the bar waned so it was getting harder and harder to spend time there. For a while, the best way to enjoy the brewery was to get in and get out with crowlers to drink the beer elsewhere. Luckily they have decided to open a tap room in Herndon and keep their first location as a brewery only spot. That seems to be the best move for all parties (including the other businesses, which were likely unhappy with the amount of parking taken up by the brewery patrons during releases), so stay tuned for an eventual post on their new location.
Shane: Pete has obviously been high on Aslin for quite some time. He selected several Aslin beers in our 2016 Beer Draft. He has been visiting Aslin since they first burst onto the beer scene. He’s even included a handful of Aslin beers in our regular writeups. To say that Pete is an Aslin fan would probably be a gross understatement. So when he let us know that he would be including a slew of new Aslin beers among his next tasting selections, I was pretty excited. Especially when I learned that among them would be a few different fruit beers and a collaboration with fellow mid-Atlantic powerhouse RaR. The final beer in this batch is a brew from 3 Stars, which we visited earlier this year during our Washington, DC Beercation and were very impressed by. I’m pumped to have the opportunity to try another beer from them, and I can’t wait to crack into this excellent selection provided by Pete. Is it weird that six of the seven beers are from Aslin? Sure, maybe. Is Aslin so awesome that I don’t care? Yes, definitely.
York: I see you got some Aslin, eh, Pete? I have waited in a line for beer exactly twice in my life. Both were Pete’s fault. Both resulted in beer that made me stop complaining about lines. The most recent of those experiences was at Aslin (during our last beercation), and it yielded all-stars like Master of Karate and Stellar Parallax, so it’s safe to say an Aslin focus definitely sounds good to me. Even more so, I love the mix of styles here. IPAs and double IPAs in a huge range of ABVs and not one but two Wild IPAs--which has become a real favorite style of mine. RaR and 3 Stars are two of my top breweries in the DC area that I make sure to seek out any time I’m nearby, so getting a beer each from them makes this batch even more exciting. I don’t know that I’d have previously said that a batch from almost entirely one brewery was preferable, but this lineup looks about as good as any.
York: Big batch of big flavors here! We’re all a bit IPA-heavy, but it’s hard not to be when there are so many good ones to choose from. I tried to pick a few different styles here, including a prototypical West Coast IPA (that I don’t fully expect the guys to dig, but it’s good to branch out a bit). The others include some really neat hop combos featuring Huell Melon, Moteuka, and Hallertau Blanc. In addition to the four IPAs, I threw in an equal number of funky beers.
The saison and gose worlds are slightly separate for me from the true sour realm, and they’re styles that I struggle to pin down sometimes. I find huge variation in flavor profiles among saisons, and goses seem to be on a similarly wide spectrum that includes beers that remind me of everything from a kettle sour to a sparkling ale. These four run across all different spots on that spectrum, and a few are further complicated by adjuncts like passionfruit and boysenberry (turns out that’s real). Modern Times and Local Brewing have been featured by us before, but this is the first time I’ve been able to snag two Alvarado Street (a major player in the San Francisco scene as of recently) as well as an IPA from Temescal (one of my personal favorite young breweries in the bay area). All I ask of Shane and Pete on this one is to not judge anything by style or description before they give it a go, because many of these really surprised me in flavor, complexity, or both!
Shane: To say that I’m excited to try this batch of beers would be a dramatic understatement. Alvarado is a brewery whose great reputation has made waves all the way over on the east coast, and I can’t wait to try not just a big, juicy IPA from them, but a kettle sour as well. On a similar note, the Modern Times gose is calling my name. I’ve been huge on goses recently, and, when done well, I would count the style among my favorites. To have a delicious looking one coming our way from Modern Times, a brewery that has already made serious waves during our previous tastings, is all I could ask for. I’m intrigued that York has chosen a couple of saisons in this batch, given that none of us tend to be huge fans of the style. That said, I trust York’s palate, and we’ve been surprised by some absolutely incredible saisons before. I’m very excited to get started.
Pete: Brian has done a great job finding a mix of beers from different breweries without repeating himself too much. I am happy to see more Modern Times, because everything they make seems to be wonderful (also, I have a hard time following whether their releases are coffee or beer). I like seeing him also take a chance on some saisons. I am always a fan of the style and I am always looking for new ones to set a different trend for me. We (of course) have a full complement of IPAs as well, ranging from the classic West Coast to a take on New England IPAs. Overall, I am excited for this batch.
Shane: It feels like some of my recent selections have been pretty Massachusetts-heavy, with Tree House in particular representing a disproportionate number of the beers that we’ve sampled. What can I say? I love Tree House. But this time, I figured the rest of New England should probably get their due. I’ve got offerings from just about every state here, including a local favorite from my hometown in New Hampshire, a pale ale from a brand new brewery up in Maine, a group of legends from rural Vermont, a popular IPA from Rhode Island, and even a special selection from just over the border in New York.
York: A huge part of the fun in exchanging beers to me is trying things from the next great brewery. We were early fans of breweries like Foam, Aslin, and Prison City, and I love seeing younger breweries like Great Rhythm and One Eye Open included in these batches. There’s something extra fun about identifying a great beer before it’s common knowledge. That said, I am nothing less than thrilled to have not one, not two, but three fresh beers from the powerhouse that is The Alchemist. Focal Banger was my first draft pick of all beer I tried in the last year, and I have no doubt that the other brews will be killer as well. Glad to see my original home state of New York making an appearance here too! Great mix of breweries and regions in this go around. Well crafted, Shane!
Pete: So this batch represents the state of beer in this world at the moment. Got hops? Yes we do. These are basically all hop bombs, and even the one stout in here has a hoppy complexion. Shane managed to grab a bunch of awesome beers that we have all been asking for. I am super excited to try Crusher, because Alchemist only recently started breaking it out again. The addition of a non-IPA from them is a bonus. I also plan on shower-beer-consuming the Focal Banger because, yes, it is one of the best IPAs out there. But is it the best shower beer? I also asked for Squeeze from Great Rhythm. Their beers just seem right up my alley and I have wanted to give them a shot for a while. I also finally get to try SingleCut, which is good news because I have a friend in Astoria who lives around the corner from them. If they live up to the hype, that might be the new go-to brewery when I visit NYC.
Shane's Thoughts: Great Rhythm has been a New Hampshire mainstay for a while now: their Resonation Pale Ale has been a refreshing and satisfying staple in many a cooler for years. But within the last year or so they opened a brand new brewery and taproom in Portsmouth, NH, and in doing so they took their beer game to the next level. Beers like Squeeze, Hi-Fi, Sticky, and others have taken the New Hampshire beer game by storm. I’ll admit--my personal favorite of the bunch is Hi-Fi, but Squeeze has really captivated the attention of beer lovers in the region. When Pete requested it, I couldn’t turn him down. Squeeze is a blast of tangerine and peach flavor that smacks you right in the mouth. It isn’t as hazy as the classic New England juice bombs like Julius, but I would call this Great Rhythm’s answer to Julius nonetheless. It’s tasty and refreshing, and while I think there are better Great Rhythm beers, that takes absolutely nothing away from Squeeze.
Pete's Thoughts: So, this was a request I made. This beer was on the internet and I saw it and said, “hey, it’s citrus, and Julius was pretty good, so this has to be good right?” Well, if you have followed us…that’s not always the case. But this lived up to what I wanted. It’s citrus, fruit, passionfruit, and some good dankness to round it out. This beer pours that right hazy dark orange that makes you think about hops. For a single IPA, this was perfect. Double IPAs sometimes walk that line of being too boozy, and that sometimes overtakes the subtle hop character. This beer shows what a good single IPA is: bright, hoppy, and to the point. You can have a couple and enjoy your evening.
York's Thoughts: Good god this is delicious. It’s citrusy but not fruity, dank but not sticky, full but not too hazy, it’s all around what I want in a beer. Would really love to know the hop profile here because it’s absolutely dynamite. I’d venture a pilsner malt base just because of how crisp it is but even that is a shot in the dark based on how smooth the transitions are. One of the best finishes I’ve had off an IPA from Shane to-date!
Pete: Really what I want in a single IPA, walking that line of being fruity and dank without being bitter. 8/10
York: No complaints, no changes, just more of this beer. 10/10
Shane: Delicious, refreshing, and juicy. 8/10
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Three friends. Three corners of the country. One passion for beer.
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