Sunday, September 2, 2012

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company

It had been awhile since my wife Kerry and I had gone to visit a new brewery (at least new to us), so we decided to ring in September with a trip to Captain Lawrence Brewing Company's new brewery in Elmsford, NY.  Captain Lawrence had originally been located in Pleasantville, NY since 2006, but with the growing need to expand, moved into the Elmsford facility and began brewing beer in late 2011/early 2012.

This was the first time we went to a brewery's tasting room and had to show our ID and get a wristband from a bouncer!  We were thinking it may be because of the close proximity to NYC, or maybe it just shows how popular with the locals this brewery is getting.  To get into the taproom, we paid $2 each, and got a Captain Lawrence tasting glass to use in the tasting room, and we got to bring it home!  The bouncer suggested we bring it back the next time we come to the brewery.  I'm guessing we would still have to pay the $2 though, which I will gladly do.

Tons of people in this tasting room.  Felt more like a bar, really.  There were two separate lines, one for growler fills, and one to get your tasting glass filled. Kerry opted for a taster of the Brown Bird Brown Ale, and I got the light Summer Sipper Cream Ale.  Kerry loved the brown ale, and while the cream ale was light and refreshing, I was in the mood for something a little more substantial.  Next, I got the Pumpkin Ale, and Kerry filled her glass with Liquid Gold, a Belgian Style Ale.  By this point, the tasting room was really full, and loud music playing through the speakers made it pretty hard to concentrate on the beer and have a conversation.  Maybe we're just getting old!  To the right of the bar in the tasting room is a wall of windows that lets you see inside the brewery, as well as two doors that lead to a "safe area" fenced off from the brewery floor.  We hoped to escape the loud tasting room and ventured through the doors to the brewery.....

......and were immediately greeted by Evan Watson, a Captain Lawrence employee, about to give a tour of the facility.  And to only 4 other people!  Kerry and I jumped right on the tour.  It was a fairly standard tour, following the brewing process.  Milling the grain, mashing the grain, lautering, boiling, fermenting, oak aging, drinking!  Evan was a great guide though, answering questions whenever anyone had one, and made the standard tour quite enjoyable.  He even brought along a bottle of Golden Delicious, a fantastic American Tripel aged in apple brandy oak barrels, for the 6 of us on the tour to enjoy!
Evan, our tour guide

Apple Brandy Barrels, maybe some others
Small Bottling System
Small Pilot System

After the tour, Kerry and I headed back into the tasting room.  I wanted to try the beer that Evan designed and brewed on Captain Lawrence's small pilot system.  His beer was the Beezerker Heather Ale, and an "ode to Scotland."  It was a Scottish Ale brewed with honey and dry hopped with heather flowers and hops.  It definitely had a floral aroma and taste, and was very enjoyable.  Kerry got and enjoyed the seasonal pumpkin ale.

On our way out, we picked up a bottle of Golden Delicious, because it was just that good.  Also because it's not yet available in NJ, but they say they are working on that!  I can't wait to be able to pick up these brews at the local bottle shop!

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