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Classy Camper Cocktail Co. Brings Panache To A Party

By Amy Krzanik

The crowds have been large at each of the four exhibit openings/anniversary celebrations at The School | Jack Shainman Gallery in Kinderhook, New York. Besides the throng of art lovers snaking their way through the gallery’s three floors, the lines have been long in another area of the sprawling event.

Out in the parking lot, the Classy Camper Cocktail Company, based out of Stuyvesant, New York, has been a popular presence at the last two School openings. And with good reason. Classy Camper owner Morgan Herchenroder offers up signature cocktails with fresh ingredients, including simple syrups that she makes herself. (See below for the Spring Fling Cocktail made with lavender syrup served on May 20 at The School.)

Herchenroder is now in her second year traveling with her trusty 1960 Shasta camper, named Lola, having “opened shop” in May of 2017. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for two years, but finding the camper and renovating it took a lot of time,” says Herchenroder, who is assisted at some events by her sister or her childhood best friend.

“I’ve always been in the restaurant business,” says Herchenroder, whom you may have seen at Hudson’s Wm. Farmer & Sons, where she works as a server a couple of nights a week. “I knew I wanted to do something on my own, like a food truck, but I’m not a great chef,” she laughs. “But I’ve always been a bartender.”

She had been hearing a lot about decorated “caravans,” which are popular in Australia and overseas. “I thought that would be a good fit for the destination and barn weddings that are so popular in this area,” she says. “It brings something extra special to an event, be it a wedding, an anniversary party, really anything. This year I got hired for a ‘mom camp’ in Lake George.” Speaking of moms, Herchenroder says her traveling cocktail business is great because it gives her the flexibility she needs while she’s raising her kids.

Because of New York State liquor laws, Classy Camper Cocktail Co. can provide everything except the alcohol. This does, however, give the client the freedom to buy whatever kinds of alcohol they desire from wherever they want, without an upcharge. They buy the alcohol, Herchenroder takes care of the rest, including the delivery. She offers basic packages (beer and wine) as well as full-service packages that include mixers, ice, garnishes and glass- or plastic-ware, and non-boozy drinks such as iced tea or lemonade. She also brings along yard games, such as cornhole, bocce and a very large jenga.

Herchenroder, who grew up in Kinderhook, will be back for the town’s upcoming food truck nights on Thursdays, June 28 and Aug. 23. She’ll be partnering up with The Flammerie to serve beer, wine and wine cocktails. You should stop by; we’ve got a feeling it’s going to be very classy.

Spring Fling Cocktail
1 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. lavender simple syrup
2 oz. lemonade
Splash of sparkling water

1. Mix vodka, lavender simple syrup and lemonade.
2. Top with sparkling water and serve over ice.
3. Garnish with a lilac blossom.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/29/18 at 07:24 PM • Permalink

First East Coast Sake Brewery To Open In Hyde Park, N.Y.

By Jamie Larson

The announcement of any new large business coming to the region is always a big deal, but rarely are those announcements covered by multiple Japanese media outlets. At the Culinary Institute of America on April 10, everyone was eager to get a look at and a taste of Asahi Shuzo’s plan to create its first overseas sake brewery, and the first ever on the East Coast. The food heritage of the Hudson Valley was a big draw for the company, whose chairman, Hiroshi Sakurai, called the CIA “the culinary capital of America.”

Asahi Shuzo is one of the most highly regarded sake brands in Japan. Their Dassai sake, which they served at the end of the press conference to assembled officials, politicians and thirsty reporters, is smooth and floral. There’s almost no bite to the alcohol and there’s a clean sweetness that doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s considered a sipping sake and feels extremely different in the mouth than the (still pleasant) table sake most of us are used to drinking at sushi restaurants.

“Asahi Shuzo is a leader in its field,” said CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. “We are honored that they chose to build their first U.S. operation in the CIA’s backyard, and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

The CIA currently offers a course in advanced Japanese cooking, but Ryan said the partnership with Asahi Shuzo will lead to a professional sake certification program and even a full academic concentration in Japanese food, beverage and culinary culture.

Hiroshi Sakurai and Kazuhiro Sakurai with Dr. Tim Ryan.

“When looking for a site to build our first U.S. brewery, we knew we wanted to differentiate ourselves from other sake brewers,” said Sakurai, adding that while sake has become more popular in the U.S., there is huge growth potential if presented to the American market. “The proximity to the CIA is an ideal fit.”

Sakurai stressed that it is not just their intent to increase sake consumption alongside Japanese food but to show how well it pairs with other cuisine, and that the Hudson Valley, with its world-class farms and restaurants, is the perfect place to do that. 

Sakurai and his son, Kazuhiro Sakurai, who is the company’s president, said their goal is to bring not just more sake to America but also the traditions that surround it, and that takes fostering the local community’s involvement. The elder Sakurai is so committed to the expansion plan that he is moving to Hyde Park and will not move back to Japan until the operation and sake quality meet his standards.

The building plan starts with the rehab and redesign of an old 52,500-square-foot former supermarket into a traditional, yet state-of-the-art brewery, complete with a retail section and tasting room. The project is expected to cost $28 million, create at least 32 new local jobs and produce 332,000 gallons of sake a year. Parking will be reduced at the site in favor of more green space, and a building will be surrounded by Japanese cherry trees, whose iconic spring blossoms are a rich cultural symbol celebrated with, you guessed it, sake.

As one would expect at an announcement like this, local and state officials abounded. Each expressed enthusiasm for the news and excitement at attending the future grand opening of the facility. Dutchess County executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate Marcus Molinaro joked that he took some umbrage with Asahi Shuzo’s slogan “We brew sake for sipping,” because he likes to throw it back like a shot. Later, in response, Sakurai retorted that he was no longer worried about local sales.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 04/16/18 at 08:40 AM • Permalink

Olde York Farm: A Distillery Infused With Family, Bold Flavors

By Jamie Larson

These days, there’s a local farm distillery around here to suit just about everyone’s taste. Olde York Farm Distillery and Cooperage, just outside Hudson, New York on a historic site overlooking a splendid old mill and dam, is a small new addition to the field. But damned if they don’t have something for everybody.

Olde York’s paterfamilias, Stuart Newsome, worked 40 years in construction and was looking to move on. Originally from Leeds in Yorkshire, England, Newsome’s interest in American history got him into distilling and the craft of wooden barrel making (coopering).

“Most farmers, before Prohibition, had a still. You could make a product to sell with shelf life and it was easier to transport to market,” said Newsome. “My daughter Sophie said, ‘you’re really interested in this, why don’t you do it?’ I said I’d do it but only if she and her mother did it with me.”

Newsome and his wife Louise, who lived in Nyack, New York, often visited Sophie and her partner Rory Tice in Hudson, and the four decided that if they were going to do it anywhere, they wanted to do it here. So they bought the historic house and barns of Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer. The buildings were originally a part of the breathtaking mill property across the street, now owned by James Ivory of Merchant Ivory fame. Their side of the historic site was in disrepair, especially the old carriage house, which they restored into the distillery, handsome tasting room, and upstairs cooperage.

They are also running a popular Airbnb out of the house that’s received rave reviews. The space is gorgeously appointed, the property is properly bucolic and, oh yeah, there’s a bar with unique high-end cocktails out back. In the summer, Olde York will host weekend events including food trucks, live music and activities for kids.

Although they only opened the tasting room in September, the family behind Olde York has already made more than a dozen micro-batch bourbons and vodkas infused with local and seasonal ingredients. This complex process is Sophie Newsome’s domain and she’s created some surprising and bold blends, from golden fennel and nasturtium liqueurs to the wildly popular black walnut bourbon.

“Some people have hidden talents. The way my daughter mixes and comes up with these flavors is this amazing hidden talent,” Newsome said proudly. “She’s just brilliant.”

While some people (like your author, who’s usually a bourbon-on-the-rocks guy) might normally pass on flavored spirits, the lineup here is well worth stepping out of your comfort zone. Every example we tried was balanced and crisp, and the use of real ingredients in infusions, rather than extracts, means nothing was overly sweet, tongue coating or overpowering.

Stuart Newsome happily announced that the walnut trees were tapped, the syrup will be here soon and the bourbon will be back in stock. Seasonality isn’t something we usually associate with alcohol, but there’s something magical about these one-of-a-kind bottlings that taste like a specific plant, grown in a specific place at a specific time. Another seasonal hit was the wild ramp-flavored vodka.

If you’re not sure what to do with such unusual booze, Sophie Newsome has created elegant cocktail recipes for all of them that you can make at home or test out in the tasting room.

The reasonably priced bottles ($30-40 range) are perfect for cocktails and, as a mixer, will last on your shelf for a while. (Or maybe not).

Olde York is off to a strong start and we’re looking forward to what they surprise us with this summer. Newsome teased that he’s getting to work on a gin and has plans down the line for a single malt. As we finally melt into spring, Olde York makes for a one-of-a-kind weekend outing.

Old York Farm Distillery and Cooperage
284 State Rte. 23, Hudson, NY
(518) 721-8209 or (845) 480-1237

Tasting Room Hours:
Friday: 5-9 p.m.
Saturday: noon-9 p.m.
Sunday: noon-6 p.m.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 04/02/18 at 08:09 PM • Permalink

How Do You Like Them Apples?

By Lisa Green

You can have your pumpkin spice…whatever. For me, fall is all about the apples. And there’s no place better than the Rural Intelligence region for all of us to indulge in that all-American fruit (fun fact: the apple comes from the rose family). There’s almost nothing more enjoyable than pulling the reddening poms off the tree on a brisk fall day. Or that first bite into a crisp, sweet/tart Macoun.

But if you prefer to drink your apples, there’s that, too. On a warm sunny day last week, we took a drive out to Harvest Spirits Distillery in Valatie, New York. Rural Intelligence has written about this family-run business before, and we always enjoy visiting both the distillery and farm market. Established in 2007 to make use of the surplus apples at the family’s Golden Harvest Farms, the distillery produces vodka, applejack, specialty brandies and some new concoctions, all made from the farm’s 20-plus varieties of apples.

For this story, I chose to highlight a few of the most apple-y products in the tasting room. The Cornelius Applejack is made from 100-percent apples, carefully distilled twice and aged to create a brandy that tastes like bourbon. Another, the Cornelius Cherry, is made with bing cherries soaked in the Applejack, then strained into oak barrels.

With an endless supply of apples, the Harvest Spirits team certainly has the wherewithal to experiment with other uses, and has ventured into creating a line of non-alcoholic balsamics called Harvest Vinegar Works.

“We’re using ethanol in very creative ways,” said Derek Grout [below], one of the distillery’s owners, as he showed us around the tasting room. The Apple Cider Vinegar is made by cooking the apples before slowly fermenting them in oak barrels. The Fire Apple Vinegar starts with the Apple Cider Vinegar base and packs in honey, ginger, garlic and Chipotle peppers — a potent brew that’s great for staving off a cold, and adds a nice spicy flavor to salad dressings…or a Bloody Mary.

No one ever said the apple a day couldn’t be in a cocktail. (Or sprinkled over salad.) Harvest Spirits supplied us with these drink recipes.

The Johnny Applejack

Pour ingredients together:
2 oz. Cornelius Applejack
3 oz. apple cider
½ ox. fresh lemon juice
1 dash bitters
Serve in a Tom Collins glass with ice. Garnish with lemon.

Cherry Chocolate Milk

Shake over ice:
2 oz. Cornelius Cherry Brandy
4 oz. whole chocolate milk
Strain into a frozen glass. Garnish with brandied cherry.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/23/17 at 09:22 AM • Permalink

Dutch’s Spirits Revives A Clandestine Distillery

By Jamie Larson

We love letting you in on a good secret, and Dutch’s Spirits at Harvest Homestead Farm in Pine Plains, New York won’t be one for long. While it’s only just getting started, Dutch’s has a lot going on. It’s a farm stand, historic prohibition-era bootlegging site, an event venue, tasting bar and a place to try and buy every type of booze made in New York State. And it’s all housed in a beautiful new barn overlooking rolling hills that are popping with fall colors.

What’s impressive about Dutch’s right now is that even though it won’t be fully operational until next year (it’s still distilling its celebrated brand of liquor and bitters off-site and waiting patiently for its beer and wine, and food service license), there’s already an experience to be had. That’s in part due to the well-regarded line of Sugar Wash Moonshine, created by co-founders Alex Adams and Ariel Schlein in 2010 — but it’s also because of the intriguing secret history of the company’s namesake Dutch Schultz.

“He told people he was building a pool to justify all the concrete he was bringing onto the farm,” says Teri Wamsley, Dutch’s operations manager. “The reason our moonshine is so wonderful is because it’s an extension of the history of the farm.”

Down a set of stairs from the tasting room is a massive concrete subterranean grotto where Schultz’s crew made his moonshine. There’s also a series of tunnels exiting the site out to the road. Those tunnels were put to use by Dutch’s bootleggers when the feds raided the operation on October 17, 1932. Schultz was eventually brought down by that old mobster foil — tax evasion — but he gets the last laugh as generations later his name is branded across bottles sold right upstairs.

Dutch’s cofounder Ariel Schlein channels bootlegger Dutch Shultz, in the portrait behind him.

The crew at Dutch’s has leaned into their founder’s shady past. Their branding plays on the look and feel of 20s-era gangsters and their signature moonshine is how they think the boss himself would have made it, a straight 80 proof cane sugar neutral spirit. It’s got a nice clean, high-quality burn and is really useful as the backbone of just about any cocktail.

Dutch’s also makes cocktail bitters and a brandy using New York peaches. The alcohol is the forward experience as it hits your mouth and then the subtle peach sweetness and full fruit flavor develops on the back of the tongue. The flavor is understated in just the right way.

The historic secret distillery site beneath the barn.

While the brandy as well as their strong (120 proof) but excellent bourbon are momentarily sold out among retail locations (Dutch’s says they’ll have a new batch ready for the holidays), the one place you can always try them is at the farm, along with the other great New York options they showcase, including local favorites like Harvest Spirits and Hillrock.

But it’s not just about the booze; the operational farm and farm stand has been hosting family- friendly events since the soft open of the location in July. Now, with leaf colors nearing their peak, it’s an excellent afternoon stop.

We expect we will be hearing a lot more about Dutch’s in the coming years as the operation expands to its full capacity, but its current form is well worth a visit, especially to see the evidence of its Prohibition-era past.
Somewhere, Dutch Shultz’s spirit is looking down (or, lets face it, probably up) and smiling at the young group of legal bootleggers continuing his legacy, out of the shadows and above ground. 

Dutch’s Spirits
Harvest Homestead Farm
98 Ryan Rd., Pine Plains, NY
(518) 398-1022
Open to the public
Thursday through Saturday 12-5 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/18/16 at 04:06 PM • Permalink

A New Bright Spot Opens In North Adams

By Amy Krzanik

If you’re looking for a poorly lit watering hole with a handful of blaring TVs, some stale pretzels for snacking and a surly bartender who acts like he’s doing you a favor when he takes your order, you’re really going to hate North Adams’ newest microbrewery and bar.

Bright Ideas Brewing, located on the campus of MASS MoCA, is the brainchild of Northern Berkshire County residents Orion Howard, an oncologist, and Eric Kerns, formerly of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and MASS MoCA. The two met just over a year ago and an idea became a reality very quickly. With the help of brewmaster Chris Post of Wandering Star in Pittsfield, the project went from “nothing to serving beer in about five months,” says Kerns.

The building where Bright Ideas is housed was fully leased when the two business partners inquired, but all tenants relocated within so that the brewery could take over the front space. Bright Ideas’ large wood bar came from the center beams of MASS MoCA’s Building 6, which the museum is renovating on schedule to open next year. Old flooring became tables, and rejected glass from Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s upside down house from 2009’s exhibit Gravity is a Force to be Reckoned With now serves as a wall between the brewery and the bar.

Although the taproom had a soft opening in March, and has kept steady Thursday through Sunday hours since then, a grand opening celebration is planned for this coming Sunday, June 19 from 2 to 7 p.m. There will be eight beers available, including an IPA, a brown, a red, ESB, wheat, a gose sour beer and a nonalcoholic root beer. If you don’t already have a favorite (mine’s the Stout with more-than-hints of espresso and chocolate), try the flight and choose four of them to taste.

The event, which will feature live performances by Freddy & Francine from Los Angeles, and Old Sky from Burlington, VT, has been dubbed by Kerns and Howard as an event “for dads, by dads.” “We’re both dads,” says Kerns, “and we thought ‘what would we want to do on Father’s Day?’”

But he hastens to add that Bright Ideas is not only for dads. Kerns says they intentionally created a space that is female-friendly and doesn’t feel like a sketchy bar. In fact, you’ll often find his wife, Molly, manning the taps. “There’s a myth that boyfriends and husbands introduce women to beer,” he says, “but women are the largest-growing population of beer enthusiasts.”
The goal, say Kerns and Howard, was to build a “camaraderific” community drinking space, where people could come in to play card games, or to grab dinner from Bon Tricycle, a food cart that takes up residence there during business hours. (Offerings include bahn mi, pulled pork, jerk chicken, cubano or brie sandwiches; 12-hour Cherrywood smoked chicken or brisket; cheese/charcuterie plates; fresh oysters; and pizzas from Williamstown’s Hot Tomatoes.)

Bright Ideas Brewery, Restaurant & Bar
Grand Opening Fest
Sunday, June 19 from 2-7 p.m.
111 Mass Moca Way, North Adams, MA
(413) 346-4460

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/13/16 at 02:07 PM • Permalink

It’s Always Mocktail Time At Village Scoop

Lavender lemonade. And you can buy the jar.

By Jamie Larson

Village Scoop, in quaint Hillsdale, New York has been a destination for ice cream, coffee and sundry items for years. As if the well-designed parlor, with its high-quality offerings, beautiful back deck and landscaped garden weren’t enough reasons to stop by, owners Ken Davis and Kevin Draves have just added a list of signature nonalcoholic “mocktails” to the menu that they hope will give them the edge with visitors looking to relax with something new and different.

Despite the former tattoo parlor’s small size, Village Scoop offers an array of options aside from their much-loved ice cream, including an all-local cheese plate, chips and house-made mango salsa, coffees and more. But it’s the addition of these new drinks that’s garnering attention. From sweet citrusy mimosas and lavender lemonade to a blackberry mint mojito and a spicy Bloody Mary, these virgin versions of bar drinks, presented elegantly, are something new to the area. They also won’t set you back like their boozy counterparts. Even the specials are under five bucks.

“You’re fulfilling that social element; people sit and hang out longer,” says Draves, who, along with Davis, also runs Passiflora next door. “There’s a real difference between enjoying one of these and slamming back a soda. And not all of them are sweet. They pair well with a cheese plate.”

Davis and Draves, along with manager D. Curto, say by creating the first nonalcoholic bar in Columbia County, they’re filling a niche and taking advantage of a growing market. Village Scoop’s drinks have even garnered the social media attention of the Torani company, whose (cane, not corn) syrups they use.

“People are becoming more open to the idea of alcohol-free bars,” says Curto. “We are not discouraging drinking. It’s just a nice alternative.”

Curto, Draves and Davis.

For all the business sense serving mocktails makes, the bottom line is that they’re really tasty. If you’re bringing the kids for some ice cream after dinner and you’re looking for something crisp and refreshing, the scotch (that’s butterscotch) and soda is a great way to end the night. If you’re a beer lover there’s a great shandy, made with nonalcoholic beer and blood orange syrup.

Draves and Davis are also passionate about local ingredients; their cheeses are all local as is as much of their produce, appearing on the menu as fruit salads and yogurt cups. The owners are also very cognizant of the ecosystem of an economy in a really small town like Hillsdale. They didn’t see a need to offer things that their neighbors are selling. If you’re looking for a stiffer drink, the Hillsdale House is just two doors down.

“We’re stronger together,” Draves says. “We support our friends and neighbors.”

With the variety of treats offered at Village Scoop, Davis, Draves and Curto have created a sweet little oasis worth stopping for each time you’re passing through. And since they’re mocktails, even if you’re driving, it’s okay to have two.

Village Scoop Artisanal Ice Cream and Alcohol-Free Bar
2640 State Route 23, Hillsdale, NY
(518) 325-6455
Open Fridays and Saturdays, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sundays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 06/06/16 at 02:05 PM • Permalink

Drinks: The Solar-Powered Sundog Cider Carameltini

Ra took the glass. The smell of fresh cider rose to his nose, the light bubbles played across his lips, his tongue tasted the fresh crisp taste. He swallowed the sweet amber liquid and was pleased.

So goes the legend of Sundog Cider. If you’ll lift your suspension of disbelief for just a moment, we will tell you that Sundog Cider was founded in 2013 in Chatham, NY as a product of Sundog Solar, which installs solar electric and solar thermal systems. Many of Sundog Solar’s clients are local farms, and a lot of those are apple farms. You can put the rest together, but it’s more fun if you stick with the storybook legend so colorfully told and illustrated here.

We need some of that sun, and that Sun Ra, and we’ll be needing it right through Thanksgiving. So we asked Sundog Cider’s owner, Jody Rael, to bring us some apple-y sunshine with a cocktail made from aromatic hard cider fermented from a blend of Hudson Valley apples. (And it’s hand crafted in a 100% solar-powered mill, so you can drink responsibly in more ways than one.)

He and his staff whipped up this specialty cocktail to kick off Thanksgiving in a festive way. The crispness of Sundog Cider pairs perfectly with the buttery caramel vodka. 

As the legend concludes, From that day on, Anubis would meet Ra at the end of each day with a glass of hard cider and the sun would set and all was right with the world.

Sundog Cider Cocktail

3 oz. Sundog Cider
2 oz. caramel vodka
Caramel candies
Apple (for garnish)

Put a few high-quality caramel candies in a shallow microwave-safe dish and use a microwave to warm the caramels until just melted (take care when melting caramels – they can burn easily). Dip the rims of the martini glasses into the melted caramel so the edges are coated (it will drip a little – that’s okay!). Pour 3 oz. of cold Sundog Cider into a 6 oz. martini glass, add 2 oz. of caramel vodka and stir gently with a swizzle stickto incorporate. Garnish glass with a slice of apple.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/17/14 at 04:00 PM • Permalink

Drinks: We’ve Got A Crush On This Lavender Libation

Our small but mighty Rural Intelligence staff may attend a lot of cocktail parties, but when we’re there, it’s no drinks for us — we’re working. Perhaps soon we’ll have our own little cocktail hour. So, given a tip that Terrapin in Rhinebeck is known for its specialty cocktails, we went right to the source and asked if the restaurant might share a particularly refreshing choice, which we’re happy to share with our readers.

Lavender Crush: the name alone is like a calming, cooling breeze. Credit for the recipe, a blend of fresh lavender and strawberries muddled with lemon and vodka, goes to one of Terrapin’s longtime servers, Caitie Mallory, a CIA-trained pastry chef.

“She brought the idea for this drink to us last spring, and after a little tweaking by Bar Manager Matt Johnston and Beverage Director Dian Paunovic, it became a hit,” says Terrapin’s Marketing Coordinator, Christen Wagner. “We like to use locally produced vodka; our favorite in this drink is Catskill Distilling Company’s Peace Vodka.”

Care to join us?

Lavender Crush

Muddle 4 to 5 fresh lavender leaves with a slice of lemon, two (smaller) fresh strawberries, and just a touch of simple syrup (sugar dissolved in equal parts water). Add 1.75 oz. of vodka, serve over ice, top with soda water, and garnish with a lemon twist and strawberry.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/08/14 at 08:20 PM • Permalink

A Day Of Beer, Bourbon & Bacon In Rhinebeck

By Andrea Pyros

Just the words “Beer, Bourbon & Bacon Festival” is enough to have us plunking down our credit cards as we ask, “Where and when?” The answer to that, by the way, is Saturday, June 21 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck. After all, is there anything else you need to know before you’re all in? 

Admittedly, the mouth-watering name is going to be tough to live up to, but this one-day event, presented by the Hudson Valley Craft Brew Festival, is shaping up to be as cool as it sounds. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample top-notch craft beers, both from local brewing companies as well as those further afield, along with bourbons and other spirits from independent distilleries. Food vendors interested in setting up shop for the day were only okay’d to do so if they worked bacon into their menus, so you’ll be able to seriously overdo it on snacks, main courses and desserts, all featuring the beloved meat.

Don’t worry if you’re not a “beer geek,” says Paul Lloyd, the festival’s event organizer. “This event is for anyone who is a beer enthusiast and wants to try something new in a different setting.” “It’s not a frat party,” he adds. “It’s for people of all ages interested in sampling and having a good time.”

Once you’re past the general admission gate, you’ll receive a tasting glass and beer and bourbon samples. It won’t be possible to sample it all, though. There are 90 breweries scheduled, and each brewery will offer at least two of their beers to visitors. Lloyd expects about 10 or so regional distilleries offering up their own spirits—bourbon, of course, but also whiskey, moonshine (!) and more. The beers and bourbons are included in the admission price, but plan to bring money for food, which isn’t included, as well as for crafts and other items from vendors.

Rhinebeck’s beloved Grand Cru Beer & Cheese Market is sponsoring the sold-out V.I.P. experience at the event. Grand Cru, co-owned by the husband and wife team of Rod Johnson and Alicia Lenhart, is excited to be a part of the day, says Lenhart, who adds that there’s been a great deal of thought put into selecting a range of beers and breweries, so that regardless of your experience with drinking craft beer, “everyone will find something they love” at the festival.

From the greater Rural Intelligence area, keep an eye out for beers and spirits from the popular Sloop Brewing (Poughkeepsie), Hyde Park Brewery (Hyde Park), Mill House Brewing Co. (Poughkeepsie), Rushing Duck Brewing Co. (Chester), Last Stop Brewing (Poughkeepsie), Keegan Ales (Kingston) and Onyx Moonshine (East Hartford), along with an array of beers from across America and a few all the way from Europe.

The event has been set up to make sure people have a good time without it turning in to a keg party, explains Lloyd. You’ll be given a card allowing you to sample a dozen beers (in 3-oz. pours). After that, you’re welcome to get another card for extra samples at no additional charge, but note that legally the organizers have to evaluate attendees to be sure no one is, as they delicately put it, “overserved.” There will also be plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and complimentary water stations set up. Not a drinker but want to go for the food, friends and live music? There’s a heavily discounted “designated driver” ticket for teetotalers. 

Though the months of planning for this first-time event have been intense, Lloyd is expecting a laid-back and enjoyable day. “People are coming for a good time. It’s not a snooty crowd at all. It’s just beer and good food.” 

Beer, Bourbon & Bacon Festival
Saturday, June 21 from 2—6 p.m.
Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck, NY
A 21+ event.
Purchase tickets here.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/09/14 at 10:43 AM • Permalink