WE HAVE SPILLED MUCH INK over the years about the growing number of outstanding breweries now operating within New York City, from old standbys like Brooklyn and KelSo to promising upstarts like Other Half, Finback, Grimm, and Singlecut. Just as worthy of your attention, though, are the breweries—again, some new and some old—operating outside the city limits. If you’re willing to drive 80 miles north (or, scratch that: if you’re willing to have someone drive your drunk ass around for a couple hours), you can hit up four spots serving very fine beer and, in some cases, some very good food. As an added bonus, you’ll get to take in the beautiful scenery—like giant steel tanks full of beer, and long rows of tap handles, but also, fine, things like mountains and the Hudson River. Remember: If there’s anything better than autumn in New York, it’s autumn just outside New York.
Captain Lawrence Brewing Company Elmsford,NY
Distance from brooklyn: 32 miles
Since moving from their original Pleasantville location in 2011 and upping the size of their brewing system from 20 to 40 barrels, Captain Lawrence has become one of the more ubiquitous breweries in the state, their solid year-round and seasonal six-packs available in bodegas and supermarkets everywhere you turn. The limited-edition big bottles you can get at the brewery, though, are more than enough to justify the road trip: their Smoke From the Oak series features their Imperial Porter aged in various barrels, from the standard bourbon barrel to the less common apple brandy barrels. There’s a big tasting room and tours at 2pm and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. captainlawrencebrewing.com
Peekskill Brewery Peekskill, NY
Distance from Captain Lawrence: 19 miles
One of the more hyped breweries to open in New York over the past few years, Peekskill has won a devoted following thanks to beers like their light, refreshing Simple Sour and their outstanding series of IPAs: the sessionable Lower Standard (3.9% ABV), the near-perfect Eastern Standard (6.8%), and the intensely flavorful beast that is Higher Standard (10%). This is where you’ll want to stop for lunch—upstairs from the bar is a full-service restaurant serving up inspired, elevated pub fare. Try the Pork Confit sandwich, and whatever you do, don’t skip the poutine. peekskillbrewery.com
Plan Bee Farm Brewery Fishkill, NY
Distance from Peekskill: 17 miles
A far cry from your standard commercial brewery, Plan Bee is located in a shed behind owners Evan and Emily Watson’s house. The couple opened the brewery in 2013 and have gotten some attention for their insistence on using only ingredients from New York state. They’ve developed their own wild yeast strains, and they grow their own hops right on the premises—the only ingredient they outsource is malt, and only because the amount they grow on-site isn’t quite enough. planbeefarmbrewery.com
Newburgh Brewing Company Newburgh, NY
Distance from Plan Bee: 11 miles
The final stop on your journey is the cavernous tasting room at Newburgh Brewing Company, where you’ll find twelve beers on tap and a full complement of food, ranging from wings and soft pretzels to bratwurst and fish tacos. You’ll want to try the Hop Drop Double IPA, which comes in at 9% ABV, but at this point in the day, you might want to consider something a little lighter, like the 4.2% Cream Ale. newburghbrewing.com
Photographs by Robert Caputo
Follow Mike Conklin on Twitter @MikeConklin.