This weekend Johnny and Karyn Pavich, owners of the popular Main Street eatery the Dutch Ale House, will brew their first batch of hand-crafted beer.
Customers will be able to view the entire process through a specially-made portal that looks out over the brewing floor. “A customer welded the metal for the window so that we could install it so people could see what’s going on,” Johnny explained.
It’s been more than 100 years since the last commercial brewery, Loerzel Beer Hall, closed its doors on Partition Street (it’s now an apartment building). The Dutch is already known for its great food and for serving the fine work of other micro breweries’ beers, but the couple is setting its sights on eventually having other taverns sell their beer.
The first batch to be brewed this weekend will be an English-style pale ale.
Two and a half years ago, the young couple, Karyn from Saugerties and Johnny originally from New York City, purchased the Dutch with an eye toward converting the rear of the building into a microbrewery. Johnny went to school to learn how to brew beer, and much like a youngster awaiting Santa on Christmas Eve, has been eagerly awaiting all state and federal approvals to be put into place so that he can begin making beer.
“I can’t wait,” the pair answered in unison when asked how excited they were for the weekend to get here.
They are awaiting the delivery of one part that’s needed for the brewing process, which should be there sometime this week. Once that’s in place, Johnny will mix up the wort (a combination of water, hops, barley, and yeast) in the fermenting tank, and turn on the electricity (no gas-fired burners allowed). “Central Hudson loves us,” Karyn laughed.
It should take about two weeks for the brew process to be completed and the Dutch Ale House’s first beer ready for quaffing.
“Initially we hope to have three beers,” Johnny said: the pale ale, a brown, and a wheat.
Once they master those three beers, they will begin to experiment with different mixtures to come up with their own Dutch Ale House signature brew.
“In about a year we should have our own flagship beer,” Karyn said.
They have no name for their initial beer. “We’re hoping that once we and our customers taste it they will come up with a name for it,” said Karyn.
This first batch and every ensuing batch will be about 15.5 gallons, which is equal to 5 or 6 kegs, Johnny said.
In the first year to year and a half, they hope to have 3 or 4 beers and in two years 5 to 7, he added.
And while the couple is eager to begin making their own beer, so, too, are customers and area restaurants.
“We’ve already heard from local restaurants that want to serve our beer,” Karyn said, declining to name names.
The Saugerties weekend Farmers Market folks have also expressed an interest in having the Dutch sell its beer at the markets, as do many wineries already.
The couple said their biggest fear “is not being able to keep up with the demand.”
That’s also their biggest hope. “We want people to come in, and we’re all tapped out,” they laughed.