Restaurants serving local food aren’t too hard to find these days, but coming across 500 kinds of bottled beer – plus ten or 11 on tap – in one small establishment is not so common.
Dubbed one of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars by Draft magazine, the Country Inn in Krumville is a paradise for beer-lovers, a Mecca in the middle of mountains, tucked away behind an unassuming façade. There you can find a large, ever-evolving assortment of beers, from Belgian Trappist ales, if that’s your fancy, to crisp Asian lagers to small-batch craft brews from down the road or on the other side of the country. A long, long list is on the menu that arrives at your table, as well as across a large wall – like Ben and Jerry’s, but with way, way more choices. There are cut-out parts of six-packs slid into slots showing the logos of hundreds of beers: ales, lagers, IPAs, stouts and porters. In addition, 11 taps dispense an ever-changing variety of foamy drafts, with no two on tap at the same time ever the same style.
Owner Peter Rinaudo says that some customers enjoy reliving vacation memories by sipping a Jamaican Red Stripe, for example, or Gambrinus from Prague or an Italian Peroni. Thus their palates – if not their eyes – feel back there for a few moments. While a plate of spaghetti marinara that you cook may not taste exactly like the one that you had in Florence, because the pasta, the tomatoes, the cook are all different, that bottle of beer, in spite of its travels across the miles, will be much like what you had over there.
The Country Inn is reminiscent of some of the roadhouses that this author frequented in the ‘80s, having perhaps a Long Island iced tea over a game of pool, before I knew that there were beers beyond Bud and Heineken. But it’s roadhouse in a good way: cozy, comfortable, welcoming and laid-back, refreshingly lacking in pretentious, stuffiness or trendiness. It looks like it would be easy to become a regular (and you would never run out of beers to try).
There is wood everywhere: floors, walls, ceilings; a giant tarpon fish covers one wall. Rinaudo has lightened up some of the dark corners with a big picture window that looks out on a new stone patio surrounded by a stone wall and anchored by a firepit. All looks out over a big beaver lake complete with dams, accented with Adirondack chairs and an upside-down rowboat.
The Country Inn has sat at the end of a nearly six-mile drive up County Route 2 in Krumville, in the middle of nowhere it seems, for 30 years. Rinaudo took it over nearly ten years ago, carrying on the feature of a mind-boggling array of beers, but with some innovations of his own, like a commitment to seasonal and local ingredients on his menu. With his current chef Matthew, he creates an assortment of intriguing and inviting dishes, from standard tavern fare (including a dozen or so entrées) to rotating specials, with several offerings each night to please all palates.
There are local burgers from grass-fed cattle and adventures like the Belgian carbonnades à la flamande, a sumptuous beef stew spiked with beer. Some things offered as specials recently have included lamb chops with grilled squash, house-made grilled hot pork sausage, stuffed poblano pepper with sausage and goat cheese and a vegetable tajine with harissa. To please the pescatarian there’s whatever’s looking good at Gadaleto’s seafood market in New Paltz today, from wild striped bass to amberjack. One recent special was monkfish and mussels with tomato, fennel and white wine.
Much is made in-house, like the Italian sausage: a basic hot version or one spiked with provolone and parsley. A smoker out back infuses trout for a smoked trout salad, and also eggplant for baba ganouj. On the regular tavern menu is macaroni-and-cheese, both standard-issue and jazzed-up.
You may have heard the Country Inn called the Krumville Inn, informally, to differentiate it from other country inns. There are occasional live music acts, and for those poor souls who don’t like beer, there are plenty of selections of wine on hand, by the bottle and by the glass, including a half-bottle of Prosecco for those who fancy a bit of bubbly.
I want to go back and try the mouthwatering food and some of that incredible selection of beers. But which one to pick? I’m a fan of Canadian beers and ales, and they have Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles. And then there are a few beers from Vietnam, which remind me of the trip to get my daughter; or a nice Mexican Negro Modelo; or maybe something from Albany Pump Station, or one of the several ciders on offer. Oh, where to begin?
Reservations are highly recommended for the very popular weekend evenings. Another important fact is that credit cards are not accepted – only cash. However, there is an ATM machine on the premises. On Wednesday and Thursday the hours are from 5 to 9 p.m.; on Friday and Saturday, from 5 to 10 p.m.; and on Sunday, from 4 to 9 p.m. On Mondays and Tuesdays the restaurant is closed.
Contact the Country Inn at (845) 657-8956 or www.krumville.com. A Facebook page, most easily accessed from the website’s homepage, often lists daily specials, along with admonitions by Rinaudo to “drive safe,” “enjoy the moment” and “hang up while driving.” Find the restaurant at 1380 County Road 2 in Krumville.