Along with the farm-to-table and eat-locally-grown movements of recent years has come a growth in the craft beer industry. Homebrewing is increasingly popular, and consumers are becoming aware of the subtleties of taste in handcrafted beer carefully produced in small quantities. Microbreweries (defined by the Brewers’ Association as any brewery producing fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer annually) have made leaps and bounds in public awareness; but now we’re starting to hear about nanobrewing. What’s that all about?
“It’s not really a technical term, but more of an industry thing,” says Justin Taylor, co-owner of Poughkeepsie-based nanobrewery Sloop Brewing. “If you’re brewing under four barrels per batch, that’s considered nanobrewing.” A barrel is 15 ½ gallons, he says: essentially double the size of the beer keg that one is used to seeing.
Sloop Brewing started out as a homebrewing enterprise. Taylor, a New Paltz native, met his now-business partner Adam Watson when both were students at SUNY-New Paltz. They’d enjoyed homebrewing for about seven or eight years, he says, when they decided to try selling their beer at local farmers’ markets. “In that process we got into the whole official licensing as a brewery,” says Taylor, “and from there it’s just spun into this world of possibilities.”
Positive feedback from homebrewing competitions spurred them on, and with the assistance of their wives, Jennifer Taylor and Amy Watson, Sloop Brewing has been selling out at three different farmers’ markets. Now they have plans to expand production and sell their products in stores and restaurants, particularly those that promote local business and local ingredients, says Taylor. “We’re inspired by a lot of other local craft breweries that have sprung up in the last ten years, that have had a very small start and then go on to do great things in the craft beer world.”
The name of the company is a salute to the sloop-style sailboat that was used for transportation and commerce up and down the Hudson River in the 18th and 19th centuries, strengthening growth in the region. One of their goals as a business, says Taylor, is to be a positive force in the area: to reach out to local businesses and support local causes, like the event in which they recently participated that assisted the Beacon Sloop Club’s restoration of the Woody Guthrie, a wooden replica of a Hudson River ferry sloop.
At this time, Sloop Brewing produces three different beers, with a fourth awaiting government approval, says Taylor. Olde World Pale Ale is the company’s flagship beer: light in body with a complex malt flavor derived from a variety of bready European grain. The Red C is a bold, aggressive beer with a deep crimson hue and hints of lemon, mango and citrus flavors. The Sauer Peach is their “artistic” ale, a light-bodied tart beer woven with sweet peach nectar: their interpretation of a Berliner Weisse-style ale.
The Sauer Peach is bottle-conditioned, meaning that it retains active yeast cultures inside the bottle. The yeast naturally carbonates the beer and allows it to continue maturing. To pour a bottle-conditioned beer without getting yeast in the glass, one needs to pour more slowly than one normally would, into a tilted glass, and stop pouring when the stream begins to become cloudy. The remains are discarded.
The fourth beer developed by Sloop Brewing, awaiting approval for distribution, is the Black C, which, just as with the Red C, contains three different hop varieties that begin with the letter “c.” The Black C is a black Belgian IPA, says Taylor, and they anticipate it being available soon.
Sloop Brewing products can currently be found at the Arlington Farmers’ Market in Poughkeepsie every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m., the Poughkeepsie Farmers’ Market every Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. and the Beacon Farmers’ Market every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each beer is given a distinctive visual identity in labels by a local design team, husband and wife Mike and Deanna Grannis of Beacon.
For more information, visit www.sloopbrewing.com or look for them on Facebook.
Sloop Brewing products can be found at the Arlington Farmers’ Market in Poughkeepsie every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m., the Poughkeepsie Farmers’ Market every Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. and the Beacon Farmers’ Market every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.sloopbrewing.com or look for them on Facebook. Read more about local cuisine and learn about new restaurants on Ulster Publishing’s www.dinehudsonvalley.com.