Arrowood Farms opens tasting room on Church Street in New Paltz

Jacob Meglio in the new Arrowood Outpost tasting room on Church Street in New Paltz. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

There’s a new tasting room in town, and it’s called Arrowood Outpost. It’s named after the eponymous Accord farm, which in turn is named for co-founder Blake Arrowood. What it brings to New Paltz is a space in the heart of the Village of New Paltz where residents can enjoy quiet conversation over a beverage and light fare that’s largely sourced from local produce.

Located below Barner Books on Church Street, Arrowood Outpost is, as managing partner Jake Meglio puts it, “us getting off the farm” and into a new market. They’ve been brewing from organic grains they grow themselves for some time, and even have a tasting room in Accord, but opening this separate retail location is a whole new adventure. It’s one that Arrowood, Meglio and Jessie Lotrecchiano have thrown themselves into wholeheartedly, as well: not only do they produce “beer from the ground up,” as their slogan proclaims, but they also built this outpost of theirs with their own hands.

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Patrons of Rhino Records, when it was located at 3 Church Street, may recall a small space crammed with everything a music aficionado might delight in discovering. Arrowood Outpost, in contrast, is a surprisingly spacious affair; what was once a storage room for records has been transformed into a rustic inn, the stone basement walls complemented by hand-built tables and bar, as well as a drink shelf along one wall which is constructed of brick. A new window adds light, and the massive boulder which protrudes through the back corner of the floor adds character. This could be a setting for a World War II spy tale, or fill in as a speakeasy in a piece about the Depression, or perhaps (with careful camera work) even work as a medieval tavern. In short, the atmosphere evokes history even as the beverages scream “buy local!”

Arrowood Farm was started in 2013, and has experienced “exponential” growth, according to Meglio. From just Arrowood, Meglio and Lotrecciano at first, to 12 people now, the demand for local brew is what’s driving the growth.

The entire venture is team-run, says Meglio, and together they are climbing the learning curve. Technically, Arrowood Outpost is a farm market, an establishment in which a farmer sells product. That point of law means it’s not a bar, and that’s evidenced in the beverages offered (only farm-brewed beer and cider) and hours (not past 10 p.m.). The tasting room in Accord just closed for the winter, and that allowed staff there to open the New Paltz location; they’ll only have to add more staff once the warm weather returns. Until then, Meglio said, it’s a question of “how many beers do we have to sell to keep the pipes from freezing,” a real question given the polar temperatures on opening day.

A new cooler is out back, with tap lines running through the wall to the back of the bar. Seven of the lines feature Arrowood beers, while the eighth is reserved for a local cider; right now it’s Bad Seed. As they ramp up food offerings, they are already planning on buying New Paltz-area produce rather than trucking it all the way over the ridge. Brotherhood wines will eventually be added to the menu, as well as kegs to go along with other farm goods.

Meglio grew up in New Paltz, and is confident there’s a demand for what he and his partners have to offer. The tasting room seats are more than half occupied, despite single-digit temperatures; that alone suggests he’s correct in his assessment. “New Paltz makes us,” he says, explaining that while their brand has a following, it’s “crazy difficult to make money” in the Accord tasting room. With this location, easily accessible on foot in a larger community, he expects the demand to continue to rise.

The see-sawing temperatures may make it harder to decide if drawing a cold one is a good idea, but rest assured the atmosphere in Arrowood Outpost is warm enough that it’s no longer a debate.

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