The Hudson Valley is one of the oldest alcohol-producing areas of the country. Dutch settlers and patrician farmers, free of New England’s Puritan restrictions, brewed, distilled and cidered all the way back in the Colonial era – remember Rip Van Winkle’s powerful drink? A number of factors, particularly Prohibition and the economic decline of most of the river cities, has meant that this legacy remains somewhat buried, waiting only for some local to uncover it once again.
Hence our beverage boom. In the previous few decades, and particularly in the last ten or so years, the Hudson Valley has seen exponential growth in breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries, many of them using exclusively local ingredients and most crafting their own particular twists on your drink of choice. From national canning operations to farmyard family operations, here’s the guide to all the drinks your backyard has on tap.
2241 Albany Post Rd., Walden, (888) 845-3311, www.angryorchard.com/our-orchard
One of the country’s most prominent cider brands opened its own wood-floored tasting room in Walden, on the site of a gorgeous 60-acre orchard, formerly owned by Crist Brothers. Take a tour of its washing, pressing and aging facilities, pick up a growler or try a specialty drink that you won’t be able to find in your local grocery.
Newburgh Brewing Company
88 South Colden St., Newburgh, (845) 569-2337, www.newburghbrewing.com
Newburgh Brewing Company brews a range of beers, from seasonal sours and Irish stouts to standbys like its ultra-hoppy brand of Boss IPAs. Happy hours, trivia and weekend live music give its tasting room a convivial atmosphere.
Bad Seed Cider Company
43 Baileys Gap Rd., Highland, (845) 236-0956, www.badseedhardcider.com
Unlike some of its competitors, Bad Seed sticks to a few basic hard ciders, fermenting its apples with fresh raspberries or hops for a little extra kick. It serves special small-batch drinks at its various tasting rooms, including its Highland Farm Bar, open September to October during picking season.
251 Ridge Rd., Milton, (914) 874-4537, www.fjordvineyards.com
This particularly scenic winery’s Rieslings, reds and chardonnays can be found in most regional liquor stores, and are served in local restaurants. Topping out at $25 a bottle, this is a very reasonable option for your next dinner party. Their tasting room isn’t open just yet, but if you’d like to be notified when it does, sign up on their website.
Hudson Ale Works
17 Milton Ave., Highland, (845) 384-2531, www.hudsonaleworks.com
Hudson Ale Works focuses entirely on small-batch brews to be served as a draft. Drop into their taproom – open weekends – for variations on German hefeweizen, Belgian Dubbel or a coconut vanilla stout.
14 Gala Ln., Milton
Nostrano’s locally grown grapes produce wines that are far from a no-go. In addition to providing tasting menus and special farm-to-table dinners, it is also a popular wedding destination.
Gardiner Brewing Company
699 Rt. 208, Gardiner
One of the Valley’s newest breweries – only a year old – Gardiner Brewing Company serves “beer from here,” brewed from fresh ingredients grown on the fifth-generation Wright’s Farm. The lovingly restored dairy barn is now a popular tasting room, and it’s also a live music destination, hosting folk and Americana acts most weekends through the fall.
Gardiner Liquid Mercantile
128 Main St., Gardiner
In addition to stocking local products, alcoholic and otherwise, from surrounding producers, Gardiner Liquid Mercantile distills its own fruit brandies from produce grown on Dressel’s Farm. Its Farm Bar is a smörgåsbord of regional delicacies, drinks and products.
Tuthilltown Spirits Distillers
14 Grist Mill Ln., Gardiner
Tuthilltown is New York’s first whiskey distillery since prohibition, and it leans into that old-fashioned feel, from its National Register of Historic Places-acknowledged location to its historical tours. They make a variety of bourbons and rye whiskeys as well as their “Indigenous” vodka brand, distilled entirely from New York State-grown ingredients.
Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery
331 McKinstry Road, Gardiner
It’s been 20 years since Michael Migliore and Yancey Stanforth-Migliore launched Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery in Gardiner. But it was 20 years before that Michael, shortly after beginning a career with IBM as a semiconductor engineer, first began experimenting with planting grapes on the land. The family-run winery has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years. Recent recognition includes a 2018 Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco International Wine Competition (SFIWC) for their 2016 Cabernet Franc and a 2018 Double Gold at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition for their Gamay Noir. A Double Gold Medal is earned when every one of the more than 50 professional judges of a competition judge the wine at the gold level.
Whitecliff’s most significant achievement so far was winning best of show for white wines at the annual San Francisco competition in 2010, when their 2009 Riesling beat out 1300 other white wines entered by winemakers from 27 countries and 28 states. To put the honor in perspective, Best of Show is awarded when the judges re-taste all of the white wines that earned a Double Gold against each other and unanimously choose one as the best overall. “In the context of our goal to make wines that are respected and have the Hudson Valley region taken more seriously,” Yancey says, “we were pretty happy with that award.”
19 Osprey Ln., Gardiner, (845) 633-8576, www.yardowlcraftbrewery.com
Yard Owl focuses on Belgian-style beers, served in its taproom alongside traditionally pickled vegetables, eggs and charcuterie. Its owners also run New Paltz’s popular Mudd Puddle Café.
4 Chestnut St., New Paltz, (845) 255-8636, www.bacchusnewpaltz.com
This popular collegetown hangout and poolroom has begun brewing its own beers. While still a work-in-progress, they currently serve a double IPA and berry jam sour.
Brooklyn Cider House at Twin Star Orchards
155 North Ohioville Rd., New Paltz, (845) 633-8657, www.brooklynciderhouse.com
Brooklyn Cider House brings a bit of the borough upstate, serving delicious European-style ciders as well as brick-oven pizza, burgers and more. The tasting room is open through November. There’s also an open-air pavilion and pond in the back with a picturesque picnic area that often features live music. Mannerly dogs are warmly welcomed, and kids and adults are free to play cornhole and other lawn games.
Clemson Bros. Brewery at the Gilded Otter
3 Main St., New Paltz/22 Cottage St, Middletown, (845) 256-1700, www.clemsonbrewing.com
For 20-plus years, the Gilded Otter was a path-breaking Hudson Valley brewpub and New Paltz favorite for food, live music and more. Since its spring 2019 purchase by Clemson Bros. Brewery, the menu has expanded to include Clemson Bros. beers, burgers and pizzas, as well as seasonal brews like a blueberry-and-pomegranate sour ale, cherry wheat and mango pilsner. You can find the Clemson Bros.’ takes on IPAs and stouts in craft stores, as well as in their Middletown brewery and taproom.
239 Springtown Rd., New Paltz, (845) 444-1044, www.coppersea.com
Coppersea advertises such “heritage” distilling methods as floor malting, direct-fire copper heating and open fermentation to produce its spirits. It also runs a sustainable pig farm, feeding them the spent mash.
Kettleborough Cider House
277 Rte. 208, New Paltz, (845) 255-7717, www.kettleboroughciderhouse.com
Tim Dressel harnessed his family’s four generations of apple-growing knowledge for his take on small-batch ciders, growing over 20 varieties specifically for pressing. The unfiltered Huguenot Cider attempts a traditional flavor, drawn entirely from hard-cider apples like Esopus Spitzenburg and Kingston Black.
New Paltz Brewing Company
1714 Rte. 209, Wawarsing, (845) 419-3040, www.pfalzerbrau.com
Pfälzerbräu produces entirely German-style beers, calling back to the region after which the original Huguenot settlers named their settlement. Expect a Maibock, hefeweizen or kölsch from your visit to the brew-focused taproom.
Yankee Folly Cidery
69 Yankee Folly Rd., New Paltz, (845) 255-1155, www.yankeefollycidery.com
Yankee Folly Cidery, based at Jenkins & Lueken Orchards, already enjoys a wide distribution: from Albany to Long Island. Yankee Folly presses Northern Spy, Winesap, Gala, Golden Russett, MacIntosh and Empire apples to make its single line of cider, which is available for purchase in many markets and beer stores throughout our region.
236 Lower Whitfield Rd., Accord, (845) 253-0389, www.arrowoodfarms.com
The gorgeous grounds of Arrowood are inviting for beer-drinkers and music fans alike, having played home to two Dirt Farmer Festivals and serving this fall as the new Hudson Valley grounds of indie-rock Mecca the Woodsist Fest. Its beers are brewed in a three-barrel, solar-powered system.
215 Lower Whitfield Rd., Accord
Westwind is uses “holistic bio-intensive” methods to grow the cider-variety apples from which it presses its European-style ciders. The tasting room hosts live music and serves fancy pizzas and pasta.
Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider
3012 Rt. 213, Stone Ridge, (845) 266-3979
Farmhouse producer Elizabeth Ryan learned the fruit-growing ropes in England, and has a Pomology degree from Cornell University, bringing an unusual level of expertise to her work. She is widely credited with starting the hard cider boom in the Hudson Valley. In addition to her standard dry, sparkling and scrumpy varieties, HVFC also serves special drinks made from single-apple varietals.
156 Highland Ave., Marlboro, (845) 236-4265, www.benmarl.com
Benmarl presses its wines from 37 acres of Hudson Valley-grown grapes, producing small-batch reds and whites. They also host weddings and have a bed-and-breakfast on-site.
Glorie Farm Winery
40 Mountain Rd., Marlboro, (845) 236-3265, www.gloriewine.com
Glorie produces a small amount of wine – about 2,000 cases – every year on its long-running farm, growing around 90 percent of all grapes right on its mountaintop property. Visitors can take a guided tasting of six wines for $9.
Royal Kedem Winery
1519 Rt. 9W, Marlboro, (845) 236-3651, www.kedemwinery.com
The Herzog family traces its winemaking back to Slovakia, where their grandfather was supposedly made a baron for his skill. They make a variety of kosher and non-kosher varieties.
Stoutridge Vineyard and Distillery
10 Ann Kaley Ln., Marlboro, (845) 236-7620, www.stoutridge.com
Growing most of its own ingredients, Stoutridge is perhaps most unique for producing most of its wine via “gravity flow,” meaning that pumps and filters, let alone sugars and gelatins, are never added into the winemaking process. They also cool their cellars with passive geothermal energy and use solar electricity.
Weed Orchards & Winery
43 Mount Zion Rd., Marlboro, (845) 236-2684/7848, www.weedorchards.com
Weed is one of the most popular U-Pick orchards in the region, and can be swamped on fall weekends. They also produce a number of white and red wines as well as a single 6.5 percent ABV cider.
Great Life Brewing
75 Clarendon Ave., Kingston, (845) 331-3700
The area’s smallest brewery started as a hobby, but expanded recently to a Clarendon Avenue tasting room where you can try their special saison and IPA as well as more classic takes on cream ale and milk stout.
20 St. James St., Kingston, (845) 331-2739, www.keeganales.com
Keegan’s is a brewing pioneer. Its Mother’s Milk has become a national favorite, winning awards and New York Times recognition, and can be had fresh, along with others like the Old Capital golden ale and Hurricane Kitty IPA, at their ultra-popular Midtown bar.
Kingston Standard Brewing Company
22 Jansen Ave., Kingston, (845) 853-8152, www.kingstonstandard.com
On the other side of the table is Kingston Standard, a brand-new, small-batch brewery serving mussels, lobster rolls and more in their “pilot bar and test kitchen” over by the high school.
5581 Rt. 28, Phoenicia, (845) 688-0054, www.drinkwoodstock.com
Actually out by the Phoenicia Diner, Woodstock occupies a big-but-lovely roadside spot, with substantial focus put on its hearty brewpub menu of tacos, salads and burgers both meat and veggie. They focus on IPAs, with the occasional cider or porter thrown into the mix.
West Kill Brewing
2173 Sprucetown Rd., West Kill, (518) 989-6001, www.westkillbrewing.com
West Kill is Out There, making it perfect for those looking to put their feet up and (responsibly) whet their whistle after a particularly challenging traverse of the Devil’s Pathway. Its seasonally dependent menu is heavy on hoppy beers, but there are a few malts and crisp beers, and they’ve tried their hand at a few barrel-aged varieties of late.
Rough Cut Brewing Company
5945 Rt. 44, Kerhonkson, (845) 626-9838, www.roughcutbrewing.com
This brewpub serves tacos and seafood along with its own selection of ales, porters and saisons.
2 Way Brewing Company
18 West Main St., Beacon, (845) 202-7334, www.2waybrewingcompany.com
2 Way is probably one of the most conveniently accessible breweries in the Valley, serving $6 drafts six days a week right in the heart of Beacon. They also go all-in for barbecue, with a heavy selection of ribs, brisket and more.
Denning’s Point Distillery
10 North Chestnut St., Beacon, (845) 476-8413, www.denningspointdistillery.com
This reasonably new distillery uses grains from throughout New York State, blending it with groundwater and aging it in barrels of American oak. They offer a tour-and-tasting package for $5.
Hudson Valley Brewery
7 Main St., Beacon, (845) 218-9156, www.hudsonvalleybrewery.com
Visitors to the very top of Main Street have probably wondered what the hubbub down by the creek was all about. HVB knows its way around a hoppy beer, incorporating flavors like lemon/lime that accent the kick without making you wince with every sip. Get drafts and wide cans in its big, functional space.
755 East Dr., East Fishkill, (518) 751-9134, www.sloopbrewing.com
Sloop’s big brewing plant on IBM’s old campus is not exactly the most scenic environment, but its drinks are the (Juice) Bomb, with all kinds of small-batch and wide-distribution beers constantly coming out of the tanks.
9 Fishkill Farm Rd., Hopewell Junction, (845) 897-4377, www.treasurycider.com
All cider pressed here comes from Fishkill Farms, owned by the same family. Their traditional method ciders use old-growth apples, marked, like wines, with the year of their vintage.
Cousins Ale Works
1582 Rt. 9, Wappingers Falls, (845) 632-1319, www.cousinsales.com
The very American Cousins brews exclusively using New York-grown ingredients. Current small-batch brews include a chocolate strawberry stout, Freedom Fuel American Amber Ale and their special Wappingers Vienna Lager.
Obercreek Brewing Company
59 Marlorville Rd., Wappingers Falls, (845) 632-1078, www.obercreekbrewing.com
Obercreek is one of the newest breweries in Dutchess County, opening its doors in late 2017. Available beers differ week-to-week, and visitors to their taproom can sample, sip or fill up their growler on-premises.
Blue Collar Brewery
40 Cottage St., Poughkeepsie, (845) 454-2739, www.thebluecollarbrewery.com
This brewpub strives for a “no-pretension” atmosphere, with $5 pint Happy Hours, simple furnishing and a hearty, reasonably priced menu. Its menu typically runs the gamut, so don’t expect a bitter flood of IPAs or sours.
King’s Court Brewing
40 Cannon St. #1, Poughkeepsie, (845) 697-3030, www.kingscourtbrewingcompany.com
KC is a more “cerebral” brew, with a UC Davis-educated brewmaster and verbose menu descriptions. There’s a definite focus on the bitter, with extensive pale ale and sour offerings, though the occasional amber ale or kölsch keeps things light enough.
Mill House Brewing Company
289 Mill St., Poughkeepsie, (845) 485-2739, www.millhousebrewing.com
Operating with an equal focus on “art + science,” the sizable canning operation and brewpub that have grown up around Mill House come on a sound foundation of very drinkable beers, particularly their Kilt Spinner Scottish ale.
Plan Bee Farm Brewery
115 Underhill Rd., Poughkeepsie, (765) 207-8589, www.planbeefarmbrewery.com
Plan Bee’s menu comes entirely from seasonally available ingredients, so you’ll rarely get the same beers from them month-to-month. They sell $100 membership packages that provide the season’s brews, along with an exclusive bottle available nowhere else.
Shady Knoll Orchard & Distillery
37 Brush Hill Rd., Millbrook, www.shadyknolldistillery.com
Shady Knoll’s specialty is its French Calvados-style apple brandy, blended from over 120 varieties grown right on the property and aged for a year in wooden barrels. They also turn their rye grain into an award-winning rye whiskey.
Brewery at the CIA
1995 Campus Dr., Hyde Park, (845) 905-4728, www.ciachef.edu
This is the place for all things experimental – a test lab for beers of every order. In addition to brewing their flagship IPA and witbier, students also help to hone and craft brews during their undergraduate education, which are sold seasonally whenever finals finish up.
Hyde Park Brewing Company
4076 Albany Post Rd., Hyde Park, (845) 229-8277, www.hydeparkbrewing.com
HPBC has been producing German-style beers across from the FDR estate since 1995. This means a focus on pilsners and lagers, with IPAs making only a recent arrival on the slate.
408 Poole Hill Rd., Ancram, (518) 239-1023, www.hillrockdistillery.com
Distilling right from the barley grown on-site, Hillrock traces its history to the 19th-century farmhouse, once home of a distillery and barley farm, on the property. It keeps things appropriately simple, with three types of whiskey – aged bourbon, single malt and double-cask rye – produced in a copper still by its small team.
179 Bowen Rd., Stanfordville, (845) 393-4583, www.taconicdistillery
Taconic’s bourbon has been lauded by the Culinary Institute of America and Maxim Magazine, so you know it has legs. All bottles are handmade and individually numbered.
Kings Highway Cider
5409 Rt. 22, Millerton, (917) 226-1257, http://cider.nyc
Though exalting its Colonial forebears, Kings Highway is a decidedly experimental cidery, fermenting special drinks with ginger, guava, hibiscus and more in search of brighter, kickier flavors. They also salute the windfall with their special Lil Scrumpy fine cider, made entirely from foraged apples and pears.
From the Ground Brewery
245 Guski Rd., Tivoli, (845) 309-8100, www.fromthegroundbrewery.com
Sitting on the grounds of Migliorelli Farms, FTG uses almost exclusively barley grown on-site, as well as hops from throughout the state. Its primarily seasonal menu includes fresh fruit saisons and a local honey ale.
Hudson Valley Distillers
1727 Rt. 9, Germantown
This family-owned place is a popular stop, serving an array of specialty cocktails made with house spirits that can also be purchased in the front market along with an array of local foods and products.
Sloop Brewing Co. at the Barn
1065 Rt. 19, Elizaville, (518) 751-9134, www.sloopbrewing.com
The far-more-scenic half of Sloop (the other half is in an industrial space on IBM’s East Fishkill campus), the Barn is a small-batch brewery and homey tasting room serving a variety of house-made beers as well as local cheeses, pretzels and more. Stay until closing and you’ll find yourself in the dark, surrounded by fireflies and stars.
Crossroads Brewing Company
201 Water St., Catskill, (518) 291-4550, www.crossroadsbrewingco.com
Crossroads started in a small Athens building in 2010, and its great brewpub is still there. But its main brewery, cannery and tasting room opened in downtown Catskill in 2017, from which its trademark Outrage IPA has spread out to conquer the world. Rotating food trucks make it an enjoyable-enough place to spend an evening.
Hudson Brewing Company
99 S Third St., Hudson, (518) 697-5400, www.hudsonbrew.com
In a not-uncommon story, HBC started as three friends in a garage who eventually put in to start their own small-batch brewery. Their beers have won New York State TAP awards, putting this small business on the map.
Old Klaverack Brewery
150 Thielman Rd., Hudson, (518) 965-1437, www.oldklaverackbrewery.com
A New York State farm brewery, OKB uses Germantown-grown malts in locally inspired drinks like the Roxbury Hollow DIPA, Klaverack Kream and more.
Olde York Farm Distillery
284 Rt. 23, Claverack, (518) 721-8209
The Olde is extra-earned here: It follows in the footsteps of Jacob Rutsen van Rensselaer, who operated a distillery on the same property way back in 1805. With the distillery currently sitting in Rensselaer’s carriagehouse, these seasonal spirits include microbatch vodkas and a lilac liqueur, as well as a year-round bourbon made from Ghent maple syrup.
Suarez Family Brewery
2279 Rt. 9, Hudson, (518) 537-6464
Anyone passing on Route 9 has likely clocked Suarez, a large-windowed two-story building right off the road. Stop in for a growler of its many unfiltered German-style beers, as well as hoodies, glasses and a friendly brewery dog.
Read more articles from the 2019 edition of Explore Hudson Valley: Fall in the Valley