Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room, Vol. 45


The Captain’s Log

While the sun failed to make its rumored cameo over the weekend, the warm temps were enough to make one’s thoughts wander to spring. Springtime is definitely on the brain at Captain Lawrence these days, where Scott Vaccaro and the boys are brewing up a batch of the beloved spring-summer seasonal beer Sun Block for the first time in three years. The mix is markedly different from the previous iteration, says Scott. What was a Belgian wit beer will be a hoppier fair-weather brew.

“We reformulated it–it’s a souped up version of an American wheat beer,” says Scott. “It’s a nice, crisp, refreshing, citrusy beer, with a backbone of American hops.”

Look for Sun Block in six packs and on tap in the tasting room come March.

The tasting room has been open in Elmsford for just about a year, so the brewery figured it would do something nice for the village in which it brews. “The Pride of Elmsford” is the latest creation in the experimental brewhouse. The mastermind of Ryan Kipp, Pride of Elmsford is a dry-hopped, English style ale. The small-batch beer should be available for consumption this week.

Elsewhere in the brewery, the fearsome Frost Monster, an imperial stout that aspires to be the strongest beer in Captain Lawrence history, continues to bubble ominously. “It’s mellowing out…It’s quietly resting,” says Scott.

And when might the Frost Monster be available to the public?

“One of these days,” says Scott. “It will tell us when it’s ready.”

Here’s what is ready: A truckload of Re-Intro IPA, along with Captain Lawrence standbys Freshchester Pale Ale, Liquid Gold and Captain’s Kolsch, shipped out of Elmsford, headed across the Hudson, late last week. As the Re-Intro name suggests, Captain Lawrence is again available in New Jersey after a years-long hiatus.

The Empire State’s own Captain Lawrence India Pale Ale, meanwhile, is slated to be bottled and kegged the week of January 21. And a fresh batch of the crazy-popular Captain’s Reserve Imperial India Pale Ale, the bold and hoppy double IPA, never seems to last long enough in the tasting room, should be available shortly thereafter. “We had to ramp up production on it,” Scott says. “We can’t make enough of it.”

The increased production—with the new year, Captain Lawrence beer became available across New York State—has come despite some assembly line glitches. Late last week, a gear on the bottle rinser went kaput, throwing the bottling system out of whack. The life of a brewery owner may seem glamorous, but Scott could be found making multiple trips to the supply shop in the Bronx last week for parts. “I’ve got to go back there,” he says, nodding toward the brewing facility, “and get my hands dirty.”

Hopefully his trip upstate goes smoother. Scott is hitting all corners of the state this week, spreading the word about the newest beer available in New York State bars, delis and supermarkets. Monday is Buffalo, Tuesday is Rochester, Wednesday is Syracuse, Thursday is Utica, and Friday finds Scott in Albany. Each stop has a special Captain Lawrence event planned.

“We’re gonna have some fun, meet a lot of people, and hang out with our new distributors,” he says. “We’re spreading the word about Captain Lawrence beer all over the state.”

—Michael Malone (

Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Tuesday through Friday (retail 2-7 p.m., samples 4-7 p.m.); and Saturday, with retail and samples 12-6 p.m., and brewery tours on the hour, starting at 1. The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in Freshchester Pale Ale, for “Notes From the Tasting Room.”



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