The Captain’s Log
Captain Lawrence Brewing will see your imperial IPA and raise you one.
Yes, a triple India Pale Ale is in the works in the brewery’s pilot system. The guys are slowly dry hopping the brew to get the maximum “hoppiness,” as owner Scott Vaccaro puts it, out of it. It’s called Seeking Alpha—a nod to the “alpha” acids in the hops that give the ale its trademark bitter flavor. The triple IPA should be available in the tasting room in the next month or so.
“It’s an all-around hops monster,” says Scott. “If it works out well, we may do a big batch.”
The Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA, a double IPA, is one of the most popular beers in the tasting room, so interest in the triple India Pale Ale should be, like the hops content, even greater.
Also bubbling out of the pilot system: Justin Sturgess’s richly malty Baltic Porter; a new concoction from Chris Rome that is enhanced with pink peppercorn dried berries and brewed in the German dark lager “dunkel” style; and Ryan Kipp’s take on the IPA—featuring Chinook hops and flavored with grapefruit peel and grapefruit juice for a blast of citrusy flavor.
“We’re definitely cranking out as much pilot beer as we can,” Scott says. “It just keeps flowing.”
We mentioned the intriguing Captain Lawrence-Still the One collaboration last month, which has the brewery’s Freshchester Pale Ale distilled into a floral, fruity whiskey right here in Westchester. It’ll be a few years before it’s available—whiskeys of course take their sweet time to develop—but the initial returns look promising. “The early opinion is, it’s a killer whiskey,” says Scott. “[Distiller] Ed Tiege has taken it to a few whiskey shows, and everyone tells him they think it will be amazing.”
A couple years in the charred oak barrels will only make it more inviting.
Scott is recently back from upstate New York, hosting beer dinners in Buffalo and Rochester, along with one at the NY Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua, helping spread the word about Captain Lawrence to our upstate friends. “We figured we’d go up, say hello, kiss some babies, and drink some beer,” he says.
With spring finally acting like its old self, the patio is in full swing, as is the bocce court that goes so nicely with a Kolsch, a Sun Block and other warmer weather favorites. Look for the cover to come off the outdoor bar in the coming weeks, eliminating those exhausting 50-foot walks into the tasting room.
Finally, as you may have seen on News 12, the brewery got a heartfelt shout-out at the State of the County address last week, as Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino singled out Captain Lawrence—along with a bakery in Peekskill–as a great example of local entrepreneurial spirit.
“If you want to understand economic growth in Westchester, there is no better place to start than with beer and cookies,” said Astorino. “What do beer and cookies have to do with economic growth? They tell the story of two companies that are great at what they do, could locate anywhere, but have chosen Westchester as home. They are Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford and Bake-Me-A-Wish in Peekskill…Today, Westchester is the beneficiary of their hard work. I challenge anyone to come up with a tastier beer or chocolate chip cookie.”
Scott, in attendance at the County Courthouse in White Plains, was pleased—and humbled—by the mention in front of Westchester’s movers and shakers.
“We’re just making beer—we’re not saving babies,” Scott says with a laugh. “But if what we do is making people happy, then we’re happy.”
Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Wednesday through Friday (4-8 p.m.), Saturday (12-6 p.m.) and Sunday (12-5). The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in Freshchester Pale Ale.