The Captain’s Log
Scott Vaccaro was curious to see how the pig roast, an annual Captain Lawrence tradition since the earliest days of the brewery, would play out for the first time at its Elmsford facility. Turns out the bigger stage made for a big success—three pigs generously giving their lives so people could nosh, live music from Rebecca Haviland and Evan Watson, among others, and a wide variety of cold beers—including the Sun Block, the Snickelfritz pilsner-lager, the Barn Raiser—on draft for people to enjoy with pulled pork, cornbread, cornhole or conversation.
“A big thank you to everyone who attended,” says Scott. “Having so much more space now is a huge plus.”
Next year’s pig roast will likely be held in May as opposed to late June—when people are more likely to be in town, and the weather isn’t quite so hot.
Speaking of the Barn Raiser, a triple pale ale whose proceeds went towards a new barn to replace the one that burned down at Hemlock Hill Farm, Captain Lawrence was able to donate around $7,000 to the northern Westchester farm following a series of fundraisers, including trivia night, a beer-pairing dinner and, finally, the roast. Captain Lawrence is happy to help a friend who’s been there since the brewery’s earliest days. “We’re very excited to be able to contribute anything to them,” says Scott.
If you haven’t had a chance to try the Barn Raiser, the hoppy monster is making a last stand in the tasting room. And, as always, Captain Lawrence has some special brews set to debut in the coming days. The perennial favorite Birra DeCicco Limone Luppolo, which the Captain brews for regional grocery chain/craft beer mecca DeCicco Family Markets, is set to be packaged this week, and tapped in the tasting room. This quirky American pale wheat ale got an “outstanding” from Beer Advocate, and has its fans at the brewery too.
“It’s definitely one of my favorites,” says Scott.
The pilot system is cranking away—it’s created 50 or so offbeat small-batches thus far. Expect a beer brewed with mango puree, from staffer Mike Coulehan, while Randy Shull, whose creations always play well in the tasting room, is trying his hand at a lager. Neither brew has gotten a name yet; both should be ready to taste later this month.
A little further out is another perennial treat, with a twist: The Smoke From the Oak, currently aging in apple brandy barrels. The Smoke has been aged in rum, brandy and wine barrels in the past. This time around, it’s an imperial smoked porter. It should be ready for tasting in a month.
An imperial smoked porter may not be for everyone, but the likes of the India Pale Ale and the Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA sure seem to be—the two go faster than Stones tickets on Groupon. Scott is increasing output for both to help avoid them running out, as happens now and then in the tasting room. “We just kegged a batch of the India Pale Ale,” says Scott. “We’ve upped the production significantly, so hopefully we won’t run out.”
And it is finally starting to feel like summer out there, as we enter what Scott calls beer’s “busy season.” The five-day forecast finally features a bunch of yellow circles. “No one likes drinking beer in the rain,” Scott says. “We’re hoping for some hot, dry days ahead. If you’re looking to try something new, c’mon by.”
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.