‘Best’ Place Ever!
No knock on Elmsford—I dig Sportime USA and the skating rink and the driving range, not to mention the KFC, all of which represent Captain Lawrence’s neighbors along Rte. 9A. But for one night, Captain Lawrence went truly high class—setting up shop at Westchester Magazine’s “Best of Westchester” bash, and commanding some waterfront real estate at dazzling Glen Island Harbour Club down in New Rochelle.
As Aaron Pozit and Randy Shull pour samples of the Sun Block and the Smoked Porter, a sailboat ambles by on the inky black Long Island Sound beyond their backs. Randy is talking up the next iteration of his illustrious “Chico” series of small-batch beers named for his dog, a Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix. He says Chico Pilsner will be available as soon as this week.
Megan Apicelli of Somers and Joe Scuccimarri of Pleasantville are chatting with the CL boys at the booth. Being a “foodie”, Megan says, brought her out to the Best of bash. “I like to go to food events in the city, so I figure I may as well do it here in my stomping ground,” Megan says, raving about the pulled pork offerings around the event.
She used to live in Pleasantville, and could walk to the original Captain Lawrence. She often did—drawn to “free beer…and Aaron,” she says. But Megan hasn’t yet been to the Elmsford location. “Captain Lawrence is everywhere,” she says. “You don’t have to go to the brewery now.”
[Editor’s Note: Megan, we’d still like to see you there.]
If you venture upstairs, past the free massages and the “cronuts” from Enrico’s in Hartsdale and the tasty cuts from Benjamin Steakhouse, past the band playing, fittingly, “Good Times” by Chic, and next to a pet supply booth representing “Pawfection,” you find the Freshchester Pale Ale on tap. Mind you, it’s a Blue Moon Brewing stand—the wheat ale is a major sponsor of the bash—but two taps bear the trademark CL barrel.
While Blue Moon branding dominates the bar—they’re pushing an agave nectar brew—some visitors opt for the Captain Lawrence, this being “Best of Westchester” and all. Aurora Gross of “New Roc,” as she puts it, got turned on to the Freshchester by her husband Joshua. “He sends me to the ends of the earth for it,” she says with a laugh, then remembers the Mobil on North Avenue now sells the Pale Ale. “Most beer has an after-taste, but Captain Lawrence’s is enjoyable,” she adds. “It just hits my taste buds right.”
Aurora’s plans for Joshua’s birthday involve Captain Lawrence, but alas—she says it’s a surprise. No spoilers here.
Carolyn Schauber too prefers the Captain Lawrence Pale Ale to the national beer brands. “It’s awesome, she says. “I love the hoppiness…Can I say that?”
Of course you can.
The band, featuring a lively horn section, swings into Van Morrison’s “Wild Night”, and then “Soul Man.” Women in very short dresses flock to the dance floor. I have never seen so many attractive ladies people in Westchester at one time.
I see the same woman getting a foot massage for about 30 minutes; perhaps she has fallen asleep. There’s even a rumor that Bill Murray is lurking somewhere in the upstairs lounge, there to promote Slovenia Vodka. (If you missed him, you could catch Murray on screen when “Ghostbusters” aired at Captain Lawrence Movie Night two nights later.)
A little after 10, Aaron and Randy pour their last drop of Smoked Porter. Strobe lights stream above the Sound, lighting up the clouds and confusing the sea gulls. A sign sticking out of the water declares “Make No Wake”—words we can all live by—and four ducks pay it heed, gliding by gracefully in a line.
The vendors start breaking down their booths, and the foot massage woman reluctantly gets to her infinitely relaxed feet. The next Captain Lawrence samples we sip will be in Elmsford—but the New Roc waterfront was certainly nice for a night.
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, and has written in the past for Westchester Magazine.