In the Name of the Father
Father’s Day is its own excellent reason to swing by Captain Lawrence on a perfectly sunny and beautiful Sunday, but there was another one to boot: the Pilot Batch Tap Takeover. Put in plain English, a dozen of the brewery’s staff-brewed, small batch beers—The Black Lodge Stout, the Amber Rush ale, the ‘IP’Session IPA, the self-explanatory Kevin’s Bacon Ale—were resurrected for the day, along with a ballot box to see which one people like best.
There were longtime fathers, there with their sons, and dads who’d been such for under a year. In a few rare cases, there were both in the same party. Steve Morgan of Hartsdale saw mention of the Tap Takeover on Facebook felt it would be an ideal way to spend his special day. Wife Chelsea and eight month old Lily are along for the ride.
“I’ve tried the standard beers like Liquid Gold a million times,” Steve says. “It’s cool to try something new.”
That would very definitely include the Golden Rose, a sour ale flavored with currant juice. “It’s got a nice, tart, refreshing flavor,” he says.
While Chelsea comes from brewing stock—her dad worked at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis—she admits she does not enjoy beer. She is nonetheless keen to try the Kevin’s Bacon, flavored with maple syrup and, yes, bacon, and the Black Lodge Espresso due to their promise of quirky flavors.
Steve has to be in the running for fatherhood rookie of the year, says Chelsea. “He’s so great—he’s very hands-on,” she says.
“Other than right this second,” interjects Steve as he raises his glass of Golden Rose.
Baby Lily, seated atop the picnic table like she rode in on it, requires no administration for the moment.
Elsewhere on the patio, Mike Nugent of Hawthorne has both his father and his baby along for the excursion. Mike visited a few weeks back, and saw the brewery as a fantastic place to bring his dad on Father’s Day. Father Bill, of Yorktown, nods from behind his Rose Bud ale.
A good way to spend Father’s Day?
“It’s a good way to spend any day,” says Bill.
“We’ll have to pull him out of here,” quips Mike’s wife Kristin.
Inside the brewery, the husband and wife author team Giancarlo and Sarah Annese are chatting about and signing their book, Beer Lover’s New York: The Empire State’s Best Breweries, Brewpubs & Beer Bars—but only after they’ve spent quality time with their dads. Giancarlo had breakfast with his pops earlier in the day, while Sarah spent quality time with Dad the day before.
Only then did they venture up to Captain Lawrence. “It’s the only book you need about New York State beer,” says Sarah of their handsome handiwork.
Elsewhere in the brewery, Jim Casey of Mahopac is reveling in the quality time with his wife, daughters and daughter’s boyfriend. “We hit Ron Black’s for brunch, and decided to come here for breakfast,” he says with a mischievous smile.
Daughter Annie is asked to sum up her dad. “Personality, charm, charisma,” she says. “I can’t sum him up in one word. He makes things better wherever he goes.”
Other daughter Kate is slightly less effusive. “He never fails to embarrass me,” she says with a laugh.
Finally, the best seats in the house belong to, fittingly, the duo of Joe Vaccaro of Virginia and Andrew Vaccaro of Sleepy Hollow. Joe says he’s a cousin, “a million years removed,” of Captain Lawrence owner Scott Vaccaro’s dad, Vincent. (The annual St. Vincent’s beer release is an homage to Vincent Vaccaro’s unyielding support for Scott’s unorthodox career choice.)
Joe raves about the Black Lodge Stout, and says it brings him back to the Hofbrau Haus in Munich many years before. “Long wooden tables, massive pretzels, sausage,” he says dreamily.
Andrew, for his part, digs the sultry Irish red ale known as Fiona.
He also digs sharing a pair of Adirondack chairs in the brewery with his role model on Father’s Day. “It’s always good to be with my dad,” Andrew says. “He’s always fun to be around.”
Joe does his kid one better. “Everything he’s done in life,” says Joe, “has made me proud.”
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 India Pale Ale.