Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room


The Dog Days of Summer


Seemingly half the universe was busting out of town for the long weekend, but everyone’s got a different take on just what busting out of town is. For numerous city residents, a day at Captain Lawrence was as good as any day at the beach or in the country—especially with some brutally muggy weather afoot. It was a chance to change the scenery, sample some craft beers, and in many cases give the dog some room to roam.

Ralph and Karla Crespo schlepped from the Upper East Side with their painfully cute terrier/Chihuahua (terrihuahua?) Ginger on tow. “I was thirsty,” explains Ralph, a growing smile above his shrinking cup of India Pale Ale.

Karla has the IPA too. “We like hops,” she explains.

Captain Lawrence is an easy hop from upper Manhattan, they say. “It’s a short drive from the city, but at the same time, it’s away from the city,” Karla says.

The Crespos have no problem with the stifling heat. Karla, for one, is happy to squeeze one more scorcher out of the fading summer. “I wish there’d been more hot days,” she says. “We got out of church today and were wondering what to do. I said, I just want to be outdoors…let’s go to Captain Lawrence.”


Ginger too likes the fresh air, they say. Not making the trip is the Crespos’ other dog, a 14-year-old golden retriever named Lucky, but Ginger has a few rambunctious playmates in a teeny-tiny Australian shepherd named Penguin and a French Brittany named Huck. As his Manhattan mates toss cornhole bags and fetch fresh beers, Sean Smith chases the two-month-old pups around the yard. “They’re a handful right now,” he says. “But they’re fun.”

Elsewhere on the patio, another crew of city folk has had their exercise for the day. Duni Fernandez, Kristen Baek and Ray Fung rode their bikes from Queens, across the Queensboro Bridge, and north until they hit Captain Lawrence. “Too long,” Duni says of the three hour, 31-mile trip.

Motivating Duni throughout the trip was the Pumpkin Ale, he says.

Same goes for Ray, who describes the voyage as “brutal”, “miserable” and “overwhelming”—particularly with the weather being “soupy”, he says. Fortunately, they’re putting their bikes on Metro-North for the return trip. Ray is enjoying his Pumpkin Ale, brewed with natural pumpkin puree and spices, in that way one does after a beer is really and truly earned. “It might be the best beer I’ve ever had—right now,” he says.

Dark clouds roll in and a few raindrops fall. Most everyone heads inside, while Sean Smith’s foursome, and their puppies, wait it out and continue with a pitched cornhole game.

Inside, Sean Sullivan of aptly named Stormville, New York and pal Lea Deluca of Yonkers are enjoying their first time at Captain Lawrence. He’s got the India Pale Ale and she’s got the Pumpkin.

It wasn’t the heat or the rain that drove them inside—they were simply seeking the full brewery experience. “I wanted the ambience,” says Lea. “This is what a brewery is—it’s why we came here. Plus, you can sit outside anywhere.”

Sean nods. “We’ve got barrels, we’ve got food, we’ve got beer,” he adds.


The storm clouds pass before you could drain a sample of Freshchester Pale Ale, and the patio fills again. Huck and Penguin have found their perfect playpen—an unused bocce court. Watching them frolic is like watching one of those cuter-than-cute puppy videos on YouTube, only live.

Sean says he and his city friends love checking out breweries. “We knew Captain Lawrence was here and we just wanted to get out, relax, let the dogs run around,” he says, gesturing around the expanse of patio and smiling. “We just wanted to do this.”


–Michael Malone (

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.



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