Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room


The Dog Days of Summer

allesandrasamanthawebFor 40-odd hours each week, we tolerate our co-workers. But when closing time rolls around, we grab a few of the ones we like and duck out to take part in that time-honored tradition of happy hour. Alessandra Pattavina and Samantha Baine are veterinary nurses in Manhattan, and have brought their unbelievably adorable dogs along to Captain Lawrence for a few samples. Pants, a Chihuahua, and Little, a chihuahua-Jack Russell mix, sit blissfully on Alessandra’s lap as she enjoys the Liquid Gold, a Belgian-style ale.

“It’s Little’s birthday,” Alessandra says. “Little loves coming to the brewery—she likes the attention.”

Samantha has a bijou mix named Susie on her lap as she samples the Pumpkin Ale. “I was so excited when I saw they had Pumpkin,” she says. “It’s never too early to have anything pumpkin.”

dogpoolwebAlessandra and Samantha are staying at a friend’s place in Westchester, and swung by Target to pick up a blow-up pool—for the dogs to beat the heat.

dankamenkevinweb(1)Out on the patio on a gorgeous early evening, another batch of co-workers enjoys craft beer samples and each other’s company. Working at a software company in White Plains, Dan Garrity of Brookfield, Connecticut, Kamen Stoykov of Bulgaria and Kevin Ouderkirk of Somers often enjoy Captain Lawrence beers while hitting happy hour at Uno’s in White Plains, and kept meaning to check out the brewery proper. “For 2 ½ years we talked about coming,” says Dan. “Finally, today, we pulled the trigger.”

Kevin sips the Effortless IPA, a lower-alcohol session ale. Dan quaffs the Grass Roots, a small-batch IPA flavored with lemongrass, while Kamen ducks inside to get a new sample. They’ve got a regular crew that ventures out for beers after work, sometimes even road tripping it to breweries in the region. When they can’t wait until the end of the week, someone will call a “Fake Friday” audible a day earlier. “We’ve got a good group of beer drinkers,” says Kevin.

kellyjamiemandywebAnother good group of beer drinkers had a shorter hike than even the White Plains guys. “I could throw a rock at where we work from here,” says Mandy Schweizer of Poughkeepsie, employed at a bank down the street on Clearbrook Road. (For the record, she did not hit her office with a rock. But she could’ve.) She and pals Jamie Chambers of Wurtsboro, in Sullivan County, and Kelly Blaine of White Plains usually venture out to the Cabin in Greenburgh or Sunset Cove in Tarrytown for post-work drinks. Recently, Mandy was at a barbecue that had a keg of Captain Lawrence, and noticed the address on the barrel. She suggested a trip to Captain Lawrence, and Kelly says she “co-signed” it.

“It’s funny that we’re so close,” says Mandy. “We could’ve been walking here every day.”

Mandy’s got the Bee’z German Honey Kolsch, Jamie the Liquid Gold, and Kelly a glass of merlot.

“This place is a hidden treasure,” says Jamie.

Inside the tasting room, the joint fills up. Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” plays on the P.A. The fabulous Trans-Atlantic Red, an imperial red ale aged in Jameson’s Whiskey barrels, is poured out of a firkin, it being Freaking Firkin Friday and all. Beertender Elyse Deming proudly watches patrons sample her debut brew, a roasty dark ale called Sisyphus’ Smile. The name represents Elyse’s philosophical take on turning 30; she laments that some people ask for “that sissy ale” or mistake the mythical Sisyphus for a certain similar sounding social disease.

hubbellwalshwebGarrett Hubbell and Brandon Walsh, a couple White Plains pals, share samples on a barrel on their first visit to Captain Lawrence. Garrett’s got the Alternate Reality IPA, a copper ale hopped with Amarillo and funked up with a bit of brettanomyces, while Brandon enjoys the Hop Commander, as the big, citrusy, hoppy house IPA is known.

“My favorite beer used to be Heineken,” says Brandon, no relation to Brandon Walsh from Beverly Hills 90120. “Now, forget Heineken. It’s awesome to be able to get craft beer so close to home.”

—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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