Get Your Beer Here

Hudson Valley Brewers fill our cups with some of the freshest, tastiest beers in the country — bar none

(page 6 of 8)

beer man

Cheers, the award-winning TV comedy, was born just before the craft beer revolution; if it were to be remade now, no doubt Sam’s pub would brew its own. A Coach’s nutty ale, perhaps, or a Carla’s bitter or a Normie’s Irish stout. Cheers wasn’t a brewpub, but it certainly was a pub, and that is the real strength and sustenance of all of these brewing establishments. The beer is great, to be sure. But even more special is that they truly are a place where everybody knows your name.

WOODY: What’s going on, Mr. Peterson?
NORM: The question is what’s going in Mr. Peterson? A beer please, Woody.

“It’s all about relationship building,” says Amy Acer, who runs Defiant Brewing in Pearl River with her husband, Neill. “There are no TVs here. We are like an old English pub where you come to talk to your neighbors.”

Including the ones who may have inspired the very beer you’re drinking. When Tommy Keegan draws a pint of his Hurricane Kitty IPA, Hurricane Kitty herself — Keegan’s 87-year-old grandmother — may be knocking back a pint next to you. “When she walks in, the band yells, ‘Hurricane Kitty’s in the house,’ ” Keegan laughs. “The rugby players ask her to autograph a bottle. She has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t remember it later, but she loves it.”

SAM: What’d you like, Normie?
NORM: A reason to live. Give me another beer.

Pubs, after all, are fun places to be. The libations they serve are fun to drink. The people who make and serve them have fun doing it. That’s not to say it’s always easy. Success brings its own frustrations. “I spend more time thinking about workers comp than I do about beer these days,” says Keegan. Many brewers complain that they can’t experiment with new recipes as much as they’d like, for fear of losing customers who expect their favorites. Brown’s expansion plans — they are building a new brewery in Hoosick, scheduled to open in 2011 — have Peter Martin, once a one-man brew crew, juggling more and more responsibilities.

WOODY: Hey, Mr. Peterson, Jack Frost nipping at your nose?
NORM: Yep, now let’s get Joe Beer nipping at my liver.

Still, when asked why he likes his job, Martin hesitates for just a second, as if it’s the dumbest, most self-evident question he’s ever heard. Then he smiles, shrugs, and offers the obvious answer:

“Because it’s beer.”

Next: Beer 101


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