Monday, March 10, 2014

Peekskill Brewery

Our homebrew club, the Malted Barley Appreciation Society, recently took a trip up the Hudson to Peekskill, NY to visit the Peekskill Brewery. The brewpub is located a short walk from the train station and is an easy day-trip from New York City via Metro North.

We started with some liquid refreshment (hey, that hour-long train trip can take a lot out of you) and lunch before touring the brewery. Most everyone chose a sampler of 4 beers to start off.

My first selection was their Hop Common, a nicely hoppy amber California Common, or steam beer, hopped with Segal Ranch, Nugget, and Cascade

Skills Pils, on their rotating seasonal pils tap, was described on the menu as a winter pils with dark German malts and Polish Lublin and Magnum hops. In reality, it was a malty, roasty schwarzbier and not a pilsner.

Styriana, a Gypsy Lager fermented with Brettanomyces and hopped with Styriana Goldings, was described as "a pale rustic beer" and it did indeed have an earthiness to it along with a citrus finish and low level brett character.

Slow and Low, a smoked lager with German malts and Polish Lublin hops and boiled overnight, had a smoke character which was fairly faint, particularly in the aroma. The light smoke flavor was pleasantly complemently by caramel notes from the malt.

Other crowd favorites on tap that day included the award-winning Amazeballs pale ale and the always refreshing Simple Sour.

All of the beers at Peekskill are unfiltered and head brewer Jeff "Chief" O'Neil tends to use very little bittering hops. instead focusing on late addition hops for their flavoring and aromatic properties.

Refilled beer glasses in hand, we then made our way to the brewery with tour guide Ed and assistant brewer Mike Benz. The current brewery, which they've been in since December 2012 having made a short move down the street, is a 15 barrel system with three 15 bbl fermenters and four 30 bbl fermenters. The brewing vessels and fermenters are located on the ground floor but every batch of beer gets pumped up to the top floor and into a coolship to cool for 1-2 hours. Peekskill Brewery has one of only around 10 coolships in the country. Once in the coolship, a plate circulates the wort and then it rests so that the sediment can settle out and heat from the hot wort is vented out. Once cooled, the wort flows back to ground level and into the fermenters.


The coolship

Most of the beers are fermented with standard ale and lager strains but they also have a dedicated brettanomyces tank. Once ready to serve, the beers are either kegged or put into one of the seven serving tank. The futuristic cool box sends the beer to the downstairs bar and upstairs tap room.
Cool box dispensing beers to both bars
Bill "Salty Dog" Coleman looking happy with his Pruneau

Aside from their regular line up, they plan to have quarterly releases of special beers. The first one in 2013 was with NYC brewery Other Half, Nuggy Num Num and the first release of 2014 will be a pale all, NYPA, brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops. An upcoming release that we were able to try out of the tanks is Pruneau, an IPA brewed with 300 pounds of fruit.

You can find several of the Peekskill beers available on draft at better beer bars in New York City but it's definitely worth the trip to the brewpub to try their other beers that are only available on premise. They do plan to start a barrel-aging program and have a bottle corking machine so hope to have bottles available at the brewpub in the future.

Peekskill riverfront. Not a good day for swimming.

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