NYCR Raves About the Hudson Valley: Part 1
June 17, 2011
A First Impression of the Hudson Valley Wine Country, Part 1
By Julia Burke, Beer Editor
I had absolutely no expectations as I drove east on the thruway on my very first trip to the Hudson Valley wine country. David Jackson of Hudson-Chatham Winery and his wife Kathy were kind enough to invite me to their home and show me around, and I could think of no better way to spend one of the first beautiful weekends of summer than exploring a new wine scene.
What was in store was a fascinating, vibrant and diverse region with a young-but-exciting quality wine industry, gorgeous farmland, exciting local beer and spirits, an amazing array of edible bounty, and passionate people who believe in the future of the Hudson Valley.
After a five-hour drive it was beer o’clock, so I began my Hudson Valley experience with a visit to Chatham Brewing.
A tucked-away site literally located in an alley, Chatham’s entrance welcomed me with a hop garden and the sight of locals lining up to fill growlers and kegs. I opted to taste through their full lineup and was solidly impressed. The beers showed great malt presence and balance: the maple amber wasn’t too sweet, the IPAs not too bitter, the porter not too roasty, all with well-integrated and clean flavors and crisp, smooth mouthfeel.
Brewmaster Matt explained that he’s all about Old World styles; it shows in his well-made, elegant brews. My two favorites were the porter and the 8-barrel IPA.
Growlers in hand, I was ready for a day of adventure. My hosts had a full weekend planned; after lunch in Chatham we visited two beautiful farms, Chatham Shepherding and Kinderhook, offering local cheeses, meats and eggs, and even stopped at a distillery before heading to Hudson-Chatham for wine tasting.
I was particularly impressed by Harvest Spirits, a distillery making apple vodka, applejack, pear brandy and some fun experimental stuff including grappa, frozen applejack and — to my delight — eisbock using Chatham Brewing Company’s ESB.
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