Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room, Vol. 59 Re-imagining the Grapefruit Diet



They came from far away, on bicycles, and they came from so close they could walk. They sipped a new beer that makes clever use of a fat, round, semi-sweet fruit, and they sampled some tried and true brews as well. While Captain Lawrence’s digs will never be as pedestrian-friendly as the old Pleasantville spot, a foursome from Elmsford did, in fact, hoof it to the brewery on a gorgeous Sunday.

“It’s such a nice day, and we figured we’d bring the dog along,” says Alyssa Jacobs of Elmsford, nodding at the sweet-dispositioned Chihuahua-Shi Tzu mix huddled under the picnic table.

Her husband Irv is digging the new pilot brew known as Grapefruit Pail--Ryan Kipp’s American pale ale brewed with grapefruits and dry hopped with whole leaf cascade hops and grapefruit peels. “A little bit of citrus, a little bit of bitterness,” he says with a smile.

Their pals Eleanor and Bob Liggio, also of Elmsford, are contemplating what to fill their growler with. The Liggios are partial to pale ales—Eleanor says they fell in love with Anchor Steam while honeymooning in San Francisco, so much so that they returned to the Bay Area years later to quaff more of it.

When it comes to beer, Bob is a bit picky; he says the Captain Lawrence selections—and American beer in general—is too cold, and wants more hops in his Sun Block wheat beer. But he’s happy to be spending his afternoon sipping a locally crafted brew in the sun. “It’s great to have a microbrewery around,” he says.

Pulling up to the patio on a convoy of bicycles is a Meetup.com group that set out from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx not quite two hours before. Most of the six did not know each other earlier in the day. Gina Friedlander of Forest Hills, Jose Herrero of Manhattan and Donnelly Shah of Brooklyn, among the others, are unwinding with some well earned beverages. A few sips into her Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA, Gina asks what the “9 ABV” on the menu next to the beer means. When she finds out, her eyes go wide as, well, grapefruits. “We’re not carrying you back,” warns Michael Wasserman.

The group of new friends laughs as they wait for their Village Dog hot dogs. “It’s a great way to meet new people and do things you probably wouldn’t do on your own,” says Donnelly.

A 20-mile bike ride may be a bit ambitious for Elizabeth Vera and her friends. See, Elizabeth was married the day before at Lyndhurst—Jay Gould’s spectacular old mansion in Tarrytown--and is unwinding with her sorority sisters from NC State. “I’m runnin’ on fumes,” she admits from behind a pair of dark shades.

The wedding was, by all accounts, a smash. Talk about moves like Jagger--Elizabeth’s dad jumped on stage with the band to belt out “Satisfaction”, and her uncle took over the piano. “We had a Partridge Family thing going on,” she says.

And this was all before dinner. “Best wedding ever,” says Ali Marshall of Sarasota.

Elizabeth is from Wisconsin, so working a brewery visit into her wedding weekend was a given.  The Kolsch seems to have perked her up slightly; she eyes the menu for her next selection. “I’m real interested in the Grapefruit Pail,” she says.

Speaking of old college pals, Justin Pucila of Pound Ridge and Matt Brody of Manhattan are friends from their SUNY Purchase days. They were camping at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation the night before with more Purchase pals—drinking PBRs because that’s what they drank in college.

Justin’s still waiting for his taste buds to wake up as he sips the Grapefruit Pail. “All the beers here are great, but I’m not getting grapefruit out of this one,” he says. “My taste buds are still full of campfire smoke.”

Staring at the skyline of hulking silver fermenters in the back of the brewery, Justin and Matt were discussing how many beers are in a keg, and how many kegs are in a fermenter. “We gave up,” says Matt.

Back on the patio, the biker gang is resting their legs, the wedding party is resting their vocal chords, and the Jacobs-Liggio foursome is planning their journey home. “It’s a nice walk,” says Alyssa. “The hard part is the walk back.”

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 Freshchester Pale Ale.
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