GREENWOOD LAKE, NEW YORK
In the village of Greenwood Lake, cozy tavern-styled restaurant, THE HELM, came into existence in 2015. Serving upscale contemporary American cuisine alongside more than a dozen draught craft beers, fine wines and specialty cocktails, The Helm sits across the lake in a stark black haunt with painted cedar shanks and nautical designs.
The low-ceiling wood floored 20-seat rectangular bar and main dining area consist of reclaimed wood walls, old hardwood paneling and a small brick-encased fireplace, providing a homey English pub atmosphere.
There are several front porch seats with a beautiful river view.
On my initial April ’23 dinner visit, my wife and I gathered by the fireplace to munch on Tuscan Panzanella salad and Fish ‘n Chips and down a flight of four beers. Main course dinners, sandwiches, steak, salmon, salads and wings were also available.
As for the beers. Aslin Double Orange Starfish NEIPA retained a crisply clean sunshiny citrus vibrancy while District 96 Essential Juice with Coconut had a tropical cocktail splendor. Cinnamon toast crunch-like Burlington Dreameater Stout and coconut flaked, cacao-nibbed, vanilla-beaned Fiddlehead Hodad Porter were fabulous dark ales (reviewed in Beer Index).
VOORHEESVILLE, NEW YORK
In the small suburban village of Voorheesville just outside of Albany, NORTHERN BARRELL was established in 2021. A family-owned, family-friendly restaurant specializing in craft beer and cider, the amiable yellow vinyl-sided warehouse pub is situated right inside a residential neighborhood.
Northern Barrell’s bulbed front deck features rocking chairs plus general seating and its white overhead doors lead to the high ceiling interior where the right side concrete-topped 10-stool bar with plank wood siding offers twelve draughts and a rear stone hearth provides warmth. Several wood tables fill the left side and a small mezzanine sported an olden bicycle, milk jugs and antique chair. There are four TV’s above the bar for sports fans. A casual-to-upscale food menu betters most brewpub fare.
My wife and I spent an hour at Northern Barrell in January ’23 to consume three previously untried brews including Torch & Crown Tenant Pilsner, Modist Forbidden Canyons Imperial IPA and Prairie Seasick Crocoldile Sour (reviewed in Beer Index).
A glorified hole in the wall diner at an unassuming gray barn house just south of the heart of Williamsport, KIMBALL’S PUB proudly features 20-plus draughts and the finest top shelf liquor with fine light pub fare. Hanging fans at the high V-shaped ceiling light the 14-seat L-shaped aluminum-sided bar as well as four chopping block-topped wood tables, one community table, a front pew and a billiard table.
Offering wonderful local craft beer from its middle taps and the two sideling refrigerators, Kimball’s draws a colorful array of neighborhood denizens and traveling beer enthusiasts. A rear kitchen serves food.
During my one-hour stopover in May ’22, discovered two fabulously rich dark ales, Shiner Candied Pecan and Upstate Big Nerd’s Coffee Blueberry Stout.
POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK
A nifty baby blue round signpost (with emblematic pint-guzzling skunk) welcomes patrons to SCHATZI’S PUB – POUGHKEEPSIE, the original storefront gastropub with second location ten miles west across the Hudson Bridge in New Paltz. Both ‘homey’ pubs offer a German beer hall experience serving top-notch local brews and international faves alongside tasty Anglo-Bavarian dishes.
Opened during autumn 2013, Schatzi’s lies right in the middle of downtown Main Street a few doors down from Zeus Brewing (which began operations ’round 2019). Its narrow interior features an elongated 20-seat, bronze-topped bar (with several tap stands holding 16 draughts), a blackboard beer list, top-shelf spirits and four TV’s. Antique wire-meshed lighting fixtures add a Speakeasy feel. There are four chaired tables towards the rear and a black metal-furnished backyard beirgarten.
While visiting November ’21, sunk four previously untried suds, including Hamburg Berry Berry Sneaky! Sour, Crown & Torch Breakshot India Pale Ale, Maine Wolfes Neck India Pale Ale and UFO Journey To Planet Pumpkin! (reviewed in Beer Index).
POMPTON PLAINS, NEW JERSEY
An elegant brick-based tan-sided neighborhood pub and restaurant, TAVERN 5, entered the local bistro scene in August 2016. Perfect for serious brew hounds, local families and sports bar fanatics, there are plenty of TV’s surrounding the pristine cement-walled interior.
Its rustic railroad-tied block wood entrance leads to a marble-topped U-shape bar with beautiful black-gold tiled ceiling, twelve centralized tap handles and upscale booze. A large green-turfed back patio with hanging lights adds wood bench and table seating under a canopy.
Tavern 5′s kitchen serves fine gastropub fare such as the bacon potato clam chowder I tried on initial June ’21 afternoon sojourn. Interesting cocktail specials also captured my attention, including hybridized martinis and pina coladas.
I down lactose Beach Haus We Were Made For Peach Other IPA and Lakefront Hazy Rabbit IPA (reviewed in Beer Index) before heading home for Lightning-Canadiens Stanley Cup finals.
EAST HANOVER, NEW JERSEY
At East Hanover Plaza since 2019, CAPITAL CRAFT TAPHOUSE & GRILL is a spacious mall-bound gastropub with a right side open kitchen serving fine appetizers, dinners and brick-oven pizzas alongside the finest draught fare (24 rotating taps), bottled craft beer and top-shelf spirits.
An upscale cafe-styled sportsbar venue, Capital Craft’s black marble-topped central bar station (with multiple TV’s) services surrounding four-seat tables as well as a separate front-windowed dining area. At the back left wall is an intriguing bulb-lit wood-trayed CRAFT sign. Several illuminating yellow green cushioned corner booths dot the main space and Hershey Kiss-like lighting shines thru the crystalline interior of this gray farmhouse-styled pub.
On my initial June ’20 trip, I discovered three previously untried Jersey-brewed suds (reviewed in Beer Index), including Cypress Pulled Back In Witbier, Ross Manasquan Witbier and Magnify Double Barrel Aged Point Of Divergence Imperial Stout. Also quaffed Springdale Not Stirred Paloma Sour Ale, a tequila-based wild ale from Jack’s Abby offshoot in Massachusetts.
HASKELL, NEW JERSEY
Inside a homey cafe-styled venue with flat earth-toned brick foundation, Haskell, New Jersey’s KITCHEN AND BEER BAR serves a myriad of upscale pub fare (Alligator Sausage/ Elk Burger) alongside a dozen-plus well chosen draught beers.
Its one main room features a tan hop-laden front wall with Hunter S. Thompson slogan, brick-based L-shape bar and salvaged wood side walls. Exposed bronze pipes crowd the low ceiling and hanging caged Edison lights also decorate the cozy six-tabled gastropub.
Residing in an unincorporated hamlet community within the town of Wanaque’s confines, Kitchen And Beer Bar will please all true craft beer brewhounds.
On my initial December ’20 journey, I discovered local Jersey faves such as Toms River At Wits End, Magnify Jelly and Jughandle Jug Of Joe and neighboring New York libations like Industrial Arts Lotus NEIPA, KCBC Reservoir Frogs DIPA and Nightmare Crucifixion Third Servile War Hazy IPA (all reviewed in Beer Index).
SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK
Right in the heart of downtown Schenectady setback from Union Street’s main drag, CENTRE STREET PUBLIC HOUSE & GARDEN is conveniently located just down the block from Mad Jack Brewing. A friendly cement-floored roadhouse with an enormous side beer garden, Centre Street features an olden 20-seat wood bar serving right side booths and tables with gastropub fare and wood-fired pizza.
My wife, son and I grab a booth below the large glass-encased beer can collection to sample eight previously untried brews emanating from the 26 taps. Several bar-bound TV’s (and a large screen TV near the pizza oven) concentrate on college football as we eat dinner during early December ’19 trip.
Tonight’s elixirs included a fabulous array of New York suds (reviewed fully in Beer Index) including Wolf Hollow Amber Ale, Woodstock Zen of Anxiety Saison, Sloop Pixie Dust IPA, Grimm Cyber Café IPA, Thin Man War Sombrero IPA, Barrier/ Grimm Manual Wind IPA, Unified Beerworks Even More Juicy Things Imperial IPA, and Mikkeller NYC It Was Professor Plum (a sour IPA).
Near the Little Italy section of Wilmington, TROLLEY TAP HOUSE opened up in 2014. Its greyish Trolley sign hangs from the tiki shacked burnt cedar planked roof top and two overhead doors lead to the epoxy-floored interior where stooled tables, left side booths, multiple Edison lights and pipe-exposed black ceiling provide a casual pub feel.
An L-shaped bar with twelve seats features a black-walled beer menu, thirty draught handles and TV’s all around. The caged-in, red paver-floored, side-walked front porch features six black metal tables where my wife and I (with dog Roscoe) settle in July ’19 as I quaff 2SP Baby Bob Stout (reviewed in Beer Index) while consuming hummus and a burger.
A fine neighborhood beer pub worth exploring.
Inside a refurbished wood-ensconced Victorian building next to the courthouse in downtown Dover, GREY FOX GRILLE & PUBLIC HOUSE opened for biz in the fall of 2015. Boasting ‘upscale dining and relaxed attitude,’ the friendly pub retains a quaint speakeasy feel reinforced by topnotch pub fare.
Grey Fox’s wood-shined central bar features 16-plus taps, sundry wine selections and a brick-faced emblem. A fireplace adds warmth to the right side dining and upstairs seating offers lounge-y privacy to the pristine pub.
My wife and I plus dog Roscoe grab a table at the plank-floored, umbrella-covered back patio early July ’19 to eat crab cakes and a steak sandwich while soaking up a sampler of beers crafted by nearby Fordham & Dominion Brewing.
While I’d previously quaffed Dominion Double D Double IPA, Dominion Candi Belgian Tripel and Dominion Oak Barrel Stout, both Fordham Midnight Blue Gose and Fordham Gypsy Lager were new to me. (All reviews in Beer Index).
A fine family-oriented local hideaway well worth exploring while journeying thru northern Delaware’s still-growing brewpub scene.
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK
A casual English-styled pub with an enigmatic Speakeasy feel, Manhattan’s Upper West Side venue, AMSTERDAM ALE HOUSE, is conveniently located a block from the Beacon Theatre. An archaic mahogany-furnished joint, its keen Prohibition Era elegance gets enhanced by the golden tin ceiling, Edison light fixtures, stain glass windows and beautiful columned mahogany bar (with 30-plus taps, plentiful shelved liquor and narrow service area).
A backroom dining area gets packed after Beacon shows and sports fanatics get multiple TV’s to stare at while drinking craft draught or excellent bottled-canned fare from England, Belgium, Germany and the New World (Unibroue, Stone, Rogue, Ommegang, etc.). Burgers, pizza, sandwiches and entrees are available.
I enjoyed two previously untried beers, Central Waters Mudpuppy Porter and Harpoon Rec. League Hazy Pale Ale (reviewed in Beer Index) while getting out of the 90 degree sun this mid-May ’19 afternoon.
SIESTA KEY, FLORIDA
Making incredible pizza and wings to go alongside some of the finest local Florida craft beers, Siesta Key’s 3.14 PI CRAFT BEER opened for biz in 2014. Just down the road from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico in the bustling Sarasota area, this prized pizza pub is a fun-tastic diminutive tiki bar with plenty of wall-lined liquors for fancy cocktails and specialty drinks.
At the center entrance, a wooden covered front porch with community tables adds to the quaint beachside ambience. Upon entering, two four-stooled tables make up the nifty middle room. To the right, there are three separate tap stations with twenty-plus draught lines (and electronic beer list) at the laminated U-shaped bar. A back door at the constricted low-ceiling barroom leads to the kitchen and the left side periwinkle blue-walled billiard room adds more seating.
During my pleasant April ’19 dinnertime stopover, my ole college friends and I tried five fine draughts while eating pizza and calamari. Listed in the Beer Index are reviews for Funky Buddah Pineapple Beach Blonde Ale and Two Henrys Jalapeno Blueberry Porter plus three Fort Myers brews: Fairway Finder Session IPA, Sand Loafer Pale Wheat Ale and Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter.