CHESTER, NEW YORK
Making quite a splash since opening in autumn 2012, Hudson Valley’s second microbrewery (following eastbound Newburgh Brewery), RUSHING DUCK, is presently housed at an old tile factory just off Chester’s historic Main Street in the rustic rolling hills just off Route 17 West. Led by Dan Hitchcock (a proud Weyerbacher alumni) and companion Nikki Cavanaugh (part-time Copper Mine bartender), this inspiring independent business will undoubtedly grow way beyond its current parameters.
Upon my first visit with family dog, Roscoe, I got to taste five 5-ounce tapped samples at the small hardwood-floored tasting room during a sunny Saturday afternoon, August ’13. Already familiar with the award-winning stout, flagship pale ale and hop-headed double IPA (bought in growlers from Bardonia’s fabulous Cable Beverage), I also got to try a hybridized Brit-styled ale and brettanomyces-soured pale ale. Though all beers are draught-only at this time, bottling cannot be far off. And barrel aged beers are coming soon.
For starters, brisk year-round offering, Naysayer Pale Ale (a stylistically robust West Coast-styled beauty), brought grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and gin-soaked juniper hops to floral-nipped tropical fruit sweetness.
Pungent War Elephant Imperial IPA rampaged forward with deeper grapefruit peel bittering, brighter orange-pineapple juicing and resinous pine needling to contrast ‘subdued malt’ sugaring and tangy peach, melon, cantaloupe and tangerine wisps.
Then came two whimsical delights that will hopefully become permanent fixtures. An English strong ale with light brown ale nuttiness, Nimptopsical Ale relied on caramel-burnt toffee and brown chocolate sweetness, dried fig-date overtones, earthy caraway-fennel-carrot notions and banana-breaded chestnut-acorn nuances, finishing with a rye whiskey touch (derived from the five barley strands used).
Not to be outdone, soft-watered Panic On Funkatron used wild brettanomyces yeast to fortify the soured grapefruit, mango, guava and passion fruit illusions while pumping up the herbaceous lemon zesting.
As a treasured dessert, Beanhead Coffee Porter (Best of Show at Hudson Valley’s 2012 Brewfest) loaded bittersweet Guatemalan coffee beans atop bitter cocoa and dark-roasted chocolate, finishing with a totally satisfying espresso-fortified coffee nuttiness.