ELDRED, NEW YORK
Skirting stylistic conventionality by assimilating and acclimating locally sourced ingredients with European-grown grains and hops, Jersey-raised Ukrainian husband-wife team, Bill and Cindy Lenczuk, began their beer journey while sampling local Uke suds overseas. Initially, Bill worked as a nuclear engineer at Chernobyl during a 2000-2002 Eastern Euro stint, gaining insight to brewing along the way until opening his own nanobrewery, SHREWD FOX BREWERY, in 2015.
Balancing quirky flavor profiles to remit a certain earthen rusticity native to the hilly rural Catskill village of Eldred, Shrewd Fox utilizes its unique regional water source. A proud New York State sustenance farm brewer, Lenczuk’s spent grain goes to local farmers, eliminating organic waste.
Sitting alongside the vast countryside, Shrewd Fox resides at a red brick-fronted former post office with baby blue siding. Its agrarian exterior includes a makeshift barrel-staged metal-furnished side patio and grassy wooden-benched backyard space.
Inside, the cozy pub features a small stainless steel seven-barrel system (upped from its commencing one barrel setup) behind a two-stooled plywood-stained service station with ten intricately wood-carved draught handles.
My wife and I tried all seven in-house brews, April 2022. There were also two ciders available.
Dewy wheat-honeyed earthen truffle mossing, casual brown-sugared dried fruiting and teasing walnut breading gathered for Highland Lager, a waywardly skewed traditional German moderation.
Another dewy grained easygoer, Loch Ada Amber Ale, fortified its dry yuzu-limed green grape esters with barley-sugared Irish amber yeast.
Ukranian Zalatos Roussa hops redirected stylistically dryer Yulan Hefeweizen, leaving banana-clove expectancy in the dust for sour Orange Blossom-honeyed lemon oiling and distant plantain, pear and white grape illusions.
Not even experienced beer tasters could clearly define Kutya Buckwheat Farmhouse Ale, a buckwheat-honeyed saison yeast-based specialty grain beer with mild cocoa powdered date-fig rig, tart rhubarb shard and oily nuttiness.
Peat mossy 3 Dog IPA, recalled a dry English style IPA with its dank hop-grained soiling, musky dark floral herbage and mild orange oiling.
On the dark side, stylishly out of bounds Baba Yaga Brown Ale brought pumpkin pureed autumn spicing to mild molasses, chocolate, raisin and hazelnut riffs as well as pine nut, fern and bark nuances.
Coffee-burnt sour nuttiness consumed Kozak Porter, leaving green grape tannins in its wake.