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.
During springtime 2021 revisit, Rushing Duck had expanded its parameters to include a cement-floored barnhouse with covered outside deck, large serving station and decorative Edison lights. My wife and I enjoyed a few more deserving homemade brews at one of the picnic tables.
Amiable light lager, Courtyard Crusher, let pasty acidulated malts dot zesty lemon tartness and candied orange wisps over mineral grained caramelization.
Lemon-bruised cara cara orange rot scurried thru sweet banana-clove-coriander expectancy, mild grains of paradise peppering and herbal lemongrass tartness for mellow Witbier, a slightly sourer alternative.
Glowing red ‘fruited sour’ ale, Stab In The Dark, brought mild cherry tartness, cara cara navel orange tang and pink grapefruit sweetness to salty acidulated malting in distinct fashion.
Honeyed dried fruit spicing gained fungi earthiness to counter brown-sugared caramelization of Belgian Quad, leaving banana-chipped plum, fig, prune and raisin serenity.
Mild NEIPA, Casual Chaos, allowed spritzy lemony grapefruit zest and mild orange rind bittering to hover above dryly pined herbal hop astringency efficiently.
Dry dark-roast coffee nuttiness galvanized Imperial Beanhead Porter, a more complex and ultimately richer version of its original, adding cola, walnut and Brazil nut influence to maple oats-sugared java richness.
Bustling flesh-headed mahogany-bodied nightcap, Oatmeal Stout, plied maple-sugared oats, bourbon vanilla and cappuccino creaming to dark-roast mocha goodness.