HUDSON VALLEY, NEW YORK
Across Hudson River ten miles West, New Paltz-based GILDED OTTER came to prominence in the ’90s before being sold to Clemson Brothers in 2018. On my initial visit, Gilded Otter served several premier brews October ‘04. Its exquisite cultured stone exterior, interior lodge-styled wood design, and covered side deck perfectly fit the hilly terrain, as additional dining, arcade games, and a pool table reside upstairs.
Vast beer menu changes frequently, but standard fare included delicately-hopped straw wheat light-body Huguenot Street American Lager, tea-like mocha-smoked soft-spiced New Paltz Crimson Lager, malt-sweet hop-spiced orange-lemon peel-embittered Rail Trail Pale Ale, and sharply-spiced fruited-hopped Three Pines India Pale Ale. Expressive dry-roasted coffee-burnt maple-nutty Chief Mat SaySay Porter and milky-sweet hazelnut-coffee-bitter wood-chafed Stone House Oatmeal Stout reach perfection.
Variegated autumnal seasonals include light-bodied pumpkin-cinnamon-clove-fringed mash tun-soured Ottertoberfest, pumpkin pie-encrusted cinnamon-nutmeg-allspice-spiced Clove Valley Pumpkin Ale, and bolder herbal-pumpkin-fronted creamy stout-backed Stumpkin Ale.
On September ’08 revisit, met long-time brewer Darren Currier with beer pal Al Gutierrez and sucked down soft-bodied lemony banana-clove-centered sour-candied popcorn-buttered herbal-tinged Hefeweizen and strangely illuminating aluminum-hued Back Porch Summer Lager, with its washed-out blueberry frontage, club soda fizz, and dry husked wheat backend.
Better yet were bittersweet molasses-glazed malt-smoked chocolate-roasted fig-soured twig-teased dry-bodied Dusseldorf Altbier and lactic black chocolate-y espresso-creamed coffee-burnt sarsaparilla-tinged wood-smoked Stone House Export Stout.
Currier then brought out 12-ounce bottle of private stocked Centennial Barleywine, a heady top-shelfer with creamy cognac urgency serenading red apple-ripened apricot-cherry-pear fruiting, subtle brandy-burgundy boozing, and bruised banana-orange swirl over buttery caramel-toffee malts.
Driving one-hour South from Albany, October ’10, I quaffed a few more libations before a late-afternoon Yankees-Rangers playoff showdown came on. Discovered two OK brews that might not have reached the glorious heights set by Dusseldorf Altbier and Stone House Export Stout, but were gratifying nonetheless.
Though it’ll sound adverse, dry-fruited cocoa-dusted caramel-toasted Dunkelweizen convincingly layered banana-breaded grape-skinned raisin-fig souring atop musty earthen dinginess. Next up, cascade-headed mahogany-bodied Stone House Cream Stout may’ve lacked expected creaminess, but its lactic milk-sugared entry and cocoa-dried chocolate caking accrued cherry-pied grape-stemmed dried fruiting above dinky vegetal nuances to good affect.