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One of the largest pub chains in the land of plenty, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse began in 1978 as a humble West Coast business doing a Southern California twist on Chicago-styled pizza.

Opened during 2016(?), Rockland County’s premier BJ’s location sits in Nanuet a mile up from the incomparable Growler & Gill. Inside a large open space with brick-walled high ceilings, prominent 20-seat bar, lower level dining booths, educational ‘Brewing Process’ mural and back kitchen, this cavernous sportsbar is nearly packed on a Tuesday evening during February 2018.

Alongside its national standard fare such as BJ’s Blonde, Piranha Pale Ale, Harvest Hefeweizen, Jeremiah Red and Hopstorm IPA are homemade root beer, cream soda and ciders.

My wife enjoyed Harvest Hefeweizen, a spritzy stylish moderation with lemony banana-clove-bubblegum conflux gaining herbal hop resin.

I downed light-tongued Tatonka Stout, an éclair-headed black chocolate-y dark ale with creamy coffee nuttiness and dried cocoa resilience given a lightly creamed nitro feel.

During December ’22 Sunday dinnertime perusal, enjoyed fruit-spiced Belgian winter celebrator, Grand Cru, a subtly complex nightcap with burgundy-wined dried fruiting, sweet banana bubblegum sugaring and orange marmalade tartness given mild botanical herbage as well as proper phenolic alcohol astringency.

BJ’s light pub menu includes pasta dishes and entrees as well as its well-known pizza.





Uniquely specializing in easygoing sour ales, HUDSON VALLEY BREWERY began brewing operations during September ’16, opening its doors for public consumption January ’17. Entrepreneurial brewer, John-Anthony Gargiulo, previously blended sour ales for Dryden, New York’s respectable Bacchus Brewing. His dazzlingly demure barrel-aged elixirs possess modest complexity, subtle affectations, poignant piquancy and maybe most importantly, crystalline soft water.

Stationed at an enormous unfinished warehouse just off downtown Beacon near the railroad tracks and waterfall, Hudson Valley Brewery certainly has room for future expansion. Its unused back area may be turned into a dining space.

Dozens of liquor barrels don the left wall and bar area while a small outside deck at the garage door opening packs up with local sour ale fanatics at 2 PM on this cloudy Saturday, April ’17. Bob Dylan tunes play prominently while I settle into all eight intricately designed libations at the lacquered wood bar.

An easygoing gateway into sour ales, Incandenza Sour IPA plied juicy-fruited Citra hops and dank wood-dried Simcoe hops to lightly salted lemon zest, puckering orange-oiled grapefruit tartness and raw wheat astringency.

Billowy Pillow Hat IPA (with grassy Citra-Motueka hops) carried sour lime zest crisping to briny sea-shelled salting as subtle key lime pie, grapefruit pith, honeydew and melon illusions tingled the tongue.

Sessionable Infinite Pool IPA retained a softly lingering citric hop bittering and mild soft-watered flow as its lemony grapefruit tang, candied pineapple tartness and herbal lemongrass snips integrate well.

“Tropical juice box” Silhouette Brunch-Style Sour, utilized tart tangerines to soak up mild lemon-limed acidity, subtle pineapple-peach notions and champagne-sparkled mimosa wisps.

Adventurous moderate-bodied Adult World Smoked Sour Farmhouse was today’s sourest offering with its dry oaken musk and peat-smoked Scotch licks receiving an ocean-watered lime salting  and lemon-peeled bittering to finish with a tequila-like mezcal spunk.

Soured hopheads will lean towards Re Up, an Eldorado-Azacca-Citra-hopped Imperial IPA with orange marmalade, orange blossom and sugar cookie illusions peeking thru.

Refreshingly brisk King Wavy Imperial IPA brought oats-dried tropical fruiting to lightly soured lemon-juiced orange rind bittering as its sweet orange-peeled pineapple, grapefruit, mango, clementine and peach tang gained pale-malted sugar spicing. 

Possibly my fave, Animal Balloon Smoked Sour combined lime-dried lemon balm with vinous green grape mildness, soft passionfruit tartness and oaken vanilla buttering for a smoothly salt-peppered moderation.