GARDINER, NEW YORK
A former bartending restauranteer, James Walsh upgraded his brewing skills at UC-Davis and decided to craft Belgian-styled farmhouse ales exclusively when he opened YARD OWL BREWERY in 2015. A serious fan of Saison Dupont, Walsh’s roomy pub provides “small scale charm” with its varied saisons (some blended and barrel aged).
Located inside a tan aluminum cement-floored warehouse with high ceilings in the sleepy rural town of Gardiner, Yard Owl’s wide open expanse creates an unfinished feel furthered by the antique U-shaped wood bar and simple bench tables.
Front and rear overhead doors provide an open air atmosphere fully captured by the old backyard community tables scattered about the nearby field. Wall-mounted pendants, stringed lighting and Edison bulbs reinforce its casual elegance.
There were four fine farmhouse ales exploring varied flavors available on my late afternoon July ’20 trip.
Dry golden-cleared Old World blonde ale, Grisette, brought tartly salt-watered yellow fruiting to the fore, securing its zesty lemon misting with limey white-wined grape esters, delicate banana snips, wispy white peach hints and mild herbal spicing above straw-dried mineral graining.
Aged nine months in rosé barrels then blended with a Cabernet and sessionable saison, winey Belgian Blonde, Cuvee, maintained a salty lemon-pitted bittering for tannic white grape esters and bubbly champagne effervescence atop oats-dried pilsner malting.
Soft-toned Cabernet-aged saison, Tourbillion, merged lemon meringue tartness, yellow grapefruit bittering and distant plantain dryness with delicate floral-spiced citrus zest, gaining oaken vanilla residue.
Bold amber-bronzed 540 Hoppy Saison sunk sharp IPA-like citrus fruiting into earthen wood tones, floral herbage and pinot grigio acidity, promoting mandarin orange, tangerine and blood orange illusions.