Just across the Delaware River off Route 80 west of Jersey, DOWNRIVER BREWING CO. opened in November 2019, becoming Stroudsburg’s first brewery since 1937. Situated downtown near the Sherman Theatre in the back of Main Street Plaza, Downriver retains a rustic bohemian charm.
Its embossed silver ceiling tiles recall pre-Prohibition times while the lacquered wood top 10-stool bar (with antiquated aluminum siding) matches the panel floor’s unrefined splendor. There are also patio-benched community tables. Local art displays cover the front walls and live entertainment rocks the house on weekends. A gaming room back space keeps kids entertained.
Owner Steven Brancato claims brewer Matt Dussor’s beer recipes put him ‘over the edge’ and when the opportunity came to begin brewing operations, the two were readily energized.
The left side open space contains the brewing area where several cool local beer bottles dot the wall.
On my one-hour January ’20 stopover, I consume six homemade brews alongside corn-sugared, tonic-watered hard seltzer, Fizzy Fellow, a lemon-limed malt liquor with herbal respite.
Downriver’s lightest offering, Sweet Mitosis Cream Ale, spread corn-flaked Maris Otter toasting, dry maize crisping and mild hay-like Fuggle-hopped herbage across spritzy lemon zest.
Bettering Killians and Blue Moon, amber ale/ witbier mix, That’s That Red Wit brought lemon-pitted orange tanginess, tingly coriander spicing and floral-perfumed herbal hops to sweet cereal graining.
Sweet caramel-malted fig spicing and mildly creamed vanilla snips contrasted lemon-soured fungi cellaring for amiable moderate-medium-bodied Fingerhakein Weizenbock.
Effervescent orange, grapefruit, peach and tangerine tanginess contrasted less dramatic guava-gooseberry souring and tart lemon custard illusions while Vienna-malted honeyed oats consumed Johnny Wood Boy Imperial IPA.
Lovely coffee roasted bitterness gained black-malted dark chocolate tones for Masters Of Nothing Coffee Oatmeal Breakfast Stout, a robust dark ale.
Milk-sugared coffee creaming and white chocolate sweetness gathered alongside wheat-flaked biscuit malts to validate luscious dessert-like holiday stout, I Don’t Have A Log, probably my fave this lovely winter afternoon.
On July ’22 return, my wife and I grabbed one of the four plastic-seated umbrella-laden benches in the alleyway while downing all previously untried brews and eating caprese salad, spinach artichoke dip and hummus.
There are now four established flagships at Downriver, including a pils, hazy pale ale, New England IPA and Bavarian-styled rauchbier.
Grazing muskily raw-grained pilsner malts with polite Hallertau Blanc-hopped guava, gooseberry and green grape souring, Lightweight Italian-style Pilsner retained a compost soiled bottom.
Lactic-soured tropical fruiting spread across hazy New England-styled Quaker Alley Pale Ale, dousing waxy mango, guava, pineapple and tangerine tartness with subtle briny lime bittering atop its mild oated wheat bed.
An upfront salted lemon spritz picked up light lactose vanilla bean creaming for Mosaic-Galaxy-hopped Refreshy DDH NEDIPA, a bustling medium body with resinous pine tones guarding its unlikely strawberry, pineapple, grapefruit, orange and passionfruit medley.
Bettering all washed-out rauchbier knockoffs, Smokey The Bier Smoked Munich Lager succeeds at intensifying its cherrywood/beechwood-seared cured meatiness as smoked pastrami-salami salting reaches dry chocolate malting.
Going past the flagships, there were also nine more diversified offerings.
Off-dry cucumber-watered Summer Gurke Cucumber Kolsch received a splashy lemon spritz above its vegetal-tinged earthen hops.
Peachy tea-induced moderation, Aries Affirmation, utilized cherry tisane tea to complement its cherry-pureed white peach tartness and icy orange vodka spree.
Straight-ahead citrus zesting and mild piney hop bittering guarded medium-bodied ‘Midwest’ India Pale Ale, DudeTron, leaving lemony orange rind dryness and perfumed floral spicing upon its sticky pale malt spine.
‘Puckering tartness’ from salty kettle-soured guava, orange and papaya fruiting secured Sour Rapids IPA, leaving limey bittering on the lightly acidic Citra-Mosiac-Strat hop triage.
Tart strawberry and kiwi adjuncts seeped into dry lemon-limed Mosaic hops for Paradise Pucker as wispy orange-grapefruit tanginess tweaked the acidulated malt base of this fruited sour.
Stylishly richer and more alcohol-driven, White Knight Double Wit placed gin-soaked blood orange peel and lemon peel briskness across honeyed banana sweetness and coriander-seeded star anise spicing above its sourdough bread base.
Dry chocolate-roasted waddle seeding stayed sedate alongside the sweet wheated malts underscoring BaDunkaDunk, picking up subtle dried fruit spicing.
Cold-pressed Honduran coffee gained subtle cappuccino creaming and dry nuttiness for Foxy Brown Nitro, an oatmeal brown ale with black pepper dalliance and star anise snips.
Richly creamed Madagascar vanilla and liquid cacao enticed regale nightcap, Ball & Chain, placating its toffee-spiced caramelization and mild bourbon sugaring with treacly dark chocolate-y black coffee remnants over dry earthen peat.