NANUET, NEW YORK
Since its Grand Opening, June 12, 2014, AMBULANCE BREW HOUSE has fascinated local beer geeks and curious out-of-towners. Located at a refurbished red brick ambulance facility on Main Street in the bohemian village of Nanuet, this amiable small tavern relies on fabulous rotating taps, take-out growler fills and light pub food to attract its avid followers.
Inspired by Taps Bar & Lounge (a busy beer pub near the Tampa Convention Center) during a 2011 business trip, entrepreneurial electrical contractor Denis Maher decided to start his own pub up north. A native of Ireland who came to “the land of opportunity” during the ’87 Irish recession, Maher wanted a “cold look” for his craft beer haven.
Ambulance Brew House’s charmingly vintage stone-walled interior creates a dank cave setting with its caliginous dungeon likeness and composite tile floor. On the other hand, its antique wood decor, Dutch-doored rear kitchen, arched love booth and ample serving station provide simple Country Inn rusticity.
A closed-in front deck with four tables offers a street side view while the backyard Biergarten features five picnic tables, stringed lighting, shady trees and a gray shed (with chalkboard beer list). At the kiln-dried white pine bar, twenty taps serve rare, one-off, seasonal and locally popular fare.
On my initial August ’14 afternoon jaunt, my daughter and I (with Roscoe the dog in tow) grab a table at the front deck to consume five previously untried libations. The Rolling Stones’ maddeningly malicious “Gimme Shelter” plays in the background as I settle into a well-rounded selection including Italy’s Del Ducato Nuevo Mattina saison, Astoria, New York’s Singlecut Kim Hibiscus Sour Lager and three California offerings – Knee Deep Simtra Triple IPA and Speakeasy’s Metropolis Lager and Syndicate #2 Strong Ale (all reviews in Beer Index).
On a two-hour dinner visit two days hence, my wife and I shared vegetable quesadillas, ricotta-cheesed pizza (with pesto) and nachos while getting knocked out by six outstanding elixirs crafted by Rushing Duck – a local Chester, NY brewery celebrating its 2nd Anniversary. First up, Rushing Duck’s Bauli Saison was a soft-toned farmhouse ale with white peppercorn herbage, kaffir lime tartness, mild coriander spicing and subtle citrus zest. Next, Honey Seeker Belgian Strong Ale brought abundant honey sinew to sugary fruit juicing and gin-like alcohol burn while Kroovy’s tangy fruiting contrasted sharp juniper hop bittering and resinous pine needling. 2nd Anniversary IPA, a bold medium-full body, brought sharp piney fruiting to wafting perfumed cologne.
For dessert, outstanding Dog’s Bullocks, a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine, fortified its soft-toned honeyed fruiting with mild oaken vanilla. And the distinctively hybridized Count Koala Chocolate Quad combined fruity Belgian yeast spicing with heavy mocha profundity. (Full reviews at Beer Index)
Mid-September ’14, traipsed over to Ambulance once again. This time, five superb bourbon barrel-aged elixirs from Massachusetts’ Jack’s Abby were really impressive as I munched down Pecan Orange Salad, a refreshingly crisp lunchtime snack featuring goat-cheesed mesculin greens, pecan, orange, cranberry and orange ale vinaigrette.
I doubt there was any better way to celebrate the start of autumn than with Jack’s Abby Barrel-Aged Framinghammer Baltic Porter Series, which included a Four Roses bourbon-barreled ale plus enticing vanilla, coconut, coffee and peanut butter and jelly flavored offerings. Each delightful brown-bodied porter provided elegant warmth, majestic mocha succulence, bittersweet vanilla luster and lilting bourbon nuances. (Full reviews at Beer Index).
Returned late September ’14 with pal, Dennis, for Sunday lunchtime round of five sour ales and one hybridized wheat ale. Chris, the affable barman, served us worthy fare such as The Bruery Tart Of Darkness Sour Stout (aged in oak), Gun Hill Barrel Aged Void Of Light Stout, Barrier Gosilla, Mystic Table (farmhouse) Beer and Swiss-made BFM 225 Saison as well as Westbrook White Thai Belgian Wit (reviewed in beer Index).
Since then, Ambulance has become my second home and over one hundred beers have been happily consumed here.