PALENVILLE, NEW YORK
Just down the road from happy hippie haven, Woodstock, after breakfast at tiny café, Shindig, and a quick trip to Bearsville Theatre, my wife and I visited RIP VAN WINKLE BREWING COMPANY during a snow-filled Saturday in mid-December ’17. Formerly known as Angela’s Italian Bistro, this traditional family-styled restaurant/ brewpub serves homemade pizza and Mediterranean cuisine to go alongside more than a handful of proprietary beers.
One hundred miles north of New York City in the bucolic pine-laden Catskill Mountains at the tiny hamlet of Palenville, this gray doublewide house-styled pizza and beer joint is easy to reach via Route 287.
We grab a few chairs at the oak-topped central bar in the Tap Room to try all seven proprietary brews currently available. Brewtanks are stationed in the rear while an open kitchen sidles the bar and two separate wood-furnished dining areas go to the left and right. A bronze faux-tin ceiling classily encases the bar area.
First up, reliable Mountain House Helles provided raw-honeyed lager yeast for muted citrus spicing and light grassy hop astringency.
Next, approachable Palenville Pale Ale let moderately sweet orange, red and yellow fruiting pick up subtle hop astringency and grassy earthiness over a raw-honeyed pale malt base.
Then, traditional autumnal moderation, Oktoberfest, brought leafy foliage to spice-tingled citric licks and light wheat graining.
Polite Rip Van Winkle Wit placed perfumed herbal spices across Belgian candi-sugared crystal malts and honeyed banana illusions.
Sweeter and more complex, Fawn’s Leaf Belgian Dubbel loaded sweet-honeyed cherry, peach and nectarine fruiting alongside toasted amber grains and mild wood tones.
On the dark side, sturdily medium-bodied Kiskatom Brown Ale let mild chocolate-cocoa chalking lightly affect burnt caramel sugaring before receiving an ashen nuttiness that increased the light-roast hop bittering.
Finally, dry Peek-A-Boo Porter draped dark chocolate malts and toffee notes atop earthen hops.