PEEKSKILL, NEW YORK
Occupying a multi-functional food and entertainment event space on the Hudson River one mile South of landmark Peekskill Brewery, RIVER OUTPOST BREWING COMPANY has been operating inside the red brick high-ceilinged Factoria warehouse since February ’18. Funded by nearby Captain Lawrence, this gargantuan indoor/outdoor pub only distributes its beers onsite.
Before becoming a pilot brewer of sour ales and barrel-aged beer at Captain Lawrence, University of Vermont alumni Mc Lean Cheney proved his wares as a beverage industry consultant, earning his wings at Colorado’s Aspen Brewing before he and his chef-wife moved back to his home state of Jersey, landing a gig as head brewer for Connecticut’s Half Full – crafting their award-winning Bright Ale. It wasn’t long ’til Cheney got promoted from Captain Lawrence to man the tall glass-enclosed stainless steel tanks at independent offshoot, River Outpost.
A spacious indoor-outdoor complex, River Outpost’s rectangular tiki bar services the ample blue umbrella-shaded deck and the stage-bound bench-tabled picnic area. Inside, the all-encompassing cement-floored gallery features a wood-lacquered 12-seat bar (with eight-plus taps and 3 TV’s), spread-out wood tabled dining, a big game room, axe throwing section, billiard table and small couched lounge.
Cheney’s four IPA’s, three lagers and one sour ale stay within stylistic range, but each bring out a unique aspect just beyond the boundaries. Try the raw bar, hearth-fired pizza or sandwiches and burgers to chase down the delightful suds.
My wife and I arrived on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, late September ’21, to consume all eight homemade brews.
Crisp aluminum-yellowed light-bodied mainstay, Cool Hands Lager, let corn-dried cereal graining scour sour lemondrop dollop, vegetal celery watering and wispy herbal snips. The perfect alternative for light mainstream Bud-Coors-Miller thirsts.
Rich brown-cleared amber lager, Festbier Skill, coalesced crusty chocolate breading with earthen truffle, dewy fungi, spiced dried fruiting and leafy hop foliage, slightly furthering its stylistic flavor parameters.
Dark chocolate-roasted ice coffee tones led Uno Mano Fuerte Black Lager, bringing mild peppery heat to the backend.
Straightforward Canoe IPA brought lemony yellow grapefruit sunshine and mandarin orange zesting to herbal wood tones in crisp fashion.
Clean Norwegian Kveik yeast brightened the modest lemon-peeled grapefruit bittering and zesty orange tang of Banjo Juice Kveik IPA, a mildly piney hopped moderation.
Another smooth crystalline watered moderation, Hazy Bae NEIPA, scattered lemon zest, orange marmalade, tart passionfruit and tangy papaya alongside mild vanilla yogurt souring above an oated wheat base.
Flagship NEIPA, Skillbilly, let limey grapefruit souring, candied orange and tangy tangerine pick up salty herbal peppering and minor pine tones.
“Seductive’ Pink Lacey Sour Ale allowed lactose-milked souring to seep into salted raspberry puree and ancillary passionfruit-guava tartness over silken oats.
After Mc Lean departed for Five Dimes Brewery in Westwood, NJ, I revisited July ’22 on a sweltering Sunday to try six more River Outpost brews.
Stylishly dryer and slightly hoppier, Pop Off Wit allowed grassy herbage and barnyard funk to penetrate its subtler orange peeled coriander expectancy.
Also dryer than its usual style, Itchy Bon Saison, let acrid farmhouse leathering soak up the laidback fennel-tinged dried fruit spicing.
Placing herbal lemon musk and dry hay-like graining across the sweet fruited malt plain gave Timp Torne Maibock a balanced blend.
Salty coriander-seeded lemon lime souring engaged white peach-pureed Peg Leg Peach Gose, finishing with a slightly acidic candied peach tartness.
Sessionable Cabin Boy IPA let lemony orange tanginess plus mild mango-pear-cantaloupe snips receive grassy pine hop astringency.
Amber grain toasting fortified the Citra-hopped fruiting of High Tor Red IPA, leaving lemony orange-peeled grapefruit tanginess and spicy pineapple tartness upon sugared pale malts.