March 19, 2017
With the skies sunny and blue, and lots of white stuff on the ground from this past week’s 2-foot snowfall, today seemed the perfect day to take a drive through the area’s famous Black Dirt region and drop in on our friends at Pine Island Brewing in Pine Island, NY.
It had been nearly 9 months since my last visit, which was just after the brewery’s Spring 2016 opening of its beer patio and garden in the back of the property. But the tap room was clearly still in “winter mode” on today’s visit, with the front garage doors closed, and the interior space made roomier to accommodate the indoor season’s crowd.
Upon getting seated at the bar and taking stock of things, I noticed a couple of friends of mine in the back area near the dart board, and after dropping $25 on the bar to buy myself some beer tokens, I shuffled over to say a quick “hello”. Turns out my friends Larry and Karen, who live just down the road in Florida, were pub crawling today with another couple. As Larry told me, their next stop would be probably be Glenmere, and then they’d try to get to Rushing Duck in Chester before the 4:00pm “last call”.
Upon sitting back down, I started off with one of Pine Island’s staple offerings, their Oatmeal Creme Stout. This beer is not dominated by the higher alcohol content you’ll find in an Imperial stout, so goes down smoothly, and has a soft, creamy finish. At 5% ABV, I wouldn’t exactly classify it as a session beer, but it’s about as “sessionable” as beer is going to get from a Hudson Valley craft brewery.
After finishing the stout, I took a look at the chalk board, and noted something that appeared new, and was perhaps one of head brewer Mike Kraai’s specialty offerings – a Belgian style IPA called Bier de Melon. Wondering how “melony” the flavor was before ordering a whole glass, I asked tap room manager Cody Lynch for a sample first. Knowing my general aversion to fruity beer, I expected to turn this one down after having the sample, but to my surprise, the melon essence was not overwhelming to the tongue. Although this beer comes in at 7.1%, the alcohol is well-hidden within its appealing flavor profile.
Inquiring with him about how Bier de Melon is made, Cody explained that there is actually no fruit in the beer at all, and that the fruit essence comes from a special German hop called Huell Melon. A German hop in a Belgian ale – imagine that. It is innovative to say the least, and leaves the tongue with a lasting satisfaction.
To end my afternoon session at Pine Island, I ordered their Scottish Ale, which is about 6.5% ABV, a beautiful dark amber in color, and nicely true-to-style for anyone who fancies themselves a fan of this category.
Check out their website at http://pineislandbeer.com, and pay this great brewery a visit when you get a chance. And depending on the season, you may even come home with a little bit of black dirt on your shoes as a memento. 😉
Pine Island Brewing Company
682 County Rte 1, Suite B
Pine Island, NY
“Veni. Vidi. Bibi”