November 17, 2017
It’s fair to say that the opening of a new Hudson Valley brewery is – at least for me – one of the most exciting events there is. And with a full 50+ breweries in the region now doing their thing, you’d think there wouldn’t be room for more. But each new opening proves that notion wrong, and the latest business to bring home to us the idea that “more is better” is Kingston, NY’s Great Life Brewing.
To clarify, Great Life is not exactly a new brewery. In fact, owner and head brewer Patrick Clancy began his brewing operations at their 75 Clarendon Avenue location in
the Fall of 2015. But since that time they have been without a taproom to showcase their offerings. That is, until now.
The taproom had a soft opening two weeks ago, for which I was sent a private invite by assistant brewer and taproom manager Cody Lynch. But I couldn’t make it due to a family obligation, so I was not about to miss their formal opening, which brought well over 100 thirsty craft beer aficionados to their warehouse location on this chilly pre-Winter evening.
The taproom essentially shares its space with the brew house, and the interior of the building is fairly raw, with walls seemingly unpainted since Clancy took possession of the property 3 years ago. Besides the primary brewing vessels (which are 7 bbls in size), there is equipment scattered around – I spied a grain crusher and a chiller among them. There are even hoses hanging from hooks on the walls.
But patrons didn’t seem to mind any of that in the least as they chatted and enthusiastically drank their beers. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, for sure, and so much so that it even features a couch for you to plop yourself down in if you’re so inclined.
Although Great Life has plans to experiment and create differentiated offerings (pretty much a must in the current craft beer climate), they presently have four standard styles on tap, all of which are of great quality and pleasing to the beer gourmandizer’s palate:
1855 Cream Ale
1875 Milk Stout
Each style’s name includes a historic date that denotes a significant event in the history of brewing. Rather than spell them all out here, I encourage you to visit the brewery and ask your publican to expound directly on the basis for each name.
In addition to their own brews, there are also a couple of guest taps, which tonight included Rushing Duck‘s fabulous Brux IPA, and Applewood Orchard & Winery‘s well-regarded Naked Flock draft cider. And for those who don’t like beer or cider, there are red and white wines from Warwick’s Clearview Estates Winery.
During my visit, I had the pleasure to be seated next to a young craft beer fan named Lauren who, like myself, was a personal friend of Cody, and was there to show her support. Lauren and I talked breweries, Instagram, and the virtues of Hudson Valley living. In the end, we determined that we would no doubt share a beer again sometime in the near future.
I began my evening with a glass of the Witbier, then moved on to the Milk Stout, and ended the night with the Cream Ale. Not wanting to leave any stone unturned, I took home a growler of the IPA, which, for those who know this writer are well aware, will not last long in my refrigerator.
Please join me in welcoming this terrific new brewery to the Hudson Valley family, and pay them a visit when you get a chance.
Great Life Brewing
75 Clarendon Ave
“Veni. Vidi. Bibi.”