Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rosso e Marrone at Captain Lawrence

In part 3 of beer is a way of life and not a hobby (see parts one and two), my friends and I drove out to the Captain Lawrence brewery in Pleasantville, NY to go to the release of Rosso E Marrone.  The beer is a sour aged in oak barrels and fermented with grapes.  For more info, go to their website here.

I woke up at 3:30am and prepared for the trip.  Beers, check.  Espresso brownies, check.  Tasting glass (so important), check.  Okay, good to go.  Left at 4am, picked up my friend Craig and two others I had met recently, and headed out from Philly by about 4:45am.  Totally a reasonable time to start the day.  At least I can say I slept for 5 hours.  Craig worked late the night before and didn't get any sleep and I'm honestly not sure how he made it through the day.  Alcohol may have played a part I guess.
Two hours later we finally made it to the Captain Lawrence brewery around 7am.  We were greeted by a small crowd surrounding a picnic table with quite a few bottles of interesting beer.
Wait, I swear there was a picnic table some where in there.
Ah, there we go.  This was probably some time around 7:30am and there was already that much beer on the table.  If you consider when we got up though it's like it was past noon on any other day.  There were a ton of things to choose from and too much to do so I'm not going to get into too many specifics about the beers I had.  I started with a small sample of Hill Farmstead Ephraim, a triple IPA that some say rivals Pliny the Younger, and it was sort of a kick in the face at 7:30am.  Huge hops with huge bitterness in the finish.  After that, someone pulled out a bottle of Cigar City Hunahpu's Imperial Stout and I jumped at my chance to try it.  Smelled delicious with some cinnamon, some molasses notes and was very inviting.  Taste was just as good with a unique cinnamon finish.  Really can't wait to try a bigger pour at some point.

After getting comfortable and chatting with some people, the most interesting tasting I saw started up, the FiftyFifty Eclipse horizontal.
I call it a horizontal because the base beer is all the same with each bottle aged in a different type of barrel.  Most of the bottles were from 2010 but a couple were 2009 varieties.  The ones pictured, from left to right, were aged in: Elijah Craig bourbon barrels (2009 bottle I believe), Heaven Hill rye whiskey barrels (2009 and a 2010 bottle), Four Roses bourbon barrels, Evan Williams bourbon barrels, and Christian Brothers brandy barrels.  Craig was kind of enough to let me sample a tiny bit of all of them and, man, they were all pretty damn good with the possible exception of the 2010 Heaven Hill.  My favorite was probably the 2009 Elijah Craig as it had everything great about bourbon without any heat.  Everything was really well integrated in it.  The brandy was pretty unique and the Four Roses and Evan Williams were plenty drinkable.  The 2010 Heaven Hill just tasted super liquory to me and I didn't really enjoy even my small sip.  I can see people enjoying it, but it wasn't for me.

Time passed, samples came and went, and I got to try tons of things.  (Well, not tons as I was driving, but plenty.)  Besides the above Eclipse tasting, the best beer I had was the very small sample of The Bruery Chocolate Rain.  I can imagine a 6oz sample of that being fantastic.  The other two notables would be Bottleworks 12 and Lost Abbey Duck Duck Gooze.  The former had a really pleasant raspberry backing with the latter just being an incredibly smooth and super tasty sour.  Other notables are Sly Fox Succubus (slightly fruity, slightly sour, pretty tasty), The Bruery Sour in the Rye, and many others that I can't think of at the moment.  But seriously a ton.

Eventually the crowd ended up with two entire shelves full of bottles, both super rare and super tasty.
That's a lot of beer.  A lot.  And some dude's head.

Eleven rolled around and Captain Lawrence finally opened their doors to let us in to buy our bottles of Rosso.  They also provided a small sample of it and it was pretty damn tasty.  We hung out a bit more inside the brewery, chatted with a few more people, then took the short trip to DeCicco's in Ardsley as it was on the way home.  (Mostly.  Close enough really.)  We all picked up a couple bottles and then wearily made our way back to Philly after a long but awesome trip.

The release shows yet again how awesome people are that are in the beer scene.  People shared so much cool beer with complete strangers (some of which was really rare) and everyone was willing to chat about beer for quite a while.  I met tons of new people and look forward to seeing them again.  This was by far my favorite release and it went incredibly smoothly.  The trip was a bit of a pain, but that's just how it goes with releases now.  The bottle share part was awesome and hanging out with Craig, Eric and Alan was great.  Definitely looking forward to the next release at Captain Lawrence and hope I can make it.


  1. That sounds awesome. Every year for the Captain Lawrence anniversary they do a huge Pig Roast in their parking lot with all you could drink beer, live music, the whole shebang. It's a great time and conveniently falls on my birthday weekend, so I get a good group of friends there in my honor. Definitely worth checking out. It falls on May 14th this year.

  2. It was an awesome time to be sure. And that sounds like a great event but I'm moving into my house May 14th so oh well. Maybe next year.