Notes From the Tasting Room, Vol. 162

Notes From the Tasting Room, Vol. 162

Here For the Beer, Or At Least the Cheer


As any bartender will tell you, a dull night can turn into a fun one fast with the arrival of a big, thirsty, festive group. In this case, on an otherwise sleepy Thursday, it’s a robust gang of Westchester Medical Center staffers, celebrating the departure of a well liked doctor who’s leaving for another gig. Karen Bravo of the Bronx, sipping the Captain’s Kolsch, is something of a ringleader. “It’s so nice to see people you work with out,” she says. “Having a drink together brings us together.”

One thing about the extended evening weekday hours at Captain Lawrence—it’s a different crowd than on weekends. Many are at the brewery for the first time. While the weekenders tend to know their craft beers and are curious to try something new at the Captain—say, the small-batch Meloncello smoked amber–the weekday eve crowd is more about co-workers in search of happy hour, or people seeking a different environment than the bars and clubs.

One finds several customers who—gasp!—aren’t even there for the beer. Such as Deana Diaz of Yonkers, part of the hospital group. “I’m working out, and beer is not conducive to that,” she says. “But I like it here—it’s more relaxed, more enjoyable, more homey than a bar.”

Karen says it was something of “an adventure” finding the place, and she’s happy she did. So is Michaela Cortez of Yonkers. What does she like about the Kolsch? “Everything!” comes back the effusive answer. “It’s fun to sample the different beers,” she says.

Nighttime makes for a unique setting out on the patio, where the strings of lights twinkle like horizontal shooting stars, the crickets chant like mini Thundersticks, the Snapple trucks across Clearbrook Road roar to life for their evening shifts. Live Led Zeppelin plays on the speakers and the smell of wood-fired pizzas fills the later summer air.


Austin Ashley and Michelle Bonomo of Croton share beers with Abbie Mobley of White Plains. Austin used to host trivia night at the brewery, and was drawn back to check out the new Captian Lawrence logo and packaging—and to sip the Brown Bird brown ale. “Kudos to the Brown Bird!” he says, raising his glass to the sky. “It’s one of the classics, one of the beers you think of when you think of Captain Lawrence.”

Abbie has the Citrus Queen grapefruit IPA, the Captain’s session india pale ale infused with grapefruit, which she says is a good summer beer that helps here prolong that season into the cooler weeks. Michelle is not a beer drinker, but there’s an array of wines from Prospero and cider from Bad Seed for those who do not go for pale ales and lagers and stouts. “It’s still nice to sit outside,” says Michelle. “And I love the bartenders.”


In fact, there are about as many non-beer drinkers as one would hope to ever meet in an acclaimed craft brewery. Such as Brianna McGhee, who lives down the road in Elmsford. “I’d never even heard of Captain Lawrence,” she says, until her friends suggested they go there. “I don’t even drink beer…except Corona.”

She’s sampling some of the other things on the menu. “The pizza is amazing!” gushes Brianna.

Her pals are trying some funky flavors too. Lauren Sordellini of Bedford digs the Frost Monster imperial stout. Elise Berrier of White Plains is sampling the spicy amber Pumpkin Ale. “September means pumpkin,” says Elise. “Fall starts next week!”

The trio opted for the Captain Lawrence patio instead of the bar scene. “On Thursdays the bars are really crowded and annoying,” says Brianna, citing the Mamaroneck Avenue strip in White Plains. “This feels more intimate.”

–Michael Malone ([email protected]).

Meanwhile, the Westchester Medical Center party is in full swing inside as beertenders Rob and Jack serve up the brews. Karen Bravo’s Kolsch is “refreshing and cold…it goes down the throat very easily,” she says.

There’s nothing like sharing good beers and good times with co-workers, she says. “We’re already very close,” says Karen. Adds her friend Michaela, “This makes us closer.”