Microbreweries and other craft beverage makers are on the rise in the Catskills. Growing in harmony with the region's rural legacy and modern farming resurgence, as well as a growing slow food movement, the craft beverage scene is one to smell, taste and experience. Make a weekend out of it: stay in one of the many Catskills resorts or plan a golf getaway ending both with a tour of the brews, wines and ciders of the region.
Brews in the Catskills
The craft brewing industry is taking off in New York State, and new ales, stouts and lagers are being brewed as you read. In Windham, Cave Mountain Brewery Company offers seasonal brews fresh from the tap, such as oatmeal stout and blueberry wheat. In nearby Athens, Crossroads Brewing Company offers 10 craft brews, New York State wines and a great pub menu to pair your favorite libations. In Saugerties, a 45-minute drive from Windham, the Dutch Ale House Brewery has 15 craft beers on tap and more by the bottle.
The Catskills are slowly emerging as one of the East Coast's craft brew havens thanks to a mix of big events like the annual TAP New York Craft Beer and Food Festival, and a number of new craft breweries opening their doors for tastings and educational opportunities.
During a visit, creating your own beverage trail is easy with the variety of craft breweries on tap in the region, as well as the availability of locally produced beers on the menus of numerous local restaurants. Stop at the eco-friendly Catskill Brewery outside of Roscoe, check out the relatively new Honey Hollow Brewing Company in Earlton, and sample the variety of beers of Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company in Catskill.
Beyond Beer: Ciders, Spirits + Wines
For those visitors who want something beyond brews, the Catskills offer a variety of locally made ciders and spirits. Head to Long Eddy to try Catskills Provisions' unique Honey Rye Whiskey, or the Catskill Distilling Company in Bethel to channel your inner hippie while sipping on some Peace Vodka and grabbing a bite to eat at the Dancing Cat Saloon.
Cider drinkers will love the natural tastes of Delhi's Wayside Cider, small-batch cider made from wild and heirloom apples, as well as ciders made by Awestruck Cider in Walton, combining 100% fresh-pressed New York State apples with flavors like lavender, ginger and hibiscus.
If you're a wine lover, the wineries in the Catskills might surprise you. Visit Windham Vineyard and Winery in Windham and sample their variety of small-batch wines made at their mountaintop vineyard including Riesling, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, or head to Eminence Farm Road Farm Winery on the western edge of the Catskills for dry table wines made from vinifera grapes.
The lush terroir of the Catskills is ideal for producing delectable wines, crisp ciders and botanically unique spirits. In Roscoe, Prohibition Distillery features gluten-free, corn-grain vodka, available for purchase and tasting at their Union Street location. Half-an-hour’s drive south, Dancing Cat Saloon & Catskill Distilling Co. in Bethel features a bar and restaurant offering distinctive artisan spirits distilled on-site by the New York State Farm Distillery. Take a flight of spirits in the nearby tasting room, and head to The Museum at Bethel Woods, where exhibits explore the cultural transformation of the 1960s and the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
Tour more than 205 cideries and wineries in the Catskills, from Adair Vineyards in New Paltz, to Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery in Gardiner and sample refreshing beverages hand-crafted with local ingredients straight out of the region's streams, forests and mountains.
The foundation of any honest-to-goodness agritourism industry is cheese. Subjective, we know, but one visit to Byebrook Farm in Bloomville or Betty Acres Farm in Delhi will be enough to convert even the stoutest non-believers. At Betty Acres, the cheese descriptions read like wine labels and will have your mouth watering within seconds. "Cremembert" pairs well with hard ciders, which is perfect as we suggest Kettleborough Cider House just down the road in New Paltz as your next stop. Just 15 minutes from Delhi, this craft beverage operation makes small-batch hard cider with hand-selected Hudson Valley apples.