In New York’s Hudson Valley, a Brewery of Innovation and Intent
New York’s Hudson Valley has a brewing heritage that dates back to its first Dutch settlers, who made use of the abundant wheat and hops growing nearby. The opening of the Erie Canal bolstered distribution of local beers to the rest of the country, and by the mid-1800s, Hudson Valley was home to the largest brewery in America.
Return Brewing, a new establishment based in the town of Hudson, continues the tradition of making beer with regional honey, fruits, and grains using time-honored techniques. It’s also interested in using ingredients and fermentation methods from around the world, resulting in distinctive drinks that are at once experimental and refined.
Founded by three veterans of Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery—Mikey Lenane, JD Linderman, and Jack Liakas—and their college friend Robert Wise, the company makes its debut this week via a pair of launch parties: on September 23, at New York’s beer bar As Is NYC, and the next day, in Hudson, at The Half Moon. At both events, guests can try the company’s first two beers, which pay homage to the characteristics of hops from foreign farms: Heathenous, a grape-like double IPA made using Nelson Sauvin hops from the Hop Revolution farm in New Zealand, and Polished Pilsner, a refreshing drink with an old-world flavor profile crafted from earthy Tettnanger hops grown at the Hopfengut farm in Tettnang, Germany. Cans of both will soon be available at all Hudson Valley locations of the alcohol chain Beer World, and at area bars including Governor’s Tavern in Hudson, and at Underground Coffee and Ales in Highland, about an hour south. (A complete list of retailers is available on the company’s website.)
Because it’s still early days—the brewers are currently making beer at Crossroads Brewing Company in Catskill until their permanent home is complete—specifics on additional brews have yet to be revealed. But the company is currently solidifying a roster of local growing partners, and crafting concoctions using less-familiar techniques, such as prolonged barrel-aging and blending, or oxidizing beer, fruit, and nuts in its in-house heat chamber.
The Return team is also keen to keep their beers close to home: Those wanting to try Return’s forthcoming Scandinavian or farmhouse ale-style beers will only be able to do so in person at its Hudson taproom, which will open next year with an expanded selection of offerings. Based on details of those currently in development, we’re sure it’ll be worth the wait.