Sloop Brewing Grows from a Nanobrewery to a Rising Microbrewery in the Hudson Valley

Sloop Brewery

As the saying goes, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” For co-founders of Sloop Brewing Company, Adam Watson and Justin Taylor, this certainly holds true. Adam started home brewing in the bathtub about 15 years ago with his dad, David, who manages Sloop’s finances. Justin’s dad, Jim, has been home brewing since 1989. He won the first New York State Homebrewer of the year award in 1996 after getting the highest score in five different statewide competitions. Adam and Justin, who met at SUNY New Paltz, have followed in their fathers’ footsteps, sharing their love for craft beer.

It was a natural segue that the two started making their own home brew after graduating from college. They started out in 2011 as a nanobrewery, a new and increasingly popular segment of the craft brewing world intentionally kept very small and producing on a three-barrel system one batch at a time. And how did they come up with the name “Sloop” – after the popular gaff-rigged Hudson River sloop from days of yore.

However, when Adam approached his local farmer’s market in Beacon, New York about selling their beer he was told they had to get the proper licensing. By 2012 with all licensing in place, Adam and Justin started selling bottles from their 20-gallon batches at the Beacon’s Farmer’s Market. For the next three years, they balanced their day jobs – Justin, a teacher in Poughkeepsie and Adam, a geologist – with their passion of brewing beer. Their flagship beer was called The Red C, a bold IPA with caramel malts and fruity hop flavor. As the popularity of their beer grew and the demand increased, the pair knew they would have to move out of the makeshift “brewery” on Taylor’s property.

Recently, Adam and Justin, the brewmaster, partnered up with Vosburgh Orchards in tiny Elizaville, a hamlet within Livingston in the heart of the Hudson Valley. It is here that they are now producing four brews: The Sauer Peach, a Berliner Weisse-style ale fermented with real peaches; Waves of Grain, a dry-hopped pale ale made with four grains — barley, wheat, oats, and rye; Galaxy Farm, a fruity Belgian farmhouse ale dry-hopped with galaxy hops, and The Red C. They will also be producing seasonal and special release brews.

Partnering with Vosburgh Orchards, a working apple orchard, Sloop’s new brewery is opening in an early 19th century barn set on 134 acres of rolling hills. The farm provides not only a physical space for the brewery, but the opportunity to begin growing many of the raw ingredients necessary to brew Sloop beers, strengthening the farm-to-table circle, and grounding the brewery in the upstate New York community and economy. Having left their day jobs, Adam and Justin are busy building a tasting room where they will offer tasting of their brews for $5 a pint, one-off brews (small batches made only one time) and growlers to fill up and take home. Vosburgh will have a farm store within the building offering homemade products and snacks. The tasting room is due to open around mid-July.

With the newly state-of-the-art equipped brew house, Adam and Justin expect to grow their production from the first year’s 100 plus barrels to ultimately 4500-5000 barrels a year. Their goal is to have a production brewery as opposed to a brew-pub. They also hope to start growing their own hops and barley, as well as using fruits and grains from local farms.

The official launch date for Sloop Brewing Company is July 10-18. For further information and directions, visit Sloop Brewing.

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Margaret was public relations director for two luxury New York City hotels, where she did extensive research into America's culinary heritage. She is a founding member of The James Beard Foundation; formerly, owner of a Jersey Shore inn and restaurant, The Pelican Bistro, recognized as one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in NJ by New Jersey Monthly, and a PR consultant to restaurateurs. For the past several years she has been a contributing writer about food, drink and restaurant news for many publications. She is a passionate cook and wine lover who moved to the Hudson Valley and is in awe of the immense wealth of agricultural, artisanal and culinary talent in the area. Connect with her at www.TastefulLiving.net, Hudson Valley Wine & Restaurant Examiner and Shore Region Food & Restaurant Examiner. She can be reached at mmorgan531@gmail.com.

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