Tap Takeovers are a unique and fun way to learn more about the high art of craft brewing. Occurring at fine ale houses throughout the country, it’s whenever a particular brewery is prominently featured on an array of drafts throughout the bar. In Harrison, New York, just a short train ride north of the City, The Craftsman Ale House (235 Harrison Avenue) hosts a regular series of Tap Takeovers showcasing all sorts of magnificent microbrews. Even better, owner Joseph Vicidomini invites the actual brewers and reps to the events, serving as stewards of their suds. Because who better to explain the beer to you than the people actually responsible for making it?
This is the common sense wisdom that Joe brings to his 6 month old establishment. As self-avowed Director of Hoperations, he’s forged great relationships with some of the big names in craft brewing, allowing him access to all sorts of rare treats that make beer nerds go gaga. Later this week he’ll be tapping a keg of Stone Brewing’s Double Dry-Hopped Sublimely Self-Righteous, one of only 2 being shipped to New York.
On the night I came in, Brooklyn Brewery had taken over all 8 taps in the ale house affording me the opportunity to try some of their lesser-known gems, like Mary’s Maple Porter—a burst of malty flavors, it’s the veritable cream soda of beer. Their Black Chocolate Stout packed a wicked wallop with a 10% ABV, overpowering my palate with the unmistakable taste of toasted grain. Brooklyn’s own Joe Mollura was on-hand to instruct me on his products as I enjoyed them. He informed me that their West Coast style Brooklyn Blast IPA uses up to ten different types of hops to produce its perfectly piney finish.
It’s refreshing not only to enjoy craft beer, but to do so when surrounded by people who are similarly passionate about it. The Craftsman Ale House attracts such people, culling them from the communities surrounding America’s largest city; it’s obvious in all the conversations taking place around the bar, and its in plain sight looking around the joint at the decorative bottles of exclusive craft beer that dot the walls. For a long time, NYC and craft brewing were mutually exclusive. Those days are long over and The Craftsman celebrates an even brighter future.