We travel next down the New York State Thruway, as I recently did, from Albany to Poughkeepsie. Though written off frequently as a post-Industrial wasteland, Poughkeepsie has its charms: the Walkway Over The Hudson, the waterfront, the beautiful old buildings. It's also the last stop on the Metro North commuter rail line, making it easily accessible to city folks and vice versa. The core of Poughkeepsie, however, is its people: the folks who live and work there, the ones who have the greatest stake in seeing it thrive. The Mill House Brewing Company is a physical manifestation of the power of the local community to will itself into greatness. It is boosterism reborn.
Let me start off by saying that the interior of Mill House is, in a word, stunning. The reclaimed wood and brick that makes up the walls and ceilings is an aesthetic marvel. The juxtaposition of the rustic motif with the clean stainless steel of the brewery itself as well as the kitchen is extremely visually pleasing. It's a gorgeous space, fitting in well with the established tradition of New York brewpubs occupying unique buildings. The funding for such an endeavor came from a well-meaning (and well-to-do) Poughkeepsian who wants to see The Queen City of the Hudson restored to her former glory. The brewery opened its doors last fall, and is already becoming a popular hangout for workers and locals in and around Poughkeepsie's business district. On a recent Friday evening, the bar and restaurant areas were full of people enjoying both the beers and the excellent food menu. Jaimie Bishop, brewmaster and proprietor, walked me through the gleaming seven barrel brewhouse, which is separated from the restaurant only by floor to ceiling glass windows. They are making enough beer for now, he says, but that will certainly change, as the local movement and its brother-in-arms, the craft beer movement, takes off in Poughkeepsie and elsewhere.
Mill House has big ideas for their future, but is excited to be taking on the craft beer industry one pint at a time. They are steeped in the rich history of their region, taking the farming and culinary prowess of the Hudson Valley very seriously. 2014 being the brewery's first visit to TAP, they are excited to use the festival as a chance to introduce a wider public to their beers as well as forge relationships with other breweries for collaboration and mutual assistance. Keep an eye out for their Kilt Spinner Scottish-style Ale, the PK Pale Ale, and the Velvet Panda Stout. If you're in Poughkeepsie, the brewpub is a stone's throw from the rail station at 289 Mill Street. The dinner menu is fantastic.