Not unlike those elfin fellows up in the North Pole, the Captain Lawrence crew has been working like dervishes to satisfy wish lists all over the region. (The Captain Lawrence elves are much larger than their North Pole counterparts, but sport similar beards.) CL’s distribution grows exponentially in the coming weeks—covering Northern New Jersey and the whole of New York State—and someone’s got to make all that Freshchester Pale Ale, Captain’s Kolsch and Liquid Gold.

The two rookie fermentation tanks featured in Volume 37 have been coming in handy.

“It’s crazy right now,” says owner Scott Vaccaro. “It’s the busiest we’ve ever been.”

Look for Captain Lawrence beer in these new markets by the end of the year, or early into 2013.

To promote Captain Lawrence to the uninitiated, Scott and CL sales manager Keith Fekete are hitting the road January 14 for a five-day tour across the state, starting in Buffalo. They’re meeting with reps, retailers and bar managers, and each night will tip a few with consumers at Captain Lawrence promotional events statewide. “We’ll say hello to as many people as we can and drink as many beers as we can,” says Scott. “I’m looking forward to it. I hope I make it through the week in one piece.”

Increased production of the standbys has not hampered innovation down at the brewery. Captain Lawrence’s India Pale Ale—a first in the brewery’s history—will be brewed this week, and on tap in the tasting room in early January. New Jersey gets its own Re-Intro IPA, while New York State gets the Captain Lawrence IPA.

“Seven years without an IPA” says Scott. “Everyone here loves to drink them, so it’s time to do it.”

After taking small batch Election Day honors last month, the black IPA known as Six ‘N Change, created to mark Captain Lawrence’s sixth (and change) anniversary earlier this year, is being reprised, with a slight tweak to its profile. “It’s not quite as strong, but all the flavors are still there,” says Scott.

The experimental brewhouse continues to crank out new and intriguing creations. There is Will o’ the Wisp—a Belgian IPA from Chris Rome that is dry hopped and features the same Belgian yeast as the Liquid Gold. That should be ready in two weeks.

“Will o’ the Wisp” calls to mind something light, something ephemeral, something gossamer. “Frost Monster” calls to mind the opposite. That’s the name for Justin Perrone’s imperial stout, named for his dog. “It’s been bubbling away for two weeks—a nice, slow ferment,” says Scott. “This one will definitely be a monster beer.”

Uncaged in January, Frost Monster will be the strongest beer in Captain Lawrence history.

Also packing a punch is the Winter Ale–a malty, toasty and spicy concoction that’s for sale in six packs.

December 29 marks a year of brewing in the Elmsford facility, but the Captain and his crew have been too busy of late to plan anything special for the anniversary. “It’s been a little stressful, but it’s been fun,” Scott says. “At the end of the day, we get to have a beer.”

—Michael Malone (

Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Tuesday through Friday (retail 2-7 p.m., samples 4-7 p.m.); and Saturday, with retail and samples 12-6 p.m., and brewery tours on the hour, starting at 1. The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in Freshchester Pale Ale, for “Notes From the Tasting Room.”