The Captain’sLog

Shipsare traditionally christened with a smashed bottle across the hull, and itappears new bottling facilities are baptized with broken glass as well. CaptainLawrence Brewing’s recent move to package its brews in six pack form for thefirst time in its six-plus year history was not without some hiccups.

Sticky,messy hiccups. “We had a rough start the first few days,” says owner ScottVaccaro, stemming from a loose part in the capping cylinder. “It took a whileto diagnose the problem. We were smashing bottles left and right.”

Scottsays close to 100 cases, including flagship Freshchester Pale Ale and LiquidGold, ended up sacrificed over a couple harrowing days in mid-March.“Smashfest,” he says with a shake of the head.

The problemwas ironed out a few days later, and those six-packs started rolling off theline. Look for the Pale Ale, Liquid Gold and Kolsch, at around $9.99 a sixer,in New York metro delis, supermarkets and distributors next week. “It’sexciting,” says Scott. “It’s what we’ve been working towards for years.”

CaptainLawrence’s new 19,000 square foot facility in Elmsford also has room for what Scottcalls an “experimental brewhouse”, where he can whip up small batches of around15 kegs apiece. The first batch will be brewed in mid April. Scott says anotheriteration of the popular Drew’s Brew—what he calls a “hopped up Kolsch brewedin an IPA style,” and named for his five month old son—is in the works. Andwhile Captain Lawrence toasted its fifth birthday last year with acommemorative black barley wine dubbed “Five Years Later”, the brewery’s sixthanniversary came and went without its proper due. (Such are the perils of tendingto a brand new facility, not to mention a brand new baby.)

Scottsays he’s considering a black IPA (post-) birthday batch called “Six andChange,” and some other quirky brews. “We’ll see where we go from there,” hesays.

The peopleof Westchester, and beyond, have been able to find the new 1,500 square foottasting room. The Pale Ale remains ever popular among samplers, as has the rookieFamily Meal–a Kolsch spiced up with ginger, clove, cardamom and cinnamon. TheFamily Meal reserve is running out, but Scott says he’s planning some new big-flavormixtures, involving the likes of lemongrass and coffee, among other spices.

Smashedbottles notwithstanding, it’s been a fairly smooth move down the road fromPleasantville. “It’s a whole other world,” says Scott. “So far, so good.”
Captain Lawrence isopen Tuesday through Friday (retail 2-7 p.m., and samples 4-7 p.m.); andSaturday, with retail and samples 12-6 p.m., and brewery tours at 1, 2 and 3p.m.
The author is paid byCaptain Lawrence, partially in beer, for Notes From the Tasting Room.
–Michael Malone