The Captain Lawrence pilot brewing system is—pun very definitely intended—hopping. The first creation from the experimental brewhouse, which owner Scott Vaccarocalls “a hoppy wheat IPA dry-hopped with Palisades hops” from the Pacific Northwest, is available in the tasting room. Formerly known by the working title Batch 1, it has been christened Palisades Ale.
On Batch 1’s heels is Batch 2, a coriander spiced “pseudo wit beer,” says Scott, brewed with German Kolsch yeast. It’s called Cold Cousin Brewski, and it too made its debut in the tasting room in recent days.
Captain Lawrence is trying some new things in Batches 1 and 2. “We’re not following any style guidelines,” Scott says.
But wait…there’s more! Also in the works are Batches 3, 4 and 5—an amber session ale, a brown porter, and an oatmeal stout that are due in the tasting room in the next three weeks. While Scott brewed the Palisades Ale himself, Batches 2 through 5 are products of Captain Lawrence employees and friends.
More employees are waiting their turn. “Production brewing can get a bit monotonous,” says Scott. “I want my employees to have fun and spread their creative wings.”
Also in the works: another batch of Birra DeCicco Limone Luppolo, a hoppy wheat ale brewed with lemon peel that’s an annual venture for the brewery’s friends over at the retail beer cathedral DeCicco Family Markets. It should hit the tasting room in late July.
The tasting room, and patio, are in full swing for summer. The patio is has been fully approved for the quaffing of beers, and the bocce court is open for some serious competition.
As recent attendees of the tasting room may have noticed, Captain Lawrence can now serve 12-ounce draughts, which go perfectly with the patio’s al fresco setting. “People seem to be excited,” says Scott. “If they don’t feel like waiting on line for samples, they can buy a 12-ounce beer.”
Those of course include standards like Freshchester Pale Ale, Captain’s Kolsch and Liquid Gold. The beers sell for $4, on up to $8 for some specialty brews.
And every Friday, there’s a special visitor at the brewery: a mobile pizza oven from the Italian comfort food restaurant The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry. The (sub)urban assault vehicle features a wood-fired oven that whips up scrumptious creations in minutes. “They’re there slinging dough and making ridiculous pizzas,” says Scott.
While he’d prefer to be lounging on the patio with a pizza and a pint, Scott Vaccaro has been burning a path to Albany and back, representing craft brewers on the legislative front. Late last week, he was meeting with Governor Cuomo’s aides to urge the passage of a beer franchise bill that would scrap an onerous law that essentially binds a brewery to a beer distributor for life—even if that distributor fails to represent the brewery’s best interests.
“Hopefully when the Governor signs the bill into law,” says Scott, “we can expand into more of New York State.” 

–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 at 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in beer, for “Notes From the Tasting Room.”