Wine producers from across New York gather at the Putnam County Wine & Food Fest each year, bottles of their finest reds and whites in tow. A variety of local artisans join them, peddling everything from handmade crafts to fresh produce to fiery Indian snacks. As vendors hawk their wares and guests sample sips in the wine and beer gardens, live musicians send festive tunes booming across the fairgrounds.
Catering to the whims of casual beer lovers as well as enthusiastic aficionados, Green Growler Grocery features options for groups seeking to enjoy a quick pint or stock up their home cellars. The tap room lures passersby with its rotating selection of craft brews available by the flight, pint, and growler. To accompany these drinks, the tap room also offers a small food selection?including shareable platters filled meats, olives, fruits, and local cheeses?as well as a number of New York State wines and ciders. In Green Growler Grocery's bottle shop, the shelves feature hard-to-find releases alongside craft staples, all of which are ready to be taken home and enjoyed. The one-stop shop even features a home-brewing area complete with a diverse assortment of hops, malted grains, yeasts, malt extracts, and the various beer grapes and equipment that dedicated enthusiasts need to make their own fermented elixir at home.
While wine serves as the foundation of Pour’s repertoire—garnering Westchester Magazine’s Best of Westchester wins from 2009 to 2012—it’s the cafe’s whiskey list that the publication described as “read[ing] like Fantasy Baseball.” New York and Delaware libations share shelf space with rare indulgences such as a 23-year-old, limited-release Pappy Van Winkle, of which there are only about 1,200 bottles on the market. That said, the wine selection also stands up on its own as a who’s who of small-production, organic, and biodynamic wines, with bottles from France, Italy, Spain, California, Argentina, and Chile, to name a few. To accompany their extensive list of libations, which also includes absinthe and craft beers from around the globe, the kitchen staff prepares four flatbreads, three paninis, eight small plates, and rustic charcuterie such as wild-boar sausage and seven types of artisanal cheese. Miniature Sicilian–style meatballs come sandwiched between potato slider rolls, and warm white-bean dip is plated with grilled slices of Sullivan Street baguettes. A porch wraps around the restaurant’s early-19th-century house, whose Victorian exterior contrasts with the plush, modern furnishings of its interior. Come evening, wooden venetian blinds are closed to dim the room, whose chocolate-brown leather banquettes and wooden floors are gently lit by wall sconces and tabletop candles. Along the neutral-colored walls, framed posters of vintage European advertisements lend a colorful flair to the room, which can seat up to 49.
Chappaqua Wine & Spirit Company curates a selection of small estate wines, often created in small batches. In addition to its wide-ranging wines, the shop sells glassware, corkscrews, and wine bags, plus spirits ranging from single-malt scotches to tequilas.
The self-described "beer geeks" at Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe work double duty, pouring brews behind the bar and helping customers select six-packs in the retail section, with an expertise that's crowned them the number one restaurant in Nanuet. Made up of certified cicerone beer servers and experienced home brewers, staff members are happy to explain the difference between a lager and an ale or a wheat beer. Visitors who decide to sample a few gills?a unit referring to a quarter-pint?can also order a bite to eat off a pub menu that includes Bavarian pretzels, Polish pierogi, and bratwurst. They also offer regular events throughout the week, such as Wednesday night trivia to free brewery tastings on Thursday. In the spring, the Lower Hudson Valley Craft Beer Fest comes to Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe and features beer-centric food and samples from several domestic and international breweries.
Handpicked fruit lend their sweetness to honey-hued Blue Point Blueberry Ale. A citric bite drifts from Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA, named for the quick boil that pulls bitter earthiness from the hops. Thornwood Ale House's collection of more than 60 beers includes microbrews and imports that run from sweet to hoppy, from pale Hoegaarden to roasted-black Mother's Milk. In the kitchen, which remains open until 2 a.m., chefs forge a menu of dishes designed to pair with the range of suds. Steam rises from baked mac ‘n' cheese, pouring up through panko breadcrumbs and nuggets of lobster or pulled pork. Oil crackles around beer-battered fish ‘n' chips with the comforting warm sound of a fire engulfing a scarecrow with sneaky eyes, and blenders pour milk shakes infused with sweet spirits.
Indoors, TVs and vintage sconces cast light on orange walls and a marble-topped bar, and outdoors, heels click against a slate patio beneath umbrella-covered tables. The bar fills with chatter punctuated by the sounded of toasting glasses through the week with events including trivia, karaoke, and live bands.