Bear offal led me to Newburgh Brewing Company

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How would you respond to the following statement?

“My brother bagged a bear and saved the heart and kidneys for you.”

A. Absolute disgust
B. Complete elation

There isn’t much in between when it comes to offal. When I asked a chef friend if he had any advice for preparing it, he said, “No, but I am paralyzed with joy for you.”

So when the person who offered the offal- let’s call him Brian- told me about a brewpub he stumbled on that “had pretty good beer” (waxing for him) I had to try it.

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I approached the Newburgh Brewing Company with a heavy heart returning from an unexpected funeral in Philadelphia. It’s sort of half way to Boston if you take some odd turns. The pub is in an old factory built into the side of a hill, so you enter on the third floor and go upstairs to the fourth. (See top photo). I ordered one of the four staple beers- a saison. Pretty gutsy to have a saison as a staple- and to my absolute astonishment it was delicious! The other staples are a cream ale, a brown, and an IPA.

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The vibe is warm and friendly- I got the sense that everyone is pulling for the brewer and will do what they can to help the place succeed. I didn’t meet him, but the bartender has known him since they were kids. He bragged about his childhood pal’s stints at a French culinary school and eight years at Brooklyn Brewery (ah-ha!) just before I met Charlie Benedetti, head of sales. I never would have guessed that- he was slinging beer behind the bar like everyone else.

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Charlie gave me the grand tour and chatted like a proud parent about the history of the building, the brewing equipment, his favorite beer (Unkel Dunkel- he being the uncle himself…) and the brewer’s passion for curing meat in the basement. (See photo below, with the rock-wall crowding into the room) I wonder what he would do with bear heart and kidneys?

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1 Comment

December 22, 2012 · 7:32 am

One response to “Bear offal led me to Newburgh Brewing Company

  1. Vera Sistenich

    B. Complete elation.

    I’m not for eating endangered species or poached game, but any chance to try legally (and humanely) acquired meats and offal is a delight! Especially in places where offal dishes reflect a characteristic cultural culinary expression. You’d enjoy the Chinese fish bladder (or fish maw) and sea cucumber dish I had in Hong Kong a couple of days ago, and the goose webs and steamed pig’s black pudding. All delicious! Bon appetit!

    Thanks for this excellent blog.
    Cheers from New Delhi!

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