Monday, March 31, 2014

Defiant Brewery

I had been feeling so blah at work lately, getting random headaches, looking a little sallow. I blame the lack of sunshine, a long winter, and the irregular temperatures in my office building. So, last Monday, I went back on my green smoothie regimen and in just a week I'm already feeling the difference. My skin's looking brighter, I'm feeling much more energetic, and I've already dropped a pound of what I call "winter insulation."

You'd think, with that introduction, that I'd be sharing some sort of health-related post but I'm totally not. Today, I'm talking about two horrible (in a good way) things: beer and barbecue. I just wanted to share a little update on what's going on in my life because this is my blog and sometimes it's nice to get a little personal, right?

Anyway, so a few weekends ago, my cousin and cousin-in-law were visiting from Houston. The four of us piled into one car and headed to Pearl River, NY to visit a local microbrewery, the Defiant Brewing Company. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially considering I'm not the biggest drinker (anymore - I was quite the party girl in college). I have to admit that I wasn't super excited to spend the afternoon just guzzling beer. Lucky for me, they're not only known for their delicious beers. They've also got some kickass barbecue that will put many Southern barbecue joints to shame.
The brewery is inside of a converted warehouse space adjacent to the Pearl River Train Station. When you walk in, you'll see string lights and giant kettles. It actually looks really quaint and hipster-cool. The best part is that there's tons of seating. If you're keen on taking tours, they offer them every so often but we didn't go on one so I can't speak to whether or not it's worthwhile but seeing as it's a microbrewery, I think any true beer lover would enjoy it.

There are different beers available at different times of the year. The current selection is listed on the chalkboard above the bar.
Like I mentioned above, there is an amazing selection of barbecue to accompany the brews - here's a sneak peak of the menu - but I will share a little more about that later. First, let's talk about the beers.
We pretty much went through the entire beer selection that was available that day. We asked for 3 or 4 at a time and passed them around so everyone could get a taste.

The Abominable Snowbeer was light, crisp, and probably the best choice for beer-dislikers. The Little Thumper was just a bit stronger in taste than the Snowbeer; it was good, not great. The Medusa IPA was bitter and hoppy - what you'd expect from an IPA - but slightly sweet. I'd say it is a good beginner IPA for someone who isn't quite accustomed to that bitter flavor. The Muddy Lager was smooth and mild - my sister said it reminded her of Korean barley tea - and it was one of the yummier beers, in my opinion (duh, my blog, my opinion).
Next up were three dark beers. The Defiant Porter was rich and smooth with the slightest hint of chocolate, like an ever-so-slightly sweeter version of Guinness. The Chocolate Porter had an obvious chocolate smell and taste. It was sweet and I thought it tasted almost like chocolate milk and it probably would've been an awesome beer to have with a cookie. The Polar Vortex IPA was also rich and creamy but of course, it was bitter; it's an IPAs after all.
Lastly, we tried the three premium beers. The Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale had a little hint of that leathery sweet scotch taste but it was also kind of floral in a perfumey way. It was just okay. The Big Thumper was also kind of sweet and flowery but also slightly bitter. I wasn't too impressed and I liked the Little Thumper more.
The Tripel was only available in a giant bottle. It was probably the worst beer of the day. It was cloudy and tasted almost soapy. I tried to be polite and said it tasted just a little bit like dishwater at which point we all started to compare it to mop water (because mop water is worse than dishwater). None of us were fans of this round of beer, but we hate waste so we managed to finish everything anyway.
Okay, now we're onto the really good, fun stuff: the food. First we asked for an order of the spicy Hawaiian jerky. It was homemade so it was super tough to bite into - you really had to use your molars to bite off a piece - but once you broke through and gave it a good chew, it was tender and delicious. It was just slightly spicy, kind of sweet, and it was seasoned well.
Ah, et le piece de resistance: the ribs and wings.

The ribs were so tender that the meat would just plop off of the bone as you tried to serve yourself. They were seasoned with a dry rub and they were smoky and flavorful and so delicious. The balance of sweet and savory seasoning was really on point. The wings were also seasoned with a dry rub and despite their black, charcoal-y appearance, they were the star of the show. The exterior was so crunchy, the interior was tender, and once the meat was gone, all I wanted to do was suck the dry rub off of the bones. They were sweet and smoky and peppery and awesome.

The server also gave us a squeeze bottle of homemade barbecue sauce and a squeeze bottle of hot sauce. The barbecue sauce was incredible. It was sweet and slightly tart and I hadn't ever had a sauce like it before. I contemplated stealing the bottle. The mac & cheese was really creamy and delicious and even though there was nothing crazily special about it, it totally hit the spot. The cole slaw had a vinegary dressing and it was so fresh and crunchy and a great palate cleanser.

Ugh, I'm still dreaming about that barbecue.
Normally, it's just bar service but when we showed up, the place was pretty empty so the bartender/server Ellie came right up to our table and gave us a ton of attention and information. After a little while though, the place filled up and we had to go up to the bar to order, which didn't change things too much since the staff is so attentive and quick.

There were groups of friends, families with kids (who were obviously there for the barbecue), and even singletons that were just there to enjoy the beer and grub.

My apologies to the gentleman (who looks slightly evil) in the photo below, as I'm sure that's not his best angle.
If you're looking for something fun to do (and you live in this area), head over to the Defiant Brewery! It's right next to the Pearl River train station so you have the option of not driving as well, which is pretty cool.
Cheers!

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