Barley and the Chocolate Factory

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Notes from the Tasting Room at Capt. Lawrence Brewery in Elmsford

The beauty of the brewery tour, whether it’s Guinness in Dublin or Heineken in Amsterdam, or Captain Lawrence right here in Westchester, is that it’s a day at the brewery–plus an education. You walk out not only having sampled some of the freshest beer you’ll ever taste, but you’ve nourished your intellectual curiosity as well.

It is, in modern business parlance, a win-win.

And so I embarked on my first guided tour of the Captain Lawrence brewery, with a special wingman in tow. Every time I visit the place, with its silos and tubes and mouth-watering smell all around, I come back to reading about Willy Wonka’s beloved chocolate facility as a kid. And since my six year old son also adores Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I brought the boy along.

Our tour guide John walks about 20 of us through the brewery’s modest beginnings (owner Scott Vaccaro, as a teen, brewing out of his parents’ home on, yes, Captain Lawrence Drive in Lewisboro), to the 8,000 barrels (a barrel equals two kegs) brewed last year, and the 10-12,000 that are on pace to roll out of the Elmsford digs for 2012.

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