The Ultimate Autumn Craft Beer Road Trip is Just a Couple of Hours from Long Island

Follow the Hudson River for gorgeous fall foliage and equally beautiful craft beer.

Take a trip for a view and a sip.

Every year around this time, we take a mini road trip with two main goals: See the last of the fall foliage and enjoy some craft beer. Turns out, an abundance of these things can be found within a couple hours of Long Island. Here are a few of our favorite destinations—most of them right along the Hudson River.

Defiant Brewing in Pearl River is hands down one of our favorite destination breweries. Over the years of visiting we have seen it grow from a small brewery and tasting room to an expansive beer hall with a seriously impressive BBQ menu. They typically have at least ten beers on tap, many of them seasonal, and everything is available in tasters so you can try a few. Current styles range from a barrel aged Octoberfest to a Belgian ale flavored with orange and vanilla, plus there is also a cask tapped every Friday. To go with your beer, try the samplers—basically a giant plate of house smoked meat like chicken wings and brisket plus sides and cornbread.

Rushing Duck is a small brewery making some seriously big beers. Located a little off the beaten path in Chester, the usually standing-room-only tasting room can get crowded on weekends. Beers are typically served in 12 ounce pours ($4)—and growlers, cans and bottles are available to go. About once a month there is a special can release, so if you time your trip right you can wind up with some rare rushing Duck Beers. Last time we visited we were able to grab a few four packs of Brux, a semi wild IPA brewed with pink peppercorns, which immediately became one of Kevin’s top beers. For IPA fans, try War Elephant, their hazy, juicy double IPA.

Newburgh Brewing Company is located in Newburgh, right on the water. We always make it a point to stop by the brewery before continuing on to neighboring Beacon—a cute, walkable town with its fair share of delicious food and drink. What once was a paper box factory is now the sprawling home of Newburgh Brewing. Cornhole, picnic style tables and a giant projection screen make up the sprawling tap room while the kitchen puts out dishes like poutine, house-made bratwurst and fish tacos. Beer wise, they offer year-round staples such as the light, crisp East Kolsch and Gigaboss Double IPA, loaded with English and American Hops. They specialties tend to be on the wilder side—like the Flying Purple Pilsner Eater, a deep purple lager brewed with Peruvian purple corn.

Peekskill Brewery is a traditional brewpub—part brewery, part bar and part two story restaurant. We always opt to sit at the bar and order off the brightly colored extensive tap list right on the wall. Alicia’s first round is usually a Simple Sour, one of the best, most balanced and refreshing low ABV sours out there. 5 oz. pours are available if you want to try a few, while 60 oz. pitchers are also an option for groups. The tap list is typically made up of some staples, like the Eastern Standard IPA, and limited offerings like a New Orleans coffee inspired milk stout. Don’t forget to grab a 4 pack of cans of Amazeballs, a galaxy hopped IPA, for the road.

Ambulance Brew House isn’t a brewery but a refurbished ambulance house turned craft beer bar. The bar is cozy and the building, built in 1947, retains a lot of its charm. There are 20 well curated taps that range the spectrum from pilsner to imperial stout. The vibe is very laid back and if it’s a warmer day—which seems to be the norm lately—you can enjoy your beer outside.

For a bit of nature beyond what we’ve seen out the car window, we like to stop at Harriman State Park. The park is giant and filled with lakes, wildlife and a ton of hiking trails ranging in intensity. A perfect way to break up the beer destinations.

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Husband and wife team Alicia Valeo and Kevin Breslawski write the blog Beer Loves Company.