“We’re not going to end this practice by chanting ‘om,’ ” the instructor, Lauren Crowley, told the dozen or so participants. “We’re all going to chant ‘beer’ together.”
They do, and several minutes later, magically enough, glasses are served.
Can it be true? Does yoga go with beer? (Please say yes.)
“It does,” Ms. Crowley said, citing a recent Yoga Journal article about a study that found “barley malts had huge antioxidant power.” (Ms. Crowley knows the value of research; she teaches history at White Plains High School.)
The formal name of the monthly yoga class is Stretchin’ and Belchin’, and credit for that goes to Aaron Pozit, who runs the tasting room and events at Captain Lawrence.
“It is a true name,” Mr. Pozit said.
Even the second part? “I’m pretty sure. I try to stay away from the room,” he said with a laugh. “We have the tasting room to set up so that’s our excuse of not having to perform yoga.” (For the record, I heard nothing.)
Yoga in the high-ceiling brewery is just one of the attractions at Captain Lawrence. There are entertaining tours of the brewery on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. There’s live music on weekends in the beer garden, featuring local bands like Pluck and Rail, who ended their version of “Let It Bleed” with a bittersweet cello solo. There’s a bocce court (with instructions on how to play), and there are delicious pizzas made by Andrew Tomasulo of the Peekskill restaurant and bar Gleason’s that are cooked in a wood-burning oven. (The summer pie, with garlic-scape pesto, cherry tomatoes and roasted corn, is a standout.)
But the main draw, of course, is the consistently excellent beer, from headliners like the Freshchester Pale Ale and Captain’s Kölsch to smaller-batch ales like the Big Mouth, a rye pale ale with the suggestion of unsweetened chocolate; the bright Citrus King, a showcase of hops and grapefruit; and maybe to finish, the Knifey Moloko, a milk stout made with espresso, a macchiato gone bold and cold (the name is a tip of the bowler to “A Clockwork Orange”).
It’s a rotating list of 12 beers, all of which can be enjoyed at picnic tables outdoors or in the handsome indoor tasting room where oak barrels are a cozy perch for a pizza and three or four glasses. The beers are available by the pint, by the pitcher and in sample glasses for anyone interested in taking a survey course (these cost one or two chips per pour, five chips for $5, and the glass itself is $2).
The tasting room has been an essential component of Captain Lawrence’s business since the brewery opened in Pleasantville in 2006, “when that immediate retail sale allowed us to pay the bills,” said Scott Vaccaro, the company’s owner and founder.
The beer became so popular — it is served on draft at such diverse places as the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester and kiosks at Grand Central Terminal, and sold in bottles at stores large and small — that the company moved to larger quarters in Elmsford in 2012, which allowed for a considerably larger tasting room as well.
At the new place, filling the glasses and growlers does not account for as large a percentage of revenue as it once did, Mr. Vaccaro said. But he said, “It’s the tasting room that kind of gives us an edge and really does allow us to be a local company.” It is such a capital of conviviality that it inspired its own online chronicle called Notes From the Tasting Room, with frequent dispatches by the writer Michael J. Malone — more than 150 installments so far — about the beer and the people drinking it.
Mr. Vaccaro grew up on Captain Lawrence Drive in South Salem, where he got an early brewing tutorial from a friend’s father. He had to get permission from his parents first. “They must not have been paying attention,” he said. He went on to earn a degree in fermentation science at the University of California, Davis.
“This is all I’ve done, really, since I was 17, is focus on the perfect pint,” he said on a recent morning at the brewery.
Has he found it?
“No, that’s the beauty of it. It’s an endless quest.”
To that end, Mr. Vaccaro has acquired more space for an oak-aging program that includes a series of Hudson Valley Harvest Sour Ales, made with fruit from local farms like Borchert Orchards in Marlboro, N.Y. (strawberries, apricots and cherries), and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture (black raspberries) in Pocantico Hills.
These will be sold at the tasting room starting in the fall, and the outdoor tasting area itself may expand.
And doing a Stretchin’ and Belchin’ class?
“I have not ruled it out,” Mr. Vaccaro said. “I’m just waiting for the right moment.”