The first thing that catches your eye when you walk into the Roscoe Beer Company’s brand new tasting room in the Sullivan County town of Roscoe is a large aquarium full of trout.
It’s not what you expect to find in a local brewery — usually the malt and hops take center stage — but the Roscoe Beer Company is serious about being local. And local, in Roscoe, means trout.
The town won the designation of “America’s Ultimate Fishing Town” in 2011, and swarms of anglers flock to the legendary Beaverkill each year to fish.
Above: A tank of trout sits in the center of the Roscoe Beer Company's new tasting room. Photo by Julia Reischel.
When Roscoe Beer Company was founded in 2013, it embraced Roscoe’s trout heritage fully by naming its line of ales “Trout Town” beers. This April, at the beginning of the 2015 fishing season, the brewery announced two new beers: the “Trout Town” Rainbow Red Ale and “Trout Town” Brown Ale.
The Brown Ale is the one to try: it's a workmanlike beer with a crisp taste. A growler of it costs about $20.
Above: The brewery's sign. Photo by Julia Reischel.
The Roscoe brewery celebrated the grand opening of its refurbished tasting room and brewery on Friday, May 8 with music, free food and tours of the brewing room. Brewery staff, dignitaries and guests mingled during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility, which underwent extensive remodeling from January to May this year.
Above: Self-serve taps at the Roscoe Beer Company. Photo by Julia Reischel.
And the brewery had something else to celebrate: Trout Town beers are now being carried in Whole Foods stores in New York City.
The brewery hopes to become a regional attraction, a magnet for beer lovers beyond the Catskills, said Phil Vallone, the brewery’s co-founder, in a speech during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Above: An antique truck decorated with the brewery's logo. Photo by Julia Reischel.
The renovations, which turned the former firehouse on Rockland Road into a 1,600-square-foot tasting room, bar, brewery and gift shop, cost $500,000 and employed only local contractors, Vallone said.
“Keep buying our beer and we’ll keep supporting the community,” he said.
Above: Phil Vallone, right, speaks during the ribbon cutting at his brewery's new tasting room on May 8. Photo by Julia Reischel.
Brewmaster Josh Hughes gave tours of the brewing room. Only some of Roscoe Beer Company's beer is brewed here — the rest is brewed in a separate location — and bottling is also done elsewhere. But Hughes said that within eight to 12 months, the brewery plans to move the heart of its brewing operation to the Roscoe building.
Above: Josh Hughes, Roscoe Beer Company's brewmaster, in the brewing room at the Roscoe brewery. Photo by Julia Reischel.
In the meantime, the brewing company is committed to using local ingredients, including grains and hops grown in New York, Hughes said.
“I make sure we do the best we can to source quality, local ingredients,” Hughes said.
In an interview, Vallone said that the Roscoe Beer Company plans to build another tasting room on Roscoe’s Main Street, just down the road from the Rockland Road facility, later this year. A five-room house is currently undergoing renovations, he said, and will host a beer garden, a band shell and an outdoor big-screen television.
Vallone said that he plans to open the satellite tasting room by July 4, 2015.