“I think this would be a good time for a beer.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
I had to agree with FDR when we arrived at Hyde Park Brewing Company.
The president’s quote appears on the brewpub’s menu — and wondering when he said it, I looked it up. According to the first link that came up on Google, FDR offered the quip as he signed the Cullen-Harrison Act on March 23, 1933. The measure allowed the manufacturing and sale of beer in the U.S. at 3.2% alcohol.
Thus informed, and between visits to FDR’s Hyde Park home and the Vanderbilt Mansion two miles away, this little pub across the street from Springwood beckoned.
The restaurant/bar has a country charm, perfect for the Hudson Valley: cozy bar with a game on the TVs, big open dining room with beer-inspired chandeliers hanging from the cathedral ceiling.
The restaurant has been around since 1995, producing ales and lagers and serving traditional pub fare, sandwiches and, well, just about anything you’d find on an American tavern menu.
This is not a menu to be rushed. Lots of choices for hungry tourists (and from the looks of it, lots of locals, too.) Come ready for hearty fare: crispy beer mac and cheese, pretzels and beer cheese sauce, steak and salmon, pasta and meatloaf. Lots of sandwiches and burgers, salads and pizzas and house-made charcuterie. Everything listed has a suggested beer pairing. And these are foods that make you crave a glass of malty goodness.
Thank goodness, they happen to have beer: a lightweight “Big Easy Blonde,” a hoppy India Red Ale and my favorite Mary P’s Porter. I like ’em dark and rich and this one fit the bill. Not content to try just one, we picked a sampler. One of each of what was on tap. One dark beer , two reds and a couple of lighter choices. All good but in my opinion, the richer the color the better the beer. It was cold on the day of our visit so I think on a hot day I might have preferred the lighter, colder beers. (Have to come back and check next summer.)
I’ve only heard of Beef on Weck — a favorite of western New York, Wikipedia says. But here it was on an eastern New York menu and I couldn’t pass it up. This sandwich features juicy sliced roast beef, slathered in a take-your-breath-away horseradish sauce and layered on a big roll topped with caraway seeds and salt, called a kummelweck. I don’t know if it’s authentic but it’s yummy. Add a lager potato salad and that hearty Mary P’s porter, and you’ve got enough fuel for a day of sightseeing. We left happy and ready for anything.
© Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman