Friday, February 24, 2012

Destination: Grand Cru (Rhinebeck)

If you live near the Hudson Valley, this post is for you, if not, you can still come, it is just more of a trip. 

Rhinebeck, NY (just a train ride away from NYC) is not a terribly well known town. It is probably most well known for: 
1)The Dutchess County Fair (2nd largest fair in NY)
2)The Chelsea Clinton Wedding
3)Where a bunch of city folk/some celebrities have country homes
4) Being briefly mentioned in the romantic comedy, 27 Dresses

It is also not known for beer, but one shop (and a few restaurants) are fighting against the ignorance.

Grand Cru moved into Rhinebeck a year or two ago and the store is becoming more and more popular.   

The store has a fairly extensive selection of craft beer, with a large selection from NYS. The major brewing countries are well represented in the selection, with a lot of hard-to-find Belgian and German beers available. You can also find a lot of stuff from the UK. The beer itself is a little on the expensive side, but you can expect that from a store with a large selection, especially because Grand Cru doesn't sell the money-makers, like Budweiser. Like most stores, you can find the beer room temp, or cold. 

This brings me to one of the reasons that I love Grand Cru. You can buy a beer, sit in the store, and drink it. They pour your beer into a glass for you and you can choose from one of the several tables near the entrance, or you can stand at the counter and sip. Think of it as a bar that has most of what you could want, plus you can take stuff home with you too! Be warned, there is an additional charge for drinking in (by law), but the prices are about what you would expect at a bar. They also sell cured meats and cheeses, so you can buy a couple things and have a snack as you drink. It's a ton of fun. Grand Cru also has 5 taps, which are regularly changed. They allow you to buy growlers, pints, or samplers. I have a very hard time passing up a sampler.
Left to Right: Captain Lawrence Pale Ale, Brooklyn Mary's Maple Porter, Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, Greenflash IPA.

This is a typical selection that you might see: A couple local things, maybe one that is rare, a decidedly hoppy beer, and a decidedly dark, powerful beer. Don't hold me to that, but every time I go in, I feel like the taps match that template. 

The owners of Grand Cru are wonderful people, always willing to help you if you have any questions and always happy to talk (just another reason to go in an support the business). If you like buying beer swag, they have a few different glasses (the specific ones change from week to week) at very reasonable prices. They also have some really cool tap handles for sale.  

Grand Cru is also very proactive about having events. They will have some sort of tasting, beer dinner, or something every few weeks. This a couple weekends ago I went to a Sixpoint tasting there and it was awesome. I was able to try 9 different beers, 4 of which I had never tried before, 3 of which I wouldn't have normally had a chance to. It was a great way to try more beer from a fantastic NY brewery. 

The point is: Grand Cru is not just a good place to buy beer, you can make a date out of it. I know Lindsey always enjoys a visit. 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

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