- West Kill Brewing
There’s no beer quite so tasty and soul-quenching as the beer after a glorious hot day outdoors. The “hike cap,” at the end of a long day trekking up slopes and down mountains, scrambling and sweating, is the epitome of refreshment. So to help in your quest for this ultimate summer (or fall, or winter, or spring) experience, we’re rounded up some of the Hudson Valley’s best hiking spots in close proximity to craft breweries for that post-hike brew perfection.
Shawangunk Ridge + Gilded Otter + Arrowood
The Skytop Tower at Mohonk Mountain House is iconic, branding even hasty renditions of the Shawangunk Ridge as undeniably New Paltz. The 100-step tower offers a multi-state view on a clear day. Choose from an easy 45-minute amble up Sky Top Road, a direct, still-moderate ascent of Skytop Path, or the Labyrinth rock scramble. Alternatively, for a choose-your-own-adventure, the recently inaugurated River to Ridge trail offers also offers the public a way to walk directly from the village up to the Gunks, through fields and over gently rolling hills, connecting hikers and bikers the Mohonk Preserve 90 miles of trails, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
Back in New Paltz, at Clemson Brothers at the Gilded Otter, quaff fresh brew while gazing at the sunset framing the icon you’ve so lately conquered. For less impressive vistas but excellent beers you can also head to nearby Arrowood Outpost, tucked away on the alley-like Church Street. Here, the tasting room pours craft drafts from their farm brewery across the ridge in Accord, made with all New York State ingredients, including several from their own farm and neighboring producers.
Mount Beacon + Two Way Brewing
Mount Beacon earned its name as a place of Revolutionary-era signal fires. Later, the splendor of the view inspired the placement of a now-defunct Incline Railway. The summit-ascending train cars are old history, but your own two feet will take you to the highest of the Highlands via a 5.9-mile loop. It’s strenuous in spots, but the payoff is superb. Back at the base, replenish with the fine artisanal microbrews and free popcorn right on Main Street, Beacon at the Two Way Brewing Company. Another option up the road is the Industrial Arts Brewing Company’s outpost on Fishkill Avenue. While currently only open for to-go service, normally the biergarten offers panoramic views of the Mount Beacon, especially well-suited to those who like to revel in their recent achievements.
Schunnemunk + Newburgh Brewing
OK fine, so Schunnemunk Mountain State Park is not exactly brewery-side, at 24 minutes from Newburgh, but it does offer eight marked trails to choose from with enticing, descriptive names like Sweet Clover Loop and Dark Hollow. Choose your moderately challenging route to the ridge-top and enjoy the wide variety of flora, fauna, and landscapes, from meadow to swampland to waterfall. Afterwards, sip the latest creation in the taproom of the Newburgh Brewing Company, one of the masterful houses that helped kickstart our craft brew scene, still fresh and thriving in its urban surrounds.
Bash Bish Falls + Roe Jan Brewing
If you love a quick hike to a gorgeous water feature, head to Bash Bish Falls on the New York/Mass border. From the Taconic State Park entrance, it’s just a 1.5-mile walk up a slight incline to the highest waterfall in Massachusetts, cascading nearly 200 feet through a gorgeous gorge. (Both Taconic State Park and nearby Mount Washington State Forest also offer longer and more challenging trails if you’re up for more of a strenuous workout. Cap your day of sun and sweat at Roe Jan Brewing Company in Hillsdale, sited in a historic 1851 mercantile building.
Wittenberg + Woodstock Brewing
Wittenberg Mountain is one of the famed “35 over 3,500 feet” summits of the Catskills, and it’s a serious hike, over seven miles with some steep spots and rock scrambles. The summit offers ample reward, and if you’re feeling ambitious you can log two more miles and add Cornell Mountain to your scorecard as well. Nurse tired tootsies with a brew at the funky industrial digs of the Woodstock Brewing Company, nestled up to the mountainside in Phoenicia. If cider is more your thing, head to the newly opened Abandoned Hard Cider Outpost, just a short ways up 28 for crisp, dry Hudson Valley ciders.
West Kill Brewing + Hunter-West Kill Wilderness
Mountainside craft brewery West Kill Brewing is a hop, skip, and a jump from some great Catskills hikes with dozens of trailheads just down the road, including Hunter Mountain, Spruceton Horse, and Westkill Mountain. If you feel up for a moderate hike the Rusk Mountain Bushwack is a 2.9-mile trail that crosses streams and offers some panoramic views. At four miles, Diamond Notch Falls is a slightly longer yet still moderate hike, which features the beautiful namesake waterfall. Cool off after your hike at West Kill with a cold brew and a view of the mountains. Their beers, which range from funky sours to crisp lagers to full-bodied stouts, are brewed with pure Catskills mountain well water and locally sourced and foraged ingredients for a product that is true to its origin.
Hudson Ale Works + Walkway Over the Hudson + Zeus Brewing
If you’re more of a drinker and less of a hiker, then this gentle 1.3-mile stroll across the Hudson, bookended by breweries, is the option for you (we don’t judge). Start off in Highland at the small-batch brewery Hudson Ale Works, which was founded in 2013 out of a garage with a modest 10-gallon home brew system. Now they have a professional brewing set up in a 7,500-square-foot building and serve up 10 rotating beers on tap, in addition to selling 12-ounce cans, crowlers, and growlers to go. Take your leisurely stroll across the Walkway over Hudson in late afternoon (or take your bike), and at the other end you’ll find the new kid on the block, Zeus Brewing. Head straight up to the rooftop for panoramic views of the Hudson River and Catskills at sunset, while you taste one of their canned or draft beers, with options for everyone, from a pils to a Mexican lager to a coffee milk stout to a NEIPA.