Beer Hero: Ambulance Brew House
By Eric Sturniolo
Ah, suburbia. Strip malls, white picket fences, and now a bar with one of the best tap lists in the NYC area. There’s a lot that makes Ambulance Brew House great, and one amazing thing that makes it immediately worth the trip up to the ‘burbs: a dedicated draft line for Hill Farmstead. That’s right; they are ALWAYS serving Hill Farmstead beer. Luckily, Nanuet (in Rockland county) is easy for us city folk to get to. The train from Penn Station to Secaucus Junction to Spring Valley gets you there within 45 minutes, or you can take a scenic 50 minute drive up the Palisades.
We sat down with Chris Adimando, the manager/beer buyer, to find out more:
Where’s The Beer NY: What’s your philosophy when making the tap lists?
Ambulance Brew House: I view our list as something wholly organic. Considering we never know what type of customer or palate will come through our doors, I can never rest on my laurels. I have a system of tracking our customers’ drinking trends by style, brewery, pour size, ABV and even time of the week. So, the tap list almost dictates itself, with us simply tapping the beers and writing them down on our chalkboards. The main thing, overall, is to strike a clear balance between styles, brands that people want to see, local offerings, highly sought after releases, imports, and strength of both alcohol and flavor. This gives people the option to start with the beer they came for and then dance around the board to experiment.
WTBY: We noticed a great balance of beers for both beginners and geeks.
ABH: Exactly. This balance is the key to giving everyone from the biggest beer geek and beer hunter to someone who comes in and says they don’t like beer a plethora of options. There will always be some type of “gateway” beer as long as the non-beer drinker has an open mind to allow us to figure out their palates. We like to believe that we have had an impressive success rate thus far, and have cultivated a family atmosphere between staff and customer.
WTBNY: Any unique challenges having a bar like this in the suburbs?
ABH: One thing that New York City, or any major city, has over suburban bars is the influx of people stopping in that are simply walking by. While Main Street in Nanuet is incredibly busy, as of now it lacks lots of foot traffic. The biggest benefit is the ability to be a part of something larger, like the growth of a region. The Hudson Valley, with established breweries and new ones opening every year, is becoming a beer destination.
WTBNY: What are some beers that got the best reception at the bar?
ABH: If I had to try to pick a few: Perennial Abraxas holds the record for our fastest beer ever kicked. The first time we had Maine Lunch and coordinated a “Lunch-Money” event alongside Barrier’s Money. Our first ever Hill Farmstead, Clara, which was so elating because pouring Hill Farmstead seemed so out of reach, and now we have a permanent, rotating line.
WTBHY : Can you tell us some of your favorite ‘upstate’ breweries?
ABH : Here in Rockland we have Defiant in Pearl River, which just celebrated 10 years, and Kuka in Blauvelt which has been on the scene for a couple of years, and next year we should be seeing the new brewery from Jeff O’Neil formerly of Peekskill Brewery. Outside of Rockland, besides Peekskill, we have places like Rushing Duck, Captain Lawrence, Newburgh, and Bacchus. At any given time we have at least 5 of our 22 lines showcasing the best beer in NY state.
WTBNY: Your backyard is amazing, tell us about it!
ABH: We went all out on our beer garden, from wood-grained pavers to a blue stone bar top/fire place. We have an 80-inch flat screen with full surround sound, a dart board area, space heaters, and a smoker which we use to make wings and ribs. It’s a great place to hang out or reserve for large private parties.
202 Main St, Nanuet, NY 10954
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Sunday: Noon to 10:00 pm
Monday: Noon to 10:00 pm
Tuesday: Noon to 10:00 pm
Wednesday: Noon to 11:00 pm
Thursday: Noon to 12:00 am
Friday: Noon to 1:00 am
Saturday: Noon to 1:00 am
Oktoberfest party- Saturday, October 17th. Starts as 12pm