After moving to the Hudson Valley for my brewing internship at Sloop, it wasn’t long until I became hip to the entity of Arrowood Farms. My first experience was the quaint tasting room located in the town of New Paltz, but I eventually made my way to their farm and taproom after a lengthy hike at Minnewaska State Park.
As I entered the property through the rustic, wooden archway, I was greeted with an abundance of wildflowers and the sight of people enjoying themselves on a gorgeous piece of property – beyond that, rows of hop bines, plots of growing grain and some chickens clucking around in their pen.
Arrowood Farms is a true farm brewery and distillery in the sense that it proudly commits to sourcing local, New York-grown ingredients, with the intent of producing quality products. While they admit this path is a little more challenging at times, they find it to be more rewarding. “Beer is agricultural,” says Matt Schultze, head brewer. “I think somewhere [the industry] lost that message.” Jacob Meglio, co-founder and managing partner of Arrowood Farms, adds, “Yeah, everything in the brew process is a plant, aside from the yeast.”
The farmhouse brewery strives to reflect the terroir from which they operate while attempting to rebuild the local economy and give opportunity to farmers to remain on the land their families have lived on for generations.
Speaking of terroir… on the farm are multiple hives, which are sporadically extracted for honey, but Arrowood recognizes that doing it too often is selfish and will disrupt the hives. Jacob shares, “Going around to all the flowers within 20 miles, grabbing small amount of sugar from them, bringing them back to the bees, where they are fermenting it in the hive, which is an actual active ferment, then we’re taking that already fermented product, fermenting it again, and very often using it to condition our beer. Honey is the most terroir thing.” He finishes by saying, “It doesn’t get more meta than that.”
In addition, Arrowood Farms strives to foster a healthy, inclusive space that allows folks from all walks of life, from the country to the city, to come relax and enjoy themselves in the beautiful surroundings of the Catskills and Shawangunk Mountains. “I’ll look around and actually see people destress, and see their shoulders relax, when they get here,” says Jacob.
In fact, TransGenerational Farms, a farm owned and operated by Jayne Henson, connects LGBTQ folks, and others who are traditionally excluded from farming to agriculture and uses Arrowood’s grounds to grow her crops. She offers a 20 week CSA that operates from June to October. In addition to her inclusivity, she also promotes accessibility by accepting EBT/SNAP benefits, as well as suggested pricing.
Brewing on a 10 bbl, three vessel brewing system, (the brewery and distillery share the same mash tun) their goal was to lean in to the agricultural aspect of a farmhouse brewery. Matt admits, “that was something that I really appreciated about the craft beer movement in New York, that the impetus really was, and still is, to use the local agriculture and let it manifest itself into these products.”
“We always wanted to make Arrowood a venue,” admits Jake. “We had always envisioned hosting beer festivals and live music.” Arrowood’s grounds can accommodate about 1,000 people and they had just that in attendance this past weekend as they welcomed Michael Franti for a sold out show, the first show they’ve hosted since 2018. Coming up this tonight: Pinegrove, playing a rescheduled show from a few weeks back. In a few weeks, they host the Woodist Festival. Tickets can be purchased HERE.
On the second Tuesday of every month, Arrowood hosts a special farm to table dinner that showcases not only local wine and spirits, but also the talent of their kitchen, which they refer to as “The Apiary.” The kitchen has even showcased some of the animals that were raised on the farm, who ate the spent grain and eventually were served on the table – once again, closing the loop. Tickets to such events can be found on their website and social media platforms.
If you haven’t begun to already, plan your weekend getaway to the Hudson Valley because soon the leaves will be changing and this already immaculate scenery is going to amplify. And what’s better than peepin’ some leaves at a brewery whose sole purpose is to celebrate the land from which it resides. Make sure to put a visit to Arrowood Farms at the top of your list.