Though the proximity of Red Hook's Sixpoint and Williamsburg's Brooklyn Brewery makes it easy to embark on an afternoon of impromptu beer tasting, you don't have to limit your adventures to the five boroughs.
The region is full of superb microbreweries, and traveling to the source gains you access to the freshest pours and limited-edition offerings. The best part? Many are just a quick train ride away.
Here are three of our favorite breweries worth the day trip--no designated driver required.
Blue Point Brewing Company (Patchogue, New York) Reach the salty aired town of Patchogue via a scenic 90-minute ride on the LIRR; Blue Point is a short walk from the station. Come for a free Saturday tour (1 and 4 p.m.) or visit the tasting room (Thursday and Friday, 3 to 7 p.m.; Saturday noon to 7 p.m.) for complimentary samples of the eclectic brews, including the puckery E.S.B. and the robust, warming Winter Ale. 161 River Ave.; 631-475-6944 or bluepointbrewing.com
Captain Lawrence Brewing Company (Pleasantville, New York) Hop a 45-minute Metro North ride to this Westchester microbrewery (pictured), located five minutes from the depot. Come Friday (4 to 7 p.m.) or Saturday (noon to 6 p.m.) for a free tour led by owner Scott Vaccaro's father, Vincent, and finish up by tasting offerings like the superhoppy Captain's Reserve or Belgian-influenced Liquid Gold. 99 Castleton St.; 914-741-2337 or captainlawrencebrewing.com
Defiant Brewing (Pearl River, New York) Take New Jersey Transit 90 minutes to reach brewer Neil Acer's excellent outfit, conveniently open every day of the week. Scan the chalkboard for a list of beers ($3.25 a mug) poured straight from gleaming storage tanks; we favor the crisp, refreshing Muddy Creek Lager or the creamy O'Defiant Stout. 6 Dexter Plaza; 845-920-8602 or defiantbrewing.com
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