While Mike Kraai knew he wanted to create a destination brewery in the Hudson Valley, similar to the ones in Maine and Vermont, it wasn’t until he drove past an eye-catching, 100-year-old building in Warwick that he knew exactly where to lay down roots. The building was in rough shape (no electricity or running water), but two years after he put his first payment down, Drowned Lands Brewery opened on Labor Day 2020.
“We set out to do a few different things with the brewery and the brand,” Kraai explains. “We try to have the best possible beer that we can brew. We want people to be spoiled with our beer.” To do this, he and head brewer Travis Lancaster focus on three styles of brews: hoppy and experimental IPAs, easy-drinking table beers, and farmhouse beers. “It’s the concept of terroir,” explains Kraai, who partners New York-sourced ingredients with yeast from his own backyard. “Our beer can only be brewed at our facility and on our land…We’ll walk around and look for anything we think might have cultures on it. If we like what we smell and taste, we’ll keep going with it.”
Instead of industrial tanks, Drowned Lands ages its beer in large oak barrels. A slower fermentation with more required work, it also invites local microflora to influence fermentation, so no two batches are ever the same. “When we brew a beer in December versus summer, it’s going to be a really different beer,” Kraai notes. “No one else is going to make that beer just the way we made it.”
Drowned Lands beers are available for sampling at the brewery’s renovated Warwick tasting room. With cathedral ceilings and a 1,000-square-foot deck, it offers around 15 house beers at a given time, along with one local cider for gluten-free visitors. The brewery also does regular can drops, with brews selling out nearly as quickly as Kraai and his team can stock them.
Drowned Lands Brewery
251 State School Rd, Warwick