(Thank you to Dutchess Tourism and Blue Collar Brewery for hosting NY Foodie Family. As always, all opinions are our own.)
In November 2014, Blue Collar Brewery opened on Cottage Street in Poughkeepsie, NY. The brewery epitomizes the concept of a small family business, with a small operation including father-son partners, Kevin and Randall.
Brewing has been a part of the Marquis family, long before Brew Collar Brewery opened. Kevin Marquis is a former Physical Therapist and was brewing at home since the 80’s. Having a father interested in brewing meant Randall grew up in the craft beer world. Childhood vacations always included stops at different breweries. Randall went away to college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While at college, he even spent some time working at one of the pour houses at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, before returning back to Poughkeepsie. He is now a professional brewer, with credentials from the University of California Davis.
The brewery is located in what was a former factory dating back to the late 1800’s. Before housing Blue Collar Brewery, the building was previously a garment factory, a meat packing factory and, most recently, a storage facility for a paper company. With assistance from the city of Poughkeepsie, the Marquises located the building, which was not in the best condition. The father-son team did a lot of the renovations themselves to get the building to its current state.
We visited Blue Collar Brewery on a sunny, summer Saturday afternoon. During our visit, there was a family with children eating in the dining room. However, the majority of the crowd was comprised of singles, friends and couples of all ages, both at the bar and sitting in the dining area.
Although we didn’t eat here, the menu has a variety of offerings. Cleverly categorized into “shifts”, the brewery serves appetizers and a variety of burgers, sandwiches, wraps and other finger foods. The offerings are reasonably priced and there are plenty of kid-friendly options.
But, of course, this is a brewery and you want to know about the beer! As you walk from the entrance into the dining area and bar, you pass the brewery, located in the basement level below. Blue Collar Brewery is always changing the brews that they offer. Since opening the brewery in late 2014, they have offered 40 different brews. They always have 5-7 brews on tap, direct from the cold room downstairs. You will always find the Cream Ale and IPA #8 on tap, as these are the most “mainstream” people-pleasers. However, the Marquises are always creating new experimental batches and one-offs (beers that are only made once), so you’ll never know what you may find on tap on your visit.
On our visit, my husband had a flight that included the five beers on the brewery’s draft list and a bonus. Pictured (from right to left) is the Cream Ale, IPA #8, Irish Red Ale, Dry Irish Stout and the Pilsner. The last beer on the left is a Saison, not listed on the printed menu. You can sample five (5oz.) beers as a flight for only $12. Of the six that he tried, my husband’s favorite was the Irish Red Ale. This is in line with the best sellers, which are the Irish Red Ale and the IPA. While Randall’s favorite draft is constantly changing, at the time of our visit he was favoring the pilsner.
For those that may not prefer beer, the brewery also serves cider and wine, most of which are also made locally in the Hudson Valley.
A visit to Blue Collar Brewery is highly recommended. The brewery got its name from the “Blue Collar” atmosphere that Kevin and Randall wanted to create. They wanted “a gathering place free of pretension, where American craft products can be enjoyed.” And I think they did just that. The brewery is very casual and has a laid-back vibe. You can sit at the bar and watch your favorite sports team on one of the many large screens. Or you can relax at a table in the dining room. Regardless, Randall is a superb and gracious host and treats every guest like a friend. He has such a warm vibe and converses easily with all the patrons. During our visit, Kevin was mostly on the floor, making sure all the dining room guests were taken care of. He was super-attentive and always on the move. They make a great team. You can tell that the two are rightfully proud of the business that they have created. NY Foodie Family wishes them much continued success!
Blue Collar Brewery
40 Cottage Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Parking: Street parking is available in front of the brewery. There is also a small parking lot next to the brewery.
Hours: Monday – Thursday 3- 10 PM, Friday & Saturday 12 PM – 11 PM, Sunday 12 PM – 10 PM