The Culinary Institute of America Opens the Post Road Brew House in Hyde Park
The opening of any restaurant by the CIA Restaurant Group is cause for celebration. The new Post Road Brew House joins four others on the Hyde Park campus of this world-renowned college. This one is bit different. You’d better make a point of going to visit this pop-up restaurant soon, as it will only be open until June! It’s also more casual than its counterparts, except perhaps the Apple Pie Bakery Café, so you dont have to worry about your attire; pop in right after work and feel at home. The menu serves contemporary American food, taking its direction from their brews, pairing them with seasonal Hudson Valley cuisine and European gastro-classics.
The Post Road Brew House is an extension of the Brewery at the CIA, which has been around just over a year. The beer menu has been curated by the CIA’s talented head brewer, Hutch Kugeman, working closely with Executive Chef and Assistant Professor Theo Roe. On tap, eight draught beers are featured, including those made by the Brewery at the CIA, as well as others through cooperation with New York State breweries. We tried a flight of 5 beers and were quite impressed by the quality of all of them. Among the hand crafted brews are the Cleaver IPA (6.7% abv) and Mise en Place Wit (4.6% abv), both staples from the Brewery at CIA. I found the Beefsteak Blonde (5.7% abv), a traditional German-style Kolsch, much to my liking. My husband preferred the Mise en Place Wit (wheat beer). The latest beer from the Brewery’s Art and Science of Brewing class is the Wee Chef Scotch Ale (7.5% abv). The Smash Stout (6.0% abv) brewed with Indian Lager Farmstead in Altamont, and C.H. Evans Brewing in Albany, as well as a not-yet-named Pilsner brewed with Community Beer Works of Buffalo, is also served. This seems as if it would be a great beer in which to braise meat as well. All of the glasses were emptied!
The a-la-carte menu, created by Executive Chef Roe, includes a mix of casual and classic appetizers, entrees, and sides designed to pair perfectly with the beer assortment. We began with a hot pretzel served with mustard. My first course consisted of three delicious Mom’s Meatballs on polenta; I’m sure they had pork in them, as they were juicy and absolutely scrumptious. My husband opted for the pork belly with watercress, which although just a sprig, gave some texture, and he liked it a great deal. We thoroughly enjoyed the steak, which was Ribeye this night. Our colleague had the puree of cauliflower soup, which was creamy but judged to need a little zing.
With an emphasis on seasonal indigenous ingredients, other American comfort dishes included a Pastrami Reuben Sandwich, Post Road Burger, and Deviled Eggs, balanced out by European gastro-classics like House-made Charcuterie, Classic Cassoulet, and Fish & Chips. We finished a wonderful evening of dining with dessert, too! We enjoyed the warm gingerbread with pears and crème fraiche and a blondie sundae with vanilla gelato. The service was also knowledgeable and quite attentive.
- Post Road Brew House Dessert Menu
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“As part of the college’s curriculum, we think deeply about what kinds of concepts and operations are most crucial for the education of our students,” said Waldy Malouf, senior director of food and beverage operations at the CIA. “Most of our restaurants have skewed high-end and traditional, because they are most challenging and complex, but as the industry has shifted toward quality casual dining, we want our students to have an opportunity to open and operate this type of restaurant, as well.”
“What excites me most about what we’re doing is that we’re able to create pop-ups that evolve with the industry, alongside the CIA’s classic concepts,” said Chef Roe. “It’s important that our students understand as much as possible about the industry and that includes having a foundation based on technique, as well as understanding how to produce the quality, high-volume comfort food concepts that tend to be very lucrative.”
Beer flights are suggested, as is asking plenty of questions to educate yourself about beer. Both students and faculty want to share information on brews and the brewing process, and any programs they might be offering based on your interest and level of knowledge. The extended beer list may include non-CIA beers on tap and a small bottled list, in addition to a full bar, cocktail menu, and special wine list.
We've had the pleasure of attending a beer tasting hosted by Hutch Kugeman. He is passionate about his brews, yet able to explain in simple terms whats going on that makes each one special, and different from the others. He's a founding brewer at Crossroads Brewing Company and former head brewer at Ithaca Beer Company and Great Adirondack Brewing.
“I want to have something on the list for everyone who walks in, even novice craft beer drinkers, and I want them to really enjoy pairing their beers with food,” said Kugeman. “We’re starting to play around with a smaller experimental tank at the Brewery, which allows us to do some really fun stuff for the Brew House.”
Located in the former St. Andrew’s Café building, Post Road Brew House is modern, yet not chilly or formal. The decor makes the restaurant feel contemporary with a diverse mix of new, found, and reimagined furnishings that reference brewery culture, CIA history, and Hudson Valley agriculture. I especially like the multi colored wooden chairs.
Extending the pub experience throughout the restaurant, Post Road Brew House is set with high-top tables alongside traditional dining-room-height seating.
Restaurants located on CIA campuses are open to all and are classrooms for students to get practical experience. As part of the requirements for the associate degree, students have classes in two of the five Hyde Park restaurants: Post Road Brew House, Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici, American Bounty Restaurant, The Bocuse Restaurant, or the Apple Pie Bakery Café. All but the Apple Pie restaurants offer several of the CIA brewed beers as well.
Post Road Brew House is open from February 16 to June 15, 2017 for dinner, and March 24 to May 4 for lunch. Reservations are suggested at 845-451-1015, but walk-ins for the bar or dining room are also welcome. You’ll get to share the cool long, massive table in front of the bar! The remarkable 6-seat custom zinc bar and tap system was made by William Thibeault of Tapped Beer in Hudson (Columbia County).
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