The Culinary Institute of America announced the opening of the newest restaurant by the CIA Restaurant Group on the Hyde Park, New York, campus of the world-renowned college. Post Road Brew House is a casual, contemporary American beer-driven pop-up restaurant combining seasonal Hudson Valley cuisine with classic European gastro-classics. Opening in the midst of the Mid-Hudson Valley's "Bread Basket" revival, the Post Road Brew House serves as an extension of the Brewery at the CIA, offering elevated pub fare alongside an extensive beer menu.
"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," says 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."
The a-la-carte menu, created by Executive Chef and Assistant Professor Theo Roe, includes a mix of casual and classic appetizers, entrees, and sides designed to pair perfectly with the beer selection. With an emphasis on seasonal Hudson Valley ingredients, American comfort dishes like Pastrami Reuben Sandwich, The Post Road Burger, and Deviled Eggs are balanced out by European gastro-classics like Housemade Charcuterie, Classic Cassoulet, and Fish & Chips.
"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," says 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."
The beer menu at Post Road Brew House has been curated by the CIA's head brewer, Hutch Kugeman, working closely with the chef. On tap, eight draught beers are featured, including those made by the Brewery at the CIA, and others through collaboration with New York State breweries. Among the selections on the opening menu are the Cleaver IPA (6.7% abv) and Mise en Place Wit (4.6% abv), both of which are staples from the Brewery at the CIA. The Beefsteak Blonde (5.7% abv) is a traditional German-style Kolsch. 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, New York, and C.H. Evans Brewing in Albany, as well as a not-yet-named Pilsner brewed with Community Beer Works of Buffalo, New York, will also be served.
Beer flights are offered, as well as beer education, information, and programs for customers based on their 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.
"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," says Kugeman. "We're starting to play around with a smaller experimental tank at the Brewery, which will allow us to do some really fun stuff for the Brew House."
Located within the former St. Andrew's Café, the bar at Post Road Brew House is the star of the room. The decor throughout the restaurant is contemporary with an eclectic mix of new, found, and repurposed furnishings that reference brewery culture, CIA history, and Hudson Valley agriculture.
Upon entering the restaurant, guests are greeted by a 6-seat beautiful custom zinc bar and tap system made locally by William Thibeault of Tapped Beer in Hudson. 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 the public and serve to provide practical experience for students. As part of the requirements for the associate degree, students have classes in two of the five restaurants on the Hyde Park campus: Post Road Brew House, Ristorante Caterina de' Medici, American Bounty Restaurant, The Bocuse Restaurant, or the Apple Pie Bakery Café.
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 recommended, but walk-ins for the bar or dining room are also welcome.
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