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Destination: BEER
Posted November 29th, 2012

BY MICHAEL CAHILL

Rockland County is now home to craft beer retail store Growler and Gill

View of the selection of beers available for purchase

Tucked away on Route 59 in Nanuet between Toys ‘R’ Us and Kohl’s is Rockland County’s best kept secret for beer lovers, the Growler and Gill.

The Growler and Gill is a “hybrid concept” says co-owner Joe Fitzgerald, with the aesthetic reminiscent of a Napa winery. Soft lighting and wood flooring, over the din of conversation and light music, give the place an almost Zen, Apple Store-like feel. It actually can be as fun as an Apple Store if you like beer.

“Is this your first time here folks?” asked Fitzgerald cheerfully, to a group of customers as they walked in on Tuesday night looking a little confused. Fitzgerald happily gave them a tour and explained the concept to them.

Part one of the hybrid concept, is that of a craft beer retail store. Against one wall are large shelves stocked beers from all over the country. The beers are broken up by region, and the selection is astounding. They even have a whole area dedicated to beers from overseas.

The highlight of the retail side is the “Make Your Own Six” concept, where customers can mix and match different beers to make their own six-pack.

Part two is the bar that features a rotating selection of craft beers on tap for drinking and sampling. Patrons over 21 can enjoy a free taste of any beer on tap. That way you can try your beer before you invest in a pint.

Beertenders Ryan Lenihan (L) and Chana Morrison (R) behind the bar at the Growler and Gill

If you find yourself at the bar with no idea where to start, the staff of the Growler is ready to help. You can ask any of the resident “beertenders” for help and advice. They are exceptional at divining what you might like by asking a couple of questions. Of course, as the name implies, all the beer on tap is also available to take home in a growler.

The Growler and Gill also offers a small, but delicious selection of foods to go with the beer. The menu even offers advice about which beers go best with what foods. On top of that, the foods are locally sourced whenever possible.

According to co-owner Irene Fitzgerald, staying local is very important at the Growler and Gill. The establishment is co-owned by four Nanuet families. It was important for them during the planning, that everything stay local.

Since their soft opening in October, and their official grand opening earlier this month, Fitzgerald says the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming.

But they are not content to just sit back and enjoy it, they want to build on that momentum. Already the Growler offers beer tastings twice a week, which are free to attend. Then starting next week they will host a trivia night on Wednesdays. There are also plans for home brewing classes starting in January.

The different sizes of beers available, from growler size (L) all the way down to gill size (R)

If for some reason you find yourself at the Growler and you are not in the mood for beer, they also offer a small, quality selection of wines.

With the Defiant Brewery in Pearl River, the Yardhouse in Palisades Mall featuring over 180 different brews, and now the Growler and Gill in Nanuet, it looks like Rockland County is becoming a destination for beer lovers.

For more information about the Growler and Gill and list of upcoming events visit their website at http://growlerandgill.com/