Pillow & Oats: Main Street Beacon's Newest Brewery | Craft Beverage Industry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Cheers. Sláinte. Salud! That’s the motto of Pillow & Oats Brewing, a brand new brewpub on Beacon’s mile-long Main Street strip.

The phrase reflects founders Max and Maria Headley’s shared American roots and their differing backgrounds, his from Ireland and hers from Ecuador. The pub’s name pays homage to the pillowy mouthfeel delivered by their signature hazy IPAs and to the grains that make up the brews.

Sandwiched between Peaceful Provisions and Big Mouth Coffee Roasters, Pillow & Oats specializes in small batch Hazy IPAs and hoppy, but not bitter, offerings. They join a collegial group of brewers in the area who share tips and bond over sips: Two Way, Hudson Valley Brewery, and Industrial Arts are inside city limits while Obercreek and Sloop are within a 10-mile radius.

“We visit the other brewers all the time,” says Max. “We think they’re great. The reason we first came to Beacon was to visit Hudson Valley Brewing.”

The couple met at a tech startup in the city and bonded over their love for beer. Maria still works in human resources, but Max left project management to go all-in on his dream of turning a homebrew hobby into a hub for hospitality and creating great beer on a consistent basis.

Maria draws on her people skills to help provide a welcoming atmosphere.

As the sole person in charge of product, Max is scrambling to keep up with the demands of launching a brick-and-mortar business and ensuring that there is enough quality beer to make it through the weekend (they ran out of Pilsener during a soft launch on Memorial Day).

In time, the now-Spartan space, a long rectangle that radiates beer hall vibes, and the industrial interior is soon to be spruced up with murals. All the brewing equipment is out in the open and, in addition to the rows of communal tables and benches near the front door, there are a dozen or so round tables flanked by two comfy bar stools.

The Beer Necessities

After visiting breweries and trying different beer styles around the world, the couple narrowed in on hazy IPAs as their favorite style.

For now, each batch is different, like a jazz solo, as Max perfects the process. “Everything is subject to change,” he says. “Even the recipe for Pliny the Elder, which a lot of people think is the best beer in the world, is not the same as it was 20 years ago.” (Introduced by California’s Russian River Brewing in 1999, Pliny the Elder is often credited with jumpstarting the hoppy, bitter IPA craze that has exerted outsized influence on craft brewing in the United States.)

So far, Pillow & Oats has rolled out two hazy IPAs: Long Live the Hop and Drool Face Emoji, which resemble grapefruit juice in the glass, but drink dry, with a subtle citrus flavor and just a hint of bitterness.

Long Live the Hop—Mosaic hops in this case—is double dry-hopped. Instead of dumping the hops in during the cooking process, Max adds twice the amount used for a typical IPA at two different times during fermentation. “If I added all the hops at once, they would sink to the bottom and I wouldn’t get that same extraction,” he explains. “I’m going for flavor, aroma and visual appeal. Great beer brings many elements together into a work of art, but if one thing is out of balance, it’s obvious immediately.”

Drool Face Emoji, also double dry-hopped, marries Riwanka (“a new, fun hop from New Zealand”) and Citra hops, which “add complexity to the flavor profile,” according to Max. The brew’s character changes as it warms up in the glass, he says.

Citra Lager is “something light and crisp, perfect for summer,” says Maria, and they also offer a low-alcohol Hoppy Table Beer made from Nelson, Citra, and Nectoron hops. They continue re-evaluating their approach to pilsner as Max experiments with Czech and Italian (dry-hopped) styles.

In addition to dealing with the minutiae of starting and running a business from scratch, the couple has a much more important responsibility: raising their one-year-old daughter, making it difficult to devote almost every minute of the day to the endeavor, which is Max’s goal, at least for now.

“When I’m working there until 4:30 in the morning, it’s because I’m doing something I love,” he says, “not because some corporation
requires it.”

Pillow and Oats is open Thursday, 4-9pm; Friday and Saturday, 12-pm, and Sunday, 12-8pm.

Pillow & Oats
385 Main Street, Beacon
(315) 651-2381
[email protected]

About The Author

Marc Ferris

Marc Ferris is the author of Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America's National Anthem. He also performs Star-Spangled Mystery, a one-person musical history tour.
Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment
  • or

Support Chronogram