Union Street Brewing Co. Serves Creative Brews and Upscale Bar Food | Craft Beverage Industry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Union Street Brewing Co. in Hudson opened on July 15 to a packed house. Located in a 1930s warehouse in historic downtown Hudson, the brewery is a block away from bustling Warren Street. Turning down Cherry Alley, you enter through the walled beer garden, which is decked out with lush green plantings, four-top tables, and sleek, black Adirondack chairs.

Inside the taproom, you’ll find a high ceiling criss-crossed with dark wood beams, a black U-shaped bar, a poured-concrete floor, and wood tables of varying shapes and sizes. Much of the wood is reclaimed from the original warehouse. “We are just going to focus on providing the best experience for our customers, [giving] them outstanding beverages, great service, great food in a welcoming atmosphere,” says Emma O’Donnell, who founded the brewery with her husband Paul and manages taproom operations.

Neither had been in the brewery industry before opening Union Street, but they have been home brewers for more than 10 years. In the beginning, they invited friends and family over to sample their beers—predominantly IPAs, a style that provided them with opportunities to experiment with a range of flavors and ingredients. Around 2019, as they refined their methods and learned more about the process, the O’Donnells realized they wanted to turn their hobby into a profession. “We realized we’d like to take this a step further and share it with our community,” Emma says.

click to enlarge Union Street Brewing Co. Serves Creative Brews and Upscale Bar Food (3)
Courtesy of Union Street Brewing Co.

The couple, who live in Red Hook, found their space on Union Street in 2021 after scouring real estate listings online and driving around the Hudson Valley, optimistically searching for a “for sale” sign. “It’s challenging finding the right site for a business like ours, that combines both a manufacturing and a client-facing [front],” Emma says.

After closing on the space in October 2021, they broke ground in March of the following year. The renovation took 15 months, because the building and adjacent lot were in “pretty rough shape,” according to Emma. The warehouse space had not been used in nearly 50 years. They chose to preserve the envelope of the building and the wood beams supporting the ceiling to “fit in with a Hudson historic vibe, and [the] look of the city,” Emma says.

With twelve taps, Union Street will be open year-round, serving summer ales and cold IPAs in the warm months and heavier, warming beers like chocolatey stouts in the winter. Five of the beers currently on tap are made at Union Street, with the others coming from other local breweries. Within two weeks, all twelve will be theirs. Current offerings include a summer ale with citra and mosaic hops and a spelt pale ale, as well as stouts and hazy IPAs. The brewmaster Keir Hamilton leans into German- and Czech-style beers, including pilsners, lagers, and kolschs. The beer recipe development is a collaboration between Hamilton and Paul.

click to enlarge Union Street Brewing Co. Serves Creative Brews and Upscale Bar Food (4)
Courtesy of Union Street Brewing Co.

Union Street also serves wine by the glass (hovering around $12), cider from the New Paltz-based Brooklyn Cider House ($8), and canned cocktails from Southern Tier ($12). Union Street beers and their affiliates focus on using local ingredients, which supports Hudson Valley farmers and reduces the brewery’s carbon footprint.

Whereas many breweries these days are opting for the lower-maintenance food truck route, the O’Donnells have leaned into their culinary offerings with CIA-trained head chef Joel Somerstein. Union Street serves an upscale bar food menu, featuring fusion small plates designed to be eaten with your hands. “[Our menu] is kind of eclectic, kind of like [a] world traveler,” says Emma.

Expect options like the lamb koftas, a traditionally Middle Eastern dish, inflected with Indian spices and served on skewers. The “bigger bites” section of the menu runs the gamut from shrimp tacos served with salsa verde and crema to sausage in puff pastry with beer mustard. Snacks include bar nuts and chips dusted with togarashi, a Japanese chili powder.

click to enlarge Union Street Brewing Co. Serves Creative Brews and Upscale Bar Food (2)
Courtesy of Union Street Brewing Co.

The flavor profile of the menu was inspired by Emma’s travels in Asia; she moved to Tokyo in 1991 after she finished college. It was in Tokyo that she met Paul. In 1996, Paul’s job brought them both back to New York, where he worked in finance. Emma had a career in human resources, then trained as an interior designer, and later transitioned into the brewery business. “Everything you do in life helps you with starting a business,” she reflects, noting how her time in HR taught her project management, and how to create a positive work environment. Thanks to her interior design training, once renovations began she was able to work closely with the architects and creatively collaborate on a vision for the space.

In addition to the beer garden and taproom, Union Street has a 1,000-square-foot event space, and though they’ve been open for less than a week they’ve already been flooded with requests for weddings and private parties. In the near future, they may hold their own events, such as beer tastings and seated dinners with beer pairings. When there isn’t an event going on, the space serves as a lounge, decked out with plush sofas and plants.

Beer Destination

Hudson is already a burgeoning beer tourism destination, with three other breweries within the city limits, and the O’Donnells are happy for Union Street to become part of that. “We feel that a rising tide lifts all boats,” Emma says.

click to enlarge Union Street Brewing Co. Serves Creative Brews and Upscale Bar Food (5)
Courtesy of Union Street Brewing Co.

“We love the community around beer,” she says of her the-more-the-merrier approach. “When you go to California, no one says ‘Oh my God, there’s too many wineries.’”

Don’t miss a summer afternoon spent relaxing at Union Street, open Thursday-Sunday.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment
  • or

Support Chronogram