Brewing in Tuckahoe is a Tasty Science
By Lilian Peña
On a beautiful spring weekend, I visited Broken Bow Brewery in Tuckahoe to find out more about this wonderful family-owned business. I was immediately greeted by mom Kathy LaMothe, and sisters Kasey Schwartz and Kristen Stone … all with identically-beautiful smiles and genuine family warmth.
As we began the conversation, I asked about the origins to the name of the brewery. Kathy dove right in and said that she came from Broken Bow, Nebraska – born and raised. And, when her children were young, they would visit over the summer, and because the town was very small, they all enjoyed that “small-town feel”. That family-oriented vibe translates into the atmosphere at Broken Bow Brewery perfectly.
Head Brewer at Broken Bow, Kasey shared that she first received a B.A. in Biology, and is lovingly referred to as the science nerd of the family. “There’s a lot of science involved in brewing and a lot of overlap between brewing and science, more chemistry than bio.” She began digging into what brewing had to offer in terms of science. Kasey decided to go ahead and get an A.A. in brewing technology. Now she keeps up-to-date by reading about all the latest technologies and techniques, along with networking at various events.
Prior to 2015, their brother Mike came up with the original idea. They were all home brewers at first, experimenting and creating small batches. The family, as a whole, knew that they were in the right space at the right time. Each member of the family brings their own unique talents to the business. People told them that they were crazy not to be doing this.
Kristen shared that stepping into what seemed to be a male-oriented business, didn’t seem to bother them in the beginning. They were not focused on whether the industry was more male than female run. Now they see the issues and they try to relate to others and try to work with and partner with other female businesses. They are making their mark in the industry, hands down.
Kasey said that their mom instilled a strong and stubborn attitude, “I can do that. What does it matter that I’m a woman” attitude from the start. They remember delivery trucks coming in and looking at Kasey like, “you’re going to get on the forklift?” Then they realized that this thing really does happen. But because they were raised with the “go for it” attitude, it wasn’t hard to overcome the looks or remarks. Sometimes though, they have to admit that they can’t, for example, into an electrical supply store because they might come back with the wrong parts after being told they don’t know what they’re looking for. Shrugging it off…that’s where dad and brother come in.
Kasey loves working with a local female farmer from Stone Barns. There is such mutual respect and not a second thought anything else but the fact that they are all there to work. Having said that, there are male business owners out there that “get it” and guys who don’t. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in. The subtle nuances of judgement are always there. They just surround themselves with female and male business owners who care.
Each of these women bring strong support to Broken Bow . . . Kristen Stone is in charge of the marketing/branding; Kasey Schwartz is the Head Brewer with a strong team, and Kathy LaMonte take the administration lead as well as “keeping everyone on track”.
Suppliers are a little funny. Some only work with big brewers. A handful work with microbrewers. The Craft Brewers conference is a great way for them meet new suppliers and vendors and also the New York State Brewers Association holds seminars and conferences. Some have been extremely informative and some were good for networking and meeting new people.
They had a female farmer that produced hot peppers approach them with her idea. Hence, the creation of, Hell Hath No Fury Double Broken Heart Stout, brewed with coffee, cocoa nibs and a variety of locally grown Hudson Valley peppers. They also do a lot of work with Hilltop Hanover Farm. An interesting brew was produced for a corporate firm in Boston that produced honey.
When asked about their favorite brew, they all laughed and began with their least favorite…well least only in terms of the amount of work it took to produce. Lucy’s Sour Strawberry Wheat Ale takes an extremely long time to produce, using 1,000 pounds of fresh strawberries in each batch. It’s definitely the brew “you love to hate,” but it’s so darn good.
Kasey also shared their upcoming involvement with the opening of a new pop-up museum in Soho called The Museum of Women. “Lucy” will be highlighted and the museum will also be making their own cans. There will be a sour series, highlighting Kasey’s face on the can and the labels will also highlight other women. “Hell Hath No Fury” along with other popular brands.
Kristen said that along the way, they’ve named a lot of their brews from each of their children and each clearly reflects much of their personalities.
During COVID they were forced to change their whole business model, in order to stay open. They were able to make deliveries/curbside pickups, that kept them afloat while having to furlough practically their entire staff.
Doing everything they could think of, Broken Bow established themselves as a much stronger business in the long run. The Beer Garden came to life from COVID. As much as they wanted to keep everyone safe, the idea of an outdoor beer garden was much needed and respected by the community.
Now with things coming back to “normal” they are very proud to have come through this as a family. With summer coming hiring is much easier and the patrons understand their commitment to the community and family.
Looking toward the summer months, mostly lagers will be produced – the Japanese Style Lager as well a Mexican Pilsner. Hard seltzers are popular. They will be introducing their new favorite “Persimmon.” They raved over the taste. Some of the most popular hard seltzers are the Yuzu Lemon and the Black Cherry. Great go-to summer drinks. Non-alcoholic drinks are very delicious. Kasey gets into the science side of it and the results are a tasty brew without the alcohol. They will have a non-alcoholic red ale, “Cezanne” releasing soon.
Production for Kasey and her team starts as early as 6:30am. Every aspect of production is done at Broken Bow. This brings them back to the idea of the small Nebraska town. They let that translate into their business. Their fingerprint is on every part of the business.
Newly-released beers are typically out on a Thursday and Friday. They are perfection-oriented and coordinate everything from start to finish each brew.
They have won many awards, a gold medal for their Old Split-Foot Belgian Golden Strong Ale at the Great American Beer Club. At the Can Can Awards, Nick’s Hazelnut Praline Porter has won twice.
New to craft beer? Kasey recommends their 5oz. pours. Start light. Go up and ask for a sample. The 5oz. pours gives you the opportunity to try something new and find out what you like. Understanding the keynotes and talking to the tenders is key.
Broken Bow holds a charity chili cook off in October. Last year was for first responders from 911. Other’s have included the Sharing Shelf. The community will also hold events in the Beer Garden. They strive to make it a family-friendly environment. They even have a Parent/Child Zumba class coming up on June 12th (visit their website for details.).
When you can’t make it to the beer garden, be on the lookout for them at various farmer’s markets over the summer as well as Whole Foods and select DeCicco’s.
Broken Bow Brewery
173 Marbledale Road, Tuckahoe