Any given weekend, Tin Barn Brewing in Sugar Loaf, N.Y. is bustling with beer drinkers; families ordering pizzas and IPAs, friends gathering over pints, dog owners sipping beer outside with their pups.
And though still fairly new to Orange County’s craft beer scene, Tin Barn is well on its way to becoming a local staple.
“Besides the kickass beer that I brew,” said co-owner Lauren Van Pamelen with a laugh, Tin Barn’s “vibe and environment” is what makes the brewery special. The sprawling indoor space features a fireplace with cozy couches, and an old-school truck that’s been outfitted with group seating in its flatbed. The outdoor area, which is dog friendly, boasts a two-story deck that looks over a stage for live music.
That brewery vibe and environment is what pulled Van Pamelen to the business after nearly a decade working as a licensed optician.
“We found craft beer culture,” she said. “It’s just a whole different world, honestly...I find that people who love craft beer are so friendly. I love the environment in a brewery. Any time that I had off, all I wanted to do was go to a brewery.”
To turn the dream into reality, Van Pamelen went to school at the American Brewers Guild in Vermont and teamed up with her father, entrepreneur Dale Van Pamelen, to open their own brewery. They purchased the property on Kings Highway, a former auction house, in 2019, and did much of the remodeling work themselves to turn Tin Barn into the space it is today.
Making the cut
Tin Barn was still in the midst of renovations when the coronavirus shut down businesses across New York in March 2020. The brewery’s gas line was set up - and boiler was delivered, just one week prior.
“It’s crazy because if those things didn’t happen before shutdown, we wouldn’t even be making beer,” said Van Pamelen. Orange and Rockland stopped taking new business clients during shutdown.
Van Pamelen estimates that if the gas line was not set up in time, brewery operations would have been put on pause for nine months — a long time for a new business to go without generating any income.
“We got very lucky,” she added.
Decked out brews
Tin Barn’s first official beer release was Memorial Day Weekend 2020. Since then, the brewery has continued to grow, regularly dropping new releases and expanding its outdoor space.
While the brewery offers a variety to choose from (and some local wine and cider), the draught list regularly features multiple IPAs.
Ironically, “when I turned 21, I wouldn’t touch beer,” said Van Pamelen. But discovering craft beer — citrusy New England IPAs specifically — was a gamechanger. “There’s no fruit it it, there’s only hops, but it tastes like orange juice. It’s insane,” she said.
Cosmic Vision, a Double IPA currently available at the brewery, features orange, pineapple, and mango flavors.
Sours inspired by candy and ice cream also regularly crop up on Tin Barn’s beer list. The melted gelato series, triple-fruited sour that drinks like a smoothie, is one of Van Pamelen’s favorites.
“Basically, I’m like a big kid making beer,” joked Van Pamelen.