High Time for Happy Spirits


Defiant Brewery in Pearl River brings magic to Rockland County

Brew Master Neil Acer showing off some of the Defiant Brewery Growlers

The Defiant Brewery in Pearl River has been serving up delicious small batch, local beers since 2006. For those of you out there looking for the perfect thing to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, maybe a growler of their beer is what you need.

Defiant does not sell their beer in cans or bottles, instead you can come to the brewery itself and have a beer at the bar there. Or can purchase a growler (a half gallon jug) of beer, poured straight from the storage tanks, for home.

You can also find Defiant beers on tap at any number of fine local establishments. But nothing quite beats the feeling sitting of down for a cold one at the brewery itself.

Walking into the brewery, housed in a large warehouse across from the Pearl River train station, it is immediately obvious that this is very different from your typical Rockland bar. Pallets of grain and other supplies stacked against the walls greet you through the door. A long bar runs the length of the room, behind which sit huge tanks where the beer is made, and pipes that stretch up to the high ceiling.

At the smooth finished, wooden bar you can have a beer and watch the brewers work their magic. There are plenty of stools and a handful of tables. There is also an indescribably unique smell from the brewing beer that adds to the experience.

On the walls there are no televisions, or score boards. All you will find for atmosphere is the radio on low, and the pleasant din of conversation. Neil Acer, Brew Master at Defiant, says he wants to bring conversation back to the beer drinking experience.

At any one time, Defiant has between six and 10 beers on tap at its location. With the busy season (fall and winter) they are brewing up several unique beers, including a delicious pumpkin ale that is available until Thanksgiving.

Each batch of beer takes between 10 and 15 days to complete, depending on the type, and will make about 100 gallons. To put that in perspective, the big corporate breweries spill more that in a day. Talk about real small batch.

“We want to be thelocal brewery,” said Acer.

Members of the Defiant Brewery staff (L to R): Tim Hart, Ellie Kassner, Kyle Nicholson, Neil Acer, Ben Blowers, and Tom Woods

Acer himself has been brewing beer around the Hudson Valley for the last 17 years. He finally settled on Rockland County as the place for his brewery because of its unique location between the city and upstate.

Making beer is Acer’s passion, and he loves it. It is that sort of passion you can taste while drinking a glass of Defiant beer.

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