Rail II River Brewery opens in Ravena

RAVENA – With more than 440 licensed breweries, anyone can clearly see that the craft beer business has taken off in NY State. A new and shining example of that craft spirit is located in Ravena NY where micro-brewery Rails II River has just opened, with their ribbon-cutting ceremony has occurred on Friday, November 26th.

Nippertown had a moment to sit down with Owner/Brewer Steven Douglas and learn more about the passion project turned business and how it came to be. Steven, a graduate of Ravena-Coeyman-Selkirk Senior High School (Class of 1981) got the brewing itch back in 1986 when he whipped us his first brew in a bathtub. More than 2 decades later, 23 years of which Steven served in the United States Air Force, and that desire to brew was still strong. In 2019, he decided that it was time to make his hobby into a business, and thus began the plans for RIIR. Two years and countless hours later, family, friends, well-wishers, and beer lovers alike united to watch as the ribbon was cut, signaling the opening of Ravena’s newest business.

Photo by Amy Klemme

From the second you walk up to the entrance, you can tell that Steven and his wife Tracy have really tried to stay true to the namesake of their brewery. Customers are greeted with a large front display to either side of the entrance. To the left, a display dedicated to the Rails portion of the business name- a miniature train-set highlighted by examples of oil-lit lanterns on either side. To the right, a display features several brass propellers, lighthouse models, and black & white photos of steamships in all their glory. This motif carries through as you step inside, opposite walls of the interior adorned with vintage postcards of rail yards, train engines, paddle steamers, and even Ravena itself. When your attention breaks from the striking photography covering the walls, you can see the rest of the brewery beautifully adorned with a variety of beautiful touches. The bar, hand-made using the remains of a bowling lane, the flight holders constructed by Tracy as a tribute to Steven’s love of racing cars or even just the glimmer of the lights as it bounces off all of the brewing equipment is truly a treat for the eyes.

RIIR currently offers a good variety of beers ranging from IPA’s to ales and bitters, as well as several guest taps and mixed drinks using their beers as the base. Their tap list is sure to please a wide range of beer lovers, and based on the faces of the many happy customers in attendance…RIIR seems to know what they’re doing. I, myself will definitely be visiting again soon and would recommend to any other beer lover to do the same.

Photo Gallery by Amy Klemme

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