Credit: Kysha Harris photo

Last week I regaled the first days of my visit to my childhood friends/couple, Marya and Nick. Second night was an al fresco 50th birthday celebration Marya threw for herself that was perfect!

Marya even made her own birthday cake, turning the whole evening on its side, including the cake itself. She made a vertical chocolate roulade cake. Normally a roulade is a rolled horizontal cake, but Marya saw a recipe for shorting the length and increasing the width in the rolling process after spreading a mocha whipped cream. She finished with crispy chocolate bar, toffee shards and nuts. Amazing!

On my last night, Marya planned a night out on the town…just dinner and milkshakes from Stewart’s. We secured our fur-babies in the house and headed out on a rainy dusk-filled sky night.

After an informative 45 minute drive past the reservoirs serving New York City, we arrived in Livingston Manor, New York to Upward Brewing Company. Just the building and the bucolic grounds helmed by Beer Mountain are impressive enough, but a walk into this Scandinavian-looking ski chalet and you will swear you landed in the newest joint in the bowels of hip Brooklyn.

The interior design of Upward serves mid-century modern with parsons tables and rich low back leather chairs, wooden chandelier lighting emerging from the angled, canvas-swathed ceiling, shining on concrete poured floors. One of the best features is the large fireplace nestled in the wall of windows overlooking the exterior space, fire pits, man-made lake and the grounds in general.

We took a socially distant seat before deciding our food journey but not before separately stepping to the bar for one of their housemade craft brews. Nick went for a cider but Marya and I went for an IPA. On the money!

Now the food at Upward…a pandemic pivot of sorts when the owners decided to offer their kitchen to a local eatery set for closing. It has worked out as the business the eatery did in one week was met in two nights. And they are not playing around, using locally sourced ingredients and turning out a rotated menu of elevated food to pair with the beer. For me that meant a shrimp po’ boy, fries, seafood chowder and grilled broccoli.

I left Upward feeling very satisfied and with a four-pack of Upward’s Pils-Noir that starts as a chocolatey stout and finishes like a crisp pilsner. The stop at Stewart’s and the surly 17-year veteran soda jerk who told me “I will make your black and white shake the way I want and you will like it,” laid me out for the night.

Happy eating, stay safe and thanks for reading.

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 18 years. She is the new Food Editor at www.TheSpruceEats.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPnyc, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc.

Questions, comments, requests, feedback, invitations! Email us at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD,