As the Long Island craft beer boom continues, with more and more small-scale breweries popping up across the region, casual drinkers and beer snobs alike have more choices of local brewskies than ever before.
Long Island craft beer has become such a staple that local restaurants increasingly have beer on tap from a local brewery. And summertime weekend revelers often choose to spend their afternoons at homegrown microbrewery tasting rooms instead of traditional bars.
The craft beer industry here on Long Island has grown exponentially in the last four years alone: from nine breweries sprinkled across Nassau and Suffolk counties in the summer of 2012 to more than 30 presently. That’s not counting at least a dozen of other up-and-coming nanobreweries. The majority of breweries on this list have physical locations where people can enjoy a tasting or fill a growler.
Similarly, new trends have grown out of this hoppin’ industry, such as the emergence of several hop farms on the East End and about a dozen breweries utilizing a percentage of either New York State or Long Island-grown ingredients, earning them the designation of a certified farm brewery. (The breweries in this list with a farm brewery license will have a “New York State-Certified Farm Brewery” designation.)
Unlike the vast network of East End vineyards supported by fertile farmland, craft breweries do not discriminate by geography. That’s why beer drinkers can find a brewery within reasonable distance wherever they live on Long Island.
Perhaps the most well-known of Long Island’s craft beer industry is Blue Point Brewing Co., which was sold to InBev, the world’s largest brewer, in 2014, for a reported $24 million. But that’s not to say other breweries aren’t making waves. Indeed, Southampton Publick House, a brew pub, distributes its beers as far south as Puerto Rico, and Greenport Brewing Co., despite being on the northeastern edge of the Island, has beers flowing in bars and restaurants across New York City and upstate New York.
Luckily for us, we don’t have to travel far to enjoy the fruits of their collective labor.
So, with our pint glasses raised extra-high in the Press newsroom, here’s your Long Island craft beer and brewery guide. Cheers, LI!
Lithology Brewing Co.
211 A Main St., Farmingdale. lithologybrewing.com
To the founders of Lithology Brewing Co., there’s more to beer than just beer. They consider microbrewing a science—and they believe the key ingredient to all magical things from New York is good ol’ H2O.
Lithology relies on the best ingredients they can get their hands on to produce the perfect batch of beer, and if they’re unhappy with the final product, then it’s back to the drawing board.
It looks like their methodical approach to beer-making has paid off: Lithology’s Brown Ale was the silver medal winner at the 2016 New York International Craft Beer Competition. Aside from its standout brew, Lithology also produces a savory vanilla porter, a Belgian witbier, a dry-hopped pale ale, a flaked wheat summer ale, and so much more.
The brewery features a tasting room that is having its grand opening this week. Lithology Brewing Co. is a New York State-certified farm brewery.
Flagship Beer: Legal American Pale Ale
Flying Belgian Brewery
Farmingdale. 818-457-7548. flyingbelgianbrewery.com
As its name suggests, Flying Belgian Brewery produces only Belgian-style beers out of its small facility in Farmingdale. And for its co-owners, Mike Scimeca and Kevin Connelly, that’s quite enough.
Scimeca, who handles business end of the operation, says the nanobrewery focuses on how beer could best be paired with food. As such, Flying Belgian already distributes to a half-dozen restaurants on the Island.
Although the beers are mostly fashioned after Belgian brews, Flying Belgian puts their own twist on their concoctions. When Connelly, the head brewer, is brewing up a new batch, he often considers how the beer would compliment a meal, whether it’s steak or pasta.
Flying Belgian consistently has at least two beers in its rotation: Illegally Blonde, a classic Blonde Belgian beer with a darker hue, and Salvation a la Mode, described as a “smooth” honey ale.
You won’t find any IPAs here, however. Scimeca recalled a conversation he had with a restaurant owner who lamented that taps were being overrun with IPAs, and wanted instead to offer a broad spectrum of beers. And that’s where Flying Belgian comes in.
The brewery also delivers its brews to about 10 beer distributors in the area, predominantly in Nassau County. They have plans to expand into Suffolk and Queens. The brewery has been in operation since last November, but it’s already made strides getting its Belgian joys out to Long Island’s craft beer-loving public.
Flagship Beer: Illegally Blonde
Black Forest Brew Haus
2015 New Highway, Farmingdale. 631-391-9500. blackforestbrewhaus.com
You may have heard about Black Forest Brew Haus’ stuffed dumplings, hot Bavarian pretzels, or its loaded potato pancakes, but it’s the in-house beer that’s making noise around the Long Island craft beer scene.
The German-style brewery, which opened in 1999, offers a full menu, appetizers, entrees, German flare and more, as well as a steady selection of beers brewed on its premises. And as you can imagine, its beer list includes a pilsner infused with German and Czech hops, a traditional German Marzen and the always-popular Hefeweizen.
The hybrid restaurant/brewery, or brew pub, also produces two India Pale Ales: one called the Cannonball IPA, and another dubbed Belligerent Hipster IPA. Not sure if new-age Brooklynites or their brethren appreciate the name, but when it comes to the beer itself, there’s not much to complain about.
The brew haus hosts happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and serves brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It also features live music. Prost!
Garvies Point Brewery
1 Garvies Point Rd., Glen Cove. 516-815-1999. garviespointbrewing.com
Brewing small-batch, hand-crafted brews for the hop-heads in all of us, Garvies Point Craft Brewery takes great care in perfecting their blends before distributing it to the masses.
The brewery, which currently does not have a taproom (refer to their website for updates), produces about 1,000 gallons of beer per month. It’s a small-scale operation, but fans rave about their beers. Although they’re only producing a handful of brews, Garvies Point is taking on complicated concoctions: IPAs, double IPAs, Belgian witbier and a delectable porter boasting chocolate and coffee notes (yep, they went there).
Thankfully for all of us it doesn’t end there. Garvies just released its Wunderkind IPA—a “tropical IPA” that we can’t wait to get our hands on.
As of now, Garvies Point is only serving up its beers in draft and keg form.
Barrier Brewing Co.
3001 New St., Unit A2, Oceanside. barrierbrewing.com
While some craft brewers dream big of rivaling the likes of Samuel Adams, the boys at Barrier Brewing Co. in Oceanside put the micro in microbrewery, by specializing in self-distributed small batches.
That winning formula allows brewmasters and business partners Evan Klein and Craig Frymark to offer dozens of selections, bringing long lines of loyal fans coming back again and again to their tasting room to try Barrier’s latest creations.
“Brewing for quality not quantity,” is the proud motto of this New York State-certified farm brewery.
Founded in 2007, Barrier was the first brewery to set up shop in Nassau County amid the current craft beer boom. But they had a setback when Superstorm Sandy flooded their operation in 2012, forcing them to close for several months to rebuild. They’ve since bounced back, pouring 50 different beers annually.
Since they’re all about these small batches, however, it’s impossible to pin them down on what could be termed their “flagship brew.” Among their most popular, flavorful, rhyming and alliterative labels have been Lights Out Stout, Beech St. Wheat, Bulkhead Red, Dubbel Down, Barnacle Brown, and Dunegrass DIPA.
Oyster Bay Brewing Co.
36 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay. 516-802-5546. oysterbaybrewing.com
Oyster Bay Brewing Co. has turned what was once a sleepy downtown into a hoppin’ North Shore destination, with beer connoisseurs visiting the downtown simply to get their hands on local brew.
The brewery first opened in 2012 in a tiny storefront not far from the more traditional Oyster Bay landmark: Sagamore Hill. But a lot has changed since then. In February, the brewery moved to another location five times the size of their original locale, and is now in the business of canning select beers.
The brewery presently has 6,000-square feet to work with, and it has dedicated much of the square footage to an impressive bar that runs 30 feet in length. Not bad for its two owners, both of whom have day jobs at a local car dealership.
“People would come in for a tasting and maybe a couple of pints and then leave,” Katie Mattner, the tasting room manager and events planner, recently told the Press. [RELATED STORY: Oyster Bay Brewery Brings New Nightlife To A Sleepy Downtown] “Nobody would stay more than an hour or so. But now people are here all night!”
Despite the move, Oyster Bay Brewing Co. is still producing such favorites as Honey Ale and Barn Rocker, the latter of which is dedicated to our beloved Islanders’ former home, Nassau Coliseum, aka “The Old Barn.” The brewmasters also pay homage to their Gold Coast clientele with beers like Muttontown Brown Ale, Sagamore Dark Lager and to local hero Theodore Roosevelt himself, with Rough Rye-Der Rye IPA. Oyster Bay Brewing Co. is a New York State-certified farm brewery.
Flagship Beer: Barn Rocker
Woodside Hard Cider
Woodside Orchards, Route 25, Aquebogue. 631-722-5770. woodsideorchards.com
Yes, this is a cidery, not a brewery, but until enough Long Island apple orchards start making so much hard cider that they need a separate guide, Woodside must be listed alongside beer brewers.
The North Fork Hard Cidery doesn’t just serve regular hard apple cider, although that is available, too. They also have variations, such as sweet, apple lemon and cinnamon apple—they’ve also had apple ginger, apple raspberry and apple pumpkin in the past. All that’s in addition to apple wine, apple pie and other apple goods they sell.
“The reception has exceeded our expectations,” Bob Gammon, who co-owns Woodside Orchards with his brother, Scott, told The New York Times. “All our ciders are based on the English-style ciders, so they are less sweet.”
Several local wineries have dabbled with cider, although thus far those productions appear to be one-offs. other apple orchards on LI sell non-alcoholic sweet cider, but so far this is the only one that regularly ferments hard cider and offers it at a tasting room.
Flagship Cider: Traditional
The Brewers Collective
1460 N. Clinton Ave., Unit C, Bay Shore. thebrewerscollective.com
Here comes the revolution within the revolution. Operated by six owners who all have an equal share in the business, The Brewers Collective grew out of a home brewers club that came together in 2007. By 2013, however, the club decided it was time let the rest of Long Island in on their little secret, and thus The Brewers Collective was born.
They got their start at the microbrewery incubator in Farmingdale known as A Taste of Long Island, but left for their own space in Bay Shore, which is currently under construction and expected to have its grand opening, tasting room and all, in the fall.
The Collective is a certified New York State farm brewery, using hops grown on the East End and upstate, and they’re in the process of capturing wild yeast in Bay Shore. The Collective is also big on Gruit Ale, which one of its founder, Sarah Dougherty, calls “very ancient.” While rare now, Gruit Ale, which is a mix of different herbs, was once wildly popular.
The Collective had been distributing to about a half-dozen restaurants in Suffolk County when it was operating in Farmingdale. Once it reopens, it plans to brew up to five of its beers year-round and a rotation of seasonal brews. Among its unique beers is a Gruit made with sage, lemon balm and hibiscus.
Flagship Beer: Useful Idiot IPA
Great South Bay Brewery
25 Drexel Dr., Bay Shore. 631-392-8472. Greatsouthbaybrewery.com
Fans of Long Island craft beer can’t get enough of Great South Bay Brewery.
With popular brews like Blood Orange and Snaggletooth, a glorious stout, this South Shore brewery has been making waves for some time. Its brewery, located in an industrial area in Bay Shore, attracts droves of beer enthusiasts on weekends. Pay a visit, and you’re likely to find patrons sipping beers amid games of corn hole and foosball.
But mostly people come out for the beer.
The brewery typically has about a dozen beers on tap on any given day, and boasts a wide range of styles: from cream ales and pale ales to stouts and seasonal delights. And with beer names like Sleigh Rye Winter Ale, Candleabrum, Hopsy Dazy and Devil’s Deed, you have to admire their imagination. Great South Bay Brewery is a New York State-certified farm brewery.
Flagship Beer: Blood Orange Pale Ale
Destination Unknown Beer Co.
1 South Chicago Ave., Bay Shore. 631-485-2232. destinationunknownbeercompany.com
Destination Unknown Beer Co., or DubCo for short, may not know where they’re going, but the sky’s the limit for this up-and-coming microbrewery that opened during Long Island Craft Beer Week 2015.
The duo behind this two-man operation is Brad Finn, a high school teacher, and his lifelong friend and co-founder, Chris Candiano, a contractor. They haven’t quit their day jobs, but this certified farm brewery still manages to turn out a new brew once weekly. Their beer can be found on tap at local bars and restaurants, as well as in their tasting room.
“We’re small enough that we can still experiment and take chances,” Candiano told News12 Long Island.
Their brews include Barrel Aged Sonar, Beach Chair Blonde, For Shore Hefeweizen, Mellow Mood IPA, and Sore Thumb IPA.
Flagship Beer: Dominick White IPA
Twin Fork Beer Co.
Calverton. 631-209-4233. twinforkbeer.com
As anyone familiar with Long Island may have realized after reading the name of this microbrewery, Twin Fork Beer Co. is located on the East End, near the North and South forks.
But their name references more than just their location. It’s also a wink to the owners, Dan and Peter Chekijian, identical twins who founded the brewery in 2014. Their tap handles, found at restaurants across LI and NYC, is a musical tuning fork—a tip of the hat to their father, a classical pianist.
“Music was always a large presence in the family, instilling not only a love of music but also discipline and good work ethic,” the brewers said on their website.
It also clearly provided them with the creativity required to go into the microbrewery business. Although they self-distribute their beer, Twin Forks Beer Co. is still in the process of establishing their tasting room. Check their website for updates on its status.
Flagship Beer: Chromatic Ale
Barrage Brewing Company
32 Allen Blvd., East Farmingdale. 516-986-8066. barragebrewing.com
Founded by a former Long Island Rail Road employee who transformed his garage into a bar—thus the name, “Barrage”—this craft brewery offers nearly two dozen brews with eclectic names like “Famous Last Words,” “One Ryed Monkey” and “Yada Yada Yada.”
The brewery itself is about two years old, but prior to turning his love affair with beer into a full-fledged operation, founder Steve Pominski had been homebrewing for more than 20 years—well before the Long Island craft beer revolution took hold.
Pominski attended the Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy in Chicago so he could master his craft, and now he’s taking what he learned at home and from the pros to serve up a wide variety of IPAs, ales, stouts, porters, and more to Long Island’s burgeoning craft beer fan base.
Initially only open to the public for growler fills, Barrage now boasts a tasting room so thirsty artisan beer drinkers can sample beers while taking in the ambiance.
Flagship Beer: Yada Yada Yada
Tweaking Frog Brewing Co.
211-A Main St., Farmingdale. 631-897-5509. tweakingfrogbrewing.com
This funky upstart New York State-certified farm brewery got its start at a craft beer incubator known as “A Taste of Long Island,” which was later sold to Lithology Brewing Co.
Lithology, which was also born out of ATOLI, made the space their headquarters and tasting room, but let Tweaking Frog share it, although other brewers that started there have since moved on. In that shared, magical, craft-beer cradle, Tweaking Frog launched its operation and tasting room in 2016.
“I have been an avid home brewer for the better part of eight years, with dreams of starting up a microbrewery of my own,” owner Joseph Curley said in a GoFundMe request for donations to help launch Tweaking Frog. “After a year of focused planning, research, and a lot of luck, I was able to secure a location.”
Tweaking Frog brews, which have started to appear on taps at restaurants on Long Island, include Ribbit Red Ale, their take on an American Red Ale, Raging Pollywog IPA, and (the Miley Cyrus-inspired?) Twerking Blond Ale.
Flagship Beer: Ribbit Red Ale
Fire Island Beer Co.
Fire Island. 631-482-3118. fireislandbeer.com
This microbrewery’s beers stimulate the senses, just like the barrier island where it was conceived and for which it was named, but fans shouldn’t expect to find a brewery on Fire Island.
The trio behind these beers was looking for a brick-and-mortar location to set up shop since they founded the company in 2009, but that hasn’t stopped them from brewing up new concoctions while farming the operation out to other brewers. Former investment banker Simon Leonard became a majority owner of the company in 2014, with the founders remaining on as minority owners. While a permanent home has been uncertain, one thing is clear—the beer they brew is a hit.
“The original founders will still have a stake in the company and will be instrumental in helping move [it] forward,” the company said on its blog. “This will include a physical location in Long Island and potentially a sister site in Connecticut.”
Bert Fernandez co-founded the company with his brother, Tom, and cousin, Jeff Glassman, after they devised their first beer at their family’s home in Atlantique, a small, secluded residential community on FI next to a park of the same name, with just one restaurant, The Session Stand, which was the first bar to serve their beer. [RELATED STORY: A Beginner’s Guide To Summer On Fire Island]
Flaghip Beer: Lighthouse Ale
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
234 Carpenter St., Greenport. 631-477-1100. greenportharborbrewing.com
This dynamic brewery on the eastern tip of Long Island has risen to such heights that its beer is already being featured in bottles and on tap in New York City, upstate New York, and across the Long Island Sound in Connecticut.
It’s been quite a run for its two founders, whom became buddies in college and bonded over less-than-stellar beer. Now they play host to daycationers and locals alike who visit Greenport for its waterfront access, history, and incomparable seafood spots. But the brewery itself—located in a converted firehouse—has become an attraction of its own. Make no mistake, however, it’s the beer that makes people coming back for more.
The brewery has been such a success that the duo steering the ship have opened a second location in Peconic—which features a tasting room just like its hometown brewery, as well as bottling equipment.
Greenport specializes in a variety of ales, seasonal favorites—fall is not complete without Leaf Pile, FYI—along with porters and Indian pale ales. Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. is a New York State-certified farm brewery.
Flagship Beer: Harbor Ale
1940’s Brewing Co.
1337 Lincoln Ave., #1, Holbrook. 1940sbrewingcompany.com
Beer is in Charlie Becker’s blood. The third-generation brewer decided to go pro and is now walking the same path his grandfather and father followed years ago.
With both family patriarchs in the beer business, it seems Becker found the perfect fit. The only question may be: What took so darn long?
1940’s Brewing Co., founded in 2014, is currently producing about a half-dozen year-round beers, including staples such as Golden Riveter IPA, and I Slip U Fall (double IPA). But there’s more to 1940’s Brewing than IPAs. It also produces a seasonal saison, a German rye, an oatmeal stout, and a German wheat beer. For soccer fans, 1940’s is also known for a English IPA named after the beloved Premier League club Arsenal.
The brewery decided to pay homage to Becker’s family’s beer past by naming the company after the year in which his father graduated from the U.S. Brewer’s Academy. Its tasting room officially opened in August.
Saint James Brewery
929 Lincoln Ave., Holbrook. saintjamesbrewery.com
Don’t let the name confuse you. This Belgian-inspired local craft brewery is in Holbrook, not Saint James. The moniker is a nod to their European-style brews, not the address of the brewery.
Saint James Brewery’s dedication to traditional techniques is matched only by this certified farm brewery’s commitment to only using the freshest local ingredients. That includes hops from Wading River, honey from Mattituck, apples from Northport, their own special strain of yeast, filtered local water and barley grown upstate.
“We believe in the farm-to-pint, the farm-to-table mentality,” Jamie Adams, who co-founded the brewery with his wife, Rachel, in 2012, told Beer Sessions Radio. “We shop at farmers markets ourselves…it was a natural progression for us.”
They even compost their spent barley and hops, then use that compost in their garden, where they grow some of their ingredients.
Since setting up shop, Saint James’ brews can be found on taps at dozens of bars and restaurants across Long Island and New York City.
Spider Bite Beer Co.
920 Lincoln Ave., Unit 5, Holbrook. 631-942-3255. spiderbitebeer.com
These brewers share their careers’ inspiration with Spiderman, but instead of a spider bite giving them the power to climb walls, sling webs and fight crime, their superpower is brewing terrific beer.
Founded in 2008, Spider Bite was among the first to set up shop amid the current LI craft beer boom. It was established by Larry Goldstein, a chiropractor, and his mortician neighbor, Anthony LiCausi. They won Best Craft Brewery in New York State in 2012.
“We can’t even keep up with demand,” Goldstein previously told the Press. [RELATED STORY: Long Island’s Craft Beer Explosion] “We’re always playing catch-up.”
Many of their beers have arachnid-themed names, such as Eye Be Use Imperial IPA, Eight Legged RyPA, White Bite Wheat Ale and Boris the Spider Russian Imperial Stout, their winter release (lil nod there to The Who song?; this one goes up to Entwistle).
Flagship Beer: First Bite Pale Ale
Squarehead Brewing Co.
405 High St., Holbrook. 631-921-3060. squareheadbrewing.com
Squarehead Brewing Co. takes farm-to-pint so seriously that they grow their own hops in the field next to their Holbrook craft brewery and tasting room, scheduled to open in 2016.
Dave and Brad Jordan, a father-and-son team of homebrewers-turned-microbrewers, gave a nod to their ancestors when naming their certified farm brewery. A squarehead is defined as a person of German, Dutch, Scandinavian or Swedish origin.
“The elderberry clone was one of the first beers,” Dave told Drunk and Unemployed. “We saw the public response, that was like, yup, all in.”
Although they’re just getting underway, since they prefer small batches, they already list about 30 ales, porters, stouts, IPAs and other brews on their website. They include Hippies on The Yip, a Belgian blossom saison; 3 Dollar Bill, a pistachio pale ale; Suite Solitude, a strawberries-and-cream ale; as well as winter ales, an Oktoberfest brew and three different coffee imperial stouts.
Montauk Brewing Co.
62 S. Erie Ave., Montauk. 631-668-8471. montaukbrewingco.com
The do-it-yourself attitude that the easternmost community on Long Island is known for flows from the owners of the Montauk Brewing Co. like brew from the taps in their rustic tasting room.
Vaughan Cutillo and two of his fellow ex-lifeguard buddies, Joseph Sullivan and Eric Moss, founded the brewery and “gallery tap room”—adorned with Hamptons artists’ abstract paintings and scenic photos—in an old wood-working company showroom in 2012. Their logo adorns a trailer-hitched beach cruiser bicycle, which the trio uses to tow 170-lb. beer kegs to local pubs.
“It’s our Clydesdales,” jokes Cutillo, referring to the team of horses Budweiser uses in their promotions. While pouring 4-oz. samples of his hometown’s namesake beer, he added: “We got pretty lucky to be able to do this here.”
Located just outside of the traffic circle in downtown Montauk, these entrepreneurs arguably run one of the most scenic local craft breweries on LI, with an outdoor seating area that offers views of Fort Pond.
Flagship Brew: Driftwood Ale
Bellport Brewing Company
Founded in 2013, Bellport Brewing Co. prides itself on a true “farm-to-pint” experience. The certified farm brewery sits atop a 13-acre hop farm, and uses 20-percent New York-sourced ingredients in its brews with a goal of 90 percent by 2024.
Its head brewer and founder, Brian Baker, got his start as a homebrewer, and developed his skills over time. It also helped that he mingled with craft beer fanatics who make up the Long Island Malt and Beer Enthusiasts group. The home brewing experience, combined with the knowledge of other beer aficionados, helped guide Baker and his two partners to where they are now.
Since the brewery is conveniently located on a farm where hops are grown, it comes as no surprise that the bulk of its beers are Indian Pale Ales. Out of the four beers it currently produces, three are IPAs: South Country IPA, Bitter Thaw, and Very Bitter Thaw. Bellport pays homage to the South Shore village it’s named after by dubbing its only non-IPA brew “Captain Tom’s Porter”—in reference to one of the village’s two founders.
The brewery’s tasting room is tentatively scheduled to open in September.
Flagship Beer: South Country IPA
Sand City Brewing Co.
60 Main St., Northport. sandcitybeer.com
From the tasting room bar built from reclaimed barn wood to their name, which is a throwback to when Northport village was a sand mining town, this brewery is steeped in history.
Established in a former vintage clothing shop in one of Long Island’s quintessential waterfront downtowns two blocks from Northport Harbor, Sand City Brewing Co. has a lot more going for it than just a great location—they also make delicious beer.
“I’ve always been a hop head,” Kevin Sihler, Sand City’s head brewer, told The Happy Hour Guys, who dubbed him the “hops whisperer.” Sihler explained their mentality like this: “Let’s brew what we like to brew. People will either drink it or they won’t, and hopefully we can educate those people to try new things.”
Sandy City was founded in 2015 by Sihler, Bill Kiernan, and Frank McNally. Less than a year after opening, they were already on taps at restaurants across Long Island.
Although they don’t serve food themselves, a waiter from Tim’s Shipwreck Diner next door comes in to take orders and serve food to patrons at Sand City. Former Northport hellraiser (and King of the Beats) Jack Kerouac would surely have split his time between Sandy City and his infamous haunt Gunther’s, had the brewery been around back in the day. [RELATED STORY: Jack Kerouac” The Long Island Years]
Flagship Beer(s): Oops I Hopped My Pants, Day Drifter
Blue Point Brewing Co.
161 River Ave., Patchogue. 844-272-2739. bluepointbrewing.com
The largest and one of the oldest craft breweries on Long Island is increasingly found on taps nationwide since InBev, the world’s largest brewing company, bought Blue Point Brewing Co. in 2014.
Despite that reported $24 million sale, the brewery’s original partners continue to run the show—the deal really just helped their liquidity and allowed them to tap larger markets. They’re expanding their Patchogue River-front brewery and tasting room, but they still have the same attitude that’s as bold and refreshing as their brews.
“One of the things we say about brewing is it’s 99-percent asshole-free, and I don’t wanna be that one percent,” Mark Burford, who co-founded Blue Point in 1997, previously told the Press.
Of course, Blue Point’s success flows not just from being nice, but also from consistently brewing up great new beers.
The brewery, named for the hamlet just south of Patchogue village where they’re headquartered, wisely co-opted the moniker of another nationally successful LI export, Blue Point Oysters, which go great with a pint.
Flagship Beer: Toasted Lager
Brickhouse Brewery & Restaurant
67 W. Main St., Patchogue. 631-447-2337. brickhousebrewery.com
Brickhouse Brewery has become a staple for Long Island beer drinkers. For more than 20 years, Brickhouse has been serving up pub favorites alongside beers brewed in-house.
The brewery itself is located in Patchogue’s oldest commercial building, which the brew pub estimates was built around 1850. The beer industry has changed quite a bit since Brickhouse purchased the building in 1995. There wasn’t the glut of small breweries there are now, but Brickhouse still finds a way to stand out.
It’s taproom flows with everything from IPAs and cream ales (one of which is soaked in whiskey!) to saisons, and more. The brewery has its own brewmaster, assistant brewer, and employs a craft beer consultant.
And while it’s always producing different varieties, the brew pub does have about four that it considers flagship beers: Street Light, Beowulf IPA, Brickhouse Red and Nitro Boom Stout.
Port Jefferson Brewing Co.
22 Mill Creek Rd., Port Jefferson. 1-877-475-2739. portjeffbrewing.com
As is this case with so many craft brewing operations, Port Jefferson Brewing began with a home-brewing kit. Sadly, the first beer owner Mike Philbrick produced from the kit was less than stellar. Good thing for us he’s a quick learner.
The former home-improvement company salesman is now churning out some of the best brews on the Island, and his artisan delights can be found at restaurants and bars across Nassau and Suffolk counties. The nautical-themed brewery, home to a cozy tasting room that fills up with people enjoying Port Jeff’s lively downtown, is a must-see spot on any beer tour. Thirsty visitors can stop in for a pint, tasting or growler fill.
Port Jeff mainstays include Schooner Ale, Port Jeff Porter and the H3. Anyone planning to make a trip to the waterfront village should pop in for a pint or two.
Flagship Beer: Schooner Ale
Moustache Brewing Co.
400 Hallett Ave., Riverhead. 631-591-3250. moustachebrewing.com
Lauri and her moustached husband, Matthew, had been homebrewing for years—sound familiar?—before they decided to pursue their dream job. For Lauri, it took a life coach to inquire about what her dream job would be for her to realize she wanted to brew beer for a living. [RELATED STORY: ‘Hop-Crazy’ & Growing: Long Island Craft Beer Boom Pours On]
Now here they are, brewing a variety of hand-crafted drinks in Riverhead, the undisputed capital of Long Island’s ever-growing beer industry. Beer lovers had been salivating over Moustache’s product even before the brewery opened in 2014. Moustache would sell their brews at the local farmers’ market as they continued to perfect their recipe. It wouldn’t take long for kegs to run dry.
Their trademark beer, Everyman’s Porter, is a remarkably light-bodied porter with hints of roasted coffee. Moustache also produces a delicious Milk + Honey Brown Ale, several other core beers, and seasonal beers, including a double IPA—the first in their “atomic” series. Moustache Brewing Co. is a New York State-certified farm brewery.
Flagship Beer: Everyman’s Porter
Crooked Ladder Brewing Co.
70 W. Main St., Riverhead. 631-591-3565. crookedladderbrewing.com
If any town on Long Island should be considered the undisputed capital of craft beer, it’s Riverhead.
Tucked in the center of Riverhead’s idyllic Main Street, Crooked Ladder has established itself as not only a craft brewery, but a destination for anyone looking to put back a few cold ones with friends and family while enjoying a night out on the town.
Crooked Ladder has developed more than three-dozen beers since it opened in 2013. Its tasting room typically has eight beers on tap, with the list of offerings varying, depending on the season. For instance, anyone walking into the brewery in the summer may come upon “Summeritis,” a gold-colored summer ale.
If there’s a style of beer that appeals to you the most, it’s a good bet that Crooked Ladder’s brewmasters have put their talents to the test. Its full list of microbrews includes everything from ubiquitous IPAs and ales (red and brown) to saisons, strong ales, stouts, pilsners, and porters. And if you’re looking for a more robust get-together with friends, the brewery also rents out the space for events.
Bottoms up, indeed.
Flagship Beer: Gypsy Red
Long Ireland Beer Co.
817 Pulaski St., Riverhead. 631-403-4303. longirelandbrewing.com
Long Ireland Beer Co., located in an East End neighborhood known as Polish Town, sounds like an international brewing operation, but the owners are as fiercely local as can be.
Greg Martin, who founded the craft brewery and tasting room with his business partner, Ed Burke, in 2011, once saw his salesman kicked out of a bar for asking the bar owner to not have Long Ireland replace a tap occupied by a Blue Point Brewery beer.
“He had said, ‘Well, is there maybe a different beer you’d consider taking off? We know those guys, they’re local guys, we’re friends,’” Martin previously told the Press. He recalled that the owner yelled back: “If you’re not willing to take Blue Point’s lines and be competitive, then you’re not gonna make it in this business!”
Long Ireland, a New York State-certified farm brewery, later recovered the sale when the bar’s patrons kept asking for it. And years later, they’re not only making it in the beer biz, their distribution reach is growing, all the time.
They’re frequently asked, ‘What’s up with that name?’ It came to Martin in the shower while nursing a bad hangover the day after St. Patrick’s Day. True story.
Flagship Beer: Celtic Ale
Rocky Point Artisan Brewers
This nanobrewery may operate out of a garage since it was licensed in 2012, but the trio running Rocky Point Artisan Brewers has big ideas about the future of LI’s beer scene.
Donavan Hall, a physicist who co-founded RPAB with his friend, Mike Voigt, and their “mad scientist,” Yuri Janssen, another physicist, envisions a brewery in every LI town, like in parts of Europe. They aim to become a Community Supported Brewery—like Community Supported Agriculture, in which people pre-purchase the harvest of small local farmers.
“We would like to turn Long Island into a very diverse beer culture,” Donavan Hall previously told the Press. “We want people to have a beer in Rocky Point that they’re really not going to get anywhere else.”
They’re too small to have a tasting room, but RPAB’s beers can be found at about two dozen bars, restaurants and beer distributors across LI and New York City.
Their vision of a European-style brewtopia on LI isn’t just the beer talking. The trio helped found the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts, billed as the largest local homebrew club that is like LI’s craft brewery farm team.
Since they’re all about the small batches, they don’t have a flagship beer, but their most popular year-round offerings include Red Saison, Pilsner and Hefe.
Shelter Island Craft Brewery
55 North Ferry Rd., Shelter Island. 631-749-5977. home.shelterislandcraftbrewery.com
Even the smallest town on Long Island was not immune from the local microbrew boom, with Shelter Island Craft Brewery serving especially flavorful brews in its namesake downtown as of 2015.
Among the local ingredients this New York State-certified farm brewery reportedly uses are honey, apples, beach plums and scallops from Shelter Island, plus spices grown in the brewmaster’s garden. The founder, Jim Hull, a former jeweler, derives his recipes from time spent in the kitchen.
“I just like to cook, it’s my passion,” Hull told Long Island Wine Press. “It is like being a chef, but harder.”
Founded in an old insurance office, visitors to the brewery can soak up the aromas inside, or take their beers outside to sit at one of the picnic tables under umbrellas.
Flagship Beer: 114 IPA
Blind Bat Brewery
Blind Bat may still be on the hunt for a home to nest in, but that hasn’t stopped the prolific beer producers from giving Long Islanders what they want. It’s a go-to on locals’ quality-beer radar, that’s for sure.
Whether it’s at a local farmers’ market, beer distributor, or craft beer bar, Blind Bat fans go to great lengths to get their hands on the brewery’s latest concoction. So far, Blind Bat, which incorporates farm-fresh ingredients into some of its creations, has brewed 30 different beers.
Since its founder Paul Dlugokencky is brewing out of a detached garage outside his Centerport home, all of their creations are not available at once, but fans will be sure to find something delightful no matter what they’re craving. Not only can he brew, but the Blind Bat himself is proficient at coming up with wildly imaginative names for his hand-crafted refreshments.
Our favorite is “Four Eyes Quadruple Ale”—inspired, no doubt, by founder Paul Dlugokencky’s poor vision. As Dlugokencky has proved, you don’t need 20/20 eyesight to have the vision to turn a hobby and passion into an independent business you can be proud of.
Flagship Beer: Hellsmoke Porter
Southampton Publick House
62 Jobs Lane, Southampton. 631-283-2800. www.publick.com
Long Island’s oldest brew-making establishment is more than just a brewery. Southampton Publick House is also home to a restaurant, where patrons can wash down pub food with its award-winning beers, and a hoppening taproom replete with seasonal beers and year-round offerings.
Southampton Publick House is unique in that it’s the only brewpub on Long Island that distributes its delicious creations to stores in the region. Its artisan adult beverages can also be found in beer distributors located throughout the eastern seaboard, plus Puerto Rico.
Publick House is no stranger to accolades. Beer Advocate Magazine named it Brew Pub of the Year in 2003, and its beers have gone on to win several awards throughout the years.
On a typical visit, beer lovers can knock back the popular Burton India Pale Ale, styled after brews made famous in the English town of Burton-on-Trent, the Southampton Double White, similar to ubiquitous Belgian witbiers, and Keller Pils, an old-fashioned lager.
Long Island Craft Beer Bars:
Tap & Barrel
558 Smithtown Bypass, Smithtown.
287 Main St., Huntington.
The Good Life
1039 Park Blvd., Massapequa Park.
42 E. Main St., Bay Shore.
Croxley’s Public House & Garden
L.I. Pour House Bar & Grill BBQ Restaurant
650 NY-112, Port Jefferson Station.
The Tap Room
27 W. Main St., Bay Shore.
22 W. Main St., Patchogue.
The Mill Roadhouse
142 Mill Rd., Westhampton Beach.
Coach Grill & Tavern
22 Pine Hollow Rd., Oyster Bay.
430 Woodbury Rd., Plainview.
Canterbury’s Oyster Bar & Grill
46 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay.
Hemingway’s American Bar & Grill
1885 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh.
The Republic Pub
217 Main St., Farmingdale.
The Black Sheep Ale House
78 2nd St., Mineola.
2314 Hempstead Tpke., East Meadow.
Corry’s Ale House
3274 Railroad Ave., Wantagh.
Dark Horse Tavern
273 Main St., Farmingdale.
Left Coast Kitchen & Cocktails
1810 Merrick Rd., Merrick.
850 Franklin Ave., Garden City.
The Lark Pub & Grub
93 Larkfield Rd., East Northport.
216B Main St., Port Jefferson.
The Beach House
Rookie’s Sports Club
70 Gerard St., Huntington.
70 W. Main St., Patchogue.
935 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square.
210 Merrick Rd., Rockville Centre.
49 Route 25A, Rocky Point.
Horace & Sylvia
100 Deer Park Ave., Babylon.
Long Island Brewery Tours
Brewery Tours of Long Island
714 Main St., Greenport. 631-723-0505, 631-594-1161. northforkwinetours.com/brewerytours
Brew Crew Cycles
285 Pulaski St., Riverhead. 631-722-1516. brewcrewcycles.com
LI Brew Bus
LI Beer Bus
PO Box 1597, Ronkonkoma. 631-913-3817. libeerbus.com
Long Island Brewery Tours
718-BEER-TOURS, 516-LIMO-SERVICE. longislandbrewerytours.com
Editor’s note: This is an evolving list. If you have information about microbreweries that will open for business in the near future, please email Long Island Press editors at [email protected]