Patchogue already boasts Long Island’s oldest craft brewery, Brick House Brewery,founded in 1996, and its largest brewery, Blue Point Brewing, scheduled to open a new 60,000-barrel facility next summer. Craft beer has helped power the revitalization of the bustling South Shore village, with a lively pub and restaurant scene along Main Street catering to visitors and new residents in the hundreds of apartments built downtown in the past few years.
Now Patchogue is getting a third brewery that hopes to fill a niche in the craft beer market by collaborating with other new breweries that have opened across the Island. The simply named Patchogue Beer Project is the brainchild of two well-known residents of the North Shore: Mike Philbrick, the founder and brewmaster of Port Jeff Brewing Co., and restaurateur Ryan DiSpirito, who was looking to branch out into the growing craft beer scene.
“I was ready for a new challenge and a mutual friend told me about a chef who wanted to start a new brewery, and put me in touch with Ryan,” Philbrick said. “I’m excited to do something a little different from Port Jeff Brewing and to be a part of the great things happening in Patchogue.”
Philbrick started out as a home-brewer and after catching the brewing bug received formal training at the World Brewing Academy at Siebel Institute in Chicago. He did apprenticeship brewing gigs at Iron Hill and other breweries in his native Philadelphia area before founding Port Jeff Brewing in 2010 and opening the brewery a year later in a building across from the harborfront that houses a 7-barrel brewing system and a small tasting room.
Port Jeff is well known for its hoppy ales including Party Boat IPA and Schooner Pale Ale. It was the first brewery on LI to install a canning line in 2014, which helped increase distribution across the Island and into New York City and Westchester.
Patchogue Beer Project will be located in the former Cornell Galleries building on West Main Street directly across from BrickHouse Brewery. The building will also house a second location for Local Burger Co., which has its original location in Bay Shore, and a new breakfast and lunch restaurant, Buttermilk’s Kitchen.
Philbrick is heading up the brewing side of operations for Patchogue Beer Project and is installing a 5-barrel brewing system from Premier Stainless, similar to the system at Port Jeff Brewing. The brewery will initially have six 10-barrel fermenters and lots of serving tanks to keep up with expected demand in the tasting room and for take-away growlers.
Philbrick expects to select a head brewer for the new brewery in the next few weeks and be ready to start brewing before the end of the year.
“I want to be able to host other brewers at Patchogue Beer Project and collaborate on new beers, taking advantage of the melting pot of ideas that we have on Long Island,” said Philbrick. “Our first beers will be brewed with BrickHouse and Blue Point, who I know already know very well, and we’re looking forward to having fun with the brewers which will be fun for our consumers.”
DiSpirito will oversee the brewery’s tasting room, where visitors will be able to see the brewing operations through glass.
“We are licensed as a New York State farm brewery,” said DiSpirito, “so we’ll be able to sell other New York State craft beer and wine in the tasting room, along with other farm products and merchandise.”
Philbrick is already a strong supporter of using locally grown ingredients in his beers and his Fresh Hop Ale at Port Jeff Brewing uses hops from Condzella’s Farm in Wading River and Wesnofske Farms in Peconic.
The new brewery is also likely to participate in the Town of Brookhaven’s new Brew to Moo program that is recycling local breweries’ tons of spent grains by feeding it to livestock. In August, BrickHouse Brewery and Port Jeff Brewing became the first two breweries to sign on to the program, in which the Town of Brookhaven makes regular pickups of the spent grains and transports them to the Double D Bar Ranch in Manorville, a haven for abused or unwanted farm animals. The grains are mixed into feed for the livestock, providing protein and fiber that can supplement corn for feed.
“At Port Jeff we were happy to be a part of this program helping rescue animals, and so we want to continue to make it a success,” Philbrick said.