Pubs in bustling downtown Huntington have for decades served the public’s growing demand for craft beers. Now, thanks to Six Harbors Brewing Company, beer lovers in Huntington can enjoy delicious craft beer brewed right in the community.
Huntington natives Mark and Karen Heuwetter founded Six Harbors in 2016 and opened their tap room in May 2018. Located just a few blocks north of Main Street on New York Avenue, the brewery’s tap room is open seven days a week and has become a popular destination for visitors from across Long Island.
Mark Heuwetter first homebrewed in college but then took a hiatus as he built a family and a successful career in asset management for 25 years. He took up homebrewing seriously about 10 years ago, joining some of Long Island’s homebrew clubs, including the Handgrenades Homebrew and Craft Beer Club.
“I learned a lot from the other homebrewers and saw that several of them were making the transition to going pro and opening their own breweries,” says Heuwetter.
He also gained knowledge of the beer business from a craft brewery owner in his family, brother-in-law Ed Raven, who founded Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. in Brooklyn after a long career as a salesman for Brooklyn Brewery and his own beer importer, Raven Brands.
After deciding to start a brewery, Mark and his wife Karen decided they wanted to locate the brewery in their hometown and in 2017 purchased a building just blocks from their home. They settled on a nautical theme for the brewery, naming the brewery and many of their beers after Huntington’s six harbors: Centerport, Cold Spring, Duck Island, Huntington, Lloyd and Northport.
The 2,500-square-foot building, which formerly housed a dry cleaner, now has a 10-barrel fermenting system, with four of the steel fermenting tanks forming the backdrop for the tap room’s bar.
“We don’t have a full mash brewing system because of restrictions from the town,” says Heuwetter. “So instead we have a small pilot brewing system that we use to perfect our recipes.”
Heuwetter sends his recipes to a friend in New Zealand who does the mashing and other brewing steps to make a concentrated wort, which is then shipped to Huntington for the addition of water, other ingredients, and the fermenting process.
“This is a unique arrangement that is working well for us now,” says Heuwetter. “But in the near future we would like to have our own full mash brewing system so we can ramp up production more easily.”
Heuwetter said he is talking with the Town of Huntington about building a new brewery and restaurant in a development planned for Huntington Station.
“We’ve seen the success of craft breweries on Long Island like Greenport Harbor, which expanded from its original brewery to a larger second location in Peconic with a restaurant, and we’d like to follow that model,” says Heuwetter.
Six Harbor’s tap room has a cozy lounge area with a fireplace and a private event room that holds 40 people.
“We’ve had corporate events where we do beer tastings, birthday parties and some weddings,” says Heuwetter. “We also offer the room to community groups for events, and for fundraisers we donate the cost of the room.”
The tap room is kid friendly and dog friendly, and in the summer garage-style doors open up to a patio with communal seating.
The tap room typically has 10 beers on tap, with a full range of styles ranging from lighter wheat beers and pilsners to more robust IPAs and stouts. One of the most popular beers is Bay Hill Blues, a blueberry wheat beer that started out as a seasonal but has become a year-round favorite. Beers can be taken away in cans, which are canned fresh at the bar.
More than 90 percent of Six Harbor’s production is currently sold at the tap room, but beers are also available at select local pubs, restaurants and beer stores, including Old Fields Barbecue, Babalu, Bin 56 and Shoreline Beverage in Huntington and The Lark Pub & Grub in East Northport.
That means it’s a good time to come to port and try a taste of the harbor.
Six Harbors Brewing Company is located at 243 New York Avenue in Huntington. For more info visit sixharborsbrewingcompany.com
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com