With Long Island now home to more than 40 craft breweries, a great way to sample the diversity of locally produced beer without driving all over is to attend a beer festival, which there are plenty of this summer.
A new beerfest called The Whales, Ales & Salty Tales festival will be held June 8 at the Whaling Museum and Education Center on Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor. It features craft beers from 10 local breweries along with homebrewed beers from Long Island’s three homebrew clubs: Brewer’s East End Revival, Handgrenades Homebrew Club, and Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts. There will also be locally made mead from W.A. Meadwerks in Lindenhurst. Festivalgoers can tour the museum’s exhibits and enjoy live music including sea shanties from the band Sampawam’s Creek. All proceeds from the festival will benefit the museum’s education programs including summer camp scholarships for families in need.
Great South Bay Brewery will hold its 7th annual Bay Fest on June 1 at the brewery in Bay Shore. Along with tastings of the award-winning beers of GSB, fest-goers will enjoy beers from dozens of other craft breweries from across the Island and the tristate area. Local bands will be rocking out and a variety of food trucks will be on site. VIP tickets are available that provide early access to the festival to meet the brewers.
LI’s largest summer beer festival, the Long Island Craft Classic, will be held on August 10 at Heckscher State Park in East Islip. The new location has allowed festival producer Starfish Junction to expand the offerings beyond craft beer to include a larger selection of wine and hard cider. The festival also features a variety of food from one of the Island’s best barbecue restaurants, Bobbique in Patchogue.
The Craft Classic will again feature the Brew’d Competition, a unique brewing competition for Long Island’s craft breweries. All of the competitors must use a special ingredient in their beer, which is preselected through an online vote. The winning beer is then picked through a popular vote of festivalgoers. The winning breweries get bragging rights and a Golden Keg that can be displayed at their brewery for a year.
Just before the official end of summer, the 4th annual Fresh Hop Festival will be held on Sept. 21 at Jamesport Farm Brewery on the North Fork. Jamesport Farm Brewery is located on a 43-acre farm, L.I. Hops, which grows hops and barley for its own craft beers. Fest-goers are able to sample beers made with fresh, or wet, hops, which are picked in the peak season of September and used immediately. The festival will feature live music from local musician Andy Putnam and food from Christopher Michael Catering.
The Fresh Hop Festival will also feature selections of pumpkin beers, signaling the end of summer beer season and the coming of the fall beer season, including the start of Oktoberfest.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.
CRAFT BEER AT SUMMER STREET FESTS
Bay Shore Alive by the Bay
Third annual event will be held on Main Street in Bay Shore on July 2, 16, and 30, and Aug. 13, with a rain date of Aug. 20 if one festival gets cancelled due to weather. The street fair, organized by the restaurant committee of the Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce, will feature live music, arts and crafts vendors, activities for children and more. Sponsors include Destination Unknown Beer Co. and Blue Point Brewing.
Farmingdale Music on Main
July 11 and 25, and Aug. 8 and 22, with rain date of Aug. 29. There will be live music on Main Street in Farmingdale Village with food and craft beer from sponsors including Croxley Ales, Lithology Brewing, Dark Horse Tavern, Library Café, That Meetball Place, Nutty Irishman and more.
Patchogue Alive After Five
18th annual event on June 27, July 11, July 25 and Aug. 8 with a rain date of Aug. 22. The street fair features six stages of live music, food trucks, craft vendors, activities for children and more. Sponsors include Blue Point Brewing, BrickHouse Brewery, Patchogue Beer Project, Bobbique and others.
Riverhead Alive on 25
July 3 and 18, and Aug.1 and 15 with a rain date of Aug. 22. There will be live music on eight stages, food trucks, local wine and craft beer from local breweries including Moustache Brewing, Long Ireland, North Fork, Greenport Harbor and more.