When Secatogue Brewing Co. opened last year, crowds packed the taproom as West Islip residents celebrated their first hometown brewery. The crowds dried up during the coronavirus pandemic, but Secatogue is among the local brewers selling beers to go and for delivery.
West Islip native Ken Srubinski started homebrewing seriously in his mid-20s, quickly decided to start a brewery, and, with the support of his family, purchased a 4,300-square-foot building for $1.6 million that was previously home to a construction company.
“The building was perfect for our needs,” Srubinski says. “It was nearly new and expandable, and was connected to sewers. It was also located on a main road with good visibility and parking for our taproom.”
In a nod to his hometown, Srubinski named the brewery Secatogue, after the Native American tribe that originally inhabited what is now West Islip. He installed a five-barrel brewhouse with four fermenters and two brite tanks. With help from his wife Katie, his younger brother Tom, his father and other family members, Srubinski transformed half of the building into a beautifully appointed taproom with capacity for 100 guests.
Srubinski typically brews at double capacity, producing 10 barrels of beer a week, to meet demand in the taproom and outside accounts. He plans to add a 10-barrel unitank, which will provide capacity for canning.
Secatogue’s beer lineup runs the gamut from light to dark, with Srubinski usually featuring several IPAs. One of his first successful recipes, Pink Hibiscus IPA, using real hibiscus flowers, is still regularly featured along with several hazy New England Style IPAs.
The lineup also includes stouts and porters, such as Lei’d Up, made with Hawaiian cold brew coffee from Cyrus Chai & Coffee in Bay Shore, finished with hints of toasted coconut. Srubinski also loves to experiment with unusual flavors to create beers like All We Have Left is PB&J, a cream ale made with honey, peanut butter, and Concord grapes.
Srubinski is grateful for the support the brewery has received during the crisis.
“People have definitely not forgotten about us,” he says. “And we’re glad that Secatogue can continue to provide locally made beer to help raise the spirits of our community in these challenging times.”
Secatogue Brewing Co. is located at 375 Union Blvd. in West Islip. For more information call 631-228-8914 or visit secatoguebrewing.com.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.