Two Long Island craft breweries took home virtual medals Thursday at the 4th annual New York State Craft Beer Competition, a hotly contested affair with nearly 1,000 beers in 12 categories, that was hosted on Zoom and live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube.
Spider Bite Beer Co. from Holbrook won the gold medal for its Open Wide EXP brew in the American Double IPA category. Great South Bay Brewery from Bay Shore took home a bronze medal for Holographic Haze in the Hazy IPA category, which was the most contested style with 88 entries.
The NYS Craft Beer Competition is held annually by the New York State Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade association that supports the craft brewing industry through advocacy and education. The group was a strong advocate for the passage of New York State farm brewery laws in 2013, which helped bring about a brewing renaissance statewide and across Long Island.
New York State now has 467 breweries, compared to about 90 at the beginning of 2013, passing Colorado and Washington last year to have the second most craft breweries nationwide after California. Long Island now has more than 60 breweries, up from about 15 in 2013, with Suffolk County having the most breweries of any county in the state with more than 40.
In this year’s NYS Craft Beer Competition, beers were judged in 11 beer style categories along with a special category for New York State beers meeting the 2020 farm brewery requirements of using at least 60 percent New York State hops, malt and other local ingredients.
The gold medal winner in the New York State beer category was Big aLICe Brewing Co. from Long Island City, for its brew The Many Lives of Our Lives. This brew was the big winner of the night, also taking home the Gold medal in the Fruit and Spice Beer-Sour category and the Best in Show award, the 2020 Governor’s Excelsior Craft Beer Cup.
Spider Bite Beer Co. was founded in 2008 by Larry Goldstein and Anthony LiCausi and is a frequent medal winner at beer competitions for its innovative takes on classic beer styles, including Boris the Spider Imperial Russian Stout. In addition to a wide variety of beers, Spider Bite recently launched a new line of hard seltzers, Spiker Bite, which are available in crowlers at the brewery in several flavors including Passion Fruit.
Great South Bay Brewery was founded in 2009 by Rick Sobotka and has won multiple medals over the last decade at the Great American Beer Festival, Tap New York Festival and other beer competitions. Among the medal-winning brews from GSB are Jetty Cream Ale, Blood Orange Pale Ale and Hog Cabin Maple Bacon Porter. GSB also launched a line of hard seltzers this year called Spiked, which is being sold in 12 packs of cans at beer stores across LI.
As the coronavirus pandemic spread across New York State, resulting in the closing of brewery taprooms across the state, the NYS Brewers Association was a strong advocate fighting for temporary permits for breweries to provide curbside pick-up, home delivery and shipment of beer.
Many Long Island breweries are offering curbside pick-up and delivery services to get beer to customers during the shutdown. A complete list of brewery pickup and delivery services is available at libeerguide.com/brewery-to-go-delivery
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.
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