Five years after its founding, Jones Beach Brewing Company has realized its dream of paying homage to Long Island’s beaches, parks, and waterways with great-tasting craft beers made on Long Island. Founder Chris Mills and the Jones Beach Brewing team held an official launch on March 11 at The Helm Restaurant in Freeport, with a can release of the brewery’s first beer, Jones Inlet IPA.
“Jones Inlet IPA is the flagship beer of our new brewery,” said Mills, “which is fitting because it symbolizes our efforts to raise awareness of the Jones Inlet dredging project and other local environmental and safety projects.” The beer’s label includes a tide chart for the Jones Inlet, which was last dredged in 2014 and where boating accidents have been on the rise. “We want to do our part to ensure that marine life is defended in the channel and the shallow waterways are fixed,” said Mills.
Mills and the rest of the Jones Beach Brewing team are passionate about the South Shore’s waterways because they are natives of Freeport, located on the waterfront just north of the Jones Inlet. Mills, his brother Randy and cousin Mike May also shared a passion for great beer and after a few years of homebrewing and testing recipes with friends and fellow brewers Matt Jones and Brian McEvoy, they decided to start building Jones Beach Brewing in 2017 as a New York State licensed farm brewery. The search for a location for the brewery was delayed by the Covid pandemic, so the team decided to explore other options and connected with Lithology Brewing Co. in Farmingdale.
“We know how hard it is to get a start-up brewery off the ground,” said Manny Coelho, Lithology’s co-founder and head brewer. “Lithology was launched through an alternative proprietorship arrangement at A Taste of Long Island back in 2015, so we wanted to pay it forward in the same way with Jones Beach Brewing so they can start pursuing their dream.” Through the arrangement, Jones Beach has access to Lithology’s brewhouse at certain times each month to brew its beers.
The first brew, Jones Inlet IPA, is a traditional IPA with 6.8% alcohol by volume (ABV) made with New York State ingredients and hopped with Centennial, Cascade and Excelsior hops all grown locally. Mills said the brewery’s next beer will be Bathhouse Blonde, a lighter American Ale, more suited for summertime enjoyment. The beer will be introduced with a can release at the Point Lookout Clam Bar in the first week of May.
The brewers plan to double production for their next batch to enable more distribution of cans and slim kegs to local beer stores and pubs. Because Jones Beach Brewing is a tenant of Lithology, a slim keg will always remain on tap there. Other team ambassadors Tucker Williams, Doug Knab, and Sean Wall will work with Freeport Beverage to help with distribution in the brewery’s start-up phase.
Jones Beach Brewing donated a large portion of the sales from its first can release to local organizations that share its mission of keeping Long Island’s waterways safe and clean, including Operation SPLASH, Surfrider Foundation, and Jones Beach Power Squadron. “Our logo is the horseshoe crab, one of the four oldest animal species, which is a staple of Long Island beaches,” said Mills. “It is one of the four oldest animal species and embodies longevity and changing environments.”
With its commitment to making great waterways and great craft beers, Jones Beach Brewing is certainly doing its part to improve Long Island’s environment.
Jones Beach Brewing’s beers are on tap at Lithology Brewing Co. located at 211-A Main St., in Farmingdale. For more info visit jonesbeachbrewing.com.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.
For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink.