Bob Rodriguez, co-owner and brewmaster of Po’ Boy Brewery, could easily be called the James Brown of craft brewing, since Brown’s nickname was “the hardest working man in show business.”
Po’ Boy Brewery’s History
Since opening Po’ Boy’s taproom in Port Jefferson Station more than six years ago, Rodriguez has been the sole brewer responsible for every beer and cider made there. His wife and co-owner, Wesam Hassanin, also works hard managing the taproom and handling all social media and promotion. This is on top of Rodriguez and Hassanin both having other full-time jobs, Rodriguez as a nurse family practitioner and Hassanin as an executive assistant at Stony Brook University.
“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to build with Po’ Boy,” Hassanin said, “especially with the family atmosphere we’ve created with our regulars at the taproom.”
Po’ Boy was founded in 2013 after Rodriguez decided to take his homebrewing to the next level. In 2015, he perfected his recipes as first commercial beers as a tenant brewer at the Taste of Long Island incubator in Farmingdale.
Rodriguez and Hassanin found a 2,200-square-foot space in the Port Jefferson Business Center, where they opened in January 2017 with a 3-barrel brewing system and eight taps.
Rodriguez has been called a “mad scientist,” but he says his longtime love of cooking inspires his brewing. “I grew up in East New York, Brooklyn in a Puerto Rican family and started cooking at 7 years old,” said Rodriguez, “so I love playing with flavors and trying new things.” He is also handy and over the years has expanded his brewing system with the addition of brite tanks and fermenters, with the taproom now having 23 taps serving a tremendous variety of beers and ciders.
On a recent visit, Po’ Boy had 15 beers ranging in style including lager, pilsner, saison and stout, with several different IPAs including the delicious Two Hoppy Endings Imperial IPA made with Citra, Galaxy and Simcoe hops. Rodriguez also displayed his playful side with uniquely flavored beers including the Churro-K By Me lager made with cinnamon and light brown sugar, an IPA that tastes like Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and Dough Me Up, Stouty, an imperial stout that tastes like a Snickerdoodle.
The brewery’s name comes from a nickname for Rodriguez, who calls himself “just a po’ boy,” but the taproom’s decor also pays homage to New Orleans with tastefully decorated gazebos and plants giving off a French Quarter vibe.
Hassanin says, “We look forward to continuing to grow and keep the good times rolling.”
Po’ Boy Brewery is located at 200 Wilson St., Unit E3, in Port Jefferson Station. For more information visit poboybrewery.com.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.
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