Bernie Kilkelly

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Kilkelly is the publisher of the authoritative LIBeerGuide and a frequent contributor to such publications as Ale Street News and The Gotham Imbiber. Reach him via libeerguide@gmail.com.

Blue Point Holds Last Bash at River Avenue Brewery

Blue Point's cask master Jim Richards (right) overseeing the tapping of the First Firkin at the 15th annual Cask Ales Festival.

Blue Point Brewing held the “absolute” last beer festival at its original River Avenue brewery in Patchogue on Saturday, according to co-founder and brewmaster emeritus Mark Burford. 

Thousands of festival goers enjoyed a sunny spring afternoon at the 15th annual Cask Ales Festival tasting cask-conditioned ales brewed by 70 breweries from across Long Island, the U.S. and even a few from England, where cask ales were first produced hundreds of years ago. 

In opening the festival, Burford joked that last year’s Cask Ales Festival was billed as the last at River Avenue, but construction of Blue Point’s new brewery on West Main Street took longer than expected.  Now scheduled to open this summer, the new 60,000-square-foot brewery on the former site of Briarcliffe College will feature a tasting room overlooking the expanded brewhouse and an outdoor beer garden.

Blue Point was founded on River Avenue in 1998 and held its first Cask Ales Festival in January 2004 in the middle of a blizzard, with many people making it to the festival on cross country skis and snowshoes. Since then, Blue Point has led the way in popularizing cask ales on Long Island and the festival has grown to become one of the largest cask festivals in the U.S.

Cask-conditioned ale, often called “real ale,” is unfiltered and naturally carbonated without the addition of nitrogen or carbon dioxide, producing smooth beer with intense flavors. Blue Point’s cask master Jim Richards pulled out all the stops for the last festival at River Avenue, serving 14 cask ales with unique ingredients including wasabi and ginger (Sushi Prop Stopper IPA), dried mint cacao nips (Armchair Stout Mint Chocolate) and dragon fruit and habanero (Dragon’s Breath). 

Richards also brewed several collaboration beers using ingredients from local companies such as Amagansett Sea Salt (Everything Bagel Ale), Martha Clara Vineyard (Beach Plum Goes Rose Soaked Oak), Montauk Rum Runners (Coconut Rum Dopplebock) and King County Distillery (Kings County Armchair). 

In addition to cask ales from craft breweries, Long Island’s three homebrew clubs – Brewers East End Revival, Handgrenades Homebrew Club, and Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts – served dozens of homebrewed cask ales, ciders and mead. Also on hand to provide food to hungry festivalgoers were local food trucks from Bobbique, Chiddy’s Cheesesteaks, Island Empanada and Brockenzo’s Pizza.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.

Oyster Bay Brewing: Soft Beers, Big Flavor

Oyster Bay Brewing Company
Oyster Bay Brewing Company

Just a few miles away from Theodore Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill home, in the heart of downtown Oyster Bay, is a brewery that would satisfy the thirst of Teddy’s Rough Riders.

Oyster Bay Brewing Co. was founded in 2012 by longtime friends Gabe Haim and Ryan Schlotter, who bonded over their shared love of beer. After home-brewing many batches, they followed their dream and opened a brewery. At the time, Nassau County had only one brewery: Barrier Brewing in Oceanside.

The brewery opened for business in June 2013 in a 1,400-square-foot space on South Street that barely housed a 3-barrel brewing system and small tasting area. Word quickly spread and the tasting area started to overflow with visitors. But the brewery reached a tipping point after the founders, both lifelong Islanders fans, brewed a special beer in 2015 for the Islanders’ last season at the Nassau Coliseum.

“We named it ‘Barn Rocker’ after the nickname for the coliseum and we couldn’t keep up with demand,” said Haim.

The crisp, lightly hopped ale helped make Oyster Bay Brewing a household name among Islander fans and craft beer fans across Long Island. It proved so popular that the Islanders requested it the next year at their new home at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and the Mets requested it at Citi Field Haim and Schlotter needed to expand but they didn’t have to look far for a new space.

In late 2015, the brewery closed for a short time and reopened the following year around the corner in a 6,000-square-foot space on Audrey Avenue. The new space, located next door to an Oyster Bay institution, Canterbury’s Oyster Bar & Grill, had ample room for a 15-barrel brewing system and a spacious tasting room.

Around this time, the founders hired a new brewmaster who could fully utilize the new system. Oyster Bay brought in Ivan Dedek, a graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in Fermentation Science, who apprenticed at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, near where he grew up. He had also been a research and development brewer at Sam Adams in Boston and a supervising brewer at Schmaltz Brewing.

Last year, Oyster Bay made a major investment in canning equipment and new fermentation tanks that increased production by more than half. According to Dedek, the brewery should be at an annual production level close to 2,500 barrels by the end of the year. The new canning line makes both 12-ounce and 16-ounce cans, which will come in handy this summer for supplying expected orders from Citi Field.

In addition to pumping out Barn Rocker, Dedek has been experimenting with beer styles ranging from pilsners and German-style Helles lagers to porters and stouts, including an Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels and pinot noir wine barrels. Oyster Bay recently brewed a collaboration beer with KCBC (Kings County Brewers Collective) from Brooklyn.

The beer, cheekily named The Adventures of Troutman and Oysterboy Downunder, was brewed using only hops from the Southern Hemisphere such as Motueka and Vic Secret. Dedek is experimenting with other recipes, including a Gose made with Ethiopian coffee beans from neighboring coffee shop Southdown Coffee, and Baymen’s Oyster Stout brewed with two dozen Oyster Bay oysters added to the boil in the last five minutes.

Oyster Bay Brewing began distributing its beers through Manhattan Beer in 2015, focusing primarily on Long Island and NYC. Distribution expanded to Connecticut last year and, according to Haim, will focus on the current locations this year.

“We want to control our growth as much as possible,” says Haim.

Both Haim and Schlotter quit their day jobs to focus full time on the brewery.

“Ryan is heading up marketing and sales, spending a lot of time on the road,” says Haim, “and I’m overseeing our brewery operations.”

This commitment is clearly paying off as Oyster Bay Brewing was recently voted the 2018 Bethpage Best of Long Island winner for Best Craft Beer Brewery. The brewery is celebrating its fifth anniversary in early June, and as it has done for each anniversary, will brew a special beer to mark the occasion. Haim says the weekend-long celebration will include special collaboration beers and a party with food from local restaurants.

The celebration will surely include a few pints.

Oyster Bay Brewing Co. is located at 36 Audrey Avenue in Oyster Bay. They can be reached at 516-802-5546 or oysterbaybrewing.com.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.

Sand City’s Tasting Room Reopens in Northport

Sand City is serving up hoppy flights in the heart of downtown Northport.

After an outpouring of support from fans near and far, Sand City Brewing got approval from the Village of Northport to reopen its tasting room on Main Street and welcomed beer lovers back on Sunday. 

After closing four months ago for renovations to its walkway, Sand City’s permits were temporarily revoked by the village zoning board after complaints about excessive crowds and noise, some related to the long lines that form for new can releases of the brewery’s popular beers. 

At a public zoning board meeting on March 28, dozens of Sand City supporters came out to express their positive view of the brewery and its impact on the village. According to co-owners Bill Kiernan and Kevin Sihler, Sand City also received “overwhelming support from people online through post and petitions, and in letter writing to our local officials.”  The tasting room will resume regularly scheduled hours today, open from noon to 8 pm. 

As the Press reported in February, Sand City first opened its tasting room in fall 2015 and quickly established achieved cult status for brewing some of Long Island’s best IPAs (India Pale Ale, a hoppy brew).

In the past year, the brewery’s fame has spread across the country through a series of collaboration beers with well-known craft breweries from California to Virginia to across Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.      

Sand City Brewing is located at 60 Main Street in Northport.  They can be reached at 631-651-2767 or at sandcitybeer.com.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.

 

Small Craft Brewing Sets Sail in Amityville

Brothers Gerald and Greg Sims opened Small Craft Brewery in Amityville.

One of Long Island’s newest craft breweries, the nautical-themed Small Craft Brewing in Amityville, opened its tasting room for the first time to the public over the weekend.

Small Craft was founded in 2014 by brothers Gerald and Greg Sims, who grew up in Wantagh and started homebrewing 10 years ago. After deciding to turn their hobby into a business, they began searching for a location on the South Shore.

“We looked from Wantagh to as far east as Lindenhurst, but everything was very expensive and didn’t have what we needed,” said Greg.

But then Greg happened to work out at a CrossFit gym in Amityville that was outgrowing its space and planning to move. The brothers thought the space would be perfect for their brewery and they signed a lease at 66 Merrick Rd. in late 2016.

After installing a two-barrel brewing system at the end of last year, Small Craft obtained its New York State farm brewery license, which requires it to use a certain percentage of ingredients produced in New York. One of their beers, the crisp Wanser’s Cut wheat beer, is made with 100-percent ingredients from the state.

Gerald and Greg share the brewing duties and currently have nine beers on tap, covering a wide range of styles from German-style Ketcham Kolsch to Depth Charge IPA to dark beers such as Bay House Brown Ale and Dream Boat Stout.

Small Craft’s comfortable tasting room has a bar and seating area, as well as counters where patrons can enjoy flights and pints while overlooking the brewhouse. The tasting room will initially be open on weekends with plans to expand hours in the summer.

Once the brothers get a feel for how much beer is being consumed in the tasting room, they hope to begin distributing kegs to local bars and restaurants. But from a sample of their suds, it’s safe to say Small Craft will have smooth sailing ahead.

Small Craft Brewing is located at 66 Merrick Road in Amityville. They can be reached at 631-464-0186 or on Facebook at @SmallCraftBrew.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.

Long Island Breweries Band Together for ‘Craft Cares’ Collaboration Beer

Long Island craft brewers met up March 20, 2018 to brew up a charity beer.

Brewers from 19 of Long Island’s craft breweries joined forces Tuesday at Fire Island Beer Co. in Bay Shore to brew a special beer for charity. 

The collaboration beer, Craft Cares, was brewed for the “Can for a Can” food drive held during the annual Long Island Craft Beer Week, running this year from May 11 to 20. Beer lovers will be able to exchange a can of food for a can of Craft Cares at breweries and select beer bars to benefit Long Island Cares/The Harry Chapin Food Bank, which serves the hungry and those with food insecurity on Long Island.

Dan Moss of Fire Island Beer

“Craft Cares is a great way for Long Island’s craft brewers to give back to the community while celebrating the camaraderie of local brewers from Nassau and Suffolk and strengthening the partnership between the breweries and the establishments that sell Long Island craft beer,” said Dave Schultzer of Bellport Cold Beer and Soda and one of the organizers of Long Island Craft Beer Week.

Last year’s “Can for a Can” food raised more than 3,400 pounds of food. 

The recipe for this year’s collaboration beer was called an ‘Intercoastal IPA’ by Paul Komsic, head brewer at BrickHouse Brewery in Patchogue. 

“We wanted to bring together influences from all across the U.S. and in Europe, so the recipe includes yeasts from both California and England,” said Dan Moss, head brewer at Fire Island Beer Co. “The malt was donated by Country Malt Group and includes a percentage of malts from New York State to meet the New York farm brewery standards

“All of the hops were donated by Long Island hop farms, including Condzella Farms in Wading River, Route 27 Hop Yard in Moriches and L.I. Hops in Riverhead,” he added.

In addition, the canning of the beer will be donated by The Malt Man mobile canning services and labels by DWS Printing in Deer Park.   

More info on Long Island Craft Beer Week will soon be available at www.licbw.us.

The participating Long Island breweries involved in brewing 2018 Craft Cares are:

1940’s Brewing Co., Holbrook
Barnshed Brewing, Hicksville
Barrage Brewing, Farmingdale
Brewers Collective, Bay Shore
BrickHouse Brewery, Patchogue
Destination Unknown Brewing Co., Bay Shore
Fire Island Beer Co., Bay Shore
Great South Bay Brewery,  Bay Shore
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.,  Greenport
Lithology Brewing, Farmingdale
Long Ireland Beer Co.,  Riverhead
Port Jeff Brewing Co.,  Port Jefferson
Montauk Brewing Co.,  Montauk
Moustache Brewing Co., Riverhead
North Fork Brewing, Riverhead
Oyster Bay Brewing, Oyster Bay
Saint James Brewery, Holbrook
Sand City Brewing Co.,  Northport
Spider Bite Brewing Co.,  Holbrook

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com

Long Ireland Brews Up Good ‘Craic’ in Riverhead’s Polish Town

West of downtown Riverhead is historic Polish Town, which pays tribute to the traditions of Poland’s welcoming spirit demonstrated at the Polish Town Fair that attracts thousands every August.

Since 2011, another proud European heritage of fun entertainment, called ‘craic’— pronounced “crack,” it means fun in Gaelic — has been celebrated in Polish Town at the Long Ireland Beer Company brewery and tasting room. It was founded nearly a decade ago by longtime friends Dan Burke and Greg Martin, who, like many home brewers, dreamed of their own brewery. They apprenticed and contract brewed their favorite recipe at Connecticut’s New England Brewing Company. They set up shop after getting a positive response to this beer, which they named Celtic Ale.

“We must have home brewed this beer 60 to 70 times in our garage,” says Martin, “until we got the recipe to where we wanted it.”

They settled on a 9,000-square-foot Pulaski Street building that formerly housed an Agway store. Long Ireland became such an integral part of the neighborhood that in 2014 it brewed the special Polish Town Pilsner for the Polish Town Fair’s 40th anniversary. The Polish-style lager, made with pilsner malt and traditional Saaz, Czech and Tettnang hops, is so popular that it is now available all year.

Year-round offerings are still led by the flagship Celtic Ale, a malty red ale similar to Irish Reds like Smithwick’s but with richer malt flavor and lower carbonation. The recipe uses four malts: two-row pale malt, caramel, Vienna and chocolate. Flaked oats and honey give it a sweet flavor with hints of toffee, one hop, Willamette, provides just mild bitterness for a smooth finish.

Other popular beers include a refreshing Raspberry Wheat and seasonal brews such as Summer Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Winter Ale, NoFo Farmhouse Saison Ale, Chocolate Porter, and the delicious Black Friday Imperial Stout, released on the day after Thanksgiving. One of Long Ireland’s original offerings, Breakfast Stout, was retired but replaced by a dry Irish-style stout, Hooligan Irish Stout, which may soon join the year-round offerings.

Long Ireland also recognized growing demand for hoppy pale ales and IPAs by brewing special beers including single hopped beers like Mos Def Mosaic IPA and Balor IPA, made with Citra hops and named after a one-eyed giant from Irish mythology. The brewery also uses hops from local farms, such as the Fresh Hop Co-Op Session IPA brewed last fall with a blend of Centennial and Chinook hops picked from L.I. Hops in Jamesport and Wesnofske Farms and North Fork Hops in Southold.

The brewery kept up with the canned-beer trend and last year shifted production from bottles to cans. A recently installed canning line will produce 50 cases per hour of both 12-ounce and 16-ounce cans.

“The new line will give us more flexibility to do short runs of innovative beers that we can put out to local beer stores that have really supported us,” says Martin.

Long Ireland has been distributed across LI and New York City by Clare Rose since 2012 and hopes to expand distribution later this year.

“We’re currently producing around 4,000 barrels a year,” adds Martin. “But we’ve got plenty of room to expand at this location.”

Long Ireland is also well known for the popular events it hosts at the brewery. The Long Ireland Pintwood Derby is a take-off on the old Boy Scout car races, and draws sellout crowds to the brewery. Its Halfway to St. Patrick’s Party in mid-September and 5K running races are held in summer and fall.

Long Ireland also hosts fun events during the week in its tasting room, including Retro Video Game Night in collaboration with East End Gaming and Vinyl Night with Riverhead’s Sunday Records. Local business Brew Crew Cycles, just relocated next door and the brewery will continue to be a popular stop on the group bike tours offered  beginning in April.

“We love to do cross-promotions with other local businesses and help our community grow and thrive,” says Martin.

Long Ireland Beer Company is located at 817 Pulaski St. in Riverhead. They can be reached at 631-403-4303 or longirelandbeer.com.

Sand City Achieves Cult Status With Collaboration Brews

Sand City is serving up hoppy flights in the heart of downtown Northport.

Like dotcom stocks and bitcoin, the canned craft beer mania sweeping the country has arrived on Long Island. Microbreweries are canning small quantities of specially brewed beers that sell out in minutes and are sought after in a secondary trading market.

Nowhere is this more true than in the waterfront Village of Northport, where social media posts about “cans dropping from our back Scudder Ave entrance” send craft beer fans rushing to line up at Sand City Brewing Co. Since its opening in fall 2015, Sand City has built a reputation for brewing some of LI’s best IPAs, or India Pale Ale, a heavily hopped beer style. Over the past six months, the brewery has raised its game to a new level with a series of collaboration beers, with several new beers dropping in cans each month.

“We have found collaborations to be a lot of fun and they are really what the craft brewing industry is all about,” said Bill Kiernan, a founder and co-owner of Sand City. “The same way that people love to share beer, breweries love to get together and make beer and share knowledge and techniques. And it’s also just a great way to hang out with some new and old friends.”

Sand City has collaborated with leading craft breweries from Oceanside, New York to Oceanside, California. Bewmaster Kevin Sihler, also a founder and co-owner, is a hoppy beer fan and has pushed the envelope, using a wide variety of hops.

This love is displayed in IPAs like Fade to Jade, brewed with mosaic, citra and Amarillo hops; Second Wave, an IIPA (the extra “I” stands for imperial, meaning it has a higher alcohol content) that is double dry-hopped with citra, simcoe, chinook and mosaic hops; and the cheekily named Oops! I Hopped My Pants, brewed with large amounts of centennial, mosaic, citra and galaxy hops. Sand City’s Mofosaic was its first
single-hopped IPA highlighting the citrusy mosaic hop, and the brewery followed up on this popular beer with its Even Mo’  Mofo IIPA.

In selecting collaborators, Sihler said “It’s true we’ve been focusing a lot on IPA collaborations, but we have some projects that involve barrel aging and other styles as well.”

Among the collaborators last fall were Finback Brewery from Queens, creating Beachfront Avenue, an IIPA made with 420 pounds of pineapple and double dry-opped with mosaic and azacca hops. Magnify Brewing from New Jersey collaborated to produce Maintain Rep, an IIPA brewed with galaxy, nelson, citra and mosaic hops. Two collaborators from last fall are both renowned hop-focused breweries, even though they are located on opposite coasts. Barrier Brewing from Oceanside, LI, collaborated with Sand City to create Even Mo Money, an IIPA based on Barrier’s popular Money IPA brewed with azacca, citra, simcoe and mosaic hops. Horus Aged Ales from Oceanside, Calif., a specialist in barrel-aged beers, collaborated to produce Up the Beach, an IIPA double dry-hopped with galaxy, citra and vic secret, an Australian hop variety.

Looking ahead, Sand City hopes to build on its popularity with plans to continue increasing production capacity. The brewery installed its canning equipment in the summer of 2016 and added more fermentation tanks in early 2017 to increase production 30 percent.

“We have a 10-barrel brewing system and last year we produced approximately 2,400 barrels of beer,” Kiernan says.

While the IPAs have received the most attention, Sand City also brews popular Belgian style beers and its delicious Southdown Breakfast Stout, brewed with locally roasted Brazilian coffee beans from Southdown Coffee in Huntington.

In just over two years, Sand City has become a fixture in Northport’s lively downtown. The Main Street tasting room is near the John Engeman Theater and the famed Gunther’s Tap Room, which is being rebuilt after a fire last year. Named in honor of Northport’s industrial past and the sand mines ringing the harbor at the turn of the last century, Sand City is helping to lead LI’s beer boom.

Northport’s second brewery, Harbor Head Brewing, opened last year and if history is any guide, we can expect a Northport collaboration beer soon.

Sand City Brewing Co. is located at 60 Main St. in Northport. They can be reached at 631-651-2766 or sandcitybeer.com.

Moustache Brewing Rides Craft Beer Boom

Hop-Crazy
Lauri Spitz and her husband Matt are the force behind Moustache Brewing Co. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)

The craft beer industry on Long Island is frothing over, with eight breweries opening new tasting rooms last year and another 10 more breweries announcing plans to open tasting rooms in 2018. That would bring the total number of local craft breweries with tasting rooms to 40, which is remarkable considering that in 2012 there were just nine.

Nowhere on LI has this growth been more apparent than in Riverhead, which is home to five breweries with another three planning to open this year. One of the fastest growing is Moustache Brewing Co., which first opened on Hallett Avenue in 2014.

“We are close to the downtown area and want to support local businesses in Riverhead,” says Lauri Spitz, who co-founded Moustache with her husband, Matthew.

The couple started homebrewing in 2005 and were active members of Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME), one of Long Island’s three homebrew clubs. After deciding to turn their passion into a business, they became licensed as a New York State farm brewery in 2012 and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $30,000.

This seed money helped Moustache build their first one-barrel brewing system, which was expanded to a seven-barrel system in 2016. They’ve since garnered rave reviews for a wide variety of flavorful and memorably named beers. One of those beers is Dexterity Issues, a super hoppy double IPA brewed to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a cause Lauri and Matt support since Matt was diagnosed with MS a few years ago.

The popularity of canned craft beer also helped power the growth of Moustache, with favorites like Lawn, a cream ale, Keep off the Grass, a wet hopped cream ale, and Milk + Honey Brown Ale. Moustache has won praise for its super hoppy pale ales and India Pale Ales (IPAs), with the demand for beers like Life of Leisure Pale Ale, Sailor Mouth IPA, and Awkward Conversations double IPA reaching bitcoin-like frenzy.

New can releases are treated like old Grateful Dead concerts, with lines forming around the block in advance of opening and strict limits on the number of cans that can be purchased. Moustache currently self distributes its beers throughout the Island, New York City, Westchester and into the Hudson Valley, with a team that includes Lauri’s sister, Kimberly Stoehr. With the market growing for their beers, the brewery announced plans last November to quadruple the size of their brewery, taking over the whole building on Hallett Avenue.

The expansion to 5,600 square feet will include a 1,200-square-foot tasting room, almost as large as the entire current brewery. The new tasting room, with a 30-foot bar, is expected to open this spring, with the current tasting room staying open through renovations.

“The expansion will help us keep up with demand for our core beers and also experiment with new things,” Matt says. He hopes to be able to offer more barrel-aged beers, which the brewery has done but on a limited basis.

In addition to their delicious beers, catchy names and inventive can labels, Moustache is also well known for its membership club, the Society for Fine Liquid Provisions. The club offers members monthly growler fills or four-packs of cans, birthday perks and access to exclusive, member-only beers on tap in the tasting room.

It’s no wonder Moustache is one of the most popular stops on the group bicycle brewery tours offered by Brew Crew Cycles in Riverhead.

Moustache Brewing Co. is located at 400 Hallett Ave. in Riverhead. They can be reached at 631-591-3250 or moustachebrewing.com

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com

Local Winter Ales Keep The Home Fires Burning

Jenni Angerame, a bartender at Maxwell's in Islip, pours a pint of Local Cheer, the bar's winter ale made by Blue Point Brewing Co.

As cold weather approaches Long Island, beer lovers reach for hearty winter ales to keep the chill at bay. Often known as Winter Warmers, this beer style has its roots in the centuries-old British tradition of brewing robust, high-alcohol beers enjoyed in snow season. Such beers were often aged in barrels like wine, and became known as “Barley Wine.”

Other full-bodied ales called “Old Ales” took on a fruity or chocolaty flavor from roasted malts, floral hops and higher alcohol levels. Classic examples include Samu- el Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale, Young’s Old Nick and Theakston’s Old Peculier Ale. Long Islanders in search of winter ales need not look far, with many local craft breweries featuring winter beers.

“Winter ales typically were amber or brown ales and didn’t have added spices, although some beers called wassail ales used spices similar to mulled wine,” says Peter Tripp, owner of Homebrews and Handgrenades Supply Shop in Baldwin.

American microbreweries began experimenting with winter ales after Anchor Brewing in San Francis- co, brewers of the famous Anchor Steam, made their first Anchor Christmas Ale in 1975. The recipe changes annually but one constant is rich maltiness and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Samuel Adams popularized the use of spices and paid tribute to the British tradition with the ’95 introduction of Old Fezziwig Ale, a brown ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger and orange peel.

Blue Point Brewing’s Winter Ale was one of the first seasonal beers introduced after the brewery was founded in ‘98. The amber ale uses crystal and chocolate malts to add a robust flavor and weighs in at a warming 7.7 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

Long Ireland Beer Company brews its Winter Ale with five different malts, including Honey Malts and Cararuby for a deep ruby-red color, and uses ginger, allspice and cinnamon for a spicy finish.

Great South Bay Brewery started brewing its Sleigh Ryed Winter Ale soon after the brewery was founded in ‘10.

“We wanted to brew a winter ale right from the beginning and Sleigh Ryed is one of our most unique offerings,” says Head Brewer Greg Maisch.

Maisch got his inspiration from German rye beers, known as Roggenbiers, which use rye malt to give the beer a pronounced spiciness. His recipe uses 28 percent malted rye, roasted barley malt to produce a deep amber color, and juniper berries for a piney finish.

“We mash up whole juniper berries in a food processor and add them into the boil, along with Cascade and Chinook hops for bittering but not overpowering hoppiness,” he says. “Sleigh Ryed is strong at 6.6 percent ABV but has the right balance of malt and spices.”

New local craft breweries also have the seasonal spirit. Head brewer Wayne Milford of BrewSA Brewing, which opened on the Nautical Mile this spring, will brew a winter ale that’s expected to be on tap at his tasting room in December.

Joe Curley, founder and brewer of Tweaking Frog Brewing Company, will brew his debut Winter Warmer on a new 10-barrel system that they share with Jamesport Farm Brewery.

“We’re going to use Golden Promises and Hudson Valley pale ale malt as a base with crystal malts and roasted malts for coloring,” says Curley, noting the name will be chosen from suggestions in a contest held at the Long Island Fresh Hop Festival. “We’re aiming for 7.5 percent ABV and the beer will have a unique estery aroma from the blend of two Belgian yeasts.”

Local homebrewers also brew strong ales to combat the chills. Tripp said that Homebrews and Handgrenades sells ingredients for a variety of winter ales ranging from amber and brown ales to porters and stouts. Dan Concepcion, owner of Brew and Beyond homebrew shop, says he sees customers brewing beers that are higher in ABV that are meant to be sipped slowly.

“To me nothing gives that holiday feel like a nice warming brew with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg,” he says.

Patchogue Beer Project, Village’s 3rd Craft Brewery, Coming Soon

Mike Philbrick, founder of Port Jeff Brewing Co., inspects one of his beers. (Press photo Bob Giglione.)

Patchogue already boasts Long Island’s oldest craft brewery, Brick House Brewery,founded in 1996, and its largest brewery, Blue Point Brewing, scheduled to open a new 60,000-barrel facility next summer. Craft beer has helped power the revitalization of the bustling South Shore village, with a lively pub and restaurant scene along Main Street catering to visitors and new residents in the hundreds of apartments built downtown in the past few years.

Now Patchogue is getting a third brewery that hopes to fill a niche in the craft beer market by collaborating with other new breweries that have opened across the Island. The simply named Patchogue Beer Project is the brainchild of two well-known residents of the North Shore: Mike Philbrick, the founder and brewmaster of Port Jeff Brewing Co., and restaurateur Ryan DiSpirito, who was looking to branch out into the growing craft beer scene.

“I was ready for a new challenge and a mutual friend told me about a chef who wanted to start a new brewery, and put me in touch with Ryan,” Philbrick said. “I’m excited to do something a little different from Port Jeff Brewing and to be a part of the great things happening in Patchogue.”

Philbrick started out as a home-brewer and after catching the brewing bug received formal training at the World Brewing Academy at Siebel Institute in Chicago. He did apprenticeship brewing gigs at Iron Hill and other breweries in his native Philadelphia area before founding Port Jeff Brewing in 2010 and opening the brewery a year later in a building across from the harborfront that houses a 7-barrel brewing system and a small tasting room.

Port Jeff is well known for its hoppy ales including Party Boat IPA and Schooner Pale Ale. It was the first brewery on LI to install a canning line in 2014, which helped increase distribution across the Island and into New York City and Westchester.

Patchogue Beer Project will be located in the former Cornell Galleries building on West Main Street directly across from BrickHouse Brewery. The building will also house a second location for Local Burger Co., which has its original location in Bay Shore, and a new breakfast and lunch restaurant, Buttermilk’s Kitchen.

Philbrick is heading up the brewing side of operations for Patchogue Beer Project and is installing a 5-barrel brewing system from Premier Stainless, similar to the system at Port Jeff Brewing. The brewery will initially have six 10-barrel fermenters and lots of serving tanks to keep up with expected demand in the tasting room and for take-away growlers.

Philbrick expects to select a head brewer for the new brewery in the next few weeks and be ready to start brewing before the end of the year.

“I want to be able to host other brewers at Patchogue Beer Project and collaborate on new beers, taking advantage of the melting pot of ideas that we have on Long Island,” said Philbrick. “Our first beers will be brewed with BrickHouse and Blue Point, who I know already know very well, and we’re looking forward to having fun with the brewers which will be fun for our consumers.”

DiSpirito will oversee the brewery’s tasting room, where visitors will be able to see the brewing operations through glass.

“We are licensed as a New York State farm brewery,” said DiSpirito, “so we’ll be able to sell other New York State craft beer and wine in the tasting room, along with other farm products and merchandise.”

Philbrick is already a strong supporter of using locally grown ingredients in his beers and his Fresh Hop Ale at Port Jeff Brewing uses hops from Condzella’s Farm in Wading River and Wesnofske Farms in Peconic.

The new brewery is also likely to participate in the Town of Brookhaven’s new Brew to Moo program that is recycling local breweries’ tons of spent grains by feeding it to livestock. In August, BrickHouse Brewery and Port Jeff Brewing became the first two breweries to sign on to the program, in which the Town of Brookhaven makes regular pickups of the spent grains and transports them to the Double D Bar Ranch in Manorville, a haven for abused or unwanted farm animals. The grains are mixed into feed for the livestock, providing protein and fiber that can supplement corn for feed.

“At Port Jeff we were happy to be a part of this program helping rescue animals, and so we want to continue to make it a success,” Philbrick said.