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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.

Northport’s Sand City Brewing Co. Opens Second Location in Lindenhurst

sand city brewing
Luca Baby is among Sand City’s popular IPAs.

Northport-based Sand City Brewing Co. opened its second location on March 5 in Lindenhurst, making it one of the few local breweries to expand to more than one site.

The 10,000-square-foot new taproom and brewery on South Wellwood Avenue, known as Sand City South, became the third brewery to open in Lindenhurst after W.A. Meadwerks and 27A Brewing.

“The larger brewery will help us triple the amount of beer that Sand City is able to brew,” says Bill Kiernan, who cofounded Sand City with Kevin Sihler, who adds: “We have the room now to set aside some of our beers to age and develop even more complex flavors.” 

The brewhouse has a 20-barrel brewing system, double the size of Sand City’s Northport location. Sihler, who is Sand City’s head brewer, said the new capacity will enable the brewery to increase canning and distribution of their current beers and to experiment with new styles. 

Since its opening in fall 2015, Sand City has built a reputation for brewing some of Long Island’s best IPAs, or India Pale Ale, a heavily hopped beer style. Among these IPAs are single-hop beers like Mofosaic, brewed with Mosaic hops and IPAs brewed with a combination of hops, such as Classic Girl IPA dry hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic and Citra hops. 

Recent collaborations include Double IPAs brewed with upstate New York breweries such as Tin Barn Brewing from Chester and Equilibrium Brewery from Middletown. Finback Brewery from Brooklyn also collaborated recently on Double Something Infinity, brewed with 11 different varieties of hops.

While the IPAs have received the most attention, Sand City also brews a variety of other styles, with recent beers such as A Fairly Simple Operation, a Blueberry Golden Ale, Roaring Noon Belgian-style Witbier with orange and coriander, Red Sand American Amber Ale and Guava Freak, a Belgian-style Tripel.   

It took Sand City a couple of years to become a fixture in Northport’s lively downtown, but after a few months it looks like Sand City South is already on its way to becoming a standout destination for Long Island’s South Shore. 

Sand City South is located at 150 S. Wellwood Ave. in Lindenhurst. For more info visit sandcitybeer.com.

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

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Lost Farmer Brewing Company Opens in Mineola

brewing
The new brewery touts a retro theme.

Beer drinkers will begin enjoying craft brews in central Nassau County at Lost Farmer Brewing Company’s May 1 opening in Mineola.

Co-founders Domenick Petralia and John Strom are childhood friends from Garden City. They began construction on the 2nd street location in 2020, with much of the work done by Strom and the crew from his firm, Strom Home Remodeling.

“We developed a passion for craft beer over the years and decided to take the next step,” Petralia says.

Their beers at Lost Farmer will use local and exotic ingredients to produce high-quality brews. 

“Our name pays tribute to the small, unknown lost generations of farmers and farms across New York State who grow the ingredients we use,” Petralia says. “It also refers to the location and our ‘Get Lost’ atmosphere and retro environment in an utterly booming area.”

It’s a Craft Malt Certified brewery, committed to using malt from local providers. 

“We get the majority of our malts from Hudson Valley Malt, an artisan craft malthouse in Germantown, New York,” Petralia says.  

Lost Farmer’s 2,200-square-foot space features a taproom overlooking its custom-designed 7-barrel brewhouse with 9 fermenting tanks. The taproom’s garage door opens onto a courtyard with wooden picnic benches and decadent wooden wine barrels. The retro atmosphere has TVs playing MTV music videos from the 1980s and 1990s, along with free PAC-MAN and Donkey Kong games for patrons.  

Beers on tap include Juicy IPA, a hazy New England-style IPA, and a wide variety of other beer styles. Customers can enjoy flights and take away beers in 32-ounce growlers and 64-ounce growlers.

The brewery plans to start a barrel-aged beer program to make barrel-aged sours, gose, and stouts using 20 barrels from Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes.

Taproom snacks include locally handmade focaccia bread and hot Bavarian pretzels. Biscuits & Barbecue, a standout for Cajun and Creole food located a block away, will offer a special menu for Lost Brewing patrons on Tuesdays to Thursdays; there will be food trucks and occasional live music on weekends. The taproom is dog-friendly and kid-friendly, and Sunday is family day, with an occasional Mister Softee ice cream truck appearance.

Lost Farmer plans to self-distribute to local bars, restaurants, and beer stores, so craft beer lovers won’t have to get lost to find delicious fresh craft beer.  

Lost Farmer Brewing Co. is located at 63-A 2nd St. in Mineola. For more info visit lostfarmerbrewing.com.

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

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Blue Point Brewing Celebrates Unofficial 4/20 Holiday With New ‘Legalize Wheat’ Beer

4/20
Blue Point co-founder Mark Burford and oyster farmer Keenan Boyle celebrating 4/20.

For marijuana enthusiasts, the number 420 has a special meaning, signifying the time of day — 4:20 p.m. — when cannabis culture is celebrated.

According to legend, the daily ritual was started by a group of high school students in San Rafael, C.A., in the 1970s. Over the years the number 420 has also come to signify the date, 4/20 or April 20, for an unofficial national holiday to enjoy all things gnarly, dude!

Although legal recreational marijuana is not yet available in New York State, Long Islanders were able to celebrate 4/20 at an outdoor market at Blue Point Brewing in Patchogue.  Dubbed “Shakedown on Main Street” as an homage to the Grateful Dead, the market featured merchandise from local vendors, live music, grilled cheese, and of course Blue Point beer.

Legalize Wheat beer with graphics by Grateful Dead artist Helen Kennedy.

Blue Point introduced a new beer at the event, Legalize Wheat, a 7.0% ABV Hoppy American Wheat Ale made with a Pineapple Express blend of terpenes, the naturally-occurring compounds that enhance the flavor and aroma of both beer and cannabis. For the new beer label, Blue Point commissioned graphics from Helen Kennedy, the first female artist-in-residence for the Grateful Dead.

Legalize Wheat is a limited edition beer and is available in six-packs and also as part of a special HopBox, available for shipping across New York State and for pickup at the brewery. The HopBox also includes a Legalize Wheat poster designed by Helen Kennedy, six-packs of Hoptical Illusion and Peripheral Drift IPAs, a four-pack of LIIT Hard Tea Seltzer, a package of Blue Point rolling papers, and treats to satisfy the munchies — special brownies and Flaming Hot Cheetos.

Take a long strange trip to Blue Point while supplies last!

Bernie Kilkelly is editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com

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Twin Fork Beer Co. Serves Pitch-Perfect Brews in Riverhead

Courtesy Twin Forks Beer Company.

Visitors to craft breweries may sometimes see double, especially after a few pints. But at Twin Fork Beer Company, which opened in Riverhead in October 2020, customers would not be mistaken if they ran into the founders, identical twin brothers Dan and Peter Chekijian.

The brewery’s name is a triple homage to the Twin Forks region, the twin brothers, and to tuning forks used to tune musical instruments, because their father was a classical pianist. 

“We use the tuning fork in our logo and in our distinctive tap handles to show our love and respect for music,” says Peter, whose younger brother is a professional musician.

After pursuing a variety of jobs in manufacturing, sales, and wine importing, Peter started homebrewing in 2008 and joined the Brewers East End Revival homebrew club. He then interned at Long Ireland Beer Company in Riverhead to deepen his brewing skills, and his brother joined him in the dream of starting their own brewery.

The brothers took the leap in 2014 and founded Twin Fork Beer Co., contract brewing their beers at local breweries. They wanted to be part of the craft beer boom that has now resulted in Riverhead having the most craft breweries of any town on Long Island.  

Twin Fork’s logo made out of beer cans hands in its tasting room.

In 2018 on an undeveloped lot on Raynor Avenue, they broke ground on an 11,480-square-foot facility with a 20-barrel brewhouse, cold storage for distribution, and a tasting room. The expanded production capacity of their new brewery will enable Twin Fork to continue expanding self-distribution of cans and kegs across the New York Metro area. 

Twin Fork’s beers have names that also pay tribute to musical terms, including the flagship Chromatic Pale Ale, Crescendo IPA, Minuet Session IPA and Sonata, a Kölsch-style Lager Ale.  Seasonal beers include rich Legato Stout in the winter, Harvest Notes amber ale in the fall, and the soon-to-be-released Summer Notes ale.  

Before opening, the brewery received approval to expand its tasting room to provide more space for social distancing during the pandemic. Savannah Kurz, tasting room manager, said the brewery’s priority is the health and safety of its customers and employees.

“We have an outdoor area with picnic tables that was great to use on warmer days,” said Kurz, “and we look forward to opening that up again this spring.”

Twin Fork will soon have its own permanent food truck at the brewery, serving food in perfect harmony with its beers.    

Twin Fork Beer Company is located at 807 Raynor Avenue in Riverhead. For more info visit twinforkbeer.com.

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

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27A Brewing Company Keeps Local History Alive in Lindenhurst

27A Brewing
Co-founders and Lindenhust natives Ryan and Melissa Cooke.

Beer has a special place in the history of Lindenhurst, where one of Long Island’s first breweries opened in 1871, and where Linden Brewery, previously the region’s largest brewery, closed in 1949. 

Breaking the 70-year dry spell to ensure locally brewed beer is part of the village’s future is 27A Brewing Company, which Lindenhurst High School sweethearts Ryan Cooke and Melissa Bates-Cooke founded in 2019 in a 120-year-old building on North Wellwood Avenue that formerly housed a longtime butcher shop.

“The fact that Lindenhurst was a brewing town is important to us,” says Cooke. “We’re happy to keep that tradition alive.”   

During the renovation of the space they restored the original tin ceiling and an old marble butcher block, which is now the bar top in their taproom. The taproom is decorated with Lindenhurst memorabilia, including a display of Linden Brewery bottles.

The company has a three-barrel brewing system and regularly has six beers on tap. Cooke, a former assistant brewer at Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. in Brooklyn, uses a Norwegian yeast, kviek, that allows for faster fermentation, and loves to experiment with different styles and hops, brewing 130 different beers since 2019, according to Untappd.

“I want to have beers at 27A that are approachable for newer craft beer drinkers,” says Cooke. “So I focus on softening the water profile and offering some beers that are lower in [alcohol by volume].” 

Recent offerings included refreshing Benkert’s Blonde Ale, crisp Paint My Memory Pilsner dry hopped with Galaxy hops, and rich Oath of the Abyss Dark Double IPA. Other seasonal favorites include Rainbow Cookie Stout and Jekyll and Hyde, Ryan’s version of a Black and Tan made with Jekyll Pale Ale and Hyde Imperial Double Black IPA.

They’re well on their way to Lindenhurst’s status as a local beer mecca. Soon after the opening of 27A Brewing, Lindenhurst became home to LI’s only craft meadery, W A Meadwerks, and will soon have the second outpost of Northport’s Sand City Brewery.  

27A Brewing Company is located at 173 N. Wellwood Ave. in Lindenhurst.  For more info visit 27abrewing.com.

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

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Riverhead’s Newest Brewery Celebrates its Grand Opening

Peconic County Brewing founder Jeff Schaeffer and beertenders.

Peconic County Brewing held its grand opening in downtown Riverhead last week, making it the sixth craft brewery taproom in the town and establishing Riverhead as the craft brewing capital of Long Island.

The 8,500 square foot brewery has beautiful views overlooking the town’s Riverwalk Park and the Peconic River. The space includes a 2,000 square foot deck that is certain to become a hot spot come summertime. Peconic Brewing is located on the ground floor of the 116-unit Riverview Lofts building, which opened last fall.

Peconic Brewing has a 15-barrel brewhouse and head brewer James Miller had 10 beers on tap for the opening. Among the brews at the opening were Dream Girl IPA made with Simco, Amarillo and El Dorado hops; Hampton Haze New England-style IPA; 631 Belgian-style wit beer; Big Duck Rye Saison; and smooth Iron Pier Stout served on a nitro tap. 

Founder Jeff Schaeffer, who is a Southampton native, tapped his longtime friend and veteran East End chef Luke Andrews to head up the brewery’s kitchen. The menu for the opening was limited but featured several items that are likely to become local favorites including lobster roll served on a toasted croissant (choice of New England style or Connecticut style) and tasty burgers and wings.

The décor in the taproom pays tribute to the inspiration for brewery’s name, which was a movement to establish a new Peconic County by breaking off the five easternmost towns of Suffolk County. Riverhead may never become the seat of its own county, but Peconic County Brewing has succeeded it making it Long Island’s capital city of craft brewing.

Peconic County Brewing Company is located at 221 East Main Street in Riverhead.  For more info visit peconiccountybrewing.com.

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

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Long Island Beers to Help You Stay Warm in a Blizzard

long island beers

As the nor’easter raged on Monday, many beer lovers reached for hearty winter ales to warm up after shoveling snow or enjoying a sleigh ride. There are plenty of high alcohol craft beers on Long Island, with all kinds of beer styles brewed at double, triple and imperial ABV levels. But true winter ales, often called Winter Warmers, are notable not just for high ABV but also their rich maltiness and added spices.

Winter Warmers trace their origins to the British tradition of brewing robust, high alcohol beers to be enjoyed in the cold of winter, often with spices used in mulled wine like nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and orange peel. The style became popular in the U.S. after Anchor Brewing in San Francisco brewed its first Anchor Christmas Ale in 1975 and Sam Adams introduced Old Fezziwig Ale in 1995, a rich brown ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger and orange peel.  

Many of Long Island’s craft breweries feature seasonal winter ales, including several that have become longstanding favorites. Blue Point Brewing’s Winter Ale was one of the first seasonal beers introduced after the brewery was founded in 1998 and became available in 6-packs in 2005. This rich amber ale uses pale, Vienna, crystal and chocolate malts for robust flavors and weighs in at a warming 7.7% ABV.  

Long Ireland Beer Co. brews its Winter Ale with five different malts including Honey Malts and Cararuby for a deep ruby-red color. The Riverhead brewery, founded in 2009, uses three hop varieties along with ginger, allspice and cinnamon for a spicy finish. With its full body and 7.2% ABV, this beer produces a definite warming effect. If you can’t make it to Riverhead, 6-packs are available at beer retailers and select supermarkets across Long Island.  

Port Jeff Brewing, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in October, has a winter seasonal beer on tap at its tasting room. The 7.6% ABV beer, Ice Breaka Winta Warma, is a full-bodied ale brewed with mulling spices, vanilla beans, molasses and brown sugar.   

In Bay Shore, Destination Unknown Beer Company serves up its Old Fashioned DUBCO Christmas Winter Warmer, brewed with Crown Maple syrup, orange peel, demerara sugar and luxardo cherries. The beer is aged on bourbon-soaked oak and this year’s version brings the true Christmas spirit at 9.3% ABV.  4-packs are available for takeout or can be ordered online for curbside pickup or delivery.

One of Long Island’s newest breweries, Tradewinds Brewing, is featuring seasonal Winter Red ale at its Riverhead tap room that opened in 2020. This double IPA, with a warming 7.8% ABV, was dry hopped like a classic West Coast IPA using Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Columbus hops to give a piney flavor that balances the rich maltiness.

While we may not have another blizzard the size of the one this week, we can count on Long Island-brewed winter ales to help us weather any storm.

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

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Peconic County Brewing Opening in Riverhead

peconic county brewing
Jeff Schaeffer, owner of Peconic County Brewing

Drawing its name from a long-stalled proposal for the East End to secede from Suffolk County, Peconic County Brewing is the sixth craft brewery to open in Riverhead.

Peconic County Brewing is coming to East Main Street in an 8,500-square-foot space on the ground floor of the new Riverview Lofts building, which opened in the fall with 116 rental units. The brewery was founded by Jeff Schaeffer, a Patchogue resident who grew up in Southampton and has deep roots in the hospitality business. The tasting room is slated to open in January.

“Riverhead is becoming a destination town like Patchogue, with people coming to visit the breweries, enjoy the walkable downtown and dine at a variety of great restaurants,” says Schaeffer, who hosts a blog and podcast called Long Island Beer Authority. “After visiting many breweries, I realized there’s a lot of terrific beer being made on Long Island. But what makes the experience special goes beyond the beer which has to be really good, of course but it also means having a great space, great food and a great vibe.”

The Riverview Lofts building offered the opportunity to design and build his brewery and restaurant from scratch. Schaeffer set aside 2,000 square feet for a deck overlooking the Peconic River, which will feature fire pits and space for cornhole and other games. The brewery will have a full kitchen and a 15-barrel brewhouse with 30 barrel fermenters. 

“I wanted to have plenty of capacity for the taproom but am also looking ahead to canning and local distribution in the future,” said Schaeffer. 

James Miller, who was an assistant to Steve Pominsky at the sorely missed Barrage Brewing, signed on as brewmaster and aims to have 10 beers on tap with frequent rotations for seasonal brews. Among the regular offerings will be the flagship Dream Girl IPA made with Simcoe, Amarillo and El Dorado hops, and Hampton Haze New England-style IPA.  

Schaeffer tapped Luke Andrews, a longtime friend and fellow classmate from LIU Southampton College, a veteran East End foodie who was most recently head chef at Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor, to run the kitchen.

“Luke’s menu will focus on upscale but simple pub food, like our lobster roll served on a croissant, along with great burgers, flatbreads, and wings,” said Schaeffer.

Although it’s a long shot for the brewery’s name to become reality, Peconic County Brewery nonetheless helped Riverhead maintain its title as the capital of craft beer on Long Island.

Peconic County Brewing Company is located at 221 E. Main St. in Riverhead. For more info visit peconiccountybrewing.com.

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

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink

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Bellport Brewing Company’s Trip Ends at Start 

Bellport Brewing Co. founder and brewmaster Brian Baker.

When Brian Baker decided in 2013 to build Bellport Brewing Company, his “long strange trip” took detours around Long Island including Farmingdale, Moriches, and Bohemia before ending up back in Bellport.  

Bellport Brewing recently opened its new taproom in a 4,500-square-foot location on Station Road that formerly housed Rooster’s Cafe. Despite crowd size caps meant to curb the spread of Covid-19, enthusiasm has been boundless.

“We are so excited to be open in the Village of Bellport,” said Baker, “and we look forward to being an active part of the network of restaurants and other businesses serving a great community.”    

The journey began with Baker’s joining the Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME) homebrew club, where he decided to make beer his career. He received a New York State farm brewery license in 2015 and perfected his recipes at A Taste of Long Island in Farmingdale, a craft brewery incubator.  

“Brewers on Long Island have tremendous camaraderie and I’m always so grateful for the advice and help I’ve received over the years,” he said.  

This fellowship was demonstrated when Bellport Brewing had the opportunity to purchase a 7-barrel brewing system from 1940’s Brewing Company, which is expanding its brewery in Holbrook.

“We were delighted to have our brewing system find another home on Long Island,” said Charlie Becker, founder of 1940’s Brewing and also a LIBME member, “especially since we’ve known Brian for so long.”   

Bellport Brewing had six beers on tap when it opened, including a sour ale, red ale, espresso stout, pale ale, and two IPAs. 

“Our pale ale and IPA are brewed with Michigan Copper hops from upstate New York,” said Baker, “which give these brews an intense tropical fruit aroma.”  

When the brewery is fully operational, Baker and assistant brewer Travis Turner plan to have eight beers on regular rotation, including firkins of cask ale with various flavors added to their regular beers, such as jalapeño pale ale. 

Future plans include canning brews for local distribution and supplying kegs to local bars and restaurants, along with the taproom having local food trucks and delivery from nearby restaurants.  

Now that Bellport Brewing is back in Bellport, it plans to put down roots and “just keep truckin’ on.”

Bellport Brewing Company

Bellport Brewing Company is located at 14 Station Rd. in Bellport. For more info visit bellportbrewing.com.

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

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink

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New Brews Take Flight at Moriches Field Brewing Company

Rich Flynn founded Moriches Field Brewing

Rich Flynn of Moriches Field Brewing Company launched the grand opening of its new aviation-themed taproom in Center Moriches on Oct. 15.  

A homebrewer for more than 15 years, Flynn founded his brewery after a successful career in the finance industry that included overseeing operations in the United Kingdom for insurance giant AIG.  

“I couldn’t find the beers I liked in Europe, especially a good English bitter, so I decided to brew them,” he says.  

After joining the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts homebrew club, he began to think of starting a new career, worked as an assistant brewer for Brian Baker of Bellport Brewing, and began searching for a location to start his own brewery.

In 2017, he purchased a 5,000-square-foot building that was built decades ago from a military surplus Quonset hut. Flynn embraced the building’s resemblance to an airplane hangar and decorated the taproom with aviation artifacts. He spent three years developing plans, going through the permitting process, and installing a six-barrel brewing system and taproom with 20 taps.

Moriches Field is licensed as a New York State farm brewery and buys most of its malts from Hudson Valley Malts in Germantown.  

“Hudson Valley malts its grains using the old-fashioned method of floor malting, which produces the freshest malts with incredible flavor,” says Flynn.   

The split brewing system enables Flynn and his assistant brewer Jonathan Hillman to brew three-barrel batches and Moriches Field plans to have up to eight beers on tap regularly. For the grand opening, on tap was Summer Winds, a crisp light cream ale, Flynn’s Irish Red, a deliciously robust amber ale, and Long Island Pale Road, a hoppy American pale ale. Seasonal beers will include an American porter, Festive Trickster, a German-style Festbier and Pitch and Yaw, an oatmeal stout.

The taproom will be open Thursday through Sunday and Flynn plans to have food trucks on the weekends. Flights with small servings of three beers are available along with crowlers for takeout. Future plans call for canning beers for takeout and local distribution.  

“I wanted to build a small brewery that serves the local people, like I saw in Europe,” says Flynn, “so I look forward to our brewery becoming a mainstay of this community.”

Moriches Field Brewing Company is located at 1 Wilcox Ave. in Center Moriches.  For more info visit morichesfieldbrewing.com.

Founder Rich Flynn cuts the ribbon at the Grand Opening of Moriches Field Brewing on Oct. 15.

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

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink

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