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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.

Long Island Craft Brewery Taprooms Open Outdoor Seating

Long Ireland Beer Co.'s reopening on June 10.

Just in time for Father’s Day, Long Island craft breweries have taken advantage of phase two of New York State’s reopening to open outdoor areas for their taprooms.

In an informal survey, LIBeerGuide.com found that more than 30 of Long Island’s 46 craft brewery taprooms and brewpubs have opened with outdoor seating. With just a handful of exceptions, LI breweries kept busy brewing and selling beer after the shutdown of taprooms on March 16 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Breweries quickly shifted to providing to-go service, curbside pickup, and in some cases home delivery. 

Brewery owners were thrilled to welcome back patrons in person to their taprooms, while maintaining social distancing and mask-wearing rules. 

While so many of our customers kept us going throughout the shutdown by buying beer to go, it was a great feeling to finally pour some pints and see smiling faces again,” said Dan Burke, co-owner with Greg Martin of Long Ireland Beer Co. in Riverhead. 

Many breweries that did not have outdoor seating at their taprooms adjusted to the phase two rules by quickly setting up small seating areas on the sidewalks outside their entrance.  Bright Eye Beer Co., which opened its new taproom on Feb. 21 in downtown Long Beach, set up a small patio on the sidewalk outside the brewery. Oyster Bay Brewing in downtown Oyster Bay also set up a small sidewalk area with tables and chairs.  

Other breweries located in strip malls were able to cordon off sections of their parking lots to create outdoor seating, including Old Tappan Brewing in Bayville and Saint James Brewery, which opened its new taproom in St. James on March 14 just two days before the shutdown. 

Several breweries that closed either completely or for part of the shutdown have reopened, including BrewSA Brewing and Noble Savage Brewing. BrewSA Brewing, located on Freeport’s Nautical Mile, reopened on June 10 and featured live music from local band Jerry & the Newcomers on June 14. Noble Savage Brewing, which celebrated the first anniversary of its opening in downtown Glen Cove on June 1, reopened with outdoor seating on June 12 including food from Green Street Food Truck.    

Phase three of reopening on Long Island is currently planned for June 24, which would allow indoor dining and drinking establishments, including brewery taprooms, to operate at 50 percent of capacity. Several craft breweries are waiting until phase three to reopen, including Po’Boy Brewery in Port Jeff Station and Small Craft Brewing in Amityville.  

27A Brewing Co. in Lindenhurst is waiting for phase three to reopen its taproom, but in the meantime for Father’s Day it is teaming up with local restaurant Bakuto and bespoke men’s shaving and grooming supply shop, Holy Block Trading Co., to offer a Father’s Day take-out BBQ package that includes a crowler of 27A Brewing beer and a special after-shave for Dad from Holy Block.   

A complete list of Long Island craft brewery taprooms and brewpubs is available online at libeerguide.com/brewery-tap-rooms-brewpubs.

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

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Long Beach Brewing Company Rolls Ashore

L. to R.: LBBC co-owners Brett Blau, Dan Scandiffio, and Patrick Harter.

The voyage of Long Beach Brewing Company has been a long one, but LBBC overcame rough seas to found its home port on busy Lawson Boulevard in Oceanside.  

LBBC has been brewing beers at its 5,000-square-foot brewery for more than a year and began selling brews for pickup and delivery during the coronavirus shutdown. Work is also underway to finish construction of its taproom, with plans to open this summer when the lockdown ends.  

“We’ve had a tremendous response to our pickup and delivery services,” says Brett Blau, a co-owner of LBBC. “It’s been a great way to get our beers out to new customers, many of whom have become repeat customers.”

The three co-owners Blau, Patrick Harten, and Dan Scandiffio are all Long Beach natives who raised more than $29,000 on Kickstarter to launch the brewery before signing their lease in 2017. The 10-barrel brewhouse features a Pioneer brewing system from Portland, Oregon and will have 20 taps in the tasting room. It self distributes four-packs to beer stores and kegs to bars and restaurants. 

As a New York State-licensed farm brewery, it uses local ingredients in its beers. Its flagship beer, hoppy Ghost Wave IPA, is made from almost all state-grown ingredients.

Summer seasonal beers include 3350A Pilsner, a crisp lager, and West Penn Wheat, a refreshing German-style hefeweizen. Another German-style brew is The Shipwrecks Black Lager, an unusual combination of pilsner lightness with the robust roasted malt taste of a stout, named after a popular local punk band.

The newest addition to LBBC’s lineup, Oceansized, introduced during the shutdown, is a New England-style hazy IPA with super fruity hoppiness.

According to Blau, LBBC’s taproom will have taps dedicated to a tenant brewer, veteran Long Island craft brewery, Flying Belgian Brewery. The taproom will also feature local wines, kombucha from Oceanside neighbor Coastal Craft, and possibly other regional beverages and spirits.  

One thing for certain is that the taproom will have space for live music performances and display space for local artists.  

“We are proud to be an active member of the community, supporting fundraisers and food drives over the years and especially during this crisis,” says Blau. “We are looking forward to welcoming the community to our brewery when we all come through this together.”

Long Beach Brewing Company is located at 3350A Lawson Blvd. in Oceanside. For more info visit longbeachbrew.com.

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

Holbrook-based Spider Bite Spins Gold in NY Beer Competition

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.

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

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Long Island Homebrewers Celebrate Virtual Big Brew Day

Many people on Long Island are using this forced stay-at-home time to catch up on reading lists or take up new hobbies. But Long Island’s homebrewers already have a favorite stay-at-home activity, which they will celebrate today with virtual festivities and homebrewing for annual Big Brew Day.  

In 1998, the U.S. Congress named May 7 as National Homebrewers Day to mark the 20th anniversary of federal legislation to legalize homebrewing for the first time since Prohibition. To celebrate this day, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) created Big Brew Day to be held on the first Saturday in May. 

After a decline in the 2000s, homebrewing blossomed in popularity in the 2010s among craft beer enthusiasts who realized that homebrew is the ultimate craft brew.  Long Island has three active homebrew clubs – Brewers East End Revival (B.E.E.R.) and Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME) in Suffolk County, and Handgrenades Homebrew Club in Nassau County.  

These clubs all hold monthly meetings and annual competitions, and serve their homebrews at local beer festivals where they are usually the most popular attraction. During the COVID-19 shutdown, the clubs have continued to hold virtual monthly meetings and regular Zoom happy hours.

Many of Long Island’s craft breweries were founded by former members of the homebrew clubs and these breweries regularly host and sponsor events for the clubs. Blue Point Brewing in Patchogue, which was founded by two former homebrewers, has hosted an annual event for Big Brew Day for several years but due to the COVID-19 shutdown, this year’s event will be virtual.

Longtime Blue Point brewer Jim Richards will lead a virtual toast at 1 pm on Blue Point’s live Instagram feed, and after the toast Blue Point will link in the presidents of each Long Island homebrew club to discuss club activities. Members of the Long Island clubs will be brewing a wide variety of beer styles at home, including Shelter-in-Place IPA that will be brewed by this member of the Handgrenades club.

Long Island’s Big Brew Day activities will be a part of a worldwide event as the AHA has pushed to make this year’s event the largest homebrew event ever.  The AHA is the largest homebrewing group in the U.S. with more than 46,000 members and sponsors the world’s largest homebrew competition.  More than 3,500 AHA members and other brewers pledged in advance to participate in Big Brew Day, brewing more than 23,000 gallons of beer in all 50 states, six U.S. territories and 63 other countries.  

For anyone who wants to take advantage of this stay-at-home time to try homebrewing, there are plenty of resources available at LIBeerGuide.com/homebrew. The website lists homebrew supply shops on Long Island that are open for pickup to get equipment and ingredients, and information on Long Island’s homebrew clubs who are always welcoming and eager to help new homebrewers.

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

 

HopWin’s Brewery Joins Brewer’s Row in Bay Shore

L. to R.: Bill and Rhiannon Hoppe, Jennifer and Steve Winn of HopWin's Brewery.

With the recent debut of HopWin’s Brewery next to The Brewers Collective Beer Co., a brewer’s row is booming in Bay Shore, which is also home to Great South Bay Brewery, Ghost Brewing, and Destination Unknown Beer Company.

HopWin’s was founded in 2015 by brothers-in-law Bill Hoppe and Steve Winn, who started out as homebrewers a decade ago and turned their hobby into a business aft er some prodding from their wives, who are sisters. Unable to host their planned grand opening due to coronavirus, they instead opened with takeout and delivery.

“Steve and I were spending so much time brewing late at night and on the weekends that our wives suggested we start making money doing it,” says Hoppe.

HopWin’s leased a 2,350-square-foot space in 2017 and Hoppe, a sheet metal worker, and Steve, who works in telecommunications, built a 5-barrel brewing system while perfecting recipes and pouring beers at local beer festivals.

“We’re excited to be part of making Bay Shore the premier craft beer destination on Long Island,” says Hoppe, a Bay Shore native. “Main Street is bustling with craft beer bars and gastropubs, and we’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the other breweries in town.”

Hoppe and Winn won the Golden Keg last year in the annual Brew’d Competition at the Long Island Craft Classic beer fest in which nine local craft breweries competed by brewing a beer incorporating a mystery ingredient, which in 2019 was mango. HopWin’s used the ingredient in a milkshake New England-style IPA called Dat Mango Tho’.

HopWin’s brewers like to experiment by using one recipe but splitting the batch and adding different ingredients in the fermenting tanks. HopWin’s has canned several of its beers, including split batch beers such as Pretty in Peach, a peach version of its Hefe Handed Hefeweizen.

The taproom at HopWin’s has 12 taps, and will feature beers such as Strong Island IPA, Marshmallow Milk Stout, Golden Ale, and its split version of One Hella Vanilla! Golden Ale. HopWin’s tasting room, highlighted by a 50-foot-long bar, will be family friendly and dog friendly, with plenty of space for party games like Jenga and darts. In warm weather a roll up door will open to let in the sunshine.

As the name of the brewery suggests, these hops are a win!

HopWin’s Brewery is located at 1460 N. Clinton Avenue in Bay Shore. For more info visit hopwinsstore.com

Related Story: Long Island Breweries Offer To-Go and Home Delivery Services

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Long Island Breweries Pitch In During COVID-19 Crisis

Greenport Harbor Brewing delivers face shields to Eastern Long Island Hospital

Several Long Island craft breweries have been busy doing more than making beer during the coronavirus crisis. Some are helping make critically-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders, and providing support for local food banks and community groups.  

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, along with other members of the Village of Greenport Business Improvement District, formed a team that has developed and produced over 3,000 face shields. Led by Greenport Harbor co-founder Richard Vandenburgh, the team has donated face shields to hospitals on the East End, including Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital, Southampton Hospital and Peconic Bay Medical Center. Face shields have also been donated to local fire departments. paramedics, pharmacies and supermarkets.

“It is amazing when a community comes together as it has in this effort,” said Vanderburgh, “and we could not have had the impact we’re making without our donors and volunteers.”

The team, named Operation COVID-19 Defense, includes Greenport Harbor Brewing, William J. Mills & Co. Sailmakers and Awnings, Mark Miller of Miller Environmental, Bob Gammon who is co-lead advisor for the Southold/Greenport Schools Robotics Club, and Reflective Image Manufacturing in Greenport.  The clear vinyl glass for the face shields is cut on machinery at Mills Awnings and the face shields are then assembled by teams of volunteers at Greenport Harbor’s Peconic brewery.

To cover the costs of materials for the face shields, Operation COVID-19 Defense started a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $25,000, which was reached in three days and has currently raised more than $45,000. According to Vanderburgh, the coalition has received requests for another 6,000 shields from area hospitals, nursing homes, post office and other businesses. 

Other breweries on Long Island are raising funds for food banks and local communities.  Great South Bay Brewing in Bay Shore is raising funds to benefit the Island Harvest Food Bank and help feed hungry families on Long Island during the COVID-19 crisis. For every GSB gift card sold during the month of April, the brewery will donate a portion of the sales to Island Harvest.

Lithology Brewing in Farmingdale is raising funds to support the Farmingdale Community Summit Family Assistance Fund, a group formed to provide emergency funds to Farmingdale residents in need during the crisis.  Lithology is donating 15 percent of the proceeds from all pick-up and delivery orders, and the total proceeds from t-shirts and other merchandise, to the charity.

Blue Point Brewing in Patchogue is raising spirits and rewarding health care workers and first responders with its Toast Your Hero initiative. Long Islanders can nominate neighbors who are doing great things by creating a post about them on social media, tagging @bluepointbrewing and #TOASTYOURHERO.  Blue Point is selecting one hero per week to receive a free meal from the brewpub, a card to redeem a free pint for every brewpub visit during 2020, and a whole lot of beer. The gifts are dropped off by a special retrofitted Blue Point Brewing Fire Truck and the first hero honored last week was Maria Kirchner, an ICU nurse at Mather Hospital.

Long Island breweries are continuing to brew and are offering curbside pick-up and delivery services to get beer to customers during the coronavirus shutdown. A complete list of brewery pick-up 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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Secatogue Brewing Co.: New West Islip Brews

Ken Srubinski, founder of Secatogue Brewing Co.

When Secatogue Brewing Co. opened last year, crowds packed the taproom as West Islip residents celebrated their first hometown brewery. The crowds dried up during the coronavirus pandemic, but Secatogue is among the local brewers selling beers to go and for delivery.

West Islip native Ken Srubinski started homebrewing seriously in his mid-20s, quickly decided to start a brewery, and, with the support of his family, purchased a 4,300-square-foot building for $1.6 million that was previously home to a construction company.  

“The building was perfect for our needs,” Srubinski says. “It was nearly new and expandable, and was connected to sewers. It was also located on a main road with good visibility and parking for our taproom.”

In a nod to his hometown, Srubinski named the brewery Secatogue, after the Native American tribe that originally inhabited what is now West Islip. He installed a five-barrel brewhouse with four fermenters and two brite tanks. With help from his wife Katie, his younger brother Tom, his father and other family members, Srubinski transformed half of the building into a beautifully appointed taproom with capacity for 100 guests.  

Srubinski typically brews at double capacity, producing 10 barrels of beer a week, to meet demand in the taproom and outside accounts. He plans to add a 10-barrel unitank, which will provide capacity for canning.

Secatogue’s beer lineup runs the gamut from light to dark, with Srubinski usually featuring several IPAs. One of his first successful recipes, Pink Hibiscus IPA, using real hibiscus flowers, is still regularly featured along with several hazy New England Style IPAs.  

The lineup also includes stouts and porters, such as Lei’d Up, made with Hawaiian cold brew coffee from Cyrus Chai & Coffee in Bay Shore, finished with hints of toasted coconut.  Srubinski also loves to experiment with unusual flavors to create beers like All We Have Left is PB&J, a cream ale made with honey, peanut butter, and Concord grapes.

Srubinski is grateful for the support the brewery has received during the crisis.  

“People have definitely not forgotten about us,” he says. “And we’re glad that Secatogue can continue to provide locally made beer to help raise the spirits of our community in these challenging times.” 

Secatogue Brewing Co. is located at 375 Union Blvd. in West Islip. For more information call 631-228-8914 or visit secatoguebrewing.com.

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

Long Island Breweries Offer To-Go and Home Delivery Services

Long Island’s craft brewing industry, along with bars, restaurants, and so many other hospitality businesses, are facing unprecedented challenges from efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Brewery taprooms across Long Island, including the brand new taproom of Saint James Brewery that opened on March 14, are closed until further notice. But breweries have responded by offering to-go service, curbside pickup, and in some cases home delivery. 

Ten breweries in Nassau County are offering to-go and curbside pickup, with Lithology Brewing in Farmingdale also offering local home delivery. Twenty-five breweries in Suffolk County are offering to-go services and curbside pickup, with 10 breweries also offering home delivery of beer.

The Suffolk County breweries offering home delivery include DUBCO in Bay Shore, Great South Bay Brewing in Bay Shore, Harbor Head in Northport, Long Ireland in Riverhead, Port Jeff Brewing, Sand City in Northport, Secatogue Brewing in West Islip, and Six Harbors in Huntington.

In addition to home delivery of beer, Blind Bat Brewery Bistro & Takeaway in Centerport and BrickHouse Brewery in Patchogue are also offering delivery of their food.  

LIBeerGuide.com has compiled a complete list of Long Island craft breweries that are offering to-go and delivery services, which is available at libeerguide.com/brewery-to-go-delivery. 

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

Motion Craft Brewed: Massapequa Park’s New Brewery 

Owners Kris Constantelos and Angel Santiago man the taps at Motion Craft Brewed.

Motion Craft Brewed debuted on February 14 on Park Boulevard in Massapequa Park, adding the latest draw for craft beer lovers in the village’s downtown that is home to several popular gastropubs.

After meeting at the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts homebrew club, owners Angel Santiago and Kris Constantelos decided to open a brewery together. One year after signing a lease, they opened Motion in a storefront across the street from The Good Life

“We realized that the southeastern part of Nassau County had untapped potential with no other breweries in the area,” Santiago says. “The village was very receptive to having a brewery on Park Boulevard and was very helpful in the process. We were looking for a prime location with lots of foot traffic and this definitely fit the bill.”

Nassau now has 10 craft brewery taprooms, more than double the number just two years ago.     

Constantelos was influenced by the traditions of his Italian and Greek immigrant family making wine at home, and started out homebrewing mead, a honey wine. Santiago’s homebrewing efforts focused on ciders, using a wide variety of ingredients and flavors, which he carried over into his homebrewed beer.

“We decided to brew a beer together, a Belgian-style saison flavored with honey and orange peel,” Constantelos says. “And it turned out so good that we continue to use the original recipe.”  

The beer, called My First Crush, was on tap at the grand opening and will continue to be a mainstay of Motion’s beer menu.

The partners installed a one-barrel brewing system with a two-barrel fermenting tank, so they are brewing double batches of their beer and ciders.  

“We plan to upgrade our brewing system over the next year to keep up with demand,” said Constantelos.  

Motion Craft Brewed’s taproom has 10 taps serving a diverse range of beer styles along with several ciders. On the opening weekend, the beers included Boulevard Hefeweizen, Motion Vienna lager, and Straight Outta Wonka, a rich chocolate peanut butter porter. Also on tap were three ciders: Peach Bellini, Le Pasion made with passion fruit, and Cider Colado, a pineapple coconut cider.  

According to Constantelos, the name of the brewery and its logo refers to a boat propeller always in motion. Based on the enthusiastic crowds who packed the taproom on opening weekend, the direction of this new craft brewery will be full steam ahead.    

Motion Craft Brewed is located at 1036B Park Blvd. in Massapequa Park. For more info visit motioncraftbrewed.com.

 

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

Bright Eye Beer Co. Opens in Long Beach

Bright Eye Beer Co. held its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.

Bright Eye Beer Company, Long Beach’s first craft brewery, celebrated its grand opening Friday night with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and hundreds of craft beer lovers packing its taproom on Park Avenue. 

Leading the event was Long Beach Chamber of Commerce President Ian Danby of Cybernet, who was joined by local and state officials including City of Long Beach Councilman Mike Delury and New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky. Also on hand were representatives from National Grid and PSEG Long Island, both of which supported the brewery with small business grants.

“Our goal is to create a gathering place for friends to sip and savor locally brewed beers they can call their own,” said Luke Heneghan, who co-owns the brewery with Molly Allare and his sister, Keira Heneghan.

Bright Eye’s brewery and taproom is located on West Park Avenue directly across from City Hall and the Long Beach Long Island Rail Road station. It took over a 5,000 square foot space in 2018 that had been vacant for two years. The historic building was constructed in 1939 for a McLellan’s Five and Dime Store and most recently housed Long Beach Craft and Variety store.

The new owners built a 15-barrel brewhouse and a 40-foot-long bar in the taproom, which is topped by recycled steel beams from the old Point Lookout Pavilion that was taken down in 2018.

On hand for the grand opening were many members of the Heneghan family from Point Lookout, who own the popular J.A. Heneghan’s Tavern and Restaurant. Bright Eye’s name came from a fish packing company that was located in Point Lookkout in the 1930s and 1940, Bright Eye Fish Co.

“A fish with bright eyes meant that it was freshly caught,” said Luke Heneghan, “so we are proud to be carrying on the name with our freshly made local beers.”    

Initially the new taproom will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 9 p.m. 

Bright Eye Beer Company is located at 50 W. Park Avenue in Long Beach.  For more info visit brighteyebeerco.com.

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