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 Oktoberfest Celebrations 2018

The 185th Munich Oktoberfest will not kick off until Sept. 22, but here on Long Island the fun will start this weekend.

T.J. Finley’s in Bay Shore will hold its 11th annual Oktoberfest party this Saturday, Sept. 15 from 3 to 9 p.m. The first 300 guests will receive a free stein with their first beer and if you buy a ticket in advance you also get a Bavarian pretzel. The party will feature a stein holding contest, German music and food, and Oktoberfest beers from German breweries and local craft breweries including Blue Point Brewing.

Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square, voted Bethpage Best of LI’s Best German restaurant for the past six years, will hold its annual Ompahfest on Sunday, Sept. 16 from noon to 9 p.m. The festival, held in the enormous Plattduetsche Biergarten, is always held the day after the Steuben Parade in Manhattan and features music from bands that march in the parade, including many direct from Germany and Austria. Plenty of Oktoberfest beer will be served with authentic German food.

Oktoberfest celebrations will continue across Long Island throughout September and October, including several at local German restaurants. Das Biergarten, a German restaurant and beer garden in Long Beach, will celebrate Oktoberfest on two weekends, Sept. 22 and 23, and Sept. 29 and 30, with a festival tent, live music and traditional German food and beer. Black Forest Brew Haus, a German brewpub in Farmingdale, will celebrate Oktoberfest with live German bands for four weekends beginning on Sept. 28 and 29 and running through Oct. 19 and 20.

On Sept. 29 and 30, the Mansion at Glen Cove will hold its 4th annual Oktoberfest featuring live German music and dancing, a stein holding contest and traditional German food. On Sunday there will also be a competition for ‘Best Dressed’ Oktoberfest costume and special family activities for kids.

The Rotary Club of the Moriches will hold its 10th annual Oktoberfest celebration at Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck in Center Moriches on Sept. 28 to 30. The festival will feature traditional German music, food and beer and similar to the Munich Oktoberfest will have carnival rides for the kids. Proceeds from the event will benefit Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, a summer camp for children with disabilities.

The Baldwin Civic Association will hold its 2nd annual Oktoberfest on Sept. 29 at the Community Gardens in Baldwin. The festival will include German food, games, craft vendors and beer from local craft breweries.

For a less traditional take on Oktoberfest, check out Punktoberfest on Oct. 13 at Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore. This annual festival celebrates the best of fall beers from Great South Bay and other local craft breweries, along with brats and other German food from local restaurants, accompanied by music from local punk rock bands.

For a complete listing of Oktoberfest events on Long Island visit LIBeerGuide.com/li-oktoberfest

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

Garvies Point Craft Brewery Triples Output To Meet Demand

Garvies Point's Juice Break, a New England-style IPA, is brewed with loads of wheat, oats and Pilsen malt.

Garvies Point Craft Brewery in Glen Cove nearly tripled its capacity this spring to meet growing demand, making one of Long Island’s most inventive breweries also among the region’s fastest growing.

Co-founders Ben Kossoff and Mark Scoroposki, childhood friends, had dreamed of opening their own brewery since working together after college at a craft beer distributor in Brooklyn. After winning the Pride of Brooklyn Homebrew Competition, they made that dream a reality in 2015, opening a 3,000-square-foot facility on the waterfront in Glen Cove. With word of mouth spreading quickly, Garvies Point beers were soon on tap at bars across LI, they opened a tasting room a year later, and began canning beers last year.

“We were brewing on a 3.5-barrel system before and are now running a 10-barrel system,” says Kossoff. “With the added capacity, we are now canning beers every two weeks instead of just once a month.”

The expanded capacity allows Garvies Point to add new beers to its offerings, which already include a variety of hop-forward India Pale Ales (IPAs), sour ales, lagers, and dark beers including porter and stout. Kossoff and Scoroposki have been at the forefront of brewing New England-style IPAs, known for their hazy, unfiltered appearance and citrusy aromas. Among them are Gone Astray, Cast Astray, and Sea Spray IPA.

Garvies Point has also experimented with sour ales similar to Belgian-style lambics that are fermented with wild yeast and fruit. Its Sour Batch Series includes single-hopped kettle sours such as Sour Batch, Motueka, Citra, TITI, Blueberry Mosaic, Peaches & Cream and Pineapple Cream.

Kossoff and Scoroposki brew other traditional beer styles including a German-style Kolsch and Battalion 5 Pilsner, a crisp light lager with Saaz and Hallertau Blanc hops. Another crowd pleaser is Paddle Bender Imperial Vanilla Porter, a rich dark brew with intense vanilla aroma. Last fall, the brewery obtained 55-gallon bourbon barrels from Jefferson’s Reserve bourbon distillery in Kentucky, which were used to brew a Bourbon Barrel Aged version of Paddle Bender, giving it a distinctive aroma and flavor.

Just in time for Oktoberfest season beginning in September, Garvies Point will introduce a traditional German Marzen style lager, Tauktoberfest. Grab a mug at the Mansion at Glen Cove’s Oktoberfest from Sept. 29 to 30.

“Nice caramel malts and spicy hops will give this beer a true essence of the fall season,” Kossoff says.

Garvies Point Craft Brewery is located at 1 Garvies Point Rd. in Glen Cove. They can be reached at 516-277-2787 or garviespointbrewing.com.

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

Fire Island Beer Co. Tasting Room Debuts in Bay Shore This Fall

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

Craft beer lovers visiting Bay Shore will soon be able to taste brews from two of Long Island’s best breweries with just one stop.

Fire Island Beer Co. (FIB) plans to open its new tasting room this fall at the back of the building at 25 Drexel Drive where Great South Bay Brewery (GSB) has been operating its popular tasting room for the past five years.

“I couldn’t be happier to have Fire Island join Great South Bay so we can
attract a larger customer base,” GSB’s owner and founding brewmaster Rick Sobotka said.

The two breweries have been sharing the 40,000-square-foot building since 2016, when FIB leased 15,000 square feet that GSB was not using. The pairing of these two breweries in one location is fitting since both were founded in 2009 and named for natural South Shore treasures.

Sobotka grew up in Upstate New York, where his father was an award-winning homebrewer and brewing was a family tradition dating back to his great-grandfather, who distilled his own whiskey in Poland. After polishing his homebrewing skills in college and apprenticing at breweries in San Diego and Colorado, Sobotka took the leap to start his own brewery on LI, where he had settled down and established a practice in medicine as an anesthesiologist.

“I really enjoy anesthesia as a career, but I always knew one day I would start my own brewery,” he said.

His operation touts a 30-barrel brewhouse along with canning and bottling lines. GSB opened its 4,000-square-foot tasting room and party space in 2013 and regularly hosts festivals and events at the brewery.

Since then, GSB has emerged as one of LI’s leading craft breweries, winning awards for its beers under the direction of head brewer Greg Maisch. GSB has won gold medals at
the Great American Beer Festival for Hog Cabin Maple Bacon Porter and Jetty Ale and gold and bronze medals at this year’s TAP New York festival for Nauti Girl IPA and Pilsner Lager. Jetty Ale also won a bronze medal this year at the prestigious World Beer Cup competition.

FIB was founded by a trio of homebrewers: two brothers, Bert and Tom Fernandez, and their cousin Jeff Glassman. They homebrewed at their summer house on Fire Island in the 1990s and sold some of the beer at a concession shack they ran at Atlantique. The positive feedback, including the amber ale that became the flagship Lighthouse Ale, encouraged them to take the plunge into commercial brewing by contract brewing Lighthouse Ale and Red Wagon IPA while searching for a location on Long Island.

In 2014, Simon Leonard, who had been the primary contract brewer for FIB at Two Roads Brewing in Connecticut, purchased 90 percent of FIB and officially came on board as brewmaster, while Bert Fernandez continued as head of sales and marketing. Leonard, a British native who previously worked in finance, had caught the brewing bug and helped develop the recipes for FIB’s newer beers including Sea Salt Ale and Sunken Ferry Stout.

The long search for a permanent location for FIB came to fruition in 2016 when Sobotka reached out to longtime friend Fernandez and offered to sublease space that wasn’t being used in his building. FIB installed a 15-barrel brewing system with four 15-barrel fermenting tanks and four 30-barrel fermenting tanks. They began brewing on the new system last year under the direction of Dan Moss, who joined FIB as head brewer after brewing at Black Forest Brew Haus in Farmingdale and at Brooklyn Brewery.

With the new system now fully operational, FIB stopped contract brewing and is producing all of its beers in Bay Shore. In anticipation of the coming opening of its tasting room, FIB has begun introducing limited Tap Room Series beers, selling cans of the first two Tap Room Series beers, Maibock and Kettle Sour Ale, at local beer stores. Fernandez said FIB’s core beers will be available to purchase in cans at the tasting room but the taps will mostly be dedicated to the Tap Room Series beers.

“We’re excited about being able to play around in there,” said Fernandez, “and experiment with new styles and seasonal beers.”

Fire Island Beer Co. and Great South Bay Brewery are located at 25 Drexel Dr. in Bay Shore. For more info on FIB visit www.fireislandbeer.com and for more info on GSB visit www.greatsouthbaybrewery.com.

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

Long Island Beer Fests Brew Up Summer Fun

Summer means not just beach season, but also beer festivals. (Photo by Karl Mischler)

With locally brewed craft beer now widely available across Long Island, the region’s beer festival organizers have begun offering attendees a more diverse experience beyond just  tasting lots of different suds.

A great example is the evolution of LI’s premier summer beer festival, the Long Island Craft Classic, being held this year on Aug. 11 at Heckscher State Park in East Islip. In its inaugural year of 2007, the festival was known as the North Fork Craft Beer Festival and held on the grounds of Martha Clara Vineyards in Jamesport.

“We had no idea at the time that craft beer on Long Island would take off the way it has,” says Andy Calimano, owner of Bay Shore-based festival company Starfish Junction Productions. “We had just a handful of local breweries, so a large part of the festival was bringing in craft beers from around the country to educate people about different styles.”

Calimano and his wife, Lynda, founded Starfish Junction in 2005 and saw an opportunity to produce professionally run festivals in the specialty beverage sector. In addition to local beer and hard cider festivals, they also produce the Coffee & Tea Festival NYC, which just held its 13th annual show in March, and beer fests off LI.

Starfish Junction staged its first beer festival in May 2007 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The positive response led to the North Fork Festival and a fall festival at the Uniondale arena. The beer festivals moved to Belmont Park while the coliseum underwent renovations. After its reopening, the fall festival moved back to the coliseum and the spring festival stayed at Belmont.

After eight years on the East End, Starfish Junction moved its summer festival further west.

“As part of the Taste NY program, New York State wanted to hold a festival in central Suffolk County,” Calimano says. “In addition to New York craft beer, the festival now also focuses on New York wine and hard cider.”

Rechristened the Long Island Craft Classic, the festival was held at the new, easier-to-reach location last year and, according to Calimano, was a great success.

“Many of our festivalgoers are coming out in groups to meet up and taste some beers and listen to music, and then going out after for a nice dinner,” he says.

This year’s Craft Classic will again feature a unique brewing competition for Long Island craft breweries, with the winner selected by festivalgoers. All the competitors in the Brew’d Competition must use a specially preselected ingredient in their beer. The winner of the 2017 Brew’d Competition, made with the special ingredient of peach, was a collaboration beer from Destination Unknown Beer Co. in Bay Shore and Greenport Harbor Brewing, a Berliner Weisse-style ale called Fuzzy Flamingo.

One of the hallmarks of all Starfish beer festivals is connecting with local charities to raise awareness and funds. This year’s main event will help three charities: Islip Arts Council; Kids Need More, serving child cancer patients; and the National Heritage Trust, which supports parks, conservation and historic preservation across New York State.

For more information on the Long Island Craft Classic, visit licraftclassic.com.

CRAFT BEER AT SUMMER STREET FESTS

Craft beer is a big part of free summer street festivals on Long Island, including:

Farmingdale Music on Main
July 12, July 26, Aug. 9 and Aug. 23. Live music on Main Street sponsored by Lithology Brewing, Croxley’s, Dark Horse Tavern, Library Café, That Meetball Place and more.

Patchogue Alive After Five
17th annual event on July 19, Aug. 2, 16 and 23. Six stages of live music, food trucks, craft vendors, activities for children and more. Sponsors include Blue Point Brewing, BrickHouse Brewery, Bobbique and others.

Riverhead Alive on 25
July 5, 12 and 26, and Aug. 9. Features live music on eight stages, food trucks, classic car show, local wine and craft beer from local breweries including Moustache Brewing, Long Ireland, Greenport Harbor and more.

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

Long Island Catches Royal Wedding Fever

Cardboard cutouts of the royal newlyweds greet customers at Stew Leonard's.

British colonists settled Long Island nearly 400 years ago, but the connection remains strong, as shown by local celebrations of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

On Friday, Stew Leonard’s in East Meadow gave a local couple the royal treatment by hosting their wedding at the store with all the trappings, including royal wedding cake.

Rudy and Nadine Michaud were married by Hempstead Town Clerk Sylvia A. Cabana in a royal-styled wedding with many store workers dressed in medieval costumes.

Following the ceremony, Stew Leonard’s French-trained baker, Beth Leonard Hollis, served her royal wedding cake replicating the actual royal cake using lemon and elderflower flavors.

The cake was available for sale to serve at the many royal wedding viewing parties being held across Long Island.

Another local retailer, Total Wine Spirits & More in Westbury, got into the royal wedding spirit by hosting a tasting event on Friday for London-based Broker’s Gin.

Founded in 1997 by Martin and Andy Dawson, their gin is produced in England and is now distributed in all 50 states.

Long Island Craft Beer Week 2018 Kicks Off

LI's craft brewers are united to celebrate their booming industry and give back to charity.

The annual celebration of all things craft beer on Long Island kicks off Friday with a Cask Ales Festival in Farmingdale and runs through May 20 with a slew of brew-related festivities.

LI beer week’s opening festival will be held at That Meetball Place in Farmingdale from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with unlimited samplings of cask ales from 11 breweries and happy hour pricing on taps, wine and food.

The theme of LI Craft Beer Week 2018 is East meets West, and the cask ales at the Farmingdale festival will focus on Suffolk County breweries. The East End will be represented by Montauk Brewing and several North Fork breweries will be pouring, including Greenport Harbor Brewing, Jamesport Farm Brewery, Long Ireland Beer and Moustache Brewing. The fun will continue in Farmingdale on Saturday with a Town Takeover on Main Street, with opportunities to meet and greet brewers from many LI craft breweries. 

On the following weekend, the main events will shift to Suffolk County and the focus will be on Nassau County breweries. A Cask Ales Festival on May 18 at L.I. Pour House in Port Jeff Station will feature special cask ales from Oyster Bay Brewing, Garvies Point Brewing, Lithology Brewing and Long Beach Brewing Company. The celebration in Suffolk will continue on May 19 with a Town Takeover in Patchogue.

Long Island Craft Beer Week also provides an opportunity for craft beer lovers to give back to the community through the Craft Cares “Can for a Can” food drive. Limited-release cans of this year’s collaboration brew, Craft Cares Bi-Coastal IPA, will be available at participating breweries, beer bars and retailers in exchange for donating cans of food for Long Island Cares-The Harry Chapin Food Bank. 

Craft Cares Bi-Coastal IPA was a collaboration among 24 LI breweries along with local producers of malt and hops. The brew combines two popular beer styles, the West Coast IPA and New England IPA, using Cascade, Nugget and Tahoma hops from Condzella Farms in Wading River, Route 27 Hop Yard in Moriches and L.I. Hops in Riverhead. Bi-Coastal IPA was brewed at Fire Island Beer Co. in Bay Shore on March 20, then dry-hopped and canned on April 3, with canning donated by The Malt Man mobile canning services and labels by DWS Printing in Deer Park.

Dozens of events will take place during the 10-day celebration, including the chance to pick up a free commemorative pint glass and wrist band for exclusive offers throughout the year.

Details on all events for Long Island Craft Beer Week can be found at licbw.us.

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

Related Story: New Brews Join Long Island Craft Beer Boom

Related Story: Long Island Craft Beer Guide

New Brews Join Long Island Craft Beer Boom

Left to right are Patrick Harten and Brett Blau of Long Beach Brewing, with Luke Heneghan of Heneghan’s Tavern, which bought one of their first kegs in April, and Dan Scandiffi of Long Beach Brewing.

As the annual Long Island Craft Beer Week returns with dozens of events from May 11 to 20, there’s lots to toast, from new microbreweries opening to established beer makers expanding.

Since New York State created a farm brewery license in 2012, the number of craft breweries on LI more than tripled from 12 to 44 today — 26 of which are farm breweries that use locally grown ingredients.

“The vast majority of these breweries are small manufacturing businesses that support their local communities and create thousands of jobs,” says Paul Leone, executive director of the New York State Brewers Association.

The association says the economic impact of the beer industry statewide is generating $4 billion. Several communities across Nassau and Suffolk are hoping to reap similar benefits from breweries opening this year.

Small Craft Brewing Co. in Amityville opened its tasting room in March, and Harbor Head Brewing in Northport opened a sampling room in January next to the Whale’s Tale Restaurant in the Britannia Marina.

Eastern Front Brewing Co. in Mattituck is getting ready to open its new tasting room pending final permits. In Huntington, Six Harbors Brewing Company will open its new brewery and tasting room on New York Avenue soon.

Long Beach Brewing Company recently began commercial distribution of kegs from its new brewery on Lawson Boulevard in Oceanside, where it plans to open a tasting room this summer. That brewing will share its facility with another farm brewery, Flying Belgian with the two companies using the same brewing system.

Westhampton Beach Brewing Co. is putting the finishing touches on its brewhouse and tasting room in the Hampton Business District. In Riverhead, North Fork Brewing Company installed its new brewhouse in January in the old Second Street firehouse. North Fork Brewing is located in the same building as Long Beard Brewing Co., which is applying for a farm brewery license. Both breweries hope to open tasting rooms by summer.

A new brewery in Patchogue, Patchogue Beer Project, has installed its brewing equipment and plans to open its tasting room this summer, becoming the third brewery in town after long-established BrickHouse Brewery and Blue Point Brewing.

Secatogue Brewing Company hopes to become the first brewery to open in West Islip, with a summer debut.

In addition to the new breweries, older LI breweries have been growing and expanding. Fire Island Beer Company, founded in 2009, is close to opening a tasting room at its new brewery in Bay Shore, in the building it shares with Great South Bay Brewery on Drexel Drive. Brewers Collective, established in Bay Shore in 2014, opened a larger tasting room in January.

Moustache Brewing in Riverhead, founded in 2012, is quadrupling the size of its brewery, including an expanded tasting room that is expected to open by summer. 1940s Brewing Company, a Holbrook farm brewery founded in 2014, is increasing production and adding staff in its brewery and sales operation. It was recently recognized by the Brewers Association as one of the 50 fastest growing craft breweries nationwide.

The most dramatic expansion is taking place in Patchogue, with Blue Point’s new 60,000-square-foot brewery taking shape on the former site of Briarcliffe College on West Main Street. The building will include a tasting room overlooking the brewhouse and an outdoor beer garden expected to open by summer.

As LI Craft Beer Week prepares to kick off with a cask ales festival in Farmingdale, the local brewing community will give back with its annual “Can for a Can” food drive. Beer lovers can get a can of special Craft Cares collaboration beer by donating a can of food to Long Island Cares. According to Dave Schultzer of Bellport Cold Beer and Soda, one of the organizers, in 2017 the drive collected 3,500 pounds of canned food and this year hopes to top 5,000 pounds.

LI CRAFT BEER WEEK EVENTS
• May 11 cask events in Farmingdale.
• May 12 Town Takeover in Farmingdale. Brewers will be in attendance for attendees to “meet and greet.”
• May 14 Pint Glass Pickup night. Each glass will include a wristband allowing patrons access to a variety of special offers (also to be listed on website) at participating breweries and restaurants to encourage patronage year round.
• May 19 cask event in Port Jeff Station.
• May 20 Town Takeover in Patchogue.
• Can for a Can Food Drive runs throughout Long Island Craft Beer Week at all participating locations. Donors of three or more non-perishable food items get a 16-ounce can of Craft Cares Bi-Coastal IPA.

For more information on Long Island Craft Beer Week 2018 and the Craft Cares “Can for a Can” food drive, go to licbw.us.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.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.