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 [email protected]

Blind Bat Brewery Opens Bistro To Pour Its Scary Good Brews

Paul Dlugokencky pours one of his brews at Blind Bat Brewery's bistro

After years of searching across Long Island for a space to open a tasting room, Paul Dlugokencky of Blind Bat Brewery followed his sonar back to his hometown of Centerport.     

Blind Bat Brewery Bistro & Take-Away opened in July and has become a favorite neighborhood spot. His wife and co-owner, Regina, is an organic farmer who grows produce and herbs used in Blind Bat’s beers and at the bistro. Together, they created a fun menu featuring burgers, sausages, sandwiches, and house-made knishes and hummus made with organic ingredients.  

“We’re happy that people are coming in as much for the food as for the beer,” says Dlugokencky.

Founded in 2008, Blind Bat Brewery, playfully named in part for Dlugokencky’s nearsightedness, is a nanobrewery — a three-barrel brewing system in a cottage behind his house — making beers with wood-smoked malts and locally grown ingredients. The brewer has been a regular at local farmers markets for years, but finding a commercial space proved frustrating, with some deals falling through.  

“Happily we ended up right in our hometown and hope to find additional space to expand our brewery here,” he says.

The bistro has eight taps featuring brews ranging from light citrusy Belgian saisons and German hefeweizens to robust porters, IPAs, and stouts.  

Dlugokencky received a New York State farm brewery license in 2017, but even before that he was using mostly local ingredients, as does the bistro menu. Several menu items incorporate Blind Bat beers, including porter in the sloppy joes.  

“We expect to add soups to the menu in the winter,” says Dlugokencky, “which will also use our beer as an ingredient.”  

The bistro is currently open on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., with plans to add more days later this year.  

Craft beer lovers should set their sonar on Centerport and make a stop at the bat cave.  

Blind Bat Brewery Bistro & Take-Away is located at 94 Washington Dr. in Centerport. It can be reached at 631-944-3333 or blindbatbrewery.com 

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com

South Shore Craft Brewery Holds Grand Opening in Oceanside

South Shore Craft Brewery debuted on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.

Hundreds of craft beer lovers turned out to help South Shore Craft Brewery celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party Saturday at its new tap room in Oceanside.

Located on Hampton Road in an industrial section of Oceanside, South Shore Craft Brewery was founded in 2017 by Nick Cimorelli and Hugh Howard, who are both longtime teachers at East Rockaway High School. The friends were avid homebrewers and active members of the Handgrenades Homebrew Club, and together shared a dream of starting their own brewery. After finding a location, they spent more than 18 months building out a brewhouse with a seven-barrel brewing system as well as a spacious rustic-style tap room with ample seating at the long wooden bar, along with plenty of room for additional tables.  

The opening of South Shore’s tap room made it the eighth new brewery tap room to open on Long Island this year. The total number of brewery tap rooms and brewpubs across the Island is now 45, with several more expected to open over the next six months as breweries finish the construction and permitting process.   

The brewery is licensed as a New York State farm brewery and sources the majority of its ingredients from suppliers and growers in the Empire State. At the grand opening party, South Shore had 12 beers on tap ranging from hoppy Pale Ales and New England IPAs to robust amber ales, brown ales and stouts. South Shore also serves other New York State-produced beverages including meads from W.A. Meadwerks in Lindenhurst as well as local ciders and wines.   

South Shore Craft Brewery’s tap room is currently open Thursdays to Sundays and will host live music and other events over the winter.  The tap room is also available to rent for private events.

For more information on South Shore Craft Brewery visit southshorecraftbrewery.com.

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

Barnshed Brewing: NY’s Bravest Brewer

Bryan Murphy of Barnshed Brewing.

Many people use homebrewing as a relaxing hobby, but for one New York City firefighter, homebrewing became a burning passion that sparked his founding a brewery in his hometown on Long Island.

Twelve-year FDNY veteran Bryan Murphy opened Barnshed Brewing in early 2017 in a small warehouse located off Route 107 on the Hicksville-Bethpage border, where he grew up in a large Irish Catholic family. His launch came after raising more than $16,000 on Kickstarter to purchase a used 1-barrel brewing system from a local brewer and becoming a licensed New York State farm brewery. 

“The support from the community has been tremendous,” Murphy says, “beginning with the Kickstarter campaign and then the enthusiasm of people who come to our tasting room.” 

Barnshed’s name came from Murphy’s first makeshift brewhouse, a backyard shed shaped like a barn, where he made his homebrews. Many of the beers on tap today in Barnshed’s cozy tasting room open on Thursday and Friday evenings include his first beer, 135 Pale Ale, Propaganda Porter, Murphy’s Lawger, and Bethpage Blonde.       

There are usually 12 beers on tap and Murphy likes to experiment with many different styles, including Belgian beers, German hefeweizen, New England IPAs, and Irish stouts.  

“Being small, we have the flexibility to brew whatever beers we want,” said Murphy, who still does all the brewing himself.  

Most of Barnshed’s production is consumed at the tasting room but beers are also available at a few accounts including BK Sweeney’s in Bethpage, Kegs and Cases in Levittown, and Heneghan’s Tavern in Point Lookout.  

“We are self-distributing right now and looking to add a few more accounts,” said Murphy, “but we like where we’re at.”

Seasonal beers on tap in October will include Oktoberfest, a Marzen-style dark lager made with chocolate malt, Pumpkin Ale made with traditional pumpkin pie spices including allspice and cinnamon, and Barn Dunkel Weizen, a dark wheat beer.  

It’s just the thing to quench a fiery thirst. 

Barnshed Brewing is located at 100 Lauman Lane in Hicksville. For more information visit barnshedbrewing.com.

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

Blue Point Brewing Becomes Title Sponsor of Oyster Bay’s Oyster Festival

Blue Point's Mark Burford and local officials announce title sponsorship of Oysterfest

Blue Point Brewing Co. of Patchogue will be the title sponsor of the 36th Annual Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay, meaning that the formerly dry event will now feature a beer garden, officials announced Monday.  

The festival, which will take place on Oct. 19 and 20 at waterfront Theodore Roosevelt Park, is organized by the Rotary Club of Oyster Bay and benefits many local nonprofit organizations. Mark Burford, Blue Point’s co-founder and president, said the decision to sponsor Oyster Fest was an easy one.  

“Blue Point is also located in a seaside community and we are very involved in sustainability issues including the Billion Oyster Project, so this was a natural fit for us,” said Burford, who was on the Long Island Press Power List. “We’re happy to be part of keeping the Oyster Festival tradition alive, and here’s to more oysters and of course, beer!” 

Oyster Fest is the second largest annual event on Long Island after the Jones Beach air show. The festival attracts more than 150,000 people each year to enjoy oysters served raw on the half-shell, fried, or in stew. The festival estimates that more than 60,000 oysters will be consumed, all donated by local oyster company Frank M. Flower & Sons.

Long Island’s largest craft brewery will be serving six different beers, including a special IPA brewed just for the festival. Festgoers can also expect to enjoy Blue Point’s Good Reef Ale made in partnership with the Billion Oyster Project. For every pint sold of Good Reef, five oysters will be restored to oyster reefs in New York harbors, with each oyster filtering up to 50 gallons of water per day.

Related Story: Oyster Bay: More Than Just Shellfish

The brewery will also bring to the festival Keenan Boyle (aka #tallmuthashucka), who runs the raw bar at Blue Point’s tasting room and restaurant in Patchogue and is an expert on Long Island oysters. Blue Point’s love of oysters is evident at the brewery’s tasting room and brewpub in Patchogue, which has a raw bar featuring local oysters. Blue Point will also host its first annual Oyster Ball on Oct. 5 at the brewery featuring unlimited oysters and live music from local bands, with part of the proceeds going to groups advocating for clean water including the Billion Oyster Project, GreenWave, and Seatuck Environmental Association.

Rumors had been swirling this summer that the Oyster Festival would be cancelled this year but a campaign to save the festival, led by Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and former New York State Sen. Carl Marcellino resulted in the landing of new sponsors to provide much needed financial support. 

“It was very important to us to keep the Oyster Festival going, especially because of the money we raise for local charities,” Marcellino said.  

In addition to Blue Point, which reportedly paid $40,000 for the title sponsorship, other businesses signed on as sponsors including Blumenfeld Development Group, Stop & Shop, Ferrari-Maserati of Long Island and Altice USA.

The festival features a food court with many other food choices besides just seafood, along with live music, amusement rides, and family activities. This year the festival will also have a replica of the Santa Maria docked at the waterfront and available for tours. The ship was built in Spain in 2017 by the Nao Victoria Foundation and is an exact replica of the vessel sailed by Christopher Columbus.  

“It is fitting that the town of Oyster Bay, which celebrates history every day, will host this ship which brings an important moment in history to life,” Saladino said. 

For more information on the 36th Annual Oyster Festival see www.theoysterfestival.org.

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

Oktoberfest Fun Returns to Long Island

Oktoberfest season worldwide will officially kick off this weekend with the opening of the Munich Oktoberfest and ceremonial tapping of the first keg. The Munich fest, which dates back to 1810, is expected to draw more than 6 million visitors over 16 days.

Here on Long Island there will be plenty of less-crowded Oktoberfest fun beginning this weekend, with lots of German beer and food along with chances to prove your strength and ability to withstand pain in Stein-holding contests.    

Long Island’s premier German restaurant and beer garden, Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square, will hold its annual Ompahfest on Sept. 22 beginning at 11 am. The festival will have lots of live music, with bands from Germany and Austria that came to New York for the Steuben Day Parade held in Manhattan the day before. Ompahfest will also feature plenty of traditional German food and beer, along with family activities including Stein Holding contests.

The Baldwin Civic Association will hold its 3rd Annual Oktoberfest on Sept. 21 at the Baldwin Community Garden. The fest will feature craft beer from local breweries, German food from local restaurants and a Stein Holding contest.         

Long Island’s newest supermarket chain, Lidl, is partnering with the John Thiessen Children’s Foundation to hold two Oktoberfest events that will benefit LI’s neediest kids.  Lidl will hold an event on Sept. 21-22 at the site of its new store on Montauk Highway in Center Moriches, and a second event on Sept. 28-29 at the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station. Both Oktoberfest events will feature German beer, food and enterainment, with all proceeds going to the charity which assists sick and underprivileged children in the region.

Several restaurants in the Lessings Restaurant Group will be celebrating Oktoberfest with special menus and events. Library Cafe in Farmingdale will have a four-course Oktoberfest dinner on Sept. 25 with traditional German food including wursts, schnitzel and strudel paired with German beers. Mirabelle Tavern in Stony Brook will have a special Oktoberfest prix fixe menu from Oct. 4-11, with Oktoberfest beers available for pairing. Southside Bar & Restaurant in Bay Shore will have an Oktoberfest menu from Sept. 27-29 featuring sauerbraten and jaeger schnitzel.

Hotel Indigo in Riverhead will host a free Oktoberfest event on Sept. 29 with live music, costume and Stein holding contests, and Oktoberfest beer and food available for purchase.  

The Mansion at Glen Cove will be pouring craft beers from Garvies Point Craft Brewery at its 5th Oktoberfest on Oct. 5, featuring German food and a Stein Holding contest.  

Black Forest Brew Haus, the German brewpub in Farmingdale, recently tapped its Oktoberfest beer which is a traditional Munich Festbier.  The beer will be flowing at the brewpub’s weekend Oktoberfest celebrations with live German bands beginning on Sept. 27.  

Croxley Ales will have an Oktoberfest in the beer garden of its Farmingdale location on Oct. 18 with Stein Holding contests for both fraus and frauleins.  All of Croxley’s four locations on Long Island will have special menus of German food and Oktoberfest beers from Germany and local craft breweries from Oct. 11-20.   

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.

 

Jamesport Farm Brewery: Farm To Pint Brewery Thrives on North Fork

Tasting room manager Joe Caggiano pours a brew at Jamesport Farm Brewery

While dozens of vineyards have replaced many old potato farms that once dominated the North Fork, enterprising hops farmers rode the farm brewery trend to create Jamesport Farm Brewery two years ago.

The brewery is leading the way in using local ingredients with its Farm to Pint approach. Co-founders Melissa and Anthony Caggiano operate the 43-acre farm that’s also home to their wholesale nursery, Plant Connection, and their hop farm, L.I. Hops.  

“Our farm was formerly a potato farm, and the climate and soil are perfect for growing amazing hops,” says Melissa.

Jamesport is one of more than 40 breweries on Long Island, where another 10 are coming soon. Fueling the trend is the New York State farm brewery law passed in 2012 that mandates that farm breweries must use at least 60 percent of hops and other ingredients grown in the state this year, with that number rising to 90 percent in 2024.

L.I. Hops currently grows five types of hops for its own use and sale to other brewers: Willamette, Columbus, Nugget, Centennial and Magnum EU, all of which are harvested in late July and August. In 2015, Melissa and Anthony also began planting barley and wheat, with the goal of having 100 percent of the ingredients for their beer produced on the farm.    

The duo renovated a potato barn on the farm to house their 10-barrel brewhouse and tasting room, which opened in August 2017. Anthony is the head brewer, Christine McCormack is assistant brewer, while Melissa and Anthony do recipe development with input from their staff.  Flagship beers include Hay Baler pale ale and Ex-Wife, an English-style Extra Special Bitter. Seasonal beers include Prancing Pony, a blackberry wheat beer, and Sound Ave. Summer, a light Blonde Ale. The brewery also makes its own hard ciders, including Wild Thang made from local apple juice grown on the Halsey Farm in Watermill. 

Jamesport Farm Brewery expects to produce close to 1,000 barrels of beer and cider this year.  Most of the brewery’s production is sold in the tasting room, with limited distribution of kegs to a few select local restaurants. Beers are available in flights or pints, or can be taken away in 64-ounce growlers or 32-ounce crowlers  canned on-site. The family- and dog-friendly brewery has outdoor event spaces for parties along with picnic tables and a food truck.       

On Sept. 21, it will host the 4th annual Long Island Hop Fest featuring wet hop beers made with freshly picked hops added to the brew kettle, instead of the typical dried hops or hop pellets.  

“We had about 500 attendees at our first Hop Fest,” says Melissa, “and we expect over 1,000 this year.”

Several other Long Island craft breweries will have wet hop beers at the Hop Fest, including Long Ireland Beer Company, Port Jeff Brewing, Blue Point Brewing and Harbor Head Brewing.  The Hop Fest will also feature Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers, including Jamesport’s Sugar Skull Pumpkin Ale and a limited edition pumpkin ale aged for nine months in oak barrels used for Rough Rider Whisky from Long Island Spirits in Baiting Hollow.

Fun times at the farm brewery will continue throughout the fall, with a Haunted Hopyard with spooky hayrides and train rides for kids and plenty of tasty brews for hop-loving beer lovers.  

Jamesport Farm Brewery is located at 5873 Sound Avenue in Riverhead. For more information visit jfbrewery.com.

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

New York State Craft Brewers Hold Inaugural Beerfest at Belmont

The festival debuted on Saturday

The trade group that represents craft breweries from all across New York State held its first annual beerfest on Long Island this past Saturday at Belmont Park Racetrack.

More than a 1,000 craft beer lovers enjoyed a beautiful late summer day watching the horses run from the final turn, while tasting delicious craft beers from around Long Island and New York State. The New York State Brewers Association (NYSBA) partnered on the event with Starfish Junction Productions, Long Island’s premier producer of beerfests and other craft beverage festivals, to organize the event.  

“We were pleased with the turnout for a first-time event,” said Andy Calimano, co-owner of Starfish Junction, “and we’re excited that this will become an annual event for Starfish and the New York craft brewers.”

NYSBA was founded in 2003 to serve as an advocate for craft breweries and brewing-affiliated businesses in the state.  The group has been a major driver in the rapid growth in craft brewing in New York, with the number of breweries more than quadrupling in the past six years to 415 statewide at the end of 2018, including more than 50 breweries and brewpubs on Long Island.  

Over 50 craft breweries from every region of New York State participated in the festival at Belmont, with many brewery founders and brewers on hand to pour samples and talk beer with festgoers. Long Island craft breweries were well represented, with brewery founders including Larry Goldstein of Spider Bite Beer Co. in Holbrook, which recently celebrated its 8th anniversary; Sarah and Tim Dougherty, co-founders of The Brewers Collective in Bay Shore; Greg Martin of Long Ireland Beer Co. in Riverhead; Lauri and Matt Spitz of Moustache Brewing in Riverhead; Bryan Murphy of Barnshed Brewing in Hicksville; and Kevin Cain of Lithology Brewing in Farmingdale.  

Other Long Island breweries participating included Blue Point Brewing, Greenport Harbor Brewing, Saint James Brewery and Sand City Brewing.  In addition to watching and rooting for the horses, festgoers enjoyed playing lawn games and snacking on treats from several food trucks.  

For more information on the New York State Brewers Association visit newyorkcraftbeer.com.

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

Montauk Brewing Company: Long Island’s Fastest-Growing Brewery

Montauk Brewing Company co-founder/brewmaster Eric Moss and co-founder/head of marketing Vaughan Cutillo.

Montauk has always been a great place to enjoy a beer after a day at the shore, but now it’s also a major craft beer destination, thanks to homegrown Montauk Brewing Company.  

In just seven years, Montauk Brewing has grown to become one of the top 100 craft breweries in the U.S. based on sales volume. According to the Brewers Association, Montauk’s production increased 22 percent in 2018 to 39,000 barrels, making it the second-largest brewery on LI behind Blue Point, which produced 90,000 barrels. What makes this growth remarkable is that Montauk is distributed only in the New York Metro area.

“We have no current plans to open new markets because we think we can go deeper in our current area with package distribution and especially draft sales to pubs and restaurants,” says Vaughan Cutillo, the brewery’s sales and marketing head.    

It was founded in 2012 by three buddies from East Hampton High School: Cutillo, Eric Moss, and Joseph Sullivan, who is no longer involved in daily operations. Moss attended college in beer-crazy Colorado and took up homebrewing. After returning home, he and his friends hatched a plan to start a brewery in Montauk. It was established in a building that formerly housed Montauk Woodwork, owned by Vaughan’s father.    

When it first opened, the brewery had just a small pilot brewing system to experiment with recipes. The founders decided to contract brew their beers in upstate New York and then shifted to Wachusett Brewing in Massachusetts. Recently Montauk added a second contract partner, Two Roads Brewing in Connecticut.

After three years of construction and wading through red tape, Montauk opened its production brewery in 2015 with a 7-barrel system that brews beer for consumption in its tap room and for keg distribution on Long Island. The tap room is open seven days a week in the summer from noon to 8 p.m. and has a laid-back, family- and dog-friendly vibe with a large outdoor patio with picnic tables. Beers are available in pints and flights, and to take away in crowlers and growlers.  

“First and foremost, we are committed to producing the highest quality beer,” says Cutillo. “We have passionate fans of our beers so we have to work hard to keep beers in stock, especially during the busy summer season.”

Moss, who serves as brewmaster, formulated recipes for beers that are both flavorful and easily drinkable. Driftwood Ale, the first beer Montauk released in 2012, is a smooth English Pale Ale with a copper color and toasty flavor. Two other core beers are available year round, with the flagship Wave Chaser India Pale Ale (IPA) more hop-forward but well balanced, and the lighter Session IPA with more citrus and floral aromas. It also offers a seasonal Summer Ale, Watermelon Session Ale, and other seasonal beers such as a Pumpkin Ale.  

This has been a busy year for Montauk Brewing, with the addition of a fourth core beer to its lineup. Just in time for summer, Montauk introduced a crisp German-style Pilsner made with Sterling hops for a light, refreshing taste perfect for enjoying at the beach.

Montauk also produced a special anniversary beer, Lucky IPA, a hazy New England-style IPA.  The beer was canned in four packs of 16-ounce cans and sold exclusively at the tap room, quickly selling out all 150 cases. A similar version dubbed Juicy IPA is now available on tap at the brewery and Cutillo says Montauk has plans to do more 16-ounce can drops on a quarterly basis.

One of Montauk’s savviest decisions was to package their beer only in cans, with distinctive packaging featuring bright colors and nautical graphics.  

“We felt cans were perfect for our lifestyle brand,” says Cutillo, “since we want people to enjoy our beers on the beach or at other outdoor activities.”  

Montauk Brewing Co. is located at 62 South Erie Avenue in Montauk. For more information visit montaukbrewingco.com.

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

Great South Bay Brewery Afloat With Success

The GSB team including Rick Sobotka (3rd from right) celebrating Gold Medals at TAP New York

One of Long Island’s best craft breweries, Great South Bay Brewery, was founded in 2009 by fourth-generation brewer Rick Sobotka, whose family tradition dates back to his great-grandfather distilling whiskey in Poland. 

Growing up in upstate New York, where his father was an award-winning homebrewer, Sobotka took up brewing and later apprenticed at breweries in San Diego and Colorado while pursuing his medical studies in anesthesiology. After settling down on LI and establishing a successful practice, he decided to follow his dream.  

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

Sobotka enlisted Greg Maisch, who began his brewing career at Blue Point Brewing, to serve as head brewer and GSB quickly built a reputation for inventive, high-quality, award-winning beers. One of the original beers, Blood Orange Pale Ale, is now GSB’s best-seller, with distribution in cans and bottles across the tristate area.   

In 2012, the brewery set up shop in a 39,000-square-foot building on Drexel Drive, which houses a 30-barrel brewhouse with its own canning and bottling lines. It features a 4,000-square-foot tasting room and party space, which is open every day except Tuesday and features regular weekly events such as Game Night on Mondays and Trivia Night on Thursdays, in addition to annual festivals with live music. BayFest has grown into one of the Island’s most popular beer fests and Punktoberfest has become a mainstay.

GSB has also partnered with the Greater Long Island Running Club to host popular road races, including the annual Mardi Gras Run to GSB in February and the inaugural Aloha Run to GSB that will be held on August 18. 

“It has been great to see the overlap between the beer world and the fit world,” says GSB’s general manager Rob Donahue. 

Since its founding, a wide variety of GSB’s beers have won gold medals, ranging from lighter brews such as Pilsner Lager, Kismet Saison and Jetty Ale to more robust beers like Nauti Girl IPA and Hog Cabin Maple Bacon Porter. 

Great South Bay Brewery
Great South Bay Brewery’s Blonde Ambition Summer Ale. (Credit: Great South Bay/Facebook)

Sobotka has also been a strong supporter of the homebrewing community and start-up breweries. For the past several years, GSB has hosted the annual homebrew competition of Long Island’s oldest homebrewer club, Brewers East End Revival (B.E.E.R.). GSB hosted the Handgrenades Homebrew and Craft Beer Club in June for a Big Brew Day at which club members brewed at GSB and received ingredients and brewing tips.  

Many start-up breweries have used GSB’s brewhouse to contract brew their recipes and some have continued to contract brew at GSB to meet demand for canned and bottled beer. One of the newest start-ups brewing its beers at GSB is not a stranger to the brewhouse. Billy Powell, head brewer at Sand City Brewing Company, began his brewing career at GSB and is now making his own beers using GSB’s brewhouse under the Nightmare Brewing label.

In 2016, GSB sublet 15,000 square feet of its space to Fire Island Beer Co., which set up its own brewhouse and planned to open a tasting room. Those plans fell through in 2018 and Fire Island Beer shut down, but the space recently gained a new tenant, Ghost Brewing Co., which plans to open its brewery and tasting room this summer.   

Ghost Brewing’s new brewmaster is Paul Komsic, who moved over from Patchogue’s BrickHouse Brewery, where he was head brewer for more than eight years at the popular brewpub. At Ghost Brewing, Komsic will helm a 15-barrel system and plans to focus on wood-aged beer, including working with a barrel maker in Medford. 

Based on past experience, we can expect to see collaboration beers between GSB and its new neighbor in the near future. GSB brewed a collaboration IPA in 2017 with fellow Bay Shore breweries DUBCO and Brewers Collective, and recently brewed a collaboration Kiwi Sour with Brewers Collective that will be on tap for thirsty beachgoers this summer. 

Great South Bay Brewery and Ghost Brewing Company are located at 25 Drexel Drive in Bay Shore. For more information visit greatsouthbaybrewery.com or @ghostbrewingco on Facebook.

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

Small Craft Brewing Company Makes Waves

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

Just one year after opening in Amityville, Small Craft Brewing is letting its sails unfurl with a major expansion of its brewery production and distribution, including canning its beers for retail sales.  

Small Craft was founded in 2014 by brothers Gerard and Greg Sims, who grew up in Wantagh and started homebrewing more than 10 years ago. After a long search for a location to open a brewery on the South Shore, they came across a CrossFit gym in Amityville that was outgrowing its space and planning to move.  

“We thought the space was perfect for us,” says Gerard, “so we talked to the Village of Amityville and they were receptive to the idea of having a brewery in the village.”  

The brothers signed the lease for the 2,200-square-foot space at 66 Merrick Road in late 2016 and installed a two-barrel brewing system. After the tasting room was built out, the brewery officially opened to the public in March 2018.

When Small Craft opened both Gerard and Greg held full-time jobs outside the brewery, Gerard in network security and Greg as a teacher. Gerard moved to the brewery full time soon after its opening and Greg joined him full time last fall as they made plans to expand.  

An additional 1,700 square feet of space became available in their building last summer and the brothers took the space with the intention of adding more brewing equipment. Early this year, they took delivery of a five-barrel unitank and two 10-barrel unitanks, which enable brewers to ferment, carbonate and filter a brew all out of the same tank.  

“We are using the five-barrel unitank to increase production for the tasting room and outside accounts,” says Gerard, “while the 10-barrel unitanks will produce beer for canning.”  

Small Craft will bring in a mobile canner to start and sell four packs and six packs of cans at its tasting room and local beer stores.

Small Craft initially obtained a New York State farm brewery license, which requires it to use a certain percentage of ingredients produced in New York. After opening, the brothers decided to apply for a combined farm brewery-microbrewery license, which provides more flexibility as they increase production and begin retail sales.

The first beer scheduled for canning will be Nauti Thoughts, one of several New England-style India Pale Ales (IPAs) that Small Craft has brewed in its first year, experimenting with different combinations of hops.  

“We don’t have a flagship beer yet,’ says Gerard, “so we’ll be canning several of our beers and figure it out as we go along.” 

Small Craft brewed dozens of different beers in its first year, covering a wide range of styles ranging from lighter beers like South Shore Blonde, Haka pilsner hopped with New Zealand hops and Berried Treasure fruit sour with four kinds of berries, to darker beers such as Bow RYEder Black Rye IPA, Bay House Brown Ale and Dream Boat Irish Stout.   

The majority of Small Craft’s output is sold at its tasting room but the brewery has been supplying kegs to a growing number of pubs on the South Shore including Ridgewood Station Tavern in Wantagh, Corner Galley in Massapequa, Tap Room in Massapequa Park, and Restoration Kitchen & Cocktails in Lindenhurst.  

Small Craft’s tasting room typically has 12 beers on tap and sells pints and flights, along with crowlers (32-ounce freshly made cans) to take away.  The comfortable room, which is kid and dog friendly, has a seating area with a big-screen TV for sporting events along with counter seats overlooking the brewhouse. The brewery sells cheese plates made by Slates & Plates but patrons are also welcome to bring in food.  

The brewery has developed a loyal following in the local community and can be rented out for birthdays and other family parties as well as community events. In March, the Small Craft Running Club was launched with weekly meetups on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. for a three-mile run or walk. All participants get a well-earned $1 off pints when they return.   

Small Craft’s tasting room is open 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 1 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, making it a great place to stock up on the way to Jones Beach or to stop off on the way home to cool off.  

Small Craft Brewing is located at 66 Merrick Road in Amityville. For more information visit www.smallcraftbrewing.com.

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