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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.

27A Brewing Company Keeps Local History Alive in Lindenhurst

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Riverhead’s Newest Brewery Celebrates its Grand Opening

Peconic County Brewing founder Jeff Schaeffer and beertenders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Long Island Beers to Help You Stay Warm in a Blizzard

long island beers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Peconic County Brewing Opening in Riverhead

peconic county brewing
Jeff Schaeffer, owner of Peconic County Brewing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bellport Brewing Company’s Trip Ends at Start 

Bellport Brewing Co. founder and brewmaster Brian Baker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bellport Brewing Company

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

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

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New Brews Take Flight at Moriches Field Brewing Company

Rich Flynn founded Moriches Field Brewing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1940s Brewing Company Taps Kegs of Nostalgia

L. to R.: Jon Brengel and Charlie Becker.

Evoking the golden age of brewing when beer sales boomed after Prohibition was repealed and Brooklyn-brewed Rheingold was a top-seller is 1940s Brewing Company in Holbrook, which is expanding to meet demand.

One of Long Island’s fastest-growing craft breweries, 1940s was founded by Charlie Becker and named as a tribute to his father, Walter Becker, who graduated from the U.S. Brewers’ Academy in 1940 before joining Liebmann’s Brewery in Bushwick, where he brewed Rheingold until it closed in 1976.

“I grew up as a Yankees fan,” says Charlie, whose great-grandfather was also a brewer, “but Rheingold was our beer even though it was the official beer of the Mets.” 

After retiring a decade ago, Charlie continued his family’s brewing tradition at home with his daughter, then joined a homebrew club, where he connected with Jon Brengel, who’s been 1940s’ head brewer since the two launched the company in 2014.

“We hit it off and made some great beers together,” said Becker. “It has been a terrific partnership.” 

After raising more than $16,000 on Kickstarter, they set up shop in a 4,000-square-foot industrial space. Last month they celebrated their fourth anniversary. The partners now plan to expand production.  

“We purchased a new 10-barrel brewing system to replace our old 5-barrel system,” says Becker, “and with the addition of new fermenters, our total production capacity will more than double to 85 barrels.”  

The beer lineup at 1940s reflects Becker’s German heritage, with offerings such as Hefie Injustice, a hefeweizen, Bohemia Blonde, and 1940s Lager, the brewery’s take on an old-school lager like Rheingold.  

IPAs are also well represented, including three New England-style hazy IPAs Just Tap it In, Wicked Chowdah, and In Bloom while dark-beer lovers will appreciate Snap Crackle Porter and two sinfully good stouts, Sinners Mass, and Imperial Confession.   

Popular summer seasonal beers include Signal 8 Summer Wheat Beer and Sapphire Squeeze Blueberry Ale, which is one of the brewery’s biggest sellers. In October, the brewery will have its popular fall seasonal beers on tap, including Effen Pumpkin Ale and Gute Zeiten German for good times a traditional German-style Marzen beer.  

And with all that German heritage running through its beers, 1940s makes for an ideal place to say “Prost” (cheers) this Oktoberfest. 

1940s Brewing Company is located at 1337 Lincoln Ave. in Holbrook.  For more info visit 1940sbrewingcompany.com.

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

Long Island Oktoberfest Events 2020

Getty Images

The Munich Oktoberfest, which was cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is no stranger to hard times. Since it was first held in 1810, the two week festival was cancelled several times in the 1800s due to cholera epidemics and wars, and was again cancelled in the 1900s during the two World Wars.

Thankfully revelers can still celebrate the spirit of Oktoberfest on Long Island this fall with traditional German beer and food at local craft breweries and German restaurants.

Several of Long Island’s craft breweries are holding Oktoberfest celebrations, including Destination Unknown Beer Company (DUBCO) in Bay Shore, which will hold its 2nd annual Dubtoberfest on Sept. 26. Instead of the beerfest it held last year with more than a dozen local craft breweries, this year’s event will have two seatings featuring traditional German dinners from The Village Lanterne in Lindenhurst accompanied by Oktoberfest beers from DUBCO and other local craft breweries. Reservations are required and each session will also have a Stein holding contest to win prizes and bragging rights.

Long Ireland Beer Company in Riverhead will hold its 7th annual Oktoberfest on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 with the Bacon You Crazy and Geenas Weenas food trucks providing German dishes to pair with the brewery’s Oktoberfest Lagerbier and other brews. The brewery’s annual Stein Holding Contest will be held on Oct. 3, socially distanced this year of course.  Reservations for tables of up to six people are required.  

Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square, Long Island’s premier German restaurant and beer garden, is open Wednesday through Sunday for outdoor dining in its Biergarten.  Reservations are not required and the large beer garden allows for lots of social distancing while enjoying wursts, schnitzel, sauerbraten and other traditional German dishes along with a wide selection of Oktoberfest beers from Germany.  

Rowdy Hall pub in East Hampton will feature a special Oktoberfest prix fixe menu during the month of October with traditional German dishes including schnitzels, wursts, kassler rippchen, potato pancakes and Bavarian pretzels. German beers including Warsteiner, Spaten and Paulaner will be on tap to accompany your meal.

The Oak Chalet in Bellmore, which has been serving delicious German cuisine and beer since 1981, took advantage of its large grounds and parking lot to set up an outdoor dining area with large umbrellas and a tent. The restaurant will celebrate Oktoberfest with German music from accordionist Frank Rapuano every Thursday night until Oct. 29. There is also limited indoor dining available in the charming chalet-like dining room. 

For a complete listing of German restaurants on Long Island visit LIBeerGuide.com/german-pubs-and-restaurants.

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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Riverhead Cider House Farm Cidery Presses On

Will Loughlin, Riverhead cidermaker.

September is prime time for picking apples on Long Island, but for those who prefer to enjoy apples in adult beverage form, the Riverhead Cider House has plenty to offer.  

Since opening in 2017, the cidery has developed a loyal following for its wide variety of hard ciders and its rustic tasting room featuring local craft beer, wine, and a café serving farm-to-table dishes.  

“New York State now ranks first in the U.S. for number of hard cider producers,” said Scott Ramsey, the executive director of the New York Cider Association, calling it “a time of great opportunity for New York cider.”

Riverhead was the first cidery on Long Island to be licensed as a New York State farm cidery, taking advantage of a new law for hard cider produced with apples grown exclusively in the state. The number of farm cideries statewide has grown from eight in 2014 to more than 50 last year.

Will Loughlin became Riverhead Cider House’s cidermaker soon after its opening, following years of making ciders at home. The Hauppauge native was originally attracted to cider about 10 years ago after he discovered he was allergic to wheat.  

“Cider is gluten-free and craft ciders are a great alternative for people who can’t enjoy beer,” said Loughlin. “The brewing process is similar, using apple juice as our base instead of barley, malt, and wheat.” 

Loughlin sources the majority of his apple juice from Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards in the Finger Lakes region. Riverhead Cider House planted its own orchard in 2017 with 200 trees featuring 15 different varieties, and hopes to be able to harvest enough apples next year to produce cider.

The cidery has a large selection of year-round ciders available, including traditional hard apple ciders such as Apple Annie, Benjamin’s Best, and Founders Reserve with more fruit sweetness and lower alcohol. Loughlin makes a wide variety of seasonal ciders, with some available only on draft at the tasting room, including Grapefruit Squeeze, Pool Side Pineapple, and Wild Blueberry sparkling cider.  

One of Loughlin’s favorite seasonal ciders is Blackberry Habanero, which last year won a Gold Medal at the prestigious Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition and a Bronze Medal in the inaugural New York Cider Competition.  

Loughlin said the cidery is looking forward to a busy fall, including the return of some favorite fall seasonals such as Cinnamon Toast Cider, perfect for enjoying in front of the fireplace after a crisp fall day spent picking apples.  

Riverhead Cider House is located at 2711 Sound Ave. in Calverton.  For more info visit riverheadcider.com.

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

Related Story: Apple Picking on Long Island 2020: What To Expect at The Orchards This Season

Related Story: Riverhead: LI’s Breadbasket, And So Much More

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Tradewinds Brewing Company Breezes Into Riverhead

Photo courtesy of Tradewinds Brewing Company.

Opening a new craft brewery is stressful enough when there’s not a pandemic afoot, but veteran Long Island brewmaster Duffy Griffiths was up to the tall task.

A pioneer of craft brewing on LI, Griffiths was the original head brewer at John Harvard’s brewpub in Lake Grove before launching Crooked Ladder Brewing Company six years ago and moving over to Greenport Harbor Brewing a year after that. His latest venture, Tradewinds Brewing Company, debuted in June on West Main Street in Riverhead in a space that housed Crooked Ladder, which closed last year. 

“I’m excited to be back brewing on a smaller scale and will be focusing on making high-quality craft beers in a wide range of styles,” says Griffiths.  

Tradewinds took over the 7-barrel brewing system previously used by Crooked Ladder, which also includes six 15-barrel fermenting tanks.  

The new brewery, which is owned by Griffiths’ wife Wendy and their business partner and friend Kristi Macdonald, aims to get involved with brewery tours in Riverhead, possibly including Brew Crew Cycles group bike and brew tours scheduled to start up at the end of July.

In addition to its taproom, beers from Tradewinds will be available on tap at neighboring Diggers Ales & Eats and in cans at Duffy’s Deli in Jamesport, also owned by Griffiths.  

Griffiths says the initial beer lineup at Tradewinds focused on summer seasonals and IPAs, with offerings such as Lilly light lager, No Paddle pilsner, Alsatian Hefeweizen, and Breaking Tide double IPA. Tradewinds also brewed and canned The New Guy! IPA, a New England-style hazy IPA that is being offered online as part of the recent Craft Aid festival to raise funds to support North Fork breweries.  

The opening of Tradewinds increases the number of craft brewery taprooms in Riverhead to five, with two more under construction and planning to open later this year. Twin Fork Beer Co., founded by identical twins Dan and Peter Chekijian in 2014, is working on a new brewery and taproom on Raynor Avenue. And brand new craft brewery Peconic County Brewing is being built on East Main Street by Jeff Schaeffer, who named it for a long-ago proposal for the five East End towns to secede from Suffolk County.  

The East End may not be its own county, but Riverhead is looking more like the capital of craft beer on LI, with Tradewinds being the latest gust of momentum. 

Tradewinds Brewing Company is located at 70 W. Main St. in Riverhead. For more info visit tradewindsbrewing.com.

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

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

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