Bernie Kilkelly

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.

Holbrook-based Spider Bite Spins Gold in NY Beer Competition

Two Long Island craft breweries took home virtual medals Thursday at the 4th annual New York State Craft Beer Competition, a hotly contested affair with nearly 1,000 beers in 12 categories, that was hosted on Zoom and live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube.

Spider Bite Beer Co. from Holbrook won the gold medal for its Open Wide EXP brew in the American Double IPA category. Great South Bay Brewery from Bay Shore took home a bronze medal for Holographic Haze in the Hazy IPA category, which was the most contested style with 88 entries.

The NYS Craft Beer Competition is held annually by the New York State Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade association that supports the craft brewing industry through advocacy and education. The group was a strong advocate for the passage of New York State farm brewery laws in 2013, which helped bring about a brewing renaissance statewide and across Long Island.  

New York State now has 467 breweries, compared to about 90 at the beginning of 2013, passing Colorado and Washington last year to have the second most craft breweries nationwide after California. Long Island now has more than 60 breweries, up from about 15 in 2013, with Suffolk County having the most breweries of any county in the state with more than 40.

In this year’s NYS Craft Beer Competition, beers were judged in 11 beer style categories along with a special category for New York State beers meeting the 2020 farm brewery requirements of using at least 60 percent New York State hops, malt and other local ingredients.

The gold medal winner in the New York State beer category was Big aLICe Brewing Co. from Long Island City, for its brew The Many Lives of Our Lives. This brew was the big winner of the night, also taking home the Gold medal in the Fruit and Spice Beer-Sour category and the Best in Show award, the 2020 Governor’s Excelsior Craft Beer Cup.

Spider Bite Beer Co. was founded in 2008 by Larry Goldstein and Anthony LiCausi and is a frequent medal winner at beer competitions for its innovative takes on classic beer styles, including Boris the Spider Imperial Russian Stout. In addition to a wide variety of beers, Spider Bite recently launched a new line of hard seltzers, Spiker Bite, which are available in crowlers at the brewery in several flavors including Passion Fruit.

Great South Bay Brewery was founded in 2009 by Rick Sobotka and has won multiple medals over the last decade at the Great American Beer Festival, Tap New York Festival and other beer competitions. Among the medal-winning brews from GSB are Jetty Cream Ale, Blood Orange Pale Ale and Hog Cabin Maple Bacon Porter. GSB also launched a line of hard seltzers this year called Spiked, which is being sold in 12 packs of cans at beer stores across LI. 

As the coronavirus pandemic spread across New York State, resulting in the closing of brewery taprooms across the state, the NYS Brewers Association was a strong advocate fighting for temporary permits for breweries to provide curbside pick-up, home delivery and shipment of beer.  

Many Long Island breweries are offering curbside pick-up and delivery services to get beer to customers during the shutdown. A complete list of brewery pickup and delivery services is available at libeerguide.com/brewery-to-go-delivery

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

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Long Island Homebrewers Celebrate Virtual Big Brew Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Long Island Breweries Pitch In During COVID-19 Crisis

Greenport Harbor Brewing delivers face shields to Eastern Long Island Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long Island breweries are continuing to brew and are offering curbside pick-up and delivery services to get beer to customers during the coronavirus shutdown. A complete list of brewery pick-up and delivery services is available at libeerguide.com/brewery-to-go-delivery. 

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

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Secatogue Brewing Co.: New West Islip Brews

Ken Srubinski, founder of Secatogue Brewing Co.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long Island Breweries Offer To-Go and Home Delivery Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motion Craft Brewed: Massapequa Park’s New Brewery 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Bright Eye Beer Co. Opens in Long Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bright Eye Beer Company, Long Beach’s First Brewery, Opens in February

The Bright Eye team L. to R.: Keira Heneghan, Luke Heneghan, Kaci Heneghan, Molly Allare, and Brendan Maxim.

Bright Eye Beer Company is planning to open the first craft brewery in the City of Long Beach on Feb. 21.  

Co-owner Luke Heneghan, who grew up in nearby Point Lookout, built the brewery in a 5,000-square-foot space that was originally a five-and-dime store and spent a reported $800,000 on renovations. 

“We’re excited to be opening in the heart of Long Beach and hope that our taproom will become a place for community gatherings and local artists to display their work.” says Heneghan.  

He and his partners, Molly Allare and his sister, Keira Heneghan, spent a year installing a 15-barrel brewhouse and a 40-foot bar in the building built in 1939.  

“We were committed to recycling the wood from this historic building,” he says. “We took over 150 feet of old-growth pine from floor joists. We removed and used them to make the top of the taproom bar and other table tops.”  

The taproom also features recycled steel beams from the old Point Lookout Pavilion that was taken down in 2018. The brewery’s name, Bright Eye, was the name of a fish packing company, Bright Eye Fish Company, in Point Lookout in the 1930s and ’40s. 

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

He honed his brewing skills while working at his family’s Point Lookout restaurant, J.A. Heneghan’s Tavern. To launch the new brewery, he enlisted head brewer Brendan Maxim of Port Jefferson, who brewed for Laguna Beach Beer Company in California and Crazy Mountain Brewing in Colorado. Among the beers Bright Eye will have on its 16 taps are a West Coast IPA, a New England-style hazy IPA, and a creamsicle ale served on a nitro tap. 

Bright Eye is licensed as both a microbrewery and as a farm brewery, and Heneghan expects to use local ingredients, including hops from Route 27 Hop Yard in Moriches. Bright Eye plans to sell crowlers and self-distribute kegs to local bars and restaurants, including J.A. Heneghan’s.  

“I hope they will set aside at least one tap for us in Point Lookout,” he jokes.      

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

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

New Craft Beers Brewing on Long Island in 2020

Last year, New York State passed Colorado and Washington to have the second most craft breweries nationwide after California. Of more than 450 statewide, Suffolk County has the most breweries of any county in the statemore than 40.

Nine breweries on Long Island opened new taprooms in 2019, the latest being Bay Shore’s Ghost Brewing Co., bringing the region’s total to 46. And more expansion is coming in 2020, both from new breweries opening taprooms for the first time and older breweries setting up new locations.  

“We’re excited to have a tasting room to share our beers and also products from the local farmers and producers where we source our ingredients,” says Rachel Adams, who founded Saint James Brewery in Holbrook a decade ago with her husband, Jamie. The new taproom in St. James will have 12 taps, including nitro lines, and will also serve New York wines and spirits.  

Another expanding local craft brewery is Sand City Brewing, which opened in Northport in 2015. After a long search for a property to build a second location, Sand City settled on a 10,000-square-foot building on Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst that formerly housed a CVS pharmacy.  The new location, slated to open this spring, will have a 20-barrel brewhouse along with a large taproom and beer garden. 

“The new brewery is double the size of our Northport brewery and will allow us to experiment with new beer styles and barrel-aged beers,”  co-founder Bill Kiernan says.

Several breweries are expected to open their first taprooms early in 2020. They include HopWin’s Brewery in Bay Shore, founded in 2015 by brothers-in-law William Hoppe and Steve Winn, which took over a building that is near The Brewers Collective Beer Company. Also close to opening is Bright Eye Beer Company, formerly Point Lookout Brewing Company, located in a 5,000-square-foot space on Park Avenue in Long Beach.  

Other breweries planning to open their first taprooms later in 2020 including Motion Craft Brewed in Massapequa Park, Moriches Field Brewing Company in Center Moriches, Long Beach Brewing Company and Flying Belgian Brewery in Oceanside, Twin Fork Beer Company in Riverhead, and Root + Branch Brewing Company in Copiague.

Now that’s a lot to raise a glass to!

For a complete list of Long Island brewery taprooms and brewpubs, check out libeergude.com/brewery-tap-rooms-brewpubs. Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.