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.

With Beer, Blue Point Brewing Lobbies Congress To Give Voters Election Day Off

Blue Point Brewing has been active in local community affairs since it was founded 20 years ago in Patchogue. But now that the brewery is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev and distributed in all 50 states, Blue Point is also taking on important national issues such as getting more people out to vote.

Jenna Lally, a Long Island native who took over as Blue Point’s president a year ago, thinks people need time off from work to get to the polls. So Lally launched the Voters’ Day Off initiative to encourage Congress to make Election Day a national holiday.

“We know many Americans are eager to vote,” said Lally. “But in the last midterm elections, 60 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote because of work or school conflicts. We all deserve time to be able to exercise this fundamental right.”

In true Blue Point fashion, the initiative centered around a special beer, Voters’ Day Off, a hoppy brew that Lally described as a hybrid East Coast/West Coast IPA. The beer was sold at Blue Point’s tasting room in Patchogue and at several events on Long Island and in Brooklyn, with proceeds going to benefit the nonprofit voter registration group Rock the Vote.

The beer can’s label featured a petition to Congress with a place for the drinker to sign. Blue Point collected thousands of the cans, which Lally and Blue Point’s co-founder Mark Burford delivered to the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC on Oct. 24.

Blue Point also took out a full page ad in The New York Times announcing the initiative and launched the petition on Change.org, where it has garnered 50,000 signatures.  

“I’m very encouraged with the response to the initiative,” said Lally. “We plan to continue doing this every election season until Congress makes this change.”

In the meantime, Blue Point’s employees will have Election Day off to exercise their right to vote.

For more information on the Voters’ Day Off petition see change.org. For information on registering to vote see rockthevote.org

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

Blue Point Brewing Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Blue Point Brewing
Blue Point Brewing Co. released this artists's rendering of their new, expanded brewery slated to open in 2018 in downtown Patchogue.

One year after breaking ground on its new West Main Street brewery in Patchogue, Blue Point Brewing Company will hold a party on October 13 celebrating its 20th anniversary and its move.  

The party will be at the new brewery a half mile from the original River Avenue brewery, which is scheduled to close at the end of the year. Blue Point, bought by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2014, was founded by Long Island natives Mark Burford and Pete Cotter in 1998. At the time, it was the first brewery to open on LI in 40 years, since the closing of Linden Brewery in 1949.

“We thought the time was right because there were people out there who wanted fresh, high-quality beer,” says Burford, who is now Blue Point’s brewmaster emeritus. “Other parts of the country had local microbreweries and we saw an opportunity to meet the demand in the market between Montauk and Manhattan.”

After perfecting its flagship Toasted Lager beer, Blue Point began contract brewing it at a Maryland brewery and distributing six-packs to retailers in 2000. Popular beers soon followed, including Winter Ale, Summer Ale, Hoptical Illusion double IPA and Blueberry Ale.

The beers gained widespread recognition, including medals at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival and a gold medal at the World Beer Cup. Distribution steadily expanded from New England to Florida.   

The new 54,000-square-foot brewery cost $35 million and was built on the site of the now-closed Briarcliffe College. Its annual brewing capacity is 60,000 barrels with room to grow to reach 150,000, Burford says. Production began in May and according to Burford, the facility now produces all of Blue Point’s seasonal beers, which had formerly been contract brewed.  

Construction begins soon on a second-floor tasting room overlooking the Patchogue River and an indoor beer hall/restaurant overlooking the production facility. Plans include an outdoor beer garden and public tours of the brewery.

In addition to great beers, Blue Point became known for its deep involvement in the Patchogue community through its support of the Alive After Five downtown summer festival and events at the brewery, including the annual Cask Ale Festival.  

“One of the best things about the new brewery and the growth that it will bring is that we were able to do it in Patchogue,” Burford says.

For more info on Blue Point Brewing Co., visit bluepointbrewing.com.

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

Long Island Craft Breweries Serve Up Oktoberfest Beers

Oktoberfest season is in full swing and a major attraction at festivals across Long Island is special Oktoberfest beer brewed in accordance with traditional German styles. The most familiar style is Marzen, a lager beer notable for its copper-red color, full-bodied malt flavor and light spiciness from the use of German noble hops. Breweries in Munich also brew a style called Festbier, which is a lighter, breadier lager beer that is closer in taste to a pilsner lager.          

Long Island craft breweries are getting in the spirit, including Garvies Point Brewing in Glen Cove, which recently introduced Tauktoberfest, a traditional German Marzen lager brewed with caramel malts and spicy hops. Garvies Point will be pouring its beers at the Oktoberfest at the Mansion at Glen Cove on Sept. 29 and 30, including a special cask ale, Prybil Pale Ale in a 10.8-gallon firkin, that will be used for the ceremonial tapping of the first keg on Saturday. The Oktoberfest at the Mansion will feature live German bands, a Stein Hoisting contest on Saturday and a Best Dressed contest on Sunday.

Black Forest Brew Haus, the German brewpub in Farmingdale, recently tapped its Oktoberfest beer which is a traditional Munich Festbier. Black Forest also serves house-brewed versions of other traditional German styles including Marzen, Hefeweizen and Rauch Doppelbock, a higher alcohol malty beer with smoky favor. The beers will be flowing at the brewpub’s Oktoberfest celebrations with live German bands beginning this weekend and running through Oct. 20.  

Related Story: Long Island Oktoberfest Celebrations 2018

Westhampton Beach Brewing Company, the new craft brewery located in the industrial park at Francis S. Gabreski Airport, will release its Oktoberfest beer, a traditional Marzen lager, in mid-October. On tap now at the brewery’s tasting room is brewmaster Dave DeTurris’ Hampton Pumpkin Ale, a malty brew spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

Croxley Ales will have a week-long celebration of Oktoberfest at its four locations on Long Island from Oct. 5-14, with a special menu of German food and Oktoberfest beers from Germany and local craft breweries. The celebration will kick off with a party on Oct. 5 in the beer garden at Croxley’s Farmingdale location, where Farmingdale Village Mayor Ralph Ekstrand will tap the ceremonial first keg.   

Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square, voted Bethpage Best of LI’s Best German restaurant for the past six years, will feature Krombacher beers from northern Germany at a special Oktoberfest party on Oct. 11.  Krombacher is best known for its crisp Krombacher Pils lager but also brews a rich Krombacher Dark beer made with roasted malts. The party will include an Oktoberfest feast and live music, and advance reservations are required.  

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

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.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.