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.

Long Island Breweries Band Together for ‘Craft Cares’ Collaboration Beer

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

Brewers from 19 of Long Island’s craft breweries joined forces Tuesday at Fire Island Beer Co. in Bay Shore to brew a special beer for charity. 

The collaboration beer, Craft Cares, was brewed for the “Can for a Can” food drive held during the annual Long Island Craft Beer Week, running this year from May 11 to 20. Beer lovers will be able to exchange a can of food for a can of Craft Cares at breweries and select beer bars to benefit Long Island Cares/The Harry Chapin Food Bank, which serves the hungry and those with food insecurity on Long Island.

Dan Moss of Fire Island Beer

“Craft Cares is a great way for Long Island’s craft brewers to give back to the community while celebrating the camaraderie of local brewers from Nassau and Suffolk and strengthening the partnership between the breweries and the establishments that sell Long Island craft beer,” said Dave Schultzer of Bellport Cold Beer and Soda and one of the organizers of Long Island Craft Beer Week.

Last year’s “Can for a Can” food raised more than 3,400 pounds of food. 

The recipe for this year’s collaboration beer was called an ‘Intercoastal IPA’ by Paul Komsic, head brewer at BrickHouse Brewery in Patchogue. 

“We wanted to bring together influences from all across the U.S. and in Europe, so the recipe includes yeasts from both California and England,” said Dan Moss, head brewer at Fire Island Beer Co. “The malt was donated by Country Malt Group and includes a percentage of malts from New York State to meet the New York farm brewery standards

“All of the hops were donated by Long Island hop farms, including Condzella Farms in Wading River, Route 27 Hop Yard in Moriches and L.I. Hops in Riverhead,” he added.

In addition, the canning of the beer will be donated by The Malt Man mobile canning services and labels by DWS Printing in Deer Park.   

More info on Long Island Craft Beer Week will soon be available at www.licbw.us.

The participating Long Island breweries involved in brewing 2018 Craft Cares are:

1940’s Brewing Co., Holbrook
Barnshed Brewing, Hicksville
Barrage Brewing, Farmingdale
Brewers Collective, Bay Shore
BrickHouse Brewery, Patchogue
Destination Unknown Brewing Co., Bay Shore
Fire Island Beer Co., Bay Shore
Great South Bay Brewery,  Bay Shore
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.,  Greenport
Lithology Brewing, Farmingdale
Long Ireland Beer Co.,  Riverhead
Port Jeff Brewing Co.,  Port Jefferson
Montauk Brewing Co.,  Montauk
Moustache Brewing Co., Riverhead
North Fork Brewing, Riverhead
Oyster Bay Brewing, Oyster Bay
Saint James Brewery, Holbrook
Sand City Brewing Co.,  Northport
Spider Bite Brewing Co.,  Holbrook

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com

Long Ireland Brews Up Good ‘Craic’ in Riverhead’s Polish Town

West of downtown Riverhead is historic Polish Town, which pays tribute to the traditions of Poland’s welcoming spirit demonstrated at the Polish Town Fair that attracts thousands every August.

Since 2011, another proud European heritage of fun entertainment, called ‘craic’— pronounced “crack,” it means fun in Gaelic — has been celebrated in Polish Town at the Long Ireland Beer Company brewery and tasting room. It was founded nearly a decade ago by longtime friends Dan Burke and Greg Martin, who, like many home brewers, dreamed of their own brewery. They apprenticed and contract brewed their favorite recipe at Connecticut’s New England Brewing Company. They set up shop after getting a positive response to this beer, which they named Celtic Ale.

“We must have home brewed this beer 60 to 70 times in our garage,” says Martin, “until we got the recipe to where we wanted it.”

They settled on a 9,000-square-foot Pulaski Street building that formerly housed an Agway store. Long Ireland became such an integral part of the neighborhood that in 2014 it brewed the special Polish Town Pilsner for the Polish Town Fair’s 40th anniversary. The Polish-style lager, made with pilsner malt and traditional Saaz, Czech and Tettnang hops, is so popular that it is now available all year.

Year-round offerings are still led by the flagship Celtic Ale, a malty red ale similar to Irish Reds like Smithwick’s but with richer malt flavor and lower carbonation. The recipe uses four malts: two-row pale malt, caramel, Vienna and chocolate. Flaked oats and honey give it a sweet flavor with hints of toffee, one hop, Willamette, provides just mild bitterness for a smooth finish.

Other popular beers include a refreshing Raspberry Wheat and seasonal brews such as Summer Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Winter Ale, NoFo Farmhouse Saison Ale, Chocolate Porter, and the delicious Black Friday Imperial Stout, released on the day after Thanksgiving. One of Long Ireland’s original offerings, Breakfast Stout, was retired but replaced by a dry Irish-style stout, Hooligan Irish Stout, which may soon join the year-round offerings.

Long Ireland also recognized growing demand for hoppy pale ales and IPAs by brewing special beers including single hopped beers like Mos Def Mosaic IPA and Balor IPA, made with Citra hops and named after a one-eyed giant from Irish mythology. The brewery also uses hops from local farms, such as the Fresh Hop Co-Op Session IPA brewed last fall with a blend of Centennial and Chinook hops picked from L.I. Hops in Jamesport and Wesnofske Farms and North Fork Hops in Southold.

The brewery kept up with the canned-beer trend and last year shifted production from bottles to cans. A recently installed canning line will produce 50 cases per hour of both 12-ounce and 16-ounce cans.

“The new line will give us more flexibility to do short runs of innovative beers that we can put out to local beer stores that have really supported us,” says Martin.

Long Ireland has been distributed across LI and New York City by Clare Rose since 2012 and hopes to expand distribution later this year.

“We’re currently producing around 4,000 barrels a year,” adds Martin. “But we’ve got plenty of room to expand at this location.”

Long Ireland is also well known for the popular events it hosts at the brewery. The Long Ireland Pintwood Derby is a take-off on the old Boy Scout car races, and draws sellout crowds to the brewery. Its Halfway to St. Patrick’s Party in mid-September and 5K running races are held in summer and fall.

Long Ireland also hosts fun events during the week in its tasting room, including Retro Video Game Night in collaboration with East End Gaming and Vinyl Night with Riverhead’s Sunday Records. Local business Brew Crew Cycles, just relocated next door and the brewery will continue to be a popular stop on the group bike tours offered  beginning in April.

“We love to do cross-promotions with other local businesses and help our community grow and thrive,” says Martin.

Long Ireland Beer Company is located at 817 Pulaski St. in Riverhead. They can be reached at 631-403-4303 or longirelandbeer.com.

Sand City Achieves Cult Status With Collaboration Brews

Sand City is serving up hoppy flights in the heart of downtown Northport.

Like dotcom stocks and bitcoin, the canned craft beer mania sweeping the country has arrived on Long Island. Microbreweries are canning small quantities of specially brewed beers that sell out in minutes and are sought after in a secondary trading market.

Nowhere is this more true than in the waterfront Village of Northport, where social media posts about “cans dropping from our back Scudder Ave entrance” send craft beer fans rushing to line up at Sand City Brewing Co. Since its opening in fall 2015, Sand City has built a reputation for brewing some of LI’s best IPAs, or India Pale Ale, a heavily hopped beer style. Over the past six months, the brewery has raised its game to a new level with a series of collaboration beers, with several new beers dropping in cans each month.

“We have found collaborations to be a lot of fun and they are really what the craft brewing industry is all about,” said Bill Kiernan, a founder and co-owner of Sand City. “The same way that people love to share beer, breweries love to get together and make beer and share knowledge and techniques. And it’s also just a great way to hang out with some new and old friends.”

Sand City has collaborated with leading craft breweries from Oceanside, New York to Oceanside, California. Bewmaster Kevin Sihler, also a founder and co-owner, is a hoppy beer fan and has pushed the envelope, using a wide variety of hops.

This love is displayed in IPAs like Fade to Jade, brewed with mosaic, citra and Amarillo hops; Second Wave, an IIPA (the extra “I” stands for imperial, meaning it has a higher alcohol content) that is double dry-hopped with citra, simcoe, chinook and mosaic hops; and the cheekily named Oops! I Hopped My Pants, brewed with large amounts of centennial, mosaic, citra and galaxy hops. Sand City’s Mofosaic was its first
single-hopped IPA highlighting the citrusy mosaic hop, and the brewery followed up on this popular beer with its Even Mo’  Mofo IIPA.

In selecting collaborators, Sihler said “It’s true we’ve been focusing a lot on IPA collaborations, but we have some projects that involve barrel aging and other styles as well.”

Among the collaborators last fall were Finback Brewery from Queens, creating Beachfront Avenue, an IIPA made with 420 pounds of pineapple and double dry-opped with mosaic and azacca hops. Magnify Brewing from New Jersey collaborated to produce Maintain Rep, an IIPA brewed with galaxy, nelson, citra and mosaic hops. Two collaborators from last fall are both renowned hop-focused breweries, even though they are located on opposite coasts. Barrier Brewing from Oceanside, LI, collaborated with Sand City to create Even Mo Money, an IIPA based on Barrier’s popular Money IPA brewed with azacca, citra, simcoe and mosaic hops. Horus Aged Ales from Oceanside, Calif., a specialist in barrel-aged beers, collaborated to produce Up the Beach, an IIPA double dry-hopped with galaxy, citra and vic secret, an Australian hop variety.

Looking ahead, Sand City hopes to build on its popularity with plans to continue increasing production capacity. The brewery installed its canning equipment in the summer of 2016 and added more fermentation tanks in early 2017 to increase production 30 percent.

“We have a 10-barrel brewing system and last year we produced approximately 2,400 barrels of beer,” Kiernan says.

While the IPAs have received the most attention, Sand City also brews popular Belgian style beers and its delicious Southdown Breakfast Stout, brewed with locally roasted Brazilian coffee beans from Southdown Coffee in Huntington.

In just over two years, Sand City has become a fixture in Northport’s lively downtown. The Main Street tasting room is near the John Engeman Theater and the famed Gunther’s Tap Room, which is being rebuilt after a fire last year. Named in honor of Northport’s industrial past and the sand mines ringing the harbor at the turn of the last century, Sand City is helping to lead LI’s beer boom.

Northport’s second brewery, Harbor Head Brewing, opened last year and if history is any guide, we can expect a Northport collaboration beer soon.

Sand City Brewing Co. is located at 60 Main St. in Northport. They can be reached at 631-651-2766 or sandcitybeer.com.

Moustache Brewing Rides Craft Beer Boom

Lauri Spitz and her husband Matt are the force behind Moustache Brewing Co. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)

The craft beer industry on Long Island is frothing over, with eight breweries opening new tasting rooms last year and another 10 more breweries announcing plans to open tasting rooms in 2018. That would bring the total number of local craft breweries with tasting rooms to 40, which is remarkable considering that in 2012 there were just nine.

Nowhere on LI has this growth been more apparent than in Riverhead, which is home to five breweries with another three planning to open this year. One of the fastest growing is Moustache Brewing Co., which first opened on Hallett Avenue in 2014.

“We are close to the downtown area and want to support local businesses in Riverhead,” says Lauri Spitz, who co-founded Moustache with her husband, Matthew.

The couple started homebrewing in 2005 and were active members of Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME), one of Long Island’s three homebrew clubs. After deciding to turn their passion into a business, they became licensed as a New York State farm brewery in 2012 and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $30,000.

This seed money helped Moustache build their first one-barrel brewing system, which was expanded to a seven-barrel system in 2016. They’ve since garnered rave reviews for a wide variety of flavorful and memorably named beers. One of those beers is Dexterity Issues, a super hoppy double IPA brewed to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a cause Lauri and Matt support since Matt was diagnosed with MS a few years ago.

The popularity of canned craft beer also helped power the growth of Moustache, with favorites like Lawn, a cream ale, Keep off the Grass, a wet hopped cream ale, and Milk + Honey Brown Ale. Moustache has won praise for its super hoppy pale ales and India Pale Ales (IPAs), with the demand for beers like Life of Leisure Pale Ale, Sailor Mouth IPA, and Awkward Conversations double IPA reaching bitcoin-like frenzy.

New can releases are treated like old Grateful Dead concerts, with lines forming around the block in advance of opening and strict limits on the number of cans that can be purchased. Moustache currently self distributes its beers throughout the Island, New York City, Westchester and into the Hudson Valley, with a team that includes Lauri’s sister, Kimberly Stoehr. With the market growing for their beers, the brewery announced plans last November to quadruple the size of their brewery, taking over the whole building on Hallett Avenue.

The expansion to 5,600 square feet will include a 1,200-square-foot tasting room, almost as large as the entire current brewery. The new tasting room, with a 30-foot bar, is expected to open this spring, with the current tasting room staying open through renovations.

“The expansion will help us keep up with demand for our core beers and also experiment with new things,” Matt says. He hopes to be able to offer more barrel-aged beers, which the brewery has done but on a limited basis.

In addition to their delicious beers, catchy names and inventive can labels, Moustache is also well known for its membership club, the Society for Fine Liquid Provisions. The club offers members monthly growler fills or four-packs of cans, birthday perks and access to exclusive, member-only beers on tap in the tasting room.

It’s no wonder Moustache is one of the most popular stops on the group bicycle brewery tours offered by Brew Crew Cycles in Riverhead.

Moustache Brewing Co. is located at 400 Hallett Ave. in Riverhead. They can be reached at 631-591-3250 or moustachebrewing.com

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com

Local Winter Ales Keep The Home Fires Burning

Jenni Angerame, a bartender at Maxwell's in Islip, pours a pint of Local Cheer, the bar's winter ale made by Blue Point Brewing Co.

As cold weather approaches Long Island, beer lovers reach for hearty winter ales to keep the chill at bay. Often known as Winter Warmers, this beer style has its roots in the centuries-old British tradition of brewing robust, high-alcohol beers enjoyed in snow season. Such beers were often aged in barrels like wine, and became known as “Barley Wine.”

Other full-bodied ales called “Old Ales” took on a fruity or chocolaty flavor from roasted malts, floral hops and higher alcohol levels. Classic examples include Samu- el Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale, Young’s Old Nick and Theakston’s Old Peculier Ale. Long Islanders in search of winter ales need not look far, with many local craft breweries featuring winter beers.

“Winter ales typically were amber or brown ales and didn’t have added spices, although some beers called wassail ales used spices similar to mulled wine,” says Peter Tripp, owner of Homebrews and Handgrenades Supply Shop in Baldwin.

American microbreweries began experimenting with winter ales after Anchor Brewing in San Francis- co, brewers of the famous Anchor Steam, made their first Anchor Christmas Ale in 1975. The recipe changes annually but one constant is rich maltiness and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Samuel Adams popularized the use of spices and paid tribute to the British tradition with the ’95 introduction of Old Fezziwig Ale, a brown ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger and orange peel.

Blue Point Brewing’s Winter Ale was one of the first seasonal beers introduced after the brewery was founded in ‘98. The amber ale uses crystal and chocolate malts to add a robust flavor and weighs in at a warming 7.7 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

Long Ireland Beer Company brews its Winter Ale with five different malts, including Honey Malts and Cararuby for a deep ruby-red color, and uses ginger, allspice and cinnamon for a spicy finish.

Great South Bay Brewery started brewing its Sleigh Ryed Winter Ale soon after the brewery was founded in ‘10.

“We wanted to brew a winter ale right from the beginning and Sleigh Ryed is one of our most unique offerings,” says Head Brewer Greg Maisch.

Maisch got his inspiration from German rye beers, known as Roggenbiers, which use rye malt to give the beer a pronounced spiciness. His recipe uses 28 percent malted rye, roasted barley malt to produce a deep amber color, and juniper berries for a piney finish.

“We mash up whole juniper berries in a food processor and add them into the boil, along with Cascade and Chinook hops for bittering but not overpowering hoppiness,” he says. “Sleigh Ryed is strong at 6.6 percent ABV but has the right balance of malt and spices.”

New local craft breweries also have the seasonal spirit. Head brewer Wayne Milford of BrewSA Brewing, which opened on the Nautical Mile this spring, will brew a winter ale that’s expected to be on tap at his tasting room in December.

Joe Curley, founder and brewer of Tweaking Frog Brewing Company, will brew his debut Winter Warmer on a new 10-barrel system that they share with Jamesport Farm Brewery.

“We’re going to use Golden Promises and Hudson Valley pale ale malt as a base with crystal malts and roasted malts for coloring,” says Curley, noting the name will be chosen from suggestions in a contest held at the Long Island Fresh Hop Festival. “We’re aiming for 7.5 percent ABV and the beer will have a unique estery aroma from the blend of two Belgian yeasts.”

Local homebrewers also brew strong ales to combat the chills. Tripp said that Homebrews and Handgrenades sells ingredients for a variety of winter ales ranging from amber and brown ales to porters and stouts. Dan Concepcion, owner of Brew and Beyond homebrew shop, says he sees customers brewing beers that are higher in ABV that are meant to be sipped slowly.

“To me nothing gives that holiday feel like a nice warming brew with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg,” he says.

Patchogue Beer Project, Village’s 3rd Craft Brewery, Coming Soon

Mike Philbrick, founder of Port Jeff Brewing Co., inspects one of his beers. (Press photo Bob Giglione.)

Patchogue already boasts Long Island’s oldest craft brewery, Brick House Brewery,founded in 1996, and its largest brewery, Blue Point Brewing, scheduled to open a new 60,000-barrel facility next summer. Craft beer has helped power the revitalization of the bustling South Shore village, with a lively pub and restaurant scene along Main Street catering to visitors and new residents in the hundreds of apartments built downtown in the past few years.

Now Patchogue is getting a third brewery that hopes to fill a niche in the craft beer market by collaborating with other new breweries that have opened across the Island. The simply named Patchogue Beer Project is the brainchild of two well-known residents of the North Shore: Mike Philbrick, the founder and brewmaster of Port Jeff Brewing Co., and restaurateur Ryan DiSpirito, who was looking to branch out into the growing craft beer scene.

“I was ready for a new challenge and a mutual friend told me about a chef who wanted to start a new brewery, and put me in touch with Ryan,” Philbrick said. “I’m excited to do something a little different from Port Jeff Brewing and to be a part of the great things happening in Patchogue.”

Philbrick started out as a home-brewer and after catching the brewing bug received formal training at the World Brewing Academy at Siebel Institute in Chicago. He did apprenticeship brewing gigs at Iron Hill and other breweries in his native Philadelphia area before founding Port Jeff Brewing in 2010 and opening the brewery a year later in a building across from the harborfront that houses a 7-barrel brewing system and a small tasting room.

Port Jeff is well known for its hoppy ales including Party Boat IPA and Schooner Pale Ale. It was the first brewery on LI to install a canning line in 2014, which helped increase distribution across the Island and into New York City and Westchester.

Patchogue Beer Project will be located in the former Cornell Galleries building on West Main Street directly across from BrickHouse Brewery. The building will also house a second location for Local Burger Co., which has its original location in Bay Shore, and a new breakfast and lunch restaurant, Buttermilk’s Kitchen.

Philbrick is heading up the brewing side of operations for Patchogue Beer Project and is installing a 5-barrel brewing system from Premier Stainless, similar to the system at Port Jeff Brewing. The brewery will initially have six 10-barrel fermenters and lots of serving tanks to keep up with expected demand in the tasting room and for take-away growlers.

Philbrick expects to select a head brewer for the new brewery in the next few weeks and be ready to start brewing before the end of the year.

“I want to be able to host other brewers at Patchogue Beer Project and collaborate on new beers, taking advantage of the melting pot of ideas that we have on Long Island,” said Philbrick. “Our first beers will be brewed with BrickHouse and Blue Point, who I know already know very well, and we’re looking forward to having fun with the brewers which will be fun for our consumers.”

DiSpirito will oversee the brewery’s tasting room, where visitors will be able to see the brewing operations through glass.

“We are licensed as a New York State farm brewery,” said DiSpirito, “so we’ll be able to sell other New York State craft beer and wine in the tasting room, along with other farm products and merchandise.”

Philbrick is already a strong supporter of using locally grown ingredients in his beers and his Fresh Hop Ale at Port Jeff Brewing uses hops from Condzella’s Farm in Wading River and Wesnofske Farms in Peconic.

The new brewery is also likely to participate in the Town of Brookhaven’s new Brew to Moo program that is recycling local breweries’ tons of spent grains by feeding it to livestock. In August, BrickHouse Brewery and Port Jeff Brewing became the first two breweries to sign on to the program, in which the Town of Brookhaven makes regular pickups of the spent grains and transports them to the Double D Bar Ranch in Manorville, a haven for abused or unwanted farm animals. The grains are mixed into feed for the livestock, providing protein and fiber that can supplement corn for feed.

“At Port Jeff we were happy to be a part of this program helping rescue animals, and so we want to continue to make it a success,” Philbrick said.

Homebrewers, New Craft Breweries Shine at Great Beer Expo

The Great Beer Expo, Long Island’s most popular fall beer festival, marked its triumphant return to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

First held in 2007, the annual brewfest was held at Belmont Park for the past five years while the Nassau Coliseum was being renovated. Organizers Andy and Lynda Calimano of Starfish Junction Productions celebrated the return to the Uniondale arena by showcasing more than 60 breweries offering more than 100 beers for tasting.

The stars of the show were more than a dozen Long Island brewers, including both homebrewers and craft breweries founded by former homebrewers. Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME), a homebrew club based in Suffolk County, held its fifth annual Beer and Mead Competition at the festival, attracting over 200 entries in more than 20 categories.

The Brewers Choice award went to Mark Williams and Justin Hansen of the Brewers East End Revival (BEER) homebrew club, and their winning beer will be brewed at Sand City Brewing in Northport early next year. Also participating in the competition and serving their homebrews at the festival were members of Handgrenades Homebrew Club (Grenade Brigade), based in Nassau County.

Long Island brewers that participated included several that got their start in the homebrew clubs. Among those pouring beers at the fest were Barnshed Brewing (Bryan Murphy, Grenade Brigade), Barrage Brewing (Steve Pominski, LIBME) and 1940s Brewing (Charlie Becker, LIBME). Also participating for the first time at the Great Beer Expo were two of Long Island’s newest craft breweries, BrewSA Brewing of Freeport and Jamesport Farm Brewery from the North Fork.

Particularly appropriate since the fest was held on Veterans Day, Starfish Junction chose as the event charity a local group, Project 9 Line, which works to empower veterans with reintegration through the arts and activity. A portion of the event proceeds went directly to Project 9 Line along with proceeds from raffles and a silent auction. Attendees were also able to show their appreciation for men and women currently serving by signing a giant Thank You card and writing holiday cards for the troops.

St. James Brewery: Craft Brewing’s Other Adams

Rachel and Jamie Adams of St. James Brewery. Which is in Holbrook. (Press photo Bob Giglione.)

While craft beer’s popularity is decidedly a national trend, Long Island’s growth in the sector has come in large part from the 2012 New York state law creating the “farm brewery” license.

Under it, breweries that agree to v source at least 20 percent of their hops and other ingredients from New York farms can get special privileges, including the right to open as many as five tasting rooms from which to sell beer by the pint and to take away.

The Farm Brewery law was modeled after a 1976 Farm Winery Act that tripled the number of wineries in New York State. What worked for wine has also worked for beer, with the number of craft breweries in the state doubling to over 300, with more than half of those farm breweries. Our region is now home to 20 farm breweries ranging from Barrier Brewing in Oceanside to Greenport Harbor Brewing on the North Fork.

One of the first breweries on Long Island to take advantage of the farm brewery license was Saint James Brewery, which produces Belgian-style ales at its operation in Holbrook. Its name comes from Saint James the Greater, not the north shore hamlet in Smithtown. Brewmaster Jamie Adams, a Long Island native, fell in love with Belgian beers while attending Colby College in Maine.

“I first tried Allagash White, a delicious unfiltered Belgian-style Witbier, at a pub in Portland,” said Adams. “Around that time I was starting to homebrew, so I decided to try as many Belgian styles as I could learn.”

Adams and his wife Rachel founded Saint James Brewery in 2010 after Jamie’s homebrews got rave reviews at the Blue Point Cask Ales Fest and he was encouraged to go professional. Jamie’s devotion to Belgian-style ales includes following traditional Belgian practices in his brewing.

“All of our beers are made with our own proprietary yeast strain,” he said. “This ensures a unique flavor profile across all Saint James beers.”

Among the brewery’s year-round offerings are Rachelle Blanche, a traditional witbier; Biere Des Chevaliers, a dubbel ale; Belgian Style Tripel; and a Quadrupel Holiday Ale made at year end. Fruit ales are made seasonally based on availability, including Peche (peaches), La Mure (blackberries), Pomme (apples), Framboise (raspberries) and Cherie, a blonde ale made with local honey. For the fall, Saint James is planning a seasonal beer using plums to enhance a rich, malty porter.

The lineup uses hops from Condzella Farm in Wading River, peaches and apples from Richter Orchards in Northport and strawberries from Sujecki Farms in Calverton. The brewery also uses malt from grains grown by New York Craft Malt in upstate Batavia.

“While we’re only required to use 20 percent of our ingredients from New York State, some of our beers are 100 percent New York sourced,” he noted.

In 2015, production moved to a 2,000-square-foot brewhouse in an industrial park in Holbrook, from which the couple have focused on distribution to craft beer bars in Manhattan, Brooklyn and across Long Island, as well as selling bottles and growlers at a number of farmers markets across the Island. With further growth in mind, the brewery added new fermenting tanks earlier this year to increase the production capacity of its six-barrel brewing system.

In May, Saint James opened a small tasting room that sells bottles and growlers to take away, and Adams is exploring sites to open additional tasting rooms in more heavily trafficked locations. Potential spots include Manhattan, Brooklyn and Huntington.

Blue Point Breaks Ground on New Brewery in Patchogue

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.

Blue Point Brewing Co. held a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 27 for its forthcoming new brewery West Main Street in downtown Patchogue village at a site was formerly the long-time home of a lace factory and most recently housed the now-closed Briarcliffe College.

The 54,000-square-foot building will now be transformed into a state-of-the-art brewery, featuring a second floor restaurant and tasting room overlooking the brewing operations, along with an outdoor beer garden. The new brewery is expected to open in the summer of 2018, just in time for the 20th anniversary of Blue Point’s founding in Patchogue.

“We’re proud to break ground on our new brewery right here where it all began,” said Mark Burford, co-founder and brewmaster emeritus, who added that the new brewery will enable Blue Point’s talented team of brewers to focus on what’s most important to them: the beer. “We will have the equipment and technology to help us bring to life the innovative ideas and recipes we come up for great beers.”

The new brewery is expected to have an annual capacity of 60,000 barrels, substantially higher than Blue Point’s original brewery on River Avenue, just a half mile away.

Blue Point, which was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2014, is also committed to remaining an active part of the Patchogue community. Many county and local officials, including Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, were on hand for the groundbreaking and spoke highly of Blue Point’s role in helping to spur economic development in Patchogue.

“Maybe now it is time for us to stop talking about the revitalization of Patchogue and recognize that Patchogue has arrived,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said to Mayor Pontieri.

Long Island Toasts Oktoberfest

(Photo by LenDog64)

Oktoberfest, that annual celebration of German beer, food and music – and short leather pants – is a bit of a misnomer: The start of the annual fall fete is actually in September.
Like many bits of fractured history, drinking was involved.

The name dates back over 200 years to the royal hitching of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The big day was October 12, 1810.

The newlyweds invited everyone – literally the entire population of Munich – and the partying stretched on for five days on the fields in front of the city gates, which became known as Therese’s fields or the Theresienwiese.

The wedding celebration was such fun that it turned into an annual party. In later years, the festival was lengthened – it’s now to more than two weeks and then moved to start in mid-September to take advantage of better weather and the longer hours of daylight.

So the official start of Munich’s Oktoberfest is now the third Saturday of September. The festival ends on the first weekend in October and today is enjoyed by over 5 million visitors each year.

Beer has been an important part of the Munich Oktoberfest since its founding and in 2016 almost 7 million liters were served. Only beer brewed within the city limits and conforming to the German Beer Purity Law of 1516, the Reinheitsgebot (try pronouncing that after a liter or two!), are designated Oktoberfestbiers. Six breweries – Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten received this designation in 1818 and they continue to supply festivalgoers with the traditional amber lager known as Märzen.

“Traditional Oktoberfestbiers were lagers that were brewed in March, or Märzen in German,” said Matt Buck, general manager of Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square, Long Island’s premier German restaurant and biergarten. “The beer was fermented slowly over the summer months and developed a reddish color from the rich Munich malts used in the recipe. The beer is meant to be smooth and drinkable to enjoy at a festival, so the abv (alcohol by volume) is typically around 5.7 to 5.8 percent.”

Plattduetsche Park holds some of the biggest German festivals on Long Island, including its annual Ompahfest being held this year on September 17. Ompahfest is always held the day after the Steuben Parade in Manhattan and features music from bands that march in the parade, including six bands this year direct from Germany and Austria. Plenty of Oktoberfestbier will be served with authentic German food.

“Plattduetsche is proud to serve beers from the original Munich breweries and this year will feature Oktoberfestbier from Hacker-Pschorr, which is one of our most popular year-round breweries,” Buck said. “We also have an exclusive partnership with Greenport Harbor Brewing from the North Fork and will launch their Leaf Pile Seasonal Ale at the Ompahfest.”

Several craft breweries on Long Island brew their own version of Oktoberfest beer, including Blue Point Brewing in Patchogue.

“I grew up drinking German beers on Long Island, including at Fadeley’s Pub in Patchogue,” said Mark Burford, co-founder and brewmaster emeritus of Blue Point. “So Oktoberfest was one of the first seasonals we brewed at Blue Point in the early 2000s.
According to Burford, Blue Point has always tried to stay true to the traditional German Märzen style in its Oktoberfest beer.

“There are so many hop-forward beers in the craft beer world, so we didn’t want to do that with this style and use primarily Hallertau Continental-style hops.” Burford added, “Malt is the star in this beer style and we strive for the balance and bready flavor notes we get from using German malts.”

Blue Point Oktoberfest beer will be available in six packs at retailers across Long Island beginning in September and will be one of the featured beers on tap at Oktoberfest celebrations at local beer bars.

As they say in Bavaria, “Oans, zwoa, drei! G’suffa!

Related Story: Long Island Oktoberfest Events 2017