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Bay Shore Brewery Boom

Fact: The Brewers Collective needs space. In less than a year, it has quickly outgrown the shared facility at A Taste of Long Island in Farmingdale, New York. And room it will have, as it becomes the newest brewery to find a home in Bay Shore, with 1,300 sq. ft. of space on North Clinton Avenue.

collective1 collective2Its move comes as no surprise following its success at the farmers market in Babylon and its constant rotation of beers on tap all across Nassau and Suffolk County like Useful Idiot, an American IPA, Schweet, a witbier beer with orange peel, and Loot, a gruit ale, an historically traditional beer that uses herbs in conjunction with, or replacing, hops. It’s the third brewery to have a home in the Bay Shore, following Great South Bay Brewery on Drexel Avenue, and Destination Unknown Beer Company on Chicago Avenue.

With the success of breweries, craft beer bars, and beer-centric events in Riverhead and Patchogue, Bay Shore may soon woo more lovers of craft beer to stay in Western Suffolk. And just like their neighbors out east, the restaurants and shops of Bay Shore will reap the benefits of patrons as they begin or end their brewery tours in the heart of town.

As The Brewers Collective exits, another slot opens up at A Taste of Long Island in its alternating proprietorship. 1940’s Brewing Company and Po’ Boy Brewery, who were also brewing at the Farmingdale facility, are already in the process of moving into a 2,000 sq. ft. brewery and tasting room on Lakeland Avenue in Bohemia.

Look for The Brewers Collective’s tasting room and brewery to open in 2016.

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Grinding Away

Two brewers walk into a bar. Okay, that’s not exactly how it happened.

Christopher Vetter, brewer and founder of Sail Away Coffee Co. first stopped by the Barrage Brewing tasting room to enjoy a beer flight. He started Sail Away just a year ago, offering cold brew coffee and small-batch roasted beans at farmers markets across Long Island, and was curious about this other small business right around the corner. “I had come across Barrage online and heard about this local brewery right by me where I work. I decided to visit one day, and it was totally unexpected.”

Fortuitously, Steve Pominski, owner and brewmaster of Barrage Brewing was on-site that day, and Christopher, impressed by what he just sampled, struck up a conversation. Chris says, “I had the idea prior, almost to the inception of [Sail Away Coffee], that I would love to use my cold brew and infuse it in beer. I would love a beer to come to life that had all the traits of my cold brew—smooth, non-astringent…” Two weeks after that tasting room visit, an opportunity presented itself.

Photo © Sail Away Coffee Co. Instagram

Photo courtesy of Sail Away Coffee Co. on Instagram

Chris continues, “We got invited to do the NYC Craft Beer Festival as a cold brew vendor. This would be a great idea to approach Steve and invite him along. The next day I walked in there and asked him if he would be into it.” Chris brought samples of his cold brew coffee for Steve to try, and, after a few tastings, a collaboration beer was born. The final product, CMP, a 6.5% ABV. coffee milk porter, is made with a concentrate of Sail Away‘s cold brew coffee.

Steve says of CMP, “I want the porter to mimic a coffee with sugar. It will have that traditional porter, coffee look, using a cold coffee extract that Sail Away will be producing and adding lactose to make it a little sweet.”

barrage Working with coffee is nothing new for Barrage, having experience with brewing coffee in its Famous Last Words Russian Imperial stout and Sweet Louis Coffee Hazelnut cream stout. Steve is ready to take on the challenge of replicating Sail Away‘s unique cold brew into a beer. “In some of the better coffee stouts and porters, the brewers actually cold steep their beans before they actually put them in the beer, so it’s not at all unfamiliar. …it’s kind of funny that brewers have been doing it for awhile. So coffee shops and brewers were doing it side by side and now they are crossing paths.”

The pairing at the NYC Craft Beer Festival would have been a rare chance for beer drinkers to sample the cold brew coffee and the CMP beer at the same time. Steve said, “We are going to be side by side at the beer festival in Manhattan. People are [going to] drink his coffee and then be able to drink my beer… I want people to say ‘Hey, this tastes like I’m drinking coffee, but it’s a beer!'”

Alas, it was not to be. Due to last minute changes in venue and dates, Barrage Brewing was unable to pour at the festival. Do not despair for CMP, the coffee milk porter, will debut this month at the Barrage Brewing tasting room in Farmingdale, New York, and at select restaurants and bars across Long Island.

Barrage Brewing is located at 32 Allen Blvd, East Farmingdale, New York. Sail Away Coffee Co. can be found at farmers markets across Long Island. Visit or Facebook for up to date information.

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Can-tastic! Long Island Breweries Look to Aluminum

It’s what defined “craft beer” from “macro” for a long time—craft in glass bottles, big beer in cans. Canning has become cheaper and lighter, but, more importantly, there have been improvements in canning technology so the beer doesn’t react to the can, producing off-flavors. These developments didn’t go unnoticed by small breweries wishing to cut costs while preserving the taste of their crafted brew. By switching to cans, breweries achieve greater penetration into beach venues and sporting arenas that don’t want the waste and hazards of glass bottles. Canning is increasing within Long Island’s breweries, some having made the leap, with more planning to jump to aluminum.

Blue Point Brewing Company

Two cans of Blue Point Brewing Toasted Lager  Two cans of Mosaic Session IPA from Blue Point Brewing

No surprise that being one of the elder statesmen of breweries on LI, Blue Point was one of the first to start canning in 2012. Blue Point’s canned beer includes its flagship Toasted Lager, the popular Summer Ale, White IPA, and Toxic Sludge, and most recently Rastafa Rye Ale and Mosaic Session IPA.

Montauk Brewing Company

Cans of Montauk Brewing Driftwood Ale, Summer Ale, Session IPA, Hop Blonde Ale, and Arrowhead Red Ale This brewery at the end of Long Island’s South Fork began canning in 2014. Now, you can find its beers all over the Island, even at impressive venues like Citi Field. Its lineup includes Driftwood Ale, Summer Ale, and Session IPA.

Montauk Brewing is also releasing Hop Blonde Ale, a 5% ABV, hoppy American blonde ale made with Nugget and Ahtanum hops in the beginning of September, and Arrowhead Red Ale, a 5% ABV, Irish red ale, which will be released by the end of the year.

Port Jeff Brewing Company

Cans of Port Jeff Brewing Party Boat Session IPA, Beach Beer, and Overboard Port Jeff first canned its Party Boat Session IPA, and it was an immediate success. Never one to be ordinary, Port Jeff began canning four-packs of their H3 Trippel, a Belgian-style ale, and Overboard, a Russian Imperial stout in 2015. In June, Beach Beer, a Belgian-style wheat beer, was also added.

Great South Bay Brewery

Cans of Great South Bay Field 5 Golden IPA 2015 was the Year of the Can for GSB and its Field 5 Golden IPA. It also introduced Long Island to the “Crowler,” a 32oz. can filled to order in GSB’s tasting room with any choice of beers on tap. Personally, I want to see its popular Blonde Ambition American Blonde Ale and Blood Orange Pale Ale in six pack. I can only hope.

Blind Bat Brewery

Aluminum bottles of Yorker Ale, Commack Common Ale, Echolocation IPA, Midnight Train to Jodhpur, and glass bottles of Purgatory Porter and Hells Gate Golden Ale Blind Bat has been appearing at farmers markets with something shiny and new. Instead of cans, its using aluminum bottles. Some of the new bottles are Commack Common Ale, Echolocation IPA, Midnight Train to Jodhpur, an American black ale, and Yorker Special Bitter.

Barrage Brewing Company

Barrage is looking to release two of its beers in cans before year’s end. First, will be their American IPA Galaxy Beast. Initially the cans will only be available for sale at the tasting room, so don’t look for them at your local distributor… yet.

NB: Photos taken at Bellport Cold Beer and Soda in Bellport, New York, except for Montauk Brewing Company and Blind Bat Brewery which were provided by the breweries.

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Photos from Long Ireland Brewery’s 1st Pintwood Derby

From a spark of inspiration within the mind of Long Ireland Brewing’s Dan Burke, to the surprise hit of the summer, the DnU team were thrilled to be amongst the two hundred people that experienced the Pintwood Derby, on Saturday, July 26, in Riverhead, New York. There’s talk of making this an annual event, and, if so, look out competitors! The DnU Generic Wheeler will be burning across the finish line faster than I can complete a sentence, which is actually a long time if I’m being completely honest—sometimes I do run on.

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Beer, Beats, and Bicycles: Honoring Ed Hahne

Ed Hahne Memorial Beer Brunch Poster Over 200 people packed into the main room of Bobbique in Patchogue, New York, on Saturday, June 20, to snack on brunch bites, hoist a pint for a good cause, and to share memories of Ed Hahne, for the Ed Hahne Memorial Beer Brunch.

Ed Hahne, music educator for over 40 years, Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIMBE) treasurer and cycling enthusiast, tragically passed away last July. His loss was deeply felt within the Long Island beer community, where his presence and friendly smile welcomed everyone at breweries and events.

Spearheaded by LIBME, Eric Rifkin, owner of Bobbique, and Andy and Lynda Calimano from Starfish Junction, the proceeds of the brunch and silent auction brought just under $7500 for two great causes: The Ed Hahne Memorial Scholarship, presented to a student and marching band member from Ed’s alma mater, Stony Brook University; and, Recycle-A-Bicycle, an organization helping “to foster youth development, environmental education, community engagement, and healthy living.”

The recipient of the Ed Hahne Memorial Award and Scholarship for 2015, Dan Wood, played during the brunch. Dan was chosen from a pool of eleven nominated students, and exemplified, as the Ed Hahne Award site states:

… [The] band member who best captures the spirit of Ed Hahne, a music educator for 41 years. The recipient should be one whose enthusiasm and humor are contagious, whose friendship transcends class time, and who encourages and inspires dedication to superior performance.

Lee Ann Hahne, Ed’s widow, spoke at the event, saying her husband felt he was the “luckiest guy in the world” to be apart of this community. The memorial brunch was one of the ways that the community showed how lucky we were to have Ed. Encouraged by the substantial turn out, the organizers are hoping to make this a yearly event.

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Long Beard Brewing finds its place in Riverhead

Long Beard Brewing Logo

Logo courtesy Long Beard Brewing

The lease has been signed and key is in hand. After three years of searching and plenty of waiting, Long Beard Brewing finds a new home in Riverhead, New York, at the former East 2nd Street firehouse, just two blocks away from Main Street.

When we spoke in 2014 to Paul Carlin and Craig Waltz, brewers and co-owners of Long Beard, they had their eyes fixed on Long Island’s booming beer town:

Paul and Craig of Long Beard Brewing

Paul and Craig
Photo courtesy of Long Beard Brewing

“We feel, right now, [Riverhead] is our best option for a number of reasons. The first is it’s a destination spot. Riverhead has become a hub for craft beer on Long Island. You can’t argue that. We have done a lot of research and spoken to a lot of people to help make that decision. One of the more important aspects of our brewery will be our tasting room. We want people coming in droves! Being in Riverhead will make that easier. Look what’s going on there! You are in wine country, in a town that is putting effort in revitalizing main street and bringing in much needed business and tourism. The town, itself, is friendlier to our industry, and the beer tours will be always coming in with business. It just makes sense.”

East 2nd St Firehouse in Riverhead, New York

The 2nd St Firehouse
Photo © Google Maps

They are taking over part of the firehouse, about 3,000 sq. feet, and will begin construction on the brewery portion first, with a tasting room to follow. Long Beard Brewing becomes the forth brewery in Riverhead, with neighbors Long Ireland Brewing, Moustache Brewing, and Crooked Ladder Brewery turning Riverhead into a Brewmuda Triangle. (Good pun, but wouldn’t it be Brewmuda Rectangle? — ed.)

Inside the empty 2nd St firehouse where Long Beard Brewing will open its brewery

Inside the empty 2nd St firehouse where Long Beard Brewing will open its breweryInside the new space where Long Beard Brewing will open.
Photos courtesy of Long Beard Brewing.

Long Beard is ready to start its next chapter—getting its beer into the market. Paul is excited for the future of the brewery location, saying, “This gives us tons of room for growth and a sweet kick-ass tasting room that [when completed] will have a look and feel that will make you to never want to leave!”

Follow Long Beard Brewing on Facebook and Twitter.

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Ferment-Me-Nots : Questions to avoid asking your new local brewer

Recently attending the one-year anniversary party of Moustache Brewing—it seems like yesterday it was just breaking ground to its brewery in Riverhead, New York—with a pint of Milk and Honey Brown Ale in my hand, I started to think of other Long Island brewery births I have witnessed. I have watched many go from home brewer, 3-bbl systems, their first van, their first bottling line, to seeing them sell beer out of state.

Two plastic pints of Moustache Brewing beer, one amber and one dark, by a paper bag with Moustache’s logo


It’s no surprise. The Brewers Association just listed NY 2nd in new brewery openings, 67 in 2014, and a 54% production increase over last year. There are five Long Island breweries I know of that are in the process of getting licenses, leases, or opening tasting rooms. It’s a small community, and there is a good chance you’re a friend or a friend-of-a-friend of a brewer.

Talking to brewers—and attending a grand opening or two—I have come across questions that seem to pop up every time a new brewery rears its foamy head. They’re starting to get old, and some, frankly are starting to make me cringe. Maybe it’s because I’ve asked a couple of these questions, too (d’oh!). I think it’s time for “new brew” etiquette. Why look at me, I’m the Emily Post of beer!

> Q: Can I have a free t-shirt or pint glass or…?

T-shirts and other items are a popular way to get the brewery’s name out into the public. Friends may ask, “Hey who’s that? Where are they?” This merchandise is also a source of income, small it may be, that help fund that brewery. Don’t assume that the brewery is giving away swag for free. Don’t get bent out shape when the friendly volunteer behind the counter asks for your credit card. If you want something, ask how much it is, even if you know the brewer. Don’t put him or her in an awkward situation. If you get it for free—sweet! If not, pony up and help the brewery out.

> Q: I invested in you in Kickstarter, so why can’t I get a free…?

A line of Long Island brewery imprinted pint glasses

One of my many brewery “investments.”

Many breweries use or have used Kickstarter to help with some aspect of their business plan. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website. Funders donate money to a business, and when it reaches its goal funders get something in return. It could be something as simple as a sticker or as grand as getting to name a beer depending on the amount donated. However, people are beginning to demand a lot for their $15. Why can’t I get free beer? Can I get a discount on that tulip glass? Why don’t I get first crack at bottle releases? Hey, you gave your money; you got your t-shirt. That’s it. The brewery is not beholden to you. Believe me, they really, really appreciate your donation, but you got something in return. Breweries are in the business of making beer, not comping their special customers. And speaking of free beer….

> Q: I know the brewer, so why can’t I get a free…?

I know the brewer, too. I know lots of them. I don’t expect free beer from any of them, at any time. Remember that awkward situation with the swag? Don’t do the same thing with the brewer’s source of income. Full disclosure, some brewers give me free beer—like, all the time. But I don’t expect it or demand it whether or not I know the pourer. Don’t make the employee behind the taps uncomfortable by saying, “Me and the brewer, we’re like best buds. She gives me free beer all the time!” Plunk your dollars down, and maybe next round you’ll get a free refill. If you do get a freebie, sneak a few dollars into the tip jar. Every dollar helps a brewery grow. Now, don’t you feel better?

Coming soon-ish sign on Blind Bat Brewery’s soon-to-open brewery

Best. “Coming Soon” Sign. Ever.
Photo courtesy: Blind Bat Brewery

> Q: When are you opening?

I’m positive when this question gets asked, a brewer loses his wings. We can’t help it. I understand; I really I do. We just want to know when we can get our hands on the wonderful, new deliciousness. Breweries try their best to give a grand opening estimation, but something always happens. ALWAYS. The inspector is on a two-week vacation, or the gas line is in the wrong spot. Congratulation, they’ve found asbestos! Better questions are, “How’s things going?” or “How are you doing?” It gives the brewer a chance to vent her frustrations but also relate all the good things that are happening at the brewery construction.

> Q: Why don’t you make more beer?

Stainless steel kettle and fermenter tanks

This costs more than my Saturn when it was a new, plus a side order of a tricked-out Kia.

Maybe because you are distracting them? Do you know how much those shiny new steel vessels cost? Holy crap balls! Yeah, that much. A lot of new brewers work two jobs to make ends meet—the one where their building their brewing business from the ground up, literally, and their actually-getting-paid full-time job. They have limited time. Maybe they can only brew at night or on the weekends, searching for the right balance of brewing, working the tasting room, brewery paperwork, etc. So be kind. Give them the time they need.

Also, please try not to disturb a brewer at work. Some have to brew when the tasting room is open. Your desire to chit-chat doesn’t help them when they should be cleaning kegs. Let the brewer be your guide. Wave hello, then walk away. Have patience with a new brewery. It may not be at your favorite bar yet, but give it a year or two. It’ll be there. Soon-ish.

Posted in booze etiquette, drunken missives.

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Lagunitas Olde GnarlyWine

Lagunitas Olde GnarlyWine

  • Spiced apple
  • Sweet! with that ol’ Lagunitas hoppiness and spice.
  • Pleasantly bitter

2015 limited edition. 10.6 ABV. 22oz. bottle.

I probably review more barelywines than the average beer drinker ever drinks in a lifetime. I admit, I am searching for a easily accessible replacement for The One. So please indulge me as I review yet another bitterly sweet high-alcohol barleywine. I tell you with pure intentions, once you get into the barleywines, nothing is the same.

A bottle of Lagunitas GnarleyWine with a glass filled with the dark caramel-colored beer.

A GnarlyWine barleywine.

I approached the Lagunitas Olde GnarlyWine with trepidation. Unlike many of my peers, I haven’t found a Lagunitas beer that I enjoyed. Its beers are consistent, for sure, displaying a hop spice that just overwhelms me. Whatever it does, it does well, but it’s just not my wheelhouse.

But I’m not one to pass up a chance for that barleywine experience.

The nose got me worried. I sensed that copper flavor that is endemic to many barleywines. It’s something I’ve resigned myself to, as it seems like it’s a usual accompaniment to the process. (Not The One, of course. Never The One.) So my first sip came as a surprise. There was intense sweetness in the malt—candy sweet. That Lagunitas hop blend was lurking in there, too, but the malt slammed in first, blending excellently with the bitter hops beneath. I thought the sweetness was too intense at first, but each sip became more relaxed as the hoppiness built up a nice foundation to complement the malt. Here is a Lagunitas that I can enjoy.

Of course, it’s a limited release, and it’s not even on the Lagunitas website. So I doubt I’ll have much more time to enjoy it. It’s not The One, but it’s in the ballpark, which is all I ask for. I found the 22oz. for $5, too, so it’s extremely reasonably priced. And after consuming the bottle, everything becomes a little bit fuzzy, a little bit sweeter, and that’s a gift I’ll always treasure.

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Dogfish Head Piercing Pils

Dogfish Head Piercing Pils


  • Floral pear
  • Sweet; Frontal hop kick that overwhelms the other flavors
  • Unique pear tea flavor that lingers

12oz. bottle; 6% ABV

As a big fan of pear juice in my alcohol, trying Dogfish Head Piercing Pils was inevitable as soon as I saw it. And in a pilsner-style? Be still my beating heart.

Chilled to a comfortable 45°(F), the golden pils poured into my glass with just the right amount of suds and the wonderful aromas of pear and elderflower. This was going to be great, I thought. But the first sip smacked my palette with spicy hops. Of course. I know that to be a serious beer in this modern world, the hops must be ramped up ever higher.

Piercing Pils. It’s right there in the name, Fervere!

After my initial hop shock, I tasted some delightfully playful flavors. The pear tea brings complex botanicals that really work well with a pilsner. Piercing Pils has the sweetness and gravity that I look for in good pilsners—it pours a bit more heavy than the color would suggest. The snootful of aroma that surrounds each sip is highlighted by those tea botanicals and a subtle, acidic pear scent. It starts with a unique promise and ends with that promise paid off, but, in the middle, those sharp, spicy hops seem to come from a different beer.

Listen, I’m going to enjoy my 4-pack. This isn’t a beer that’s double-hopped-up-the-wazoo. Compared to the mildest IPA, the hops in Piercing Pils are barely there. It’s a very enjoyable, unique beer, and it’s certainly possible that everyone else will find the dual flavors complementary rather than clashing. But humble ol’ me, well, I taste the clash in what otherwise would be a sublime brew.

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Clase Azul Reposado

Clase Azul Reposado

  • Warm, mellow smoked wood
  • Sweet! Fruitiness combined with that classic tequila smokiness
  • Smooth. Creamy. Just another sip.

The key to drinking well on the cheap is to be in the right place at the right time. I found myself in the company of a respected business owner, Mr. A~ of the Hamptons, just as he was toasting his success with a bottle of Tequila Clase Azul Reposado that was given to him as a gift by another pillar of East End society. As shot-size glasses were poured and raised, I offered my opinion that this was a sipping tequila, which got me in the good graces of my host.

I love tequila. It doesn’t enjoy the same cachet that whiskey does for those with oh-so sophisticated tastes. But this is an error. Smoky, with flavors that go beyond the usual esters found in hooch, good tequilas manage to clearly stay tequila while offering novel notes of fruit and candied nuts. And on the scale of what pairs well with the perfect fruit—lime—tequila is tops. Where is whiskey in that scale? On the bottom, son, way on the bottom.

Yes, my opinions tend to contradict each other depending on what’s in my glass. Tequila happened to be poured the night of the toast, so, assuredly, it was my favorite.

A white ceramic bottle of Clase Azul Reposado with blue-leaf motif and and embossed silver agave leaf

A beautiful hand-painted bottle of Teuqila Clase Azul Reposado

And, my dear readers, what a tequila to sip! Clase Azul Repasado was sweet and fruity, smooth and rich. Laughing at those who slammed down their shot as if it were some horrid “gold” tequila offered on the cheap in a sports bar (lick the salt first!), the boss and I took our time to sip and appreciate the magic in that handmade bottle. Surely, this would be my one shot at this excellent tequila coming out of that bottle of art. The price must be insane.

I don’t give Patron much thought, except to note to anyone that would listen that’s it’s just overpriced hype. But here, the Patron-effect makes it seem like a $90 bottle of tequila isn’t outrageous. Clase Azul Repasado is surely worth it, comparatively; although, I’m sure I’ll not get the chance to try it again at that price. There’s always luck, though—being in the right place at the right time.

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