Walking past the BrickHouse Brewery, it’s easy to take for granted this soon-to-be 20-year old mainstay in Patchogue, New York. But if you take the time to look in the window, you might catch Paul Komsic, current brewmaster, walking among the copper and stainless steel tanks either bringing a new batch to a boil or checking up on a fermenting beer.
After years of honing his skills as assistant brewer to two former brewmasters, Paul took the reins as brewmaster in December of 2015. He is looking to expand on an already well-received beer line and add his own unique brewing vision to the history of BrickHouse. People are taking notice, but old perceptions are sometimes hard to shake.
When BrickHouse began to brew in-house years ago, they had to overcome an image issue. Paul says, “What confused people, was that we had a business relationship with Blue Point. They were cleaning our kegs and storing our grain, because we just didn’t have the room for it at that time. When everybody sees you going over there and picking stuff up, what are they going to assume? Now we have our own storage for [grain] and our own keg washer. We are 100% self-sufficient.”
“And honestly in the last two years, I think we conquered most of that. Every now and then I get somebody,” Paul continues, “but I would say 85% of everybody knows [that we brew our own beer]. We put so much effort making sure everyone knows this is the new situation. People know who we are at least, and if they haven’t had the new product, they’ve heard 100 times that they should.”
So what can we expect to see from Paul on tap at the BrickHouse? “I plan to have rotating rye beers throughout the year, those are my personal favorites. I really like nitro beers, and I want to have specialty seasonal beer on nitro. In the early spring< Carrickfergus,” BrickHouse’s popular cream ale. “In the summertime, maybe a golden ale with coffee and toasted coconut, and in the fall/winter have Breakfast Brown, our maple pecan brown ale. I want to do seasonal wood-aged beers as well, experiment with cherry wood, maybe, some oak-soaked in some odd-ball liquor.”
Paul is already thinking about what to create for the upcoming 2016 beer festival season which include large events like the Blue Point Cask Beer Festival and *Alive After Five, which brings thousands of visitors to the streets of downtown Patchogue and the possibility of hundreds of new customers for BrickHouse Brewery. Paul says, “Nobody here is allowed to take off. It’s all hands on deck. It is a madhouse.”
But none of this really phases Paul. He has, as the cliche states, been there, done that. All is his focus now is on creating great beer and putting his own personal mark on a 20-year history. “I love the challenge. I love winning over someone with our beer.”
Paul knows he won’t be the last to brew for BrickHouse, but he says, “To be apart of this… whatever the next brewmaster after me does, he is probably going to have to brew Carrickfergus; he’s probably going to have to brew DePeach Mode. To be able to put something in mix in the greater scheme—it’s really awesome to be apart of that history. It’s good to have my little notch.”
Some recommended beers to try at the BrickHouse Brewery:
Ron’s Burgandy, Paul’s first original recipe, is a deep red “Scotchy-Scotch ale” with a bright American hop finish. Three kinds of rye are used to give this beer a spicy and malty backbone.
Don Dapper IPA, Paul’s first professional IPA recipe. Think bold, fruity, juicy, and expensive. This IPA is made with Chinook, Wakatu, and Ella hops.
Main Street Mocha, a porter brewed with coffee beans, from Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company, and cocoa nibs.
Crazy Cow, a brown milk stout with the bold taste of chocolate and roasted malts, with a hint of vanilla.