A pack of Sixpoint Brownstone, 2 bottles of Orchard Gate Gold JK's Scrumpy Hard Cider, a bottle of Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red, and a case of Samuel Adams Harvest Collection 2012

Harvest

Melba and Niko from Long Island Pulse Magazine

Melba and Niko from Long Island Pulse talk beer.

Melba scored tickets to the North Fork Craft Beer Festival, at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, and invited me. It was the second time I was lucky enough to attend, but it was Melba’s first. There were dozens of New York and Long Island brewers as well as distributors, home brewing groups, and even our local Rock station all giving out 2 oz. samples of beer and wine for us to try. We were pretty surgical in our attack plan. We hit our favorites, like Long Ireland, Greenport Harbor and Spider Bite, and sought out some up-and-comers that we hope to profile soon. Melba, ever the personable front to DnU found time to speak to almost everyone and got her photo taken with Niko from Long Island Pulse magazine, and Mike from The Beer Amigos, which got us thinking we should get get a press pass for next year’s event. We’d gladly interview people face-to-face while they continually refill our 2 oz. glasses.

Melba and Mike from The Beer Amigos

Melba and Michael from The Beer Amigos drink beer.

It was a lot of fun and the weather held out, having been threatening to rain all weekend, and as a bonus, we got stop by Long Island Spirits, the maker of LiV Vodka, on our way home to try their new Pine Barrens single-malt whisky, made from Blue Point Brewing Old Howling Bastard. Whoa! It was pretty killer, with a bit of heat and a lot of sweetness, with vanilla oak tones. They’ve made three batches, and they keep selling out as soon as they go on sale. When I get a full bottle, I’m going to do a proper review.

A shot glass with Long Island Spirits Pine Barrens Whisky, next to a sign with a description of the tasting, a bottle of Blue Point Brewing Old Howling Bastard barleywine, and a bottle of Pine Barrens Whisky.

Tasting Long Island Spirits new Pine Barrens Whisky.

A pack of Sixpoint Brownstone, 2 bottles of Orchard Gate Gold JK's Scrumpy Hard Cider, a bottle of Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red, and a case of Samuel Adams Harvest Collection 2012

Sixpoint Brownstone, Orchard Gate Gold J.K.’s Scrumpy hard cider, Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red and Harvest Collection! Gonna be a good harvest season.

And it’s mid-August, so of course, that means that we’re all quitting summer, even though it technically has over a month left. Commercials and retailer are all reminding us of back-to-school, and, even though I’ve been out of school for twenty years, I still get anxious around this time. But beer is here to save our lives, and the Octoberfest-styles and pumpkin ales all begin to come out now. We got to sample our favorite pumpkin ale, Leaf Pile, at the North Fork Craft Beer Festival, but what I couldn’t wait for was my first Samuel Adams Octoberfest, which is my singular favorite beer. So I stopped by Bellport Beer Distributors to pick up the Harvest Collection, which has amongst the regular Octoberfest and Boston Lager their dunkelweizen and a hazelnut-flavored beer, Hazel Brown. I don’t mind admitting that I stuck one of those in the freezer so I could drink it within 20 minutes of getting it home.

Bellport also had Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red, which I’ve been eager to try for a couple of years now. As far as I know, it was just available at the Boston brewery until recently. And to round out the autumnal goodies, I purchased a couple of Scrumpy ciders for Mrs. Ferment and Sixpoint Brownstone. I believe I’ll have to wait for Melba to come over to sample the later, as she’s gone brown ale crazy.