In Long Island’s Wine Region, Craft Beer Takes Off

The craft beer explosion has taken the nation by storm—and despite its reputation as a wine region, Long Island has been no exception. Both forks have established their own craft breweries, brewpubs and artisanal beer stores in recent times, and this summer, the draft list is looking more varied than ever.

Riverhead’s first brewery, Long Ireland (longirelandbrewing.com), will be celebrating its fifth anniversary this year by releasing their annual Summer Ale. “It’s a golden ale and it’s brewed with Pilsner malt, wheat malt and dried lemon peel, so it’s got a nice little citrus hint in the back of it that’s light and crisp,” says Long Ireland co-founder Greg Martin, noting that it will be available in six packs of 12 oz. bottles this year. Long Ireland will also have its flagship Celtic Ale and popular Breakfast Stout available for the drinking. The tasting room is open Thursday and Friday from 3–7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1–6 p.m.

Also turning five this year, Greenport Harbor Brewing (harborbrewing.com) is planning to mark the occasion with a grand opening party at their new Peconic location on Saturday, July 12 from 3–8 p.m., featuring three bands and local food trucks. While the brewery will be up and running by July, the new space will be far from complete.

“The production space will be operating, and we will be conducting tours, so people will be able to see the system in it’s completion,” says co-founder Rich Vandenburgh. “The tasting room will be open and functioning, albeit in a kind of a rustic, initial-stage setting.” A larger brewery space means more variety. “With the opening of the bigger production brewery, we’re going to be using the Greenport space as a pilot brewery for smaller, more experimental beers,” says co-founder John Liegey. “It would be great to build a little bit of a treasure chest of beers for the summer and for the party.” Greenport Harbor released their Summer Ale in May, which will be followed by a Citrus IPA in June, and their Anniversary Ale in time for their celebration. They’ve also put out their popular Hopnami Double IPA, which hasn’t been seen in more than two years.

The summer of celebrations continues with Riverhead’s Crooked Ladder Brewing Company (crookedladderbrewing.com), which is planning its first anniversary party for July. In the mean time, Crooked Ladder’s brewers will be kicking off the season with their summer series of beers. The first beer in the series is the Summeritis, a golden ale brewed from Crystal Hops, giving it a crisp, citrus flavor that’s perfect for a hot day. “I’m planning, for one of the months, on doing a Hefeweizen, probably in July,” says Crooked Ladder’s co-founder and head brewer Duffy Griffiths, “and then a Belgian witbier following that, just for something a little bit different.”

Lauri and Matt Spitz serve Moustache Brewing Co. beer at the Riverhead Farmers Market.

Lauri and Matt Spitz serve Moustache Brewing Co. beer at the Riverhead Farmers Market. Photo by Nicholas Chowske

The newest brewery to hit the scene is Riverhead’s Moustache Brewing Company (moustachebrewing.com). Founded in 2012 and named for owner Matthew Spitz’s iconic handlebar mustache, the brewery carries a wide range of styles. Spitz and fellow owner, his wife Lauri, pride themselves on their revolving menu of craft beers made from fresh, local ingredients. This summer, they will be featuring their Mojito Pale Ale, which is a pale ale brewed with fresh mint and limes.

The bar was bustling at the Montauk Brewing Company Tasting Room

The bar was bustling at the Montauk Brewing Company Tasting Room. Photo credit: Richard Lewin

Also founded in 2012, Montauk Brewing Company (montaukbrewingco.com) is making waves with its
cans-only Driftwood Ale and Summer Ale, both of which may earn lucky buyers a token redeemable for a free tasting at the brewery itself. Founder and brewer Vaughan Cutillo tells us that the brewery will be featuring live patio music every Saturday throughout this summer, alongside numerous art openings in its renowned Gallery Taproom (including a July showing of photographer Daniel Russo’s work).

Southampton Publick House.

Southampton Publick House. Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

Southampton’s only local brewery, the Southampton Publick House (publick.com) maintains its status as a highly popular brewpub while also exporting its celebrated beers nationwide. The Publick House will continue to offer All Night Friday Happy Hour throughout the summer (beginning at 10 p.m.), and currently boasts its Imperial Porter and Biere de Mars on tap alongside its year-round offerings.

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