Hoptron: Brewtique Shopping at Its Finest

It’s a little hard to say precisely what Patchogue’s Hoptron Brewtique is. Is it a bar? Well, yes…you can order pints of beer at Hoptron. But the word “bar” doesn’t really do the place justice. Is it a beer store? Yes it is, but it isn’t like any other beer store around here. The most obvious difference: no stacked cases of cheap national brands. Is it a place to sit and drink beer and play board games? Very much so. How many bars or beer stores can say that?

If Patchogue is Suffolk County’s capitol of Beer Geekdom—and really, Patchogue’s status in this regard is pretty much beyond dispute—then Hoptron Brewtique, located at 22 West Main Street in Patchogue, is like the capitol’s athenaeum. A place to learn how to taste beers, how to appreciate beers, how to distinguish beers and how to talk about beers. It’s a place where the beer-curious can become full-fledged beer connoisseurs. Lastly, and most importantly, it’s a place where beer is taken very seriously.

That’s not to say that people aren’t having fun at Hoptron. For one thing, there’s a constant turnover of craft beers on tap—some quite exotic, others just delicious, chosen for maximum variety and interest. Hoptron goes to extraordinary lengths to source rare brews and keep it fun.

Hoptron’s Dana Barry explains. “Some of the small breweries we work with don’t have distribution, so we will actually drive to the brewery to pick up kegs so we can have it for our customers.” Barry herself favors stouts and porters, but notes that even within these styles there can be a startling variety.

On a recent visit, among the more unusual beers on tap at Hoptron was called Comma, from Carton Brewing Company in New Jersey. This was a black pepper saison—interesting to taste, but hard to imagine drinking a full pint of. On the other hand, a smoked farmhouse saison from Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn was only faintly smoky and was distinctly refreshing. Barry recommends that customers sample what’s on tap in a flight, and then grab a pint of a favorite. They’ll be learning and having fun at the same time!

Speaking of fun, Hoptron has seen a flowering of board game culture concomitant to the rise of beer culture. The long communal tables in their bar area have proven to be ideal places for customers to sit and play classic games while enjoying a pint.

Barry is pleased with this development. “I grew up playing Parcheesi and backgammon every Friday night, and we get lots of people playing those games. Lots of card games, too. It just kind of evolved naturally, and so we went with it.” The board games are kept on a tidy little shelf along the back wall. Hoptron also offers entertainment in the form of an open mic night on Thursdays from 7 p.m. till 10 p.m.

Another way Hoptron keeps things interesting are events called “Tap Takeovers.” As Barry explains, that’s when a particular craft brewery brings four different beers to serve customers, taking over four of Hoptron’s taps, and offers discounted prices on flights and pints and some form of brewer-guided informational session. The Tap Takeovers happen fairly regularly: check Hoptron’s website for details.

Originally, Hoptron also had a homebrew store, for those beer-lovers who wanted to start from scratch. That part of the business has now been spun off as a separate entity. Called the Back Alley Brew Shop, it’s down an alley around the corner from Hoptron. Check it out for all of your homebrew needs.

Because there’s such a constant turnover of beers, Hoptron has set up a webpage for checking to see what’s on tap, and to even see how much is left in each keg. This way, if a customer has a favorite, he or she can check to see if Hoptron’s got it before making the trek to Patchogue. On the other hand, it might be more fun to just show up and check out something exotic and new. Either way, Hoptron Brewtique will make it happen.

Hoptron Brewtique, 22 West Main Street, Patchogue. hoptronbrewtique.com

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