Are we finally going through the looking glass? If measured only by new breweries, maybe it does. Like everything else, however, the mini brewery renaissance among us did not come without pain.
At the beginning of Annus horribilis 2020, a slew of new breweries were due to go live – in Riverhead, Bellport, Lindenhurst – but some were rocked by shockwaves and coronavirus-related slowdowns. “Due to COVID, a project that was supposed to take a few months has taken a lot longer,” said Jeff Schaeffer, president of Peconic County Brewing in Riverhead, where renovations began last April in preparation for an opening in September. . âWe couldn’t get any materials and staff were hard to find. “
In Massapequa Park, partners Angel Santiago and Kris Constantelos opened Motion Craft Brewed a few weeks ago before containment last spring, after years of home brewing and collaboration. âWe had to move quickly,â Santiago said, which involved turning to canning and take-out sales. At half capacity, they could only accommodate 10 in their tasting room. “We kept telling ourselves that if we had had a crystal ball, we probably would have tried something sooner.”
The pandemic has also rearranged segments of the scene. Pre-used growler refills are still on hold, due to COVID; Mustache Brewing Co., one of the pioneers of Long Island craft brewing, declared bankruptcy last summer and closed in February. While Mustache beers haven’t gone away for good, former Mustache chief brewer Rob Raffa is turning the Hallett Avenue space into the first brick and mortar house for his nomadic brewing operation, the Brewery Ã¼bergeek.
In fact, Riverhead is now something of a mini beer worm, with at least six breweries – including Tradewinds Brewing Co. (which replaced Crooked Ladder at 70 W. Main St.) and Twin Fork Beer Company (at 807 Raynor). Ave.) will also debut in 2020. New breweries are also on the bridge for Mineola and Manorville.
Here’s a look at five breweries that have recently opened or are about to do so.
Sand City Brewing Co. South
OPEN: March 5
150 Wellwood Avenue, Lindenhurst. Open daily at noon. sandcitybeer.com
After two years of preparation, the much-anticipated Sand City Brewing Co. outpost on the South Rim showed its face in early March as a stunning conversion of a former CVS into an indoor-outdoor beer playground in reclaimed wood. Co-owner Kevin Sihler said the team ripped out a second stage to make room for the brewing system, three times the size of the original Northport brewery. Its sparkling tanks are fully visible from tables scattered throughout the space. âWe wanted to showcase the brewing profession and make the place an experience,â said Sihler. IPAs are still in effect – the first beer brewed here, an IPA dubbed Oops! I Lindyed My Pants, was released at the same time as the opening – and âsome pretty playful setsâ are on the deck, Sihler said. The outdoor patio has a glittering gas fireplace, and while food trucks will soon be visiting, customers can also order food from neighboring Hermanas Kitchen & Cocktails. Fans of the Northport location, fear not this is going nowhere.
OPENING: April 2
400 Hallett Avenue, Riverhead. Hours to be determined. ubergeekbrewing.com
Former Mustache chief brewer Rob Raffa is busy renovating that brewery’s old space into a brick and mortar mansion for his business, Ã¼bergeek. Raffa is sort of a mad chemist who calls his beers “out of the norm” and plays with flavors such as cocoa nibs, turmeric, and tamarind for a range of sour, IPA, and ale. fruits. The new space will reflect this spirit of experimentation, with art installations and immersive seating. âWe want the space to be evocative and cathartic,â Raffa said.
Bellport Brewing Co.
OPEN: December 3
14 Station Road, Bellport. 631-909-4457. Open at 3 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday, at 1 p.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday. bellportbrewing.com
Just steps from the main street of Bellport, this place is the culmination of a decade and more of traveling brewing for owner and head brewer Brian Baker. Baker waited patiently for this space, which had been a succession of restaurants and cafes, to become free. With the keys in hand, he and assistant brewer Travis Turner, along with their partners Georgia and John Turner transformed the kitchen into a five-barrel brewery, painted the tasting room navy blue, and added a bar, 10 taps. and 70 seats.There are plenty of IPAs – Travis Turner was once on the Sand City brewing team – but also a peach-flavored wheat beer, stout espresso and nitro red ale, as well as cocktails (like a Bellport Bloody) made with spirits from Patchogue’s Better Man Distilling Co. parties and board games entertain guests, and while giant, cheese-filled Bavarian pretzels are the main food (in addition to beer), customers can order from a few local restaurants. Later in the spring, a food truck will park here on the weekends, when the outdoor seating on the patio and lawn is sure to fill up.
Peconic County Brewery
OPEN: February 8
221 E. Main St., Riverhead (behind Riverview Lofts), 631-740-9797. Open daily at noon. peconiccountybrewing.com
This breezy Riverhead brewery is tucked away behind the Riverview Lofts. If you can tear yourself away from the lounge-shaped terrace and its view of the Peconic River, inside is a hovering space that can accommodate 300 people (at least, at full capacity) and offers plenty of space between the rooms. tables. âI wanted to bring the wine vibe to the breweries,â said owner Jeff Schaeffer, who grew up in restaurants and worked with Sysco for a decade before founding the brewery. He hired James Miller, a former assistant brewer Barrage Brewing Co., to lead the brewing operations. âWe spent a year perfecting what we wanted,â said Schaeffer, from a classic flavored cilantro and orange witbier to peppery rye season and a solid line of IPAs, plus from the pilsner, a nitro stout and others. Unusual for a Long Island brewery, there’s a full kitchen on hand, run by Chef Luke Andrews and focused on fine pub fare such as cheese toast (prosciutto and brie or pork belly and cheddar) , wings, flatbreads, hot and cold lobster rolls, and meaty yet impossible burgers.
Brewed Motion Craft
OPEN: February 14, 2020
1036, boulevard du Parc, Parc Massapequa. 516-654-9555. Open Wednesday and Thursday at 1 p.m., from Friday to Sunday at noon. No website; check out Instagram and Facebook for more information.
It’s been one hell of a year for partners Angel Santiago and Kris Constantelos, who met at a home brewing club and pondered brick and mortar for a long time before opening this brewery-slash-cidrery-slash-meadery. a few weeks before the lockdown. The couple scaled down a tasting room and production area to 855 square feet, with a bar, a few tops and 10 taps up front and a nanoscale brewing and fermentation operation in the back. The benefit of consistently producing microlots of beer, mead, and cider is the freedom to experiment, from sour and IPA to a chocolate-cherry stout milkshake. A season brewed with honey, peppercorns and orange zest, called My First Crush, is a mainstay. Constantelos has been a long-time mead producer, so the mead game is strong – literally, with high ABV meads made from pinot noir or berries, as well as flavored low alcohol meads like cherries and orange zest. Ciders flow here too, which means something to suit every taste.