Long Island is many things to many people: a great source for duck meat, a haven of public school districts just outside Manhattan, birthplace of Amy Fisher…

Compared to the Coors brainwashing campaign linking the Rocky Mountains to brew-ha-has, Long Island conjures no such images. That’s starting to change. Not on the advertising front – the breweries from the 516, 631 and 718 are still far too small to make that big of a splash. Here’s to betting on quality beverages winning out in the long run.

  1. Blue Point Brewing Company
    At this juncture, Blue Point has become kind of like the Gordon Ramsey of the Long Island brew scene. Yes, everyone respects and genuinely enjoys the quality of the product. But if any up-and-coming brewery can be seen as “over-exposed” (actually they can’t – that’s what most distributing businesses aim for) this one is. Still, Blue Point’s well-balanced pumpkin ale is nicely spiced and not too sweet to make it unmanly.
  2. Great South Bay Brewery
    Practically worth noting alone for the clever name of their seasonal beer, Splashing Pumpkin. The Great South Bay Brewery also features a Massive IPA and the intriguing Starfish Junction Blood Orange American Wheat Ale. The IPA is nice and hoppy for those looking for that pale-ale bite. Perhaps the wheat isn’t suited for my personal taste – but the fact that they’re making it, I respect that.
  3. Greenport Harbor Brewing Company
    They say never judge a book by its cover. I understand it’s a metaphor and expands far beyond picking literature – like to beer companies and their fancy bottle art. Yet if I didn’t mention Greenport Harbor’s Long Island-shaped whale logo, Art Garfunkel would turn over in his grave. What’s that? Garfunkel lives? Then he should taste some of what the whale is pedaling – all around solid flavors.
  4. Fire Island Beer Co.
    Fire Island — the Hamptons’ hot little sister. Summertime New Yorkers can be broken down into fans of either Manhattan getaways. Oh, the Hamptons have beers of their own — South Hampton Secret Ale comes to mind — but they probably were out late clubbing the night before and unable to make it out for the techno-free North Fork Craft Beer Festival, where I sampled most of these beers. And then, BAM!, look who just got back from college, has an interesting job to talk about and still looks smoking hot in a bikini? The Fire Island Beer Company of course; a fresh faced brewery with tasty offerings in their Lighthouse Ale and Red Wagon IPA.
  5. Brewer’s East End Revival (B.E.E.R.)
    I remember seeing the banner behind the tap operators at the beer festival. Black and white old timey gentlemen in prohibition garb stare at drinkers with stoic faces, holding their foamy mugs. A fellow taster checked my glass, “Oh…anything by Matt Bobiak is well worth tasting.” I thought I was some lame newbie, ignorant of some renowned brewer. Nope – B.E.E.R. is a homebrew club that apparently hosts the largest contest of its kind every spring. Bobiak’s concoction or not, whatever I tasted was worthy enough to look further into their annual showdown.

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