Last week I escaped the offices of Dan’s to visit Hoptron Brewtique on West Main Street in Patchogue. At the outset, even before my hearty welcome from the Hoptron managers, I had no trouble figuring out exactly what Hoptron is: the Brewtique is for “beer geeks.” Just one look at the scientific-looking, hop-sporting logo, or the Star Wars reference on their daily sandwich board, and I knew exactly what customers come into Hoptron. Admittedly, I never asked the boys behind the bar if my suspicions were true—“Are you guys beer geeks, too?” But, looking at the many customers served within the time I spent at Hoptron, I could see that these people weren’t concerned—like many Americans—with getting wasted on a weekday or drinking Bud Light.
No, the crowd at Hoptron, myself included, are more interested in only the tastiest brews. To that end, Hoptron has made it possible not only to drink your favorite local beers, but to discover more of them. Their most popular option at the bar, according to co-managers Joe Romero and Patrick McHale, are the flights: four small glasses of any of the 16 brews on tap. The homepage of their website features the same interface as the one above their beer counter; each of the 16 kegs are displayed according to brand name, style and quantity. That’s right, any customer can find out what beers are freshly tapped and which are about to kick. Interestingly, a keg kicked while Romero prepared my flight, and McHale made his way into the back to tap a keg of Montauk Brewing Company’s Driftwood Ale, local and delicious. The three other beers making appearances in my flight included a Dark IPA from Port Jeff Brewery, which was beautifully bitter and floral, a Kolsch from Barrier Brewing Company in Oceanside, and yummy Breakfast Stout from Long Ireland in Riverhead. On top of the wide selection of brews, Hoptron offers a small selection of food, including local cheeses from American Cheese in West Sayville.
Once you finish your flight, Hoptron wants you to try one of their brews as a pint. While you finish your pint you can stay by the bar for conversation with the friendly managers or make your way to a seat by the bottle shelves. As customers leave the store, Hoptron wants you to take something home. Hoptron’s growlers can be filled with any beer from their taps. The growler taps may be the prize of the Hoptron staff; Joe Romeo was adamant about the benefits of the tap, which makes no waste while filling the 64 ounce bottles.
If growlers aren’t your speed, the Brewtique has an option with more options for customization. The Make a Six deal offers the customer $3 off six choice 12 ounce bottles from their shelves. This includes the most interesting and trusted brews created by local breweries from Brooklyn to Montauk, including the Southampton Publick House. Alongside the 12-ounce bottles are 25 ouncers and tall boys, just to round out the most complete beer selection on Long Island.
As I said, the business model at Hoptron is not only for the seasoned connoisseur. It extends to newbies and adventurers through the flights, to the East End locals, to the serious beer drinker and to the home brewer. Romero brought me back to see the Brewtique’s biggest secret. Past the kitchen and mountains of kegs, a side door leads to Hoptron’s next project: their home brewery store. Hoptron kept a small amount of home brewing equipment in their lounge, but they are now in the process of moving their barley, yeast and bottle cappers to their own room. Hoptron looks to make home brewers out of beer drinkers and brewing novices into experts. They offer classes and kits for the novices on home brewing right in the shop.
So stop in—Hoptron Brewtique has music nights every weekend—Friday, Saturday and jazz on Sundays. Visit Hoptron in person at 22 West Main Street in Patchogue or on their website, hoptronbrewtique.com, to see what’s on tap and what’s in bottles and for their deals on flights, pints, six-packs and growlers. If you are, or want to be, a “beer geek,” Hoptron is your Brewtique.