On a recent fact-finding trip to Patchogue, I ran into Manny. Manny comes from Manhasset, but he had traveled to Patchogue to visit Hoptron Brewtique. Hoptron Brewtique, located on Main Street in Patchogue, is a craft beer paradise. Carrying only American craft beers, including numerous Long Island-made selections, Hoptron functions as a tasting room, bar and carry-out beer store. And in the back, for the true beer geeks, they have a well-supplied homebrew store that just opened. Up front, in addition to beer, they offer a small menu of snacks—the popcorn and pretzels are highly recommended. Sleek and classy, Hoptron aims to elevate beer to the exalted status of wine and fine spirits.
It was Manny’s first time at Hoptron, and he was impressed. “Thumbs up,” was his verdict, and his friend Tim, who had come all the way from Philly, was similarly enthusiastic. Both Manny and Tim love the diversity and quality of the flourishing American craft beer industry, and were eager to talk about the merits of pumpkin ales and IPAs—at Hoptron, they were in good company. The substantial crowd of mid-afternoon customers was sampling beer, discussing beer, having growlers filled with beer and perusing the bottles of beer that line the wall. These people had come to Patchogue to get serious about beer.
In fact, it seems like Patchogue is making a play to be the “Serious Beer City” of Long Island. While we Hamptonites have long considered the Southampton Publick House to be the mecca of quality beer, even a cursory study reveals that Patchogue is fairly swimming in good suds. Patrick McHale, co-manager of Hoptron Brewtique, agrees, and has a theory about it.
“It probably really started with the great success of Blue Point,” says Patrick.
Patrick’s got a point. Blue Point Brewing Company was founded in 1998 and has since become the largest craft brewery on Long Island. Their Toasted Lager is a big seller, and IPA lovers swear by Blue Point’s Hoptical Illusion. And, despite being named after the cute little hamlet just to the WEST of Patchogue, Blue Point Brewing Company is actually located IN Patchogue on River Avenue, right around the corner from Hoptron. They are open for tastings Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. So I decided to dive deeper into Patchogue’s burgeoning beer culture.
Manny and Tim had gotten there before me, and were already sampling from the more than 10 varieties of fresh beer on offer—some of which are probably not available anywhere else. Blue Point is a beer factory, situated in an industrial area, and the tasting/tap room and outside beer garden are a far cry from the quiet, contemplative atmosphere of Hoptron Brewtique. To find a place to sit, you walk past giant, steaming kettles, being careful to stay out of the path of the forklift drivers.
But the beer is delicious. I sampled something called Toxic Sludge, which is a sort of strong, highly-hopped stout, along with the cleverly named Rastafa Rye and the Mosaic IPA, both quite strong and tasty. The beer garden was jumping with pint sipping beer-lovers, many of whom were also laden with multiple growlers to take the goodness home in quantity. For these Patchoguers, great beer is just a way of life.
Meanwhile, back on Main Street, more beer is brewing at BrickHouse Brewery and Restaurant. A brewpub in the traditional mold, BrickHouse is located in a quaint old brick building (naturally), which is actually the oldest commercial building in Patchogue, where they brew their beer and also run a full-service restaurant. They offer a shifting menu of house-made beers, usually around 10 on tap, along with select beers from outside makers, plus a full menu of yummy-sounding, grill-style food. At this point, I had left Manny and Tim behind, and I wasn’t ready for another round—BrickHouse will have to wait until my next trip.
Also relegated to the next trip is a visit to The Tap Room, which sits directly across from BrickHouse and offers 28 beers on tap and 20 in the bottle. Included are American craft beers as well as select imports, allowing aficionados to study America’s best new offerings alongside the work of the long-established European makers.
I look forward to this upcoming investigation.