The North Fork has spent decades cultivating its reputation as a destination wine region, but over the last five years the craft beer scene has been taking root. Here’s what’s on tap for summer.
Riverhead’s first brewery, Long Ireland (longirelandbrewing.com), will be celebrating its fifth anniversary this year by releasing its annual Summer Ale. “It’s a golden ale and it’s brewed with Pilsner malt, wheat malt and dried lemon peel, so it’s got a nice little citrus hint in the back of it that’s light and crisp,” says Long Ireland co-founder Greg Martin, noting that it will be available in six packs of 12 oz. bottles this year. Long Ireland will also have its flagship Celtic Ale and poplar Breakfast Stout available for the drinking. The tasting room is open Thursday and Friday from 3–7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1–6 p.m.
Also turning five this year, Greenport Harbor Brewery (harborbrewing.com) is planning to mark the occasion with a grand opening party at its new Peconic location on Saturday, July 12 from 3 to 8 p.m. The event will feature three bands and local food trucks. While the brewery will be up and running by July, the new space will be far from complete. “The production space will be operating, and we will be conducting tours, so people will be able to see the system in it’s completion,” says co-founder Rich Vandenburgh. “The tasting room will be open and functioning, albeit in a kind of a rustic, initial-stage setting.”
A larger brewery space means more variety. “With the opening of the bigger production brewery, we’re going to be using the Greenport space as a pilot brewery for smaller, more experimental beers,” brewer John Liegey says. “It would be great to build a little bit of a treasure chest of beers for the summer and for the party.” Greenport Harbor released its Summer Ale in May, followed by a Citrus IPA in June, and its Anniversary Ale comes in time for its celebration. The brewing company also put out its popular Hopnami Double IPA, which hasn’t been seen in more than two years.
The summer of celebrations continues with Riverhead’s Crooked Ladder Brewing Company (crookedladderbrewing.com) which is planning its first anniversary party for July. In the mean time, it will be kicking off the season with their summer series of beers. The first beer in the series is the Summeritis, a golden ale brewed from Crystal Hops, giving it a crisp, citrus flavor that’s perfect for a hot day. “I’m planning, for one of the months, doing a Hefeweizen, probably in July,” says Crooked Ladder’s co-founder and head brewer, Duffy Griffiths, “and then a Belgian witbier following that, just for something a little bit different.”
The newest brewery to hit the scene is Riverhead’s Moustache Brewing Company (moustachebrewing.com). Named for owner Matthew Spitz’s iconic handlebar mustache, the brewery opened this spring. Spitz and his fellow owner, wife Lauri, pride themselves on their revolving menu of craft beers made from fresh, local ingredients. This summer, they will be featuring their Mojito Pale Ale, which is a pale ale brewed with fresh mint and limes.