BrickHouse Brewery: Burgers, Beer, Bliss

Among all the breweries springing up on Long Island, it’s easy to overlook Patchogue’s BrickHouse Brewery (BHB)—but this little brewpub is hidden in plain sight. In fact, it’s been featuring one of the widest varieties of beer on the island for almost 20 years, bringing innovation and adaptability to an entirely new level.

Manager Theresa Vaccaro informed me that the beer list at BHB is “constantly evolving,” and that the brewers come out with a new release every few weeks. On the food front, too, the brewpub is changing things up—a new menu was announced last summer, featuring the gastronomic stylings of a new chef, with a “lighter, fresher feel.”

I visited this tastefully decorated brick-and-wood establishment on a calm evening, accompanied by Julie, my lovely girlfriend and dining companion. She was interested in trying one of BHB’s famous burgers, with a side order of mozzarella sticks, while I went straight for the beer. (The menu, incidentally, covers a wide range of cuisine, from typical “bar food” to seafood, steak, salads and fajitas).

I began my tasting with Streetlight, a crispy and flavorful blonde with a pleasingly malty tone. I’m not big on blonde beers, but this was exceptionally refreshing (Julie described it as tasting “like the sun”). Nitro Boom Stout was next, displaying a creamy mouthfeel and a watery consistency that disappointed me a bit, considering its heavenly coffee scent. After that, I went through Brick House Red—a smooth, creamy brew with slightly chocolaty malt which Julie described as tasting like “dark chocolate cocoa”—and on to the Serena Saison, a crisp and dry Belgian ale with a notable flavor of noble hops.

Continuing the European theme, Veronus Belgian Dark—named for the patron saint of Belgian brewers—proved itself to be an exceptionally complex offering, with lots of competing flavors (though an orangey note rose to the top). I hit the halfway point with my favorite of the evening, Beowulf IPA, which is a British-style IPA with fruity and floral tones and an exceptionally interesting hop taste (provided by Fuggle hops from England).

At this point, Julie’s burger arrived, which she described as “tender and juicy,” accompanied by “salty, delicious” shoestring fries. (We’d already made short work of the beer-battered mozzarella sticks.) While she dined, I moved on to The Maudness—an 18th-anniversary red IPA brewed as an homage to Maud Franklin, BHB’s general manager—which put forth a strong, hoppy aftertaste. Julie called it “sort of bitter, but still not very strong”—an ideal session beer, in other words. We continued on to Summer Buzz, a strong ale that lived up to its name—it’s brewed with 60 pounds of Long Island Wildflower Honey, giving it a silky smooth mouthfeel and a semisweet flavor, while retaining a powerful strength that you’d never notice if you weren’t looking for it. Next was Herr Hefeweizen, or “Mr. Hefe,” an unfiltered, hazy yellow brew with strong scents of banana and a refreshingly clove-like taste (and even a hint of bubble gum!).

Finally, I clocked out with Hurricane Kitty, advertised as “a perfect introduction to craft beer,” and wasn’t disappointed—it featured a serious caramel taste, but with a healthy serving of
hops to round it out.

Vaccaro told us that BHB works in a sort of loose partnership with other local breweries. “It’s one big community, and we like to promote one another,” she said, indicating the draft board, where “Blue Point Lager on tap” had been squeezed in among the many house-brewed offerings.

BHB is owned by Tom Keegan, who also owns Keegan Ales—which, unlike BrickHouse, is able to distribute its bottled brews far and wide. Never fear, though: BrickHouse beer is available for purchase in growlers and kegs across Long Island.

When asked what was new last season, brewer Arthur Zimmerman answered, “a dunkelweizen (a dark malty hefeweizen), a single-hop beer called Freya IPA (made with a new Australian hop called Ella), and a traditional German Oktoberfest.” But don’t be satisfied with just reading about these brews—come see what’s new and delicious at BrickHouse.

BrickHouse Brewery, 67 West  Main Street, Patchogue. 631-447-2337, brickhousebrewery.com.

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