What better way to celebrate summer on the East End than by grabbing a cold one? The local beer scene has taken off in recent years as breweries have matured and increased production while new ones enter the market. Although you can buy some local brands in stores, the best place to enjoy these Long Island brews is in the taprooms at the breweries themselves.
One of the fastest growing breweries in New York is also the easternmost brewery in the state. Montauk Brewing Company, established in 2012, is in the heart of Montauk at 62 South Erie Avenue. It was founded by three East Enders—Eric Moss, Vaughan Cutillo and Joe Sullivan.
Montauk Brewing Co. takes pride in being a part of the local community and works with local farms throughout the brewing cycle. Cutillo says that the brewery occasionally uses local hops from Craft Master Hops in Mattituck and that all spent grain from the brewing process goes directly to local farms.
The Montauk brew selection is made up of six different ales, two of which are IPAs. This summer, the two most popular seasonal beers are the Summer Ale and the new Watermelon Session Ale. “We brewed it last year when it was on tap at the brewery only and it outsold the Summer Ale, so we brought it out this year in cans and on draft,” Cutillo said of the unique Watermelon beer. “There are other watermelon beers in the market, but ours is a little different. It’s filtered pale ale with subtle watermelon flavors. That’s the ultimate summer beer: refreshing, ice cold and perfect for those hot summer days.”
Another big-name brewer on the East End is Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. Greenport Harbor has four brews available year-round—Tidal Lager, Black Duck Porter, Harbor Ale (an American pale ale) and Otherside IPA—to go along with seasonal specialties like the Summer Ale and Pith n’ Peel Citrus IPA. The year-round beers can be bought in stores across Long Island and beyond, as they have expanded distribution into upstate New York and Connecticut. However, if you’re out on the East End this summer, head to their tasting room in Peconic, where they also host live music events.
Greenport Harbor’s current director of brewing operations, Duffy Griffiths, previously served as Head Brewer at Crooked Ladder Brewing Company in Riverhead before departing for the North Fork. Crooked Ladder’s brewery and taproom is in Downtown Riverhead next to Digger’s Ales N’ Eats, which is owned by co-founder Steven Wirth. Founded in 2013, Crooked Ladder is one of the newest microbreweries on the East End and features beers such as the new release New York Double Pale.
With a full restaurant and taproom, Southampton Publick House offers a more traditional dining experience at its location than other local breweries. The decorated taproom is complemented with restaurant seating and a comfortable outdoor setup. The Publick House has been around much longer than any of the other breweries mentioned, and it has been nationally recognized, as it ranks in the top 20 for most medals won at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado in the last 10 years.
Moustache Brewing Co., which is in its infancy compared to the Publick House, offers beers available in bars across the state, but that doesn’t compare to the selection offered at its own tasting room in Riverhead. Mustache’s lineup features core beers such as Milk + Honey Brown Ale, Everyman’s Porter and Sailor Mouth American IPA, as well as new additions like the IPAs Get Up On Outta Here! and DJ Night.
Montauk Brewing’s Vaughan Cutillo says the growing trend for craft beer and the focus on quality has enabled the East End to become a budding destination for craft beer drinkers.
“Overall, craft is increasing and gaining some steam, especially out here. The reason we’ve been able to be successful is the community immediately embraced us.”
There are many great breweries on both forks, so make sure you head to some this summer!