Don’t make the same mistake I made last year and miss out on the tap-fresh craft beers being poured at the Montauk Brewing Company, tucked in next to Saint Peter’s Catch off Edgemere Street in Montauk. I spoke with Vaughan Cutillo, Montauk native and one of the three masterminds behind New York’s most easterly beer-making enterprise. When we started our chat, I wanted to know one thing right off: “What’s on tap?”
Cutillo didn’t hesitate, “four beers,” and went on to illuminate for me the finer points of each special creation. What better place to start than with their flagship Driftwood Ale, an ESB (extra special bitter) similar to the pale ale, balanced, and even-tempered for exquisite drinkability. Driftwood Ale was the brewery’s seminal beer—the one and only for some time—and looks forward to another long season on tap. A heffeweissen wheat beer called The Helmsman is a lighter, smooth beer great for those warmer temperatures that are somewhere right around the corner. Next was the East Bound Brown ale, just as clever as its name, a full-bodied brown ale all things chocolatey, cappuccino, malty and never bitter—an exceptional winter drinking ale. And then there was Ireland, or a taste thereof, with the Arrowhead Red, an Irish red beer, dark amber in color, mid-light, bitterless, and malt-centric.
You’ll know Montauk Brewing Company by its bold arrowhead logo found carved into their tap handles. An American Indian buff, I asked Cutillo if their logo was inspired by Montauk’s rich Indian heritage. “Absolutely. We didn’t want to be just another lighthouse insignia, and so we thought hard about another defining image, ultimately choosing the arrowhead. I grew up here and found an arrowhead one time at Fort Pond. I think that helped decide it.”
In addition to beers, MBC is also stocked with merchandise featuring their very cool arrowhead design created by Charlie Ly, an artist who has worked with Bridgehampton-based Wampum skateboards.
What I’ve always enjoyed about craft beer, in addition to the fearless experimentation sizzling in each glass, is their mission to cultivate fearlessness— experimentation that stays close to its supporters. Montauk Brewing Company is no exception to this tradition. The three owners, Cutillo, Joe Sullivan and Eric Moss, have reached out to the community recently with their “Brewery 2 Brewery” promotion that attracted a surprising turnout. This inventive relay, with cooperation from Ed and Caroline Cashin of Exceed Fitness, featured five competitors, rowing machines, running, biking, and of course, drinking. “That’s just the beginning,” said Cutillo, when I complained about missing the event, “We’re going to have more this season for sure.” The owners are all go-hard outdoorsman and Montauk Brewing Company beer was inspired by a tradition of fun, adventure, and exploration of the wild world. “If you’re out here [Montauk], you should be out doing something you love,” stressed Cutillo. He and his colleagues are all sailors, surfers or swimmers. Having run the gamut of permitting issues—the guys are excited about moving forward with their vision to convert the old woodworking shop behind the building into a fully operational brewery in 6 to 8 months. In the meantime, MBC will continue contract brewing upstate in Cooperstown, New York.
You can enjoy their prime quartet of beer on tap for the rest of the cold season in Montauk on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to five in the tasting room. An $8 tasting includes an arrowhead pint glass and a generous half-pint sample of each beer. Take home a growler jug to lift everyone’s spirits. Come beach season, the Montauk Brewing Company will be going hard seven days a week bringing you all the quality you can quaff. Look for MBC on tap at over a dozen locations including Montauk haunts The Harvest on Fort Pond, The Point Bar and Grill, as well as The Corner Bar in Sag Harbor and Foody’s in Water Mill. Try something you love made locally this year. When out on the town this season, look for the arrowhead and choose the sharp handle.
For more info, visit montaukbrewingco.com.