Blue Point Brewing Company’s delicious beers have long been favorites on the East End. Last year this Patchogue-based brewery brokered a deal with Anheuser-Busch that has allowed it to reach a wider market and produce beer on a larger scale—while still continuing small-scale operations in Patchogue, staffed by the same friendly faces.
I headed to River Avenue to see what all the fuss was about. Upon entering, I was greeted by the overwhelming scent of malt, a cheery crowd of locals, and the upbeat, horn-heavy ska issuing from the stereo. Blue Point’s wood-paneled, Christmas-light-adorned tasting room offers a social, almost club-like atmosphere, and is matched in ambience only by the outdoor patio, which provides beer-sampling patrons with a chance to bask in the sun while seated at one of the inviting picnic tables.
Sales director John Tomasetti greeted me and helped me get set up with a few tastings of Blue Point’s newer and rarer brews (I, like many Long Islanders, am well-versed in their more common offerings, such as the award-winning signature Toasted Lager and hearty RastafaRye Ale).
I started with the Lessing’s Local Ale, a beer brewed specially for the Lessing’s line of family-owned restaurants and hotels, and generally only available at the brewery or at Lessing’s-owned establishments. This beer proved itself to be a refreshing, balanced affair, with a malty finish and some small notes of caramel—basically, something you can just keep on drinking. (Tomasetti informed me that other versions of the Lessing’s Local are occasionally available, including Lessing’s Local Blonde and the holiday-themed Lessing’s Local Cheer).
Next up was the Roasted Stout, another brewery-only beer. This dry Irish stout is dispensed via a nitro tap, meaning that the beer is nitrogenated rather than carbonated, which allows it to be creamier and smoother on the tongue. The Roasted Stout was thus quite creamy, but the thick mouthfeel didn’t take away from its robust flavor (as can sometimes happen with nitro stouts).
In keeping with the nitro theme, I then tried a comparison between the Mosaic IPA and its nitro counterpart. Mosaic itself, which I was already familiar with, is a strikingly savory session IPA, with enough hoppiness to fit the style but without too much of a kick. Its nitro counterpart was like Mosaic on steroids, silky and smooth while still retaining the flavor of the original.
The Sour Cherry Imperial Stout is another brew which is currently only available on tap. Though not quite as sour as its name suggests, this one was heavy and complex, and tasted more of chocolate than cherry (though a teasing hint of berry made its presence known towards the end). Clocking in at 9% ABV, this one packs a punch, but you’d never notice.
Head Brewer Mark Weinert (who, like Blue Point’s president, is a veteran in the beer industry and previously worked for Goose Island Beer Company), assured me that despite Blue Point’s recent partnership with Anheuser-Busch, “we don’t want to change anything!” Weinert, when asked about upcoming brews, ticked off the usual lineup of “pumpkin ale, Oktoberfest, winter ale.” He explained that when it comes to new brews, it “goes through the brewers first,” and if all of them enjoy it enough, it’s given a test run at the brewery. Depending on customer response, the brew may then be released to the greater public.
Blue Point is, of course, available at a wide range of Long Island establishments, but they also make it their business to attend and sponsor events across the state (and the entire East Coast). The more common beers remain available year-round, but the beer on tap at the brewery changes often—so next time you’re in the mood for something a little different, head over to Patchogue and
see what’s new!
Blue Point Brewing Company, 161 River Avenue, Patchogue, 631-475-6944, bluepointbrewing.com.