Drawing its name from a long-stalled proposal for the East End to secede from Suffolk County, Peconic County Brewing is the sixth craft brewery to open in Riverhead.
Peconic County Brewing is coming to East Main Street in an 8,500-square-foot space on the ground floor of the new Riverview Lofts building, which opened in the fall with 116 rental units. The brewery was founded by Jeff Schaeffer, a Patchogue resident who grew up in Southampton and has deep roots in the hospitality business. The tasting room is slated to open in January.
“Riverhead is becoming a destination town like Patchogue, with people coming to visit the breweries, enjoy the walkable downtown and dine at a variety of great restaurants,” says Schaeffer, who hosts a blog and podcast called Long Island Beer Authority. “After visiting many breweries, I realized there’s a lot of terrific beer being made on Long Island. But what makes the experience special goes beyond the beer — which has to be really good, of course — but it also means having a great space, great food and a great vibe.”
The Riverview Lofts building offered the opportunity to design and build his brewery and restaurant from scratch. Schaeffer set aside 2,000 square feet for a deck overlooking the Peconic River, which will feature fire pits and space for cornhole and other games. The brewery will have a full kitchen and a 15-barrel brewhouse with 30 barrel fermenters.
“I wanted to have plenty of capacity for the taproom but am also looking ahead to canning and local distribution in the future,” said Schaeffer.
James Miller, who was an assistant to Steve Pominsky at the sorely missed Barrage Brewing, signed on as brewmaster and aims to have 10 beers on tap with frequent rotations for seasonal brews. Among the regular offerings will be the flagship Dream Girl IPA made with Simcoe, Amarillo and El Dorado hops, and Hampton Haze New England-style IPA.
Schaeffer tapped Luke Andrews, a longtime friend and fellow classmate from LIU Southampton College, a veteran East End foodie who was most recently head chef at Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor, to run the kitchen.
“Luke’s menu will focus on upscale but simple pub food, like our lobster roll served on a croissant, along with great burgers, flatbreads, and wings,” said Schaeffer.
Although it’s a long shot for the brewery’s name to become reality, Peconic County Brewery nonetheless helped Riverhead maintain its title as the capital of craft beer on Long Island.
Peconic County Brewing Company is located at 221 E. Main St. in Riverhead. For more info visit peconiccountybrewing.com.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.
This story first appeared on longislandpress.com