Long Island’s newest craft brewery, Long Island Farm Brewery, opened in June in Manorville. In addition to being a New York State-licensed farm brewery, it is located on a working farm, the 80-acre Waterdrinker Family Farm & Garden.
Waterdrinker is owned by the Weiss family, who have been farming on Long Island for five generations. When brothers Kirk and Joseph Weiss and their longtime friend Nick Giuffre decided a few years ago to turn their homebrewing hobby into a business, they quickly zeroed in on an old potato barn located on the farm.
“We were excited to renovate a building with a lot of history,” says Kirk Weiss, “and we look forward to using ingredients from the farm in our beers.”
The state currently requires farm breweries to use at least 60% of ingredients grown in the state. The partners are planning to relocate a hop farm they own in Center Moriches to the farm brewery property, where they will grow a variety of hops, including Nugget, Willamette, Cascade and Centennial.
“In addition to using our own hops in our beers,” says Weiss, “in the future we plan to grow our own barley and wheat on the farm.”
The 4,000-square-foot potato barn underwent substantial renovations including pouring new floors to replace trenches used for washing potatoes. The airy building now houses a 1,600-square-foot brewhouse with a 10-barrel brewing system, with the remaining space devoted to a spacious bar and taproom.
Once the partners received their licenses and permits, they hired head brewer Brian Smith, who had previously been an assistant at BrickHouse Brewery in Patchogue and at Long Island Spirits distillery in Baiting Hollow. For the brewery’s opening, Smith had 10 beers on tap including the popular Waterdrinker Blonde Ale, which quickly sold out, and several pale ales including Farmer’s Tan session IPA, Mattock West Coast IPA and Out East IPA.
Other beer styles on tap were fitting for a farm brewery, including a Belgian-style Strawberry Blonde Saison and a Farmhouse Ale with notes of cinnamon and clove. Also on tap were New York State wines from the East End, ciders from Po’Boy Brewery in Port Jeff and meads from W.A. Meadwerks in Lindenhurst. Future beers will use ingredients grown at Waterdrinker and will have tie-ins to popular festivals hosted by the farm.
“We are planning to brew a Sunflower Honey Ale made with honey from our farm for the summer Sunflower Festival,” says Weiss, “and a Pumpkin Ale for our popular Fall Festival.”
In addition to indoor seating, the brewery has outdoor seating and will have a rotating series of food trucks on-site from Thursday through Sunday. Live music will also be featured on Saturday and Sunday. The brewery is dog-friendly and kid-friendly, especially with the nearby attractions on the farm including the 15-acre Family Farm Adventure featuring farmyard animals, tractor pedal cars and mini golf.
Long Island Farm Brewery offers growlers and cans for takeaway and in the future hopes to self-distribute cans to local beer retailers. But in the meantime, head out east to Manorville and spend a day at the farm enjoying all the goodness of the harvest, including fresh craft beer made with local ingredients.
Long Island Farm Brewery is located at 663 Wading River Road, Manorville. For more info, visit longislandfarmbrewery.com.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.