Darling Brewing Co. unexpectedly announced on social media that it has closed its Patchogue brewery and taproom and plans to relocate to an unnamed location on the East End. The news took patrons of the brewery by surprise, as Darling was just two months away from marking its second anniversary.
Darling opened its taproom in July 2020, soon after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and attracted a loyal following for the inventive craft beers from head brewer and co-owner Chris Dougherty. Dougherty came onboard as part of the reboot of Patchogue Beer Project, which had opened in that location in early 2019 and closed in early 2020 before the pandemic shutdown. He joined with co-owner Mckensie DiSpirito to rebrand the brewery as Darling Brewing and retool its five-barrel brewing system to ramp up production and quality.
Dougherty, who was previously a head brewer at Barrier Brewing in Oceanside and Rockaway Brewing in Queens, is an avid reader and helped develop Darling’s name, which comes from a piece of advice for writers attributed to William Faulkner, who said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” Faulkner was actually repeating advice given by an English author who told writers in 1916 to “murder your darlings,” but the meaning was the same, namely to eliminate the things you love that are actually holding you back from perfection.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Darling had a successful first year as Dougherty brewed a diverse range of high-quality beers, including easy drinking German and English styles and creative takes on sours and pale ales. But strains in the ownership came to a head in the fall and Dougherty left, moving on to work with other Long Island breweries.
No plans have been announced for the space being vacated by Darling Brewing, which was in a building across the street from BrickHouse Brewery that also houses Buttermilk’s Kitchen and Local Burger Co. The closing of Darling, which is rumored to be planning a move to a vineyard on the North Fork, brings the number of breweries in Patchogue back to two. Patchogue is home to Long Island’s oldest brewery, BrickHouse, and also its largest brewery, Blue Point Brewing, and someday may again have another brewery that kills to reach perfection.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.