Craft Beer Phenoms: Long Ireland Beer Company

Long Ireland Beer Company
est. 2010

Brewery Dissection
Long Ireland Beer Company’s blue-collar core is not a transparent gimmick: Greg Martin and Dan Burke, proprietors of the Riverhead-based brewery, are former oil servicemen with a penchant for quality beer. Thus, when labeled as “beer for construction workers that don’t drink Budweiser,” the Breakfast Stout-producing duo doesn’t necessarily disagree with the classification.

“We have a blue-collar background, so it makes sense that we’re associated with that,” says Martin, who opened Long Ireland Beer Company with Burke in 2010. “We’ve always liked to drink good beer, so it’s nice to give people better choices.”

Though Martin initially feared creative restriction with selecting Long Ireland Beer Company as the brewery’s appellation (“I didn’t want people to think we could just brew Irish-style beers.”), their progressive drive remains allday-everyday. “With anything you do, you want to learn and try new things,” Martin says. “Our goal over the next 12 months will be to broaden our portfolio, experiment with different styles and open up our brewery to more people.”

After contract brewing (a process involving the use of an outside brewery’s equipment and/or employees to create beer) with New England Brewing Company in Woodbridge, CT and Olde Saratoga Brewery in Saratoga Springs, Burke and Martin acquired an 8,800-square-foot building in Riverhead, which opened in 2011. The completely MarBurke-renovated space features a 20-barrel brewhouse, tasting room and bottling line. Martin hopes to utilize the bottle-birther sometime this fall. “The goal is to start doing 12oz bottles and six-packs with the line, and continue to do our 750ml bottles by hand,” he says.

Long Ireland Beer Company also acquired three 50-barrel fermenters in June, which doubled production (“It was about 6,000 barrels per year,” Martin says) and allowed the brewery to try new things and expand on the styles. Its latest attempt at versatility was Spring 2012 Collaboration Saison, a chill, peppery saison brewed with Blind Bat Brewery for Long Island Craft Beer Week 2012.

Drink This. Seriously. Do it.
Celtic Ale, a malty amber classified by Martin as “an introductory beer with a deeper layer… It’s the first beer we felt we refined, so it’s definitely our flagship. At the same time, it’s also really accessible for people getting into better beer. It’s usually the first beer we give people in the tasting room.” The consumption of several pints (appropriate glassware is essential) of Celtic Ale may provide access to other things as well, including Minus World in Super Mario Brothers, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s vocal cords or a perpetual bowl of Golden Crisp.