Red Zone Three-Bottle Recommends
1. Lagunitas Brewing Company Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga’ Substitute Ale is a mega-hoppy dose of self-deprecation. Created as a one-off apology for a production error that sidelined Brown Shugga’, the Substitute contains sticky-icky grapefruit and pineapple flavors and is now a seasonal release. The Petaluma, California-based brewery definitely doesn’t suck.
2. A silky-soft blend of chocolate, coffee and vanilla, Sixpoint Craft Ales 3Beans combines Brooklyn-based Mast Brothers Chocolate cacao husks, Stumptown Coffee Roasters cold brew and Romano beans (the latter was an ancient substitute for barley). The oak-aged Baltic porter embodies the experimental and exploratory spirit of local craft culture.
3. Budweiser Black Crown. Kidding.
Black Forest Brew Haus
(631) 391-9500, Farmingdale
California native Joe Hayes traveled cross-country after brewmaster stints at Sudwerk Brewery and Red Rock Winery & Brewery before joining Black Forest Brew Haus in 2003. The German-style brewpub’s model of on-premises brewing and no outside distribution was perfect for Hayes who could focus on quality recipes, not marketing. “I’m a traditional brewer and I’ve always enjoyed the idea of going somewhere in your immediate area for a specific brewer or beer,” says Hayes. “I didn’t want to fight for shelf space and worry about how my IPA is selling compared to the others, so the brewpub atmosphere was ideal.” Hayes brews Amber, Hefeweizen, Pilsner and 18 various seasonals in a copper-clad, ten-barrel system situated amongst customer tables (like hibachi, but undoubtedly hipper). The seasonal collection includes Maibock, a malty, smooth-finishing beer balanced by light hopping and completed after six weeks of lagering. “It’s our true first sign of spring,” says Hayes.
Cliff’s Elbow Room
(631) 722-3292, Jamesport
They offer a free charging station for electric vehicles. But that’s not all. The third-generation restaurant now operated by Cliff Saunders III also features Greenport Harbor Brewing Company Harbor Ale and Long Ireland Beer Company Celtic Ale. Both are considered easy-drinking brewery flagships. Which is a better fuel source? Electricity? Beer? You decide.
Blind Bat Brewery is officially leaving the nest, er, cave. Paul Dlugokencky operates the nanobrewery in a shed behind his Centerport home, but is now expanding to a space in Farmingdale. Dlugokencky launched a beer club to raise funds for the transition and will reward members with beer. Perfect. blindbatbrewery.com. Blue Point Brewing Company hosts Cask Ales Festival on April 13, featuring 30+ breweries and the first appearance of their Mosaic IPA, which contains Mosaic hops and will pour from a 1,250-gallon cask. Swimming anyone?
Follow Niko Krommydas and his blog, Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!, at lipulse.com where you can find more craft beer on Long Island.
Photo by Stephen Lang