Red Zone December 2013


John Harvard’s Brewery & Ale House
(631) 979-2739, Lake Grove

Opened: 1997
Drafts: 6-9

What To Know: The brewpub has six locations, but only one on Long Island. It’s also the only address pouring the recipes of brewmaster David DeTurris, who joined John Harvard’s in 2005. DeTurris is only required to “offer a light, a dark and a few in the middle, so I can experiment within the colors and play around. If I want to do something dark, it doesn’t have to be a stout or porter.” Identity Crisis confirms DeTurris’ statement. The IPA, which debuted in October, is “full-bodied, dark and hoppy.”

What To Drink: Pumpkin Spice Ale is John Harvard’s breadwinner, but El Chupacabra Barley Wine and Mrs. Porter’s-Worth exhibit DeTurris’ ambition to “brew fun things but also keep them solid and drinkable.” The latter is a porter brewed with maple wood-smoked malt and maple syrup, then aged with maple wood.

Also Try: Double Trouble Bock, the gold-medaled winner of TAP New York’s Best Individual Craft Beers in New York State in 2003. “It’s our version of a dopplebock, which is usually pretty malt-heavy, but ours is lighter-bodied and not as strong,” said DeTurris.

The Vine Wine Bar
(516) 812-7883, Merrick

Opened: 2010
Bottles: 9

What To Know: A collection of New York-based beers was added in September, including Southampton Publick House Double White Ale and Great South Bay Brewery Blood Orange Pale Ale. The bottle-only list, curated by manager Stephen Arnone, is geared for accessibility. “Beer was an afterthought at first, and we basically only carried Corona and Peroni,” he said. “We dumped those and wanted to help introduce some good beer to our customers, especially stuff that’s made right here. We serve a lot of people, especially women, who just aren’t familiar with beer.”

What To Drink: The menu is dominated by easy-attainable flagships, including Long Ireland Beer Company Celtic Ale and Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager, but Spider Bite Beer Company Boris The Spider is only available October-February. It’s also The Vine Wine Bar’s beefiest option. The stout is licorice-y, chocolaty and ashy.

Also Try: Brewery Ommegang Rare Vos, a citrusy Belgian-style ale.

Recommendations: Holiday Beers
1. A syrupy pour of cherry-sweet, honey and yeast, Tröegs Brewing Company’s The Mad Elf Ale is potent. Its mascot is also cockeyed. Foreshadowing, perhaps? A post-consumption session of sleigh-jousting is not recommended.

2. Jewbelation is a boozier-with-age series celebrating Shmaltz Brewing Company’s birth. But Jewbelation Reborn, its 17th edition, also honors a new brewery in Clifton Park, NY. This dark, raisin-sticky ale is brewed with 17 varieties of hops. It’s also 17.0 percent ABV. A suitable pairing is…water. L’chaim!

3. Brasserie Dupont’s Avec Les Bons Voeux de la Brasserie Dupont, which translates to “With the best wishes of the Brewery Dupont,” is difficult to pronounce. It’s not difficult, however, to consume. This hazy-gold gift is doughy, lemony, honeyed, spicy and herbal. It’s also Santa Claus’ cookie-pairing preference in Belgium.

Follow Niko Krommydas and his blog, Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!, at where you can find more craft beer on Long Island.

Photo by Stephen Lang

niko krommydas

Niko Krommydas has written for Tasting Table, BeerAdvocate, Munchies, and First We Feast. He is editor of Craft Beer New York, an app for the iPhone, and a columnist for Yankee Brew News. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.