Red Zone September 2014

(631) 801-6221, Speonk

Opened: 2014 | Beers: 25

Tagline: (BE)E[R] = ME2

What To Know: An airy, wood-tabled gastropub chefed by Lia Fallon, formerly of Jedediah Hawkins Inn and the Riverhead Project, named with a colloquial term referring to the science of brewing. This is my type of laboratory: Beakers are used for glassware (three sizes are available) and surprisingly ideal for nose-based exploration, while the 24-draft menu resembles the periodic table. The latter features nothing boring, selections are from Mikkeller, Chimay, Moustache and others. 

What To Drink: Terence Daly, also formerly of the Riverhead Project, is “brewmeister,” or chef de beer. He’s assembled a lineup with variety: Styles never appear simultaneously. “It pains me to walk into a place with six double IPAs on tap. It cannibalizes the lines, creates an imbalance and alienates a lot of people,” said Daly. “We have enough room here to explore everything.” This hodgepodge is discernable from my seat at the quartz-topped horseshoe bar (my server is wearing suspenders and Converse, both required): Rocky Point Artisan Brewers’ Hefeweizen, unfiltered and banana-y, pours alongside Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche, a peach-infused Berliner Weisse, Avery’s Ellie’ Brown Ale, which is malty and nutty and the stupidly hopped Coronado’s Idiot IPA.

Also: HaandBryggeriet’s Norwegian Wood is a gruit—a now-obscure style prevalent before the use of hops; instead, different herbs and spices were used for flavoring. This smoky interpretation features juniper berries.

Osteria da Nino
(631) 425-0820, Huntington

Opened: 2003 | Beers: 25

Tagline: Beerissimo!

What To Know: An interior revamp has added an L-shaped, marble-topped, 12-seat bar with 16 drafts to the Italian restaurant’s entrance (the new layout, which debuted in June, is nearly identical to the across-the-street Sapsuckers, a beer-dedicated gastropub owned by Osteria’s Nino Antuzzi and Kelley Danek). This lineup is occupied primarily by wines—unsurprisingly, as vino was/is the predominant alcohol at Osteria—but a quartet of taps are dedicated to Italian beer. These showcase the country’s burgeoning and experimental scene, seldom represented on Long Island.

What To Drink: Del Borgo’s Perle Ai Porci, a roasty and briny oyster stout. My favorite is Del Ducata’s Nuovo Mattina, a rustic, spring-evoking saison brewed with wildflowers, chamomile, coriander, green peppercorn and ginger. It’s aromatically lovely.

Also: The menu of bottles, roughly 20, is predominantly Italian. Montegioco’s Quarta Runa is a tart, oak-aged, Belgian-style ale brewed with peaches from the town of Volpedo.

Brewery Tasting Rooms: Great South Bay

(631) 392-8472, Bay Shore
Opened: 2013 | Beers: 14
Growlers: Yes
Hours: Thursday-Friday, 3-8pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12-5pm

Rick Sobotka is an anesthesiologist for his day job, but only flights and pints of 14 drafts are prescribed at his 40,000-square-foot brewery on Drexel Drive. The beer/meds include the bold, earthy and chocolaty Dirty Deeds Russian Imperial Stout, the citrusy Blood Orange Pale Ale and Niko Weisse, a Greek-inspired Berliner Weisse with cucumbers. (The latter is a collaboration with, uh, me.) Another incentive to visit, aside from a game of cornhole, is Great South Bay’s Pro-Am, a monthly taproom-only series of collaborations with homebrewers from the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts. These are smaller, experimental releases (e.g., an IPA with basil and rye) produced with the brewery’s original one-barrel brewhouse.

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