Red Zone

BUBBA’S BURRITO BAR
(631) 650-6333, Islip
bubbasburritobar.com
Opened: 2009 | Beers: 20
Tagline: Beeritos!

What to Know: This boxy and boisterous eatery offers standard Mexican-style fare captained by relentlessly gargantuan burritos denser than cinderblocks (an attentive two-hand grab is required). The signature varieties, rotating between four and six, are always eclectic and occasionally sinful. The Georgetown, available during November, is a Thanksgiving-themed concoction of turkey breast, stuffing, cranberry and sweet potato, while The Guilt Trip aptly contains mozzarella sticks, fried potatoes, chicken fingers, bacon, cheese, sour cream and Baja sauce. Bubba’s is owned by Tim Henriksen, a self-proclaimed beachcomber, which justifies the SoCal-inspired décor (a giant blue surfboard greets entering diners; bac-bac matting and photographs of palm trees adorn the walls). He’s also a beercomber, evidenced by a commendable eight-draft, American-focused lineup featuring Brickhouse Brewery & restaurant, Founders, Bear Republic and Great South Bay (complimentary pints of the latter’s Blood Orange Pale Ale were recently poured for Bubba’s fifth anniversary). My sole complaint is the lack of glassware.

What to Drink: The annual batch of Long Ireland’s Black Friday Imperial Stout is primarily bottled, though a small number of kegs are also released. Bubba’s is always a pourer of the robust and chocolaty liquid in November. also: A selection of 10-12 bottles is mostly exclusive to Dogfish head. Noble Rot is a dry, funky and highly effervescent saison brewed with botrytis-infected grape must.

TJ MCBREWS
(631) 849-4582, Sound Beach
Opened: 2014 | Beers: 50
Tagline: Clean up on aisle 5. Drink up on aisle 11!

What to Know: The store adjoining North Country Wine & Spirits, owned by Kate Reese since 2012, has a new tenant: her husband. T.J. Reese’s pint-size operation is a beer-focused grocery, or “supebeermarket” centerpieced by 25 drafts including Allagash, Smuttynose and Avery to-go in growlers (empty jugalugs are available for purchase).

What to Drink: The drafts, and also the shelves of six-packs in the rear (bottles and cans), favor American breweries: Southern Tier’s Warlock, a commanding stout brewed with pumpkin (tastier than the brewery’s Pumpking); the velvety and blackberry-ish Silky Schwarz from Rocky Point and Anderson Valley’s the Kimmie, the Yink & the Holy Gose, effervescent and mildly tart.

also: McBrews stocks cheeses from Vermont Creamery and charcuterie from Olli Salumeria. A soap made with Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead Ale is an exclusive from Hudson Naturals (the owner is Reese’s cousin). My skin is thirsty.

Stillwater Artisanal Ales//Autumnal (Alc. 7.2 percent)
“Once your meal starts, crack this deep amber, medium-bodied farmhouse-style ale, a nice departure from the usual pumpkin and Oktoberfest seasonals out there. Its earthy and malty flavors perfectly compliment all the savory and sweet dishes on the table, from herbal turkey stuffing to candied yams. And at 7.2 percent, you’ll start with a nice buzz to handle that first awkward conversation of dinner, probably with that weird uncle. What’s his name, again?”

Shmaltz//He’Brew St. Lenny’s Belgian Style Rye Double IPA (Alc. 10 percent)
“A perfect nightcap starts with St. Lenny’s. This golden, viscous beer is mindblowingly complex: Hops, malts and spices swirl around the palate with every sip and a Belgian yeast adds a sweetness and fruitiness that ties it all together. It’s a beer that makes you contemplate all you’re thankful for and the monster alcohol percentage will make you feel all warm inside, too.”