A Taste of Long Island
(516) 694-2859, Farmingdale
Opened: 2012 | Beers: 13
Tagline: A Taste of Innovation
What To Know: As a homebrewer during the 1990s, Jim Thompson was inspired by the chutzpa of Sierra Nevada, one of the pioneer craft breweries that ushered in a new wave of flavor-forward suds in America. (Its innovation and influence continues.) After a two-decade hiatus from making beer, Thompson has returned to blaze his own ale trail with The Craft Microbrewhouse at A Taste of Long Island, Long Island’s first hub for alternating proprietorships. His rentable brewery is housed in Taste’s commercial kitchen (used by 50-plus small food businesses), which adjoins a specialty grocery store selling house-made products and more (the business is owned with his daughter).
In January, he installed 13 drafts to pour the notable beers he and three tenant brewers produce: 1940’s Brewing, owned by Charles Becker, whose father worked for Rheingold Beer for 41 years; Po’ Boy Brewery, owned by Bob Rodriguez, an award-winning homebrewer who recently collaborated with Port Jeff Brewing on Imperial Force; and The Brewers Collective, a nine-member homebrewing group started in 2007. Taste is filling growlers of the unique foursome (and serving pints, though the 400-square-foot retail space has limited seating), which will soon grow when two more brewers join in March.
What To Drink: The beauty of Taste’s initial quartet is the diversity of approaches. Thompson has created Farmingdale Blonde Ale for introductory and unfussy drinkers and will regularly add fun adjuncts (honey, cinnamon) to this base for seasonal variations. 1940’s is brewing several German styles—838 is a malty roggenbier (“beer with rye”) named for Becker’s father’s stint aboard the Landing Craft Tank-838 during World War II. The Brewers Collective’s Useful Idiot appeals to today’s hopheads and the group’s flagship IPA is bursting with grapefruit and piney aromas. And though Bobby Rodriguez won more than 30 homebrewing awards for his beers, Po’ Boy launched with hard ciders. Their American Apple Pie Cider is exactly as advertised.
(631) 969-9800, Bay Shore
Opened: 2005 | Beers: 13
Tagline: BYOB V. 2.0
What To Know: Once a 16-seat, shoebox restaurant with a BYOB policy, Tullulah’s is now reinterpreting the acronym as Bringing You Outstanding Beers. After a 14-month renovation during which Tullulah’s swallowed the neighboring space and grew by 3,000 square feet, Steven Scalesse’s stylish and seasonal small-plates spot now seats 90 and is anchored by a rear room with leather banquettes and spackle-covered walls. The establishment’s long and sexy bar is made from “gnarly looking wood from an old police precinct in Brooklyn that had a fire,” according to Ryan Sipp, who joined as an owner with the expansion. His lineup captivates attention with 13 drafts from Captain Lawrence, Mikkeller and The Bruery. Since starting to serve alcohol, Tullulah’s has become the breakout star of Bay Shore’s crowded crew of suds-slingers.
What To Drink: Tullulah’s commendable lineup, mostly assembled with American breweries, is chosen during intimate staff powwows where imbibing new brews is encouraged. “From the owners to the servers, we sit with blank sheets of paper, sample beers and take notes,” Sipp said. “Each person gives a yay or nay and we vote. This way, everyone is involved and already has learned about the beer before we’ve even served it.” These educational conclaves have recently given drinkers Goose Island’s annual coffee-fueled version of Bourbon County Brand Stout with Intelligenstia-roasted beans; Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin, a tart incarnation of the California-based brewery’s excellent and citrusy IPA; and a rotating selection of eclectic worldly beermakers from 12 Percent Imports such as Evil Twin, Omnipollo and Hof Ten Dormaal. Before the company distributed its portfolio to Long Island, Sipp would regularly drive to Brooklyn to secure the kegs. “It felt very secretive, picking up beer on the side of the road from an unmarked van. That’s what creates a buzz though, and we’re always looking to serve things most bars on Long Island don’t have.”
Niko’s Seasonal Suds
Long Ireland Beer Company
Hooligan Dry Irish Stout
Descriptors: Roasty, rambunctious
Profile: St. Patrick’s Day isn’t technically a season, but most drinkers welcome this month’s holiday with more unbridled enthusiasm than children anticipating summer on the last day of school—so why not recommend the perfect beer? While a proper celebration of St. Patrick may seem incomplete without a pour of Guinness Draught, Riverhead’s Long Ireland Beer Company is crafting a rowdier interpretation of the style popularized in Dublin: Hooligan Dry Irish Stout. This new dark-as-night brew is creamy (due to a carbonation blend of roughly 70 percent nitrogen and 30 percent carbon dioxide) and medium-bodied with a tan-colored crown. It’s driven by coffee aromas, moderate roastiness and bitterness.
Follow Niko Krommydas and his blog, Super Neat Beer adventure, yes!!, where you can find more about craft beer on Long Island.