First Look: New Blind Bat Beers
After a blurring search of more than three years, Paul Dlugokencky has finally secured a commercial location to expand Blind Bat Brewery from his residence’s gnat-size garage in Centerport: 270 West Main St in Smithtown, where he’ll continue making intriguing beers with a personal connection—some featuring self-smoked malts, some featuring sweet potatoes or basil grown by his wife. Dlugokencky’s new brews will be concocted in the former home of Brookside Deli. The space has an additional 1,300 square feet that will also house a tasting room to serve pints and fill growlers. Before the opening, slated for later this summer, Dlugokencky will continue brewing in Centerport and will sell his beers at farmers’ markets in Rockville Centre, Babylon and Northport. The trio below will be unveiled this month, described to us by Dlugokencky:
My gateway beer out of the world of macro-lager consumption was Anchor Steam. The “steam” style was renamed California Common for trademark purposes. Since I chose to replace the hop typical of that style—Northern Brewer—with a hop variety that was the backbone of the 19th century New York hop industry, Cluster, I went with the alliterative Commack Common. In summary, a clean and crisp lager-ish ale similar to the California Common, but the Cluster hops give more of a floral aroma than the traditional Northern Brewer hops.
867-5309 Cream Ale
Another beer inspired by my early beer- drinking memories is the cream ale; I can fondly recall drinking many Genesees, or Gennys, while camping upstate during the 80s. Keeping with the use of both the Cluster hop and the 80s, Tommy Tutone’s song “867- 5309/Jenny” was echoing in my head when I was designing a recipe for a simple summer beer. This’ll be that, an easy-drinking ale with some lager- like characteristics: a pale straw color, not too bitter, and smooth with a sweet malt profile.
Rauch der Kaiser!
My personal palate gravitates to many things smoky and while I really enjoy drinking smoked beers I love brewing them even more. With 80s songs
still in my head, this time The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah,” I added yet another smoked beer to my portfolio with a traditional Bamberg-inspired rauchbier called Rauch der Kaiser!
While I experiment with using a variety of woods for my other smoked beers, I’m sticking with tradition here. Beech wood has been used for centuries to smoke the barley for this style. As with other wood-smoked beers, there is a bit of a smoked meat or bacon char- acter. The base of the beer is a German märzen; a strong, dark and malty beer with some caramel notes.
Canterbury’s Oyster Bar & Grill
(516) 922-3614, Oyster Bay canterburyalesrestaurant.com
Opened: 1981 | Beers: 109
A self-appointed “classic American Long Island neighborhood restaurant” with an unsurprising focus on bivalves, Canterbury’s Oyster Bar & Grill was briefly affiliated with the now- defunct Canterbury Ales in Huntington. Both locations shared the bygone’s name until Mark Fox acquired ownership of the surviving sibling in 1985 and changed direction from “English- style pub to something more representative of Oyster Bay.”
An ambitious maneuver, Fox replaced “Ales” with “Oyster Bar & Grill” and added more beer, a lot more, compiling an exhaustive 99-bottle list of mostly English, German and Belgian brews. It still exists today and roughly 30 brands are swapped for newcomers every six months. “Customers thought I was insane, absolutely insane, but it’s become the corner- stone of our beverage program,” Fox chuckled.
“People are always peering into the giant cooler of bottles since its directly behind the bar. It’s like our beer temple.”
An army of Roosevelt-themed memorabilia crowds the walls at every cranny; in the back, cozy banquettes with a perimeter of antique books overhead is dubbed the Sagamore Library. Its unapologetic affection for Teddy is joined by black-and-white photographs of former area storefronts and oystering, and life-size replicas of different fish. This may bait patrons to drift soothingly along a sea of monochromatic memories, but a colorful selection of 10 rotating drafts (Spider Bite, Evil Twin, Westbrook and Ommegang are some of Fox’s favorites) success- fully skippers this sailboat—ahem, aleboat—into present-day Bay.
After decades of voyaging overseas, the menu of 99 bottles (available for taking down, passing around) has now docked and features mostly American breweries: Sierra Nevada, Cigar City, Victory and Lagunitas have multiple offerings; last month, Founders’ KBS, a limited and highly lauded bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout briefly appeared. An electronic bridge for unsure customers navigating both draft and bottle offerings is Canterbury’s dozen-ish iPads circulating with custom software detailing its beverage program. Each of the beers has a section with in-house tasting notes. “Craft beer is easily intimidating. This helps people make a choice catered to their desires,” Fox said.
What To Drink: Oyster Bay’s Honey Ale, a kölsch sweetened by honey from Locust Valley Beehaven, refreshes in June. Fox has bestowed the brewery, located roughly 75 yards away from Canterbury’s, a permanent tap.