Birthday Beers: Greenport Harbor Brewing Company

Greenport Harbor’s imperative expansion in 2014 added an immense second facility in Peconic—13,000 square feet with a 14-draft taproom and a (forthcoming) restaurant—to provide additional space for its maxed-out headquarters, a repurposed firehouse in Greenport. The new spot has become home to the brewery’s summer anniversary event, which has spotlighted a different one-off birthday beer since its inception in 2009. This year, Greenport Harbor decided to dive into the archives to resurrect several retired recipes. These “throwbacks,” including Disorient IPA, are available at the event on July 12.

Disorient IPA
“This was the first-ever IPA we made back in 2009, and it stuck around as our full-time IPA for about two years until we had some issues with the [Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau] regarding the name implying intoxication. Instead of changing the name though we decided to shelve it and launch a series called Project Hoppiness, which was a way for us to explore different hoppy beers creatively.

“We’ve talked about bringing Disorient back over the years but something always got in the way—until now. I dusted off the recipe from one of the last times we brewed it in 2011 and worked off of that. It’s an East Coast-style IPA with more focus on the malts—bready notes and caramel—and less about the aroma. It has more depth than a lot of IPAs out now, which focus on having huge aromas but end up tasting a bit thin, in my opinion.”
—DJ Swanson, Head Brewer

(516) 432-9248, Long Beach
Opened: 1912 | Beers: 25

What To Know: The building is over 160 years old, according to the Long Beach Historical and Preservation Society, but the pub was opened in 1912. During the Prohibition Era, Eugene Shine built a speakeasy in the detached garage behind the building and dug a shallow basement beneath to help shuttle and store bootlegged booze. There’s a striking photograph of police confiscating $20,000 of liquor during this period now adorning a wall alongside various exhumed relics and placards attempting to document Shine’s history. (It also details the New York Rangers’ frequent patronage during the 60s and 70s, as the team practiced at the Long Beach Ice Arena; some even lived in the above apartment.)

This display was meticulously created by Megan Casey, a current owner’s wife, for Shine’s centennial in November of 2012. Hurricane Sandy walloped Long Beach and flooded the building, delaying its unveiling for a year. “We got three feet of water and it ruined our entire draft system,” remembered Brent Wilson, Casey’s husband. “But right after the storm we immediately started to help out any way we could,” he added. They opened Shine’s the following morning and every subsequent day for weeks to serve donated food and their leftover beer, for free. “It was a time where everyone needed somewhere to come together. It helped us get through this disaster, even though honestly we’re still feeling the effects three years later.

Our block is still largely empty. I get woken up every morning by the sound of nail guns,” Casey said.
When Wilson and his father purchased Shine’s in 2005, there were only two functional taps and the bulk of their patrons—many of whom have been drinking here for decades—preferred Coors Light. Following Sandy, they struggled financially but decided to increase to eight taps and continue adding craft breweries into the mix like Great South Bay, Anchor and Greenport Harbor. While the beloved dark-wood bar has remained mostly untouched for decades, its beer selection is now impressively modern. “Things are changing. People are coming in and asking what new and local beers we have so we wanted to offer that,” Wilson said. “But I hope people see that we’re doing this in a balanced way. I don’t want to ever make our regulars uncomfortable. They built this place and now with the craft-beer fans, together we’ll all keep Shine’s going long into the future.”

What To Drink: Barrier’s Beech St Wheat, a locally made alternative to the ubiquitous Belgian-style witbiers from Blue Moon and Shock Top (technically from MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch, respectively). While this light and tasty thirst-slayer excited Casey, there was another motive to start selling it at the end of May: Shine’s is located on the northwest corner of California and West Beech Streets.

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.