(631) 675-6060, Stony Brook
Opened: 2015 | Beers: 35
After opening a couple of quirky and quickly popular coffeehouses called Crazy Beans, Callie Brennan and Tim Martino delivered a different jolt of delicious to the Stony Brook Village Center, a colonial-style business community on Main Street mainly tenanted with high-end boutique retailers. (The newest Crazy Beans, opened last year, is located within the village’s Inner Court.)
In a prime space previously occupied by Godiva Chocolatiers and neighboring Harbor Crescent’s centerpiece crowning the Post Office (a mechanical eagle clock that announces the hour by flapping his wings), the soon-to-be newlyweds launched Brew Cheese in June.
Their snug shop is impressively stocked with beer and fromage in many forms, presented simply in a charming setting: the lighting is dim, ornate beer steins and hand-sewn knickknacks line the chocolate-colored walls and a chandelier made of deer antlers hangs overhead.
“We wanted it to look like a German tavern met a rustic man-cave in a Lords of the Rings movie,” Brennan explained proudly
Brew Cheese’s selection rotates regularly and favors conciseness over crowded. At the shop’s front, 30 domestic and international cheeses are individually described on handwritten placards and sold to-go by weight, while a weekly three-variety cheeseboard is part of an expanding in-house menu. The room’s remainder is dedicated to beer. A small six-draft bar in the middle pours the likes of Founders, BrickHouse and Great Divide in 10-ounce mugs or four-snifter flights or customers opting to stay, while the same sextet can be filled into 64-ounce growlers for off-premise consumption. There’s also a cooler in the rear stocked with 30 bottles and cans—mostly American now, though Brennan and Martino expect to add more Belgian and German beers—from Firestone Walker, Ballast Point and Avery. I recommend a visit on any weekday (4-6pm) for “Prohibition Hour,” when draft prices are slashed in half.
Note: brew and cheese are not the only offerings; customers can emerge with jars of Brooklyn Brine’s Hop Pickles made with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and bags of Tend Coffee, a roaster based in Shirley.
What To Drink: Brooklyn’s Grimm Artisanal Ales has emerged as one of New York City’s best. The couple behind the nomadic beer-making operation is also starting to develop a noticeable presence: recipes refined in Joe and Lauren Grimm’s apartment are made commercially at breweries as far away as Sterling, Virginia. Brew Cheese is one spot to regularly encounter Grimm, which recently unveiled a generously dry-hopped sour ale conditioned in oak barrels with apricots named Rainbow Dome.