What to Drink for Oktoberfest

Rocky Point Artisan Brewers Oktoberfest

RPAB started as a homebrewing brotherhood between Donavan Hall and Mike Voigt in 2006. Before the pair started producing beer professionally in the summer of 2012, they founded the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME) with a third partner; it’s currently the largest local homebrew club, with over 800 members.

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While the small-scale operation—only 50 gallons brewed at a time— makes several English and Belgian styles, Rocky Point’s specialty is German suds. The best in October is Oktoberfest. (Duh.) Voigt has closely studied the Oktoberfest style (deep amber, full bodied, malty finish) for more than 30 years.

Voigt recalled, “The first one I had was Spaten’s, way back in 1983. I remember it being a lot richer and maltier than it is now. Unfortunately it tastes more like a golden beer with added color to it.” This inspired Rocky Point’s annual version, which honors a traditional form. “While we do like tweaking our recipes, our Oktoberfest has been stable.” It uses Vienna, Munich and melanoidin malts and is hopped with Polaris, giving a smoothness to bitter notes and balancing the beer. “Just like the versions I remember,” said Voigt.

Port Jefferson
(631) 675-6060
Opened: 2015 | Beers: 30

Ale-hoy! Brewology295 has docked in Port Jefferson. The gastropub, owned by Roger Bencosme and named for a “colloquial term referring to the study of beer and beer-making,” started with a spot in a strip mall in Speonk last year. Its sibling arrived at the beginning of June in the former home of Tequila Jacks, to the rear of Starbucks on Main Street, and will surely please fans of the original.

Both locations share Chris Zullo as executive chef, whose corresponding menu offers items like Devil Ducks—deviled duck eggs with candied bacon, orange zest and truffle pearls; and The Brewben—a riff on the revered Reuben with the addition of pilsner-braised cabbage.

The quasi-industrial décor also reflects their unique take on the traditional—exposed brick, tiny reclaimed wood tables and an immense, three-sided, white-tiled bar with an illuminated “Br” boxed centerpiece. Despite its rustic charm, the setup feels more dynamic in this low-ceilinged, pillar-plenty space. Both locations have a chalkboard cleverly designed as a periodic table to display 24 rotating drafts, but the newcomer is pouring more esoteric and adventurous liquids, according to beer director Terence Daly. They also serve up four-brew flights in small beakers.

“The people here are seeking out the quirky sours and double IPAs so we can take more chances and bring in more costly kegs,” said Daly. He mentioned a weekly “Brew & Bites Pairing” (e.g., scallop ceviche with Almanac Farmer’s Reserve Citrus, a sour ale aged in wine barrels with Buddha’s Hand citrons, yuzu and blood oranges); monthly beer dinners rotate between the two locations. Daly, along with manager Paul Diedrichs, who once owned a store named Brewtopia across Main Street in the Harbor Square Mall, plans to install a small-scale brewery in Port Jefferson: “We’re hoping to collaborate with the breweries featured in our dinners since they’re present at the events; we want to make beers with them to be exclusively offered,” Diedrichs said.

What To Drink: An intrepid crowd has enabled Daly to order sexy sours like Grimm Artisanal Ales’ Psychokinesis, a dry-hopped, oak spiral-conditioned creation with a light body, temperate tartness and bright aromas of mango and pineapple. Another is Rodenbach Grand Cru, one of Brewology’s best-selling brews and the archetype of Belgium’s “Flanders red” style. This complex creation is aged in oak barrels with resident bacteria for 18 months to achieve a distinctive profile of refreshing, prickling acidity, fruity, wine-like flavors and an aroma of balsamic vinegar.

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.