Thousands will flock to Shorefront Park this weekend for the Great South Bay Music Festival. But before you settle in for tunes al fresco be sure to take a quick detour and see just what makes the Great South Bay Brewery a Long Island favorite. I chatted with head brewer and vice president Greg Maisch to understand some of the science that goes into brewing and what makes each batch so unique.
Out of all the towns on Long Island, why did you want to brew in a warehouse in Bay Shore?
When we first opened we were in a place a lot smaller than this. It was located closer to the main area of Bay Shore, but we quickly grew out of that place. We needed to find something a lot bigger to deal with all of the volume we were doing. It was also very important that we remained in Bay Shore so once this place opened up we jumped on it.
What is your favorite Great South Bay beer?
The Field 5 IPA. We use Horizon hops when we brew it and they tend to have both aromatic and bitter qualities.
When can we find that in stores?
We are going to start canning it and selling it in four-packs, so soon enough.
What is your most popular beer?
The Blood Orange Pale Ale. It is definitely our flagship.
Really, I would have thought that the Blonde Ambition would have been your biggest seller…
Yeah, now that the summer is here it is definitely popular. In the past we were only making it for the summer but we are going to start brewing it year-round so you’ll be able to drink it anytime of the year.
What about Blonde Ambition makes it an ideal summer beer?
It’s light and there is a hint of apricot that gives it a subtle sweet finish.
Are there any other beers that you make that would be considered a good summer drink and why?
The Robert Moses is great for the summer because it’s a pale ale with a simple but delicious finish. You can only find it in our tasting room so it’s a great beer to have while you’re hanging out here.
I see you have a foosball table and a ping pong table. What other activities do you offer at the tasting room?
We have bingo every Wednesday night and you can count on there being a food truck out here almost every night of the week. We also have our own logo-ed cornhole boards for those who want to play something outdoors.
Are there any darker colored beers that would be considered good for the summer?
The Sagtikos Sour is nice for the summer. Don’t let the darker color fool you because it does have a lighter body and a pineapple-tart finish. The sour taste comes from a method called “Kettle Souring”, which safely sours the beer to taste.
What can we expect from Great South Bay in the future?
We are currently looking to purchase some new barrels to continue cask-aging some of the beers. You can always find something new and exciting in the tasting room, and in the fall you can expect our annual “Punktober Fest”.