Threes Brewing’s Greg Doroski on life between the North Fork and Brooklyn

Threes brewing

Greg Doroski of Threes Brewing Co. (Credit: Matt Furman/Threes Brewing courtesy photo)

Standing at the counter of a coffeehouse located inside their Brooklyn brewery, Threes Brewing partners Greg Doroski and Josh Stylman are reminiscing about the early days of their then fledgling company.

Doroski, who was living full-time in his native Cutchogue, recalled a trip to Brooklyn three years ago to take a look at some of the equipment Threes would use to brew its beer.

“He was supposed to be a consultant,” said Stylman, a tech entrepreneur and investor with a background in marketing.

Drawing a deep breath, Doroski began to explain why it was once important for the relationship to stay that way.

“I was very explicit with my wife that it was just going to be a consulting deal and we weren’t going to have to move back to Brooklyn,” he says.

“How’d that work out?” Stylman asks, bringing both men to a chuckle.

Doroski, 35, quickly became a partner in Threes Brewing, which also includes hospitality and events specialist Justin Israelson. Doroski is the head brewer for the company, which opened its brew pub on Douglass Street in December 2014. He’s been shuttling back and forth from the North Fork to Brooklyn ever since.

Like so many weekenders or second-homeowners who travel from the boroughs to the bays dreaming of full-time life on this end of the island, Doroski has a plan to bring his work east. For much of the past year, Threes Brewing has been working with F&S LLC., the developers behind the Cutchogue Business Center. The Cox Lane industrial complex is already home to several small, locally owned farm-to-table concepts, including North Fork Potato Chips, A Taste of the North Fork and Backyard Brine pickles.

By moving its brewing operations to the North Fork while keeping its tasting space in Brooklyn, Threes Brewing can dramatically expand its production capabilities. It would also help Doroski fulfill his promise to his wife, Liz, that they’d raise their two daughters in the same place they called home growing up. His family is already back living here full-time so his oldest daughter could start kindergarten and he’s with them as much as time allows.

“It’s a wonderful thing, really,” said F&S managing partner Mark Miller. “He gets to come back home and raise his family in one of the most beautiful places in America. And with his family at his side, he gets to be creative in his work. There’s a reason craft beer is called artisan. It’s a creative thing.”

It’s a way of life the 1999 Mattituck High School graduate might not have imagined as a philosophy major at Drew University in Madison, N.J in the early 2000s. Like many before and since, Doroski’s love of beer grew while in college. A hop-skip from Philadelphia, which had already established itself as a craft beer market, he’d travel with buddies to sample the latest offerings. He even began making his own home brews while still in college.

“They were awful,” he admits today.

Doroski moved to Brooklyn after graduation, where he went to grad school and worked for a property management company but continued to make beer. Soon after Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. opened the North Fork’s first brewery in 2005, Doroski joined the team, first as an intern, and eventually a brewer. He stayed with Greenport Harbor for nearly a decade, learning his craft.

“It’s one of those things where as you learn more and more about something you see how little you actually know,” he said. “I was home brewing and I won a home brew contest, but I get to Greenport and I’m like ‘I don’t know how to do this,’” he said.

So how did he make it a career?

“It’s reading, but a lot of it’s drinking,” he said, adding that as a philospher and brewer he’s good at two things, “drinking beer and talking s–t.”

Coincidentally, home brewing is in a lot of ways how he eventually accomplished his dream of becoming an owner of a brewery. Winning a contest is what led him to meet Israelson and eventually Stylman.

Today, he admits he sometimes walks through the Brooklyn tasting room and questions how he managed to actually get to be a part of such a strong operation. The brew pub is both expansive and unique.

While 1,000 square feet is used for brewing, the rest of the 8,000-square-foot building includes sprawling space for customers and business partnerships. There’s the indoor bar area with 24 taps featuring Threes draughts and other craft beers as well as liquor. An outdoor bar serves pints to the masses in the summertime. Much of the front of the building doubles as a coffee shop, where Ninth Street Espresso operates during the day before Threes Brewing takes over at night, booking musical acts for that portion of the space.

Another partner is The Meat Hook, a Williamsburg butcher shop that took over the kitchen at the brewery last year, serving meat from small family farms across New York State. Previously, the brewery employed a concept of hosting acclaimed New York City chefs for short residencies, an ambitious plan Doroski likened to “opening a new restaurant every few weeks.”

Located in Gowanus, on the Park Slope border, Threes Brewing is just eight blocks from the Barclays Center, a major event destination it draws from. But it also pulls in a regular neighborhood crowd, professionals stopping in for a taste after work or looking for a place to spread out on weekends.

“On Saturdays it is nuts here,” Doroski said on a tour of the brewery. “It’ll get four deep at the bar. It’s a big space, so people come down here in large groups.”

The brewery’s sweeping tap system and partnerships to carry selections from other craft brewers allows Doroski to experiment with many different styles. He estimates he’s made more than 100 different beers in the limited production space in Brooklyn.

The proposed 6,000-square-foot Cutchogue facility — which would not feature a tasting room — would include a 30-barrel brewhouse and 60-barrel fermenters.

“It would enable us to focus on more quantity of our core styles,” Doroski said.

That includes the popular Vliet pilsner, which accounts for about 30 percent of Threes Brewing’s current production and is Doroski’s personal favorite. The new brewing space would also help them produce quarterly specialty beers specific for Whole Foods, one place you can currently find Threes on Long Island.

Doroski’s vision to branch out to the North Fork is inspiring to those around him. Miller said a major reason Threes Brewing was a logical partner for his growing facility was the energy and passion of Doroski, who he said projects a level of confidence beyond his years.

“He’s got a very exciting future ahead of him,” Miller said. “He’s got all the important qualities and characteristics of someone headed for success.”

This story originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of northforker magazine