It’s that time of year again. I’m not talking about gypsy moth caterpillars or the mass influx of Manhattanites surging east — I mean Long Island Craft Beer Week. Every spring, restaurants, pubs, breweries and tasting rooms celebrate the incredible boom of locally produced craft beer.
Tap takeovers, beer-pairing dinners and commemorative glasses are just some examples of how this week is celebrated. And though our breweries stretch from Oceanside to Montauk, most events this year are focused around the recent craft beer boomtowns of Patchogue and Bay Shore (visit longislandcraftbeerweek.com for a full list of events).
What’s that you say? You want to celebrate LICBW but don’t feel like venturing west? Fear not! Riverhead is as far as North Forkers need to go.
Home to Moustache, Crooked Ladder and Long Ireland beer companies, the breweries are close enough to each other to make bar-hopping a breeze. For a more communal and unique way to sample suds, book a ride with Brew Crew Cycles, where you and 13 friends use pedal power to get to your watering holes.
Moustache Brewing Company makes solid IPAs and has recently started releasing some favorites in eco-friendly (and somewhat macho) 16-ounce tallboys. Membership to their Society for Fine Liquid Provisions entitles first crack at limited releases, monthly allotment of beer, as well as beer exclusively brewed for members-only.
Long Ireland Beer Company is only a few blocks away. Their Celtic Ale, smooth with a hint of honey, is well-loved throughout the Island. Black Friday, a powerful, dense, roasty and boozy stout, is a seasonal favorite. And, oh look! A dart board!
Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s Peconic tasting room has a large lawn for cornhole, lounging and where behaved poochies are welcome. The Black Duck Porter is fantastic, but don’t be fooled by the inky color! It’s quite light on the palate, is incredibly smooth and goes well with brats or burgers.
If you’re hungry, head into Greenport proper and hit up Front Street Station. It has solid pub grub with a surprisingly decent craft beer selection. Bartender “One-Eyed” Bob (really) says they have eight taps all for craft with a focus on local breweries. We once found DuClaw’s Sweet Baby Jesus! (a chocolatey, peanut-butter tinged porter) and Radiant Pig’s Save The Robots (sharp, bright and lemony). Atypical choices for a pub, but a delicious surprise.
And while you’re there, you might as well visit Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s original spot on Carpenter Street. In a converted firehouse, the upstairs tasting room is small, but sometimes offers experimental batches. If you’re lucky, you might get to try something not available anywhere else on the Island.
If you want to taste some brews made with Shelter Island-grown ingredients, then hop on the ferry and head to Shelter Island Craft Brewery.
(Editor’s note: We also recommend stops at North Fork Taps & Corks in Southold, Brix and Rye in Greenport among the many fine North Fork options!)
Many bars and restaurants serve craft beer on the North Fork but this modest list should get you on your way to celebrating Long Island Craft Beer Week. And look, you didn’t even have to get onto the L.I.E.