Merlot. Chardonnay. Stout?
The North Fork is a perpetual expanse of vineyards, but four local craft breweries — Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Long Ireland Beer Company, Crooked Ladder Brewing Company and Moustache Brewing Company — are introducing palates to hops-poppin’ variety via noteworthy beers.
This assemblage of artisan beer makers is not competing fiercely for consumers, either. They are committed to expanding together by spreading locally produced beer on the North Fork. A true companion to our native grape-mashers has arrived.
John Liegey and Richard Vandenburgh are local innovators, opening the North Fork’s first brewery in Greenport in 2009. They perceived opportunity, not adversity, during prior visits to the beer-desolate peninsula and wanted to inject variety into the village, once a prominent whaling port, with a hops-wrapped harpoon.
“I’m not a wine guy, so it was a drag to not see beer represented out here before the brewery,” says Vandenburgh. “We saw the concept in our minds instantly, so we did it. There should be a mix of both on the North Fork.” (Click here for full Greenport Harbor Brewing Company article.)
After unfulfilling careers as oil servicemen, Greg Martin and Dan Burke transitioned to another liquid-based profession: beer.
The duo started homebrewing in 2003, creating an IPA on Burke’s stove, and connected with Rob Leonard at New England Brewing Company in Woodbridge, Conn., to “learn the ropes on a commercial system,” says Martin. The bi-weekly internship permitted practice while licenses were obtained, provided access to brew Long Ireland Beer Company’s first release, a malty Irish-inspired amber named Celtic Ale, and built the duo’s confidence to secure a residence on the North Fork. (Click here for full Long Ireland Beer Company article.)
A crooked ladder has connected three North Forkers to beer.
Stephen Wirth, owner of Digger’s in Riverhead, often “kicked around the idea of starting a brewery” with his brother, David Wirth, and Duffy Griffiths, owner of Duffy’s Deli in Riverhead and Jamesport. Their conversations eventually spurred three years of renovations, and Digger’s neighboring 1,600-square-foot building, which was “just sitting there,” says Wirth, opened in July as Crooked Ladder Brewing Company. The appellation’s origin was a photograph, but David, who owns a construction company, and Griffiths, chief of Jamesport Fire Department, are also ladder-linked. (Click here for the full Crooked Ladder Brewing Company article.)
A new crop is sprouting on the North Fork! It’s quite hairy, too.
After a tour of Patchogue’s Blue Point Brewing Company and an introduction to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Pale Ale, Lauri and Matt Spitz discovered an alternative to the abundant presence of monotonous, macro-produced beers. (Click here for the full Moustache Brewing Company article.)