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.
They were instantly obsessed.
The now-married couple started homebrewing in 2005, creating five-gallon batches with various cookware in their parents’ kitchens. They also joined Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts, the largest homebrewing club on Long Island, and showcased beers at Riverhead’s North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ & Wine Festival. As creative recipes accumulated, including Mojito Pale Ale (a summer-seasoned pale ale brewed with fresh lime and mint), occupational discontent lingered. A change was necessary. They decided to launch a project on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website for creative start-me-ups, to “test the waters on opening a brewery,” says Matt. Moustache Brewing Company, a beer-fueled homage to his handlebar moustache, was born.
“We both have degrees in things that won’t make any money,” says Lauri, who was previously employed as an administrative assistant. “I saw so many people clinging on just to get to retirement and I didn’t want to live in a cubicle forever. We launched the Kickstarter because we love beer and figured if it worked, it was a sign to continue.”
Moustache raised $31,413 on Kickstarter, even receiving contributions from faceless supporters in England and Germany, and acquired a building in Riverhead in 2012. The decision to select the North Fork was solidified by an unsuccessful search in Nassau County and a discussion with Dan Burke and Greg Martin of Riverhead’s Long Ireland Beer Company.
They told us how great the town was with new businesses,” says Matt. “A lot of towns in Nassau thought we were a bar and didn’t want to be involved, but Riverhead was helpful with anything we needed. They’re trying to build something with beer like the wineries here.”
Moustache is currently occupied “with a jackhammer trying to convert a warehouse into a brewery,” says Matt, but will open in “October-ish” with two beers: One Drop Pale Ale (a citrusy pale ale) and Everyman’s Porter (a light-bodied porter presenting coffee and dark chocolate). A bold scotch ale brewed with rye malt will
follow in December.
The philosophy, despite a transition from amateur to professional, will remain firmly dedicated to small. The brewery will use a one-barrel brewhouse, producing only 31 gallons of beer per batch, and recipes will be dictated by the availability of hops, often reserved by larger breweries with lengthy contracts. But Moustache isn’t intimidated by the challenge.
“That’s part of the fun,” says Lauri. ”Our main principle is making the beers that we want to make.”
Check out the full Long Island Wine Press cover story “Craft Beer Makes Home in Wine Country,” which includes articles on Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Long Ireland Beer Company, Crooked Ladder Brewing Company and Moustache Brewing Company.