Tucked away in Port Jefferson Station is a hidden gem for hard cider and craft beer lovers.
Po’ Boy Brewery is celebrating its two year anniversary in its modest but memorable bayou-themed tasting room this month, but the man behind brewery has been making a mark on the industry long before its grand opening in January 2017.
Bobby Rodriguez began as a passionate home brewer in 2008 and it wasn’t long before he earned more than 30 awards for his beers in local and national competitions. He even became a certified beer judge.
“I have been cooking since I was about seven years old and saw brewing as an extension of cooking,” said Rodriguez, who holds a doctorate and still works part-time as a nurse practitioner in addition to operating the brewery. “After years of competing, I thought it was time to open a brewery.”
Po’ Boy Brewery has a diverse and inclusive lineup that will satisfy beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike. As a New York state farm brewer, Rodriguez sources at least 20 percent of his ingredients from local farms. The frequently changing tasting menu always has some version of an IPA, stout and pilsner on tap.
“My approach to beer making is that I don’t stick to making one style… I get bored easily,” he said. “If you look at our menu at any given time, I will have something for everyone, whether they prefer IPAs or pilsners. Not a lot of places can say that.”
A variety of hard ciders are also on tap at Po’ Boy Brewery. Each is on the drier side and made from 100-percent juice from Richter’s Orchard in Northport.
“My ciders are different from everyone else who makes ciders because I have extreme flavors,” he said. “I make anything from a key lime cider to a piña colada cider to candy apple habanero. One of the bestsellers is the banana cider that we release in the spring.”
Visitors can sample a selection of local Long Island wines and spirits from New York State distilleries as well.
“Po’ Boy” — Rodriguez’s nickname — helped guide the style of the laid back tasting room that is adorned with vines hanging from the ceilings and bistro tables reminiscent of the French Quarter. The dog-friendly tasting room is also stocked with board games and often hosts live music, encouraging guests to embrace a laid back mentality.
“I wanted it to be a place where people could just relax with a quality beer or cider,” Rodriguez said. “We’re not pretentious.”
To celebrate its two year anniversary, Po’ Boy is having a party on Saturday, Jan. 26. Starting at noon, 11 new beers and ciders will be released — one on the hour, every hour. There will also be food and raffles throughout the day.
Po’ Boy Brewery is located at 200 Wilson Street in Port Jefferson Station. Visit; poboybrewery.com.