Craft beer is an ever-evolving world. Boundaries are tested, recipes altered and brewers often journey through several establishments before finding one place to call home. But when a brewer, who has seemingly settled down, making beer for the oldest brewery on Long Island, decides to pull up stakes and move to a new venture, the transition is noteworthy.
Paul Komsic, longtime head brewer for Patchogue’s BrickHouse Brewery, is leaving for an opportunity to flex his creativity on the burgeoning Bay Shore craft beer scene. His ambition is to start a barrel program, aging different beers in wood barrels and creating Lambic-style blends lead him to join the soon-to-be-open Ghost Brewing Company.
In 2010, Komsic got his foot in the door at BrickHouse in the kitchen as the pub’s “fry guy.” It allowed him to transition into craft beer, eventually completing an apprenticeship under the then-brewers. He worked his way up to having more direct input creating recipes and overseeing production before becoming the resident brewmaster. After nearly a decade, Komsic felt the need to do more and push the boundaries of his beer outside of BrickHouse.
“At the Brick, I could probably do one or two barrels a year,” he said. “I really can’t tie up the fermenters with that and there’s not much physical space for actual wood barrels. At least, not the amount I want.”
He thought about would have the space and the system to fulfill his needs. While playing darts at Great South Bay Brewery, Komsic joked, “What’s it cost to rent that monster?” referring to equipment tucked in a section of the sprawling facility and formerly used by Fire Island Beer Company. As it turned out, some folks already had plans for the equipment. All they needed was a brewer.
The timing was right. Komsic signed up to helm aptly-named Ghost Brewing Company, a new venture backed by spectral owners and investors who prefer anonymity for now.
With more space, bigger gear and no longer beholden to the responsibilities of a brew pub, Komsic has all the tools he needs carry out his vision and to “cultivate an audience off of what [he] wants to brew.”
A devoted local, Komsic will be using a Medford-based barrel maker to create custom vessels out of wood of his own choosing. Pushing his concept of wood-aged beer further, Komsic, also a bass player, will introduce wood discarded from luthiers (guitar-makers) into some of the fermentation tanks. It’s debatable if the taste of an IPA aged with mahogany used to make a guitar will be discernible but the concept is certainly buzzworthy.
Ghost finds itself in good company sharing space with Great South Bay Brewery and Destination Unknown, The Brewer’s Collective and Hopwin’s Brewery (also opening soon) all in the neighborhood.
Look for Ghost Brewing Co. to materialize in mid-June. Ouija board not needed.