The North Fork’s best brewers make beer like chefs make a meal, drawing on a palette of ingredients and combining them to achieve a unique experience of flavor. This year’s fall releases reflect the incredible creativity of North Fork brewers, and are packed with tastes and aromas that go beyond the humble pumpkin.
And like the brilliant fall foliage, they won’t last forever. From the lightest hefeweizen to a dark and tempting doppelbock, here’s a continuum of fall releases for you to savor while you can.
Eastern Front Brewing Co. in Mattituck is a distinctive brewery with a mission: to preserve and emulate German brewing traditions in a time when adding sweet to beer is as on-trend as taking it out of chardonnay.
I Got a Rock is a fall squash ale with no cinnamon and no nutmeg. If you like cinnamon and sugar on the rim, manager Adam Slater will suggest putting it on one side, “so you can sip on the other and get the aroma, but no taste.”
Shown here is Eastern Front’s traditional, seasonal hefeweizen called Hefe (5.6% ABV), a golden beer made with a German strain of hefeweizen yeast that imparts a bright, crisp banana and clove flavor.
13100 Main Road, Mattituck
Sour beers are cold-season favorites that pair well with hearty food, and Jamesport Farm Brewery is brewing a blackberry sour called Tasty Waves (6% ABV).
A good American sour beer balances bitter and sweet, and this one uses late-season berries to balance the flavors and contribute a purple/pink hue to the beer.
5873 Sound Ave., Riverhead
Leaf Pile (5.2% ABV) is one of the North Fork’s most popular seasonal ales because it’s one of the most drinkable. Brewer Pat Alfred describes Leaf Pile as “a versatile beer, spiced but very balanced.
People come back for more and more pours of Leaf Pile. It can be paired with hearty foods and it doesn’t skew the palate.”
Last year an even bigger beer sprang out of the pile and quickly developed an avid following: Leaf Pile Pie (8.5% ABV) is back this year. It’s made with more malt, plus brown sugar, and supplemented with Golden Naked Hops that give a gingerbread flavor and a creamy sweetness from lactose. “That’s where the ‘pie’ comes from,” said Arnold.
42155 Main Road, Peconic and 234 Carpenter St., Greenport
HARVEST NOTES ALE
Harvest Notes (4.9% ABV) is a seasonal amber ale with subtle notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger from Twin Fork Beer Co. It’s sold locally in cans, and you can enjoy it in their downtown Riverhead tasting room with or without the sugar rim.
807 Raynor Ave., Riverhead
BURNING DOWN THE FEST
Oktoberfest season officially started in September, but almost every craft brewery is still offering an Oktoberfest brew well into the tenth month of the calendar. At North Fork Brewing Company in Riverhead it’s called Burning Down the Fest (5.5% ABV), with subtle smoky notes and a dark amber color.
Also available now is their annual fall brew, Butternut the Hutt (5.7% ABV), made with local winter squash and allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
24 East Second St. Suite A, Riverhead
YOU CALL THAT A CALCULATOR?
Übergeek is a tiny but growing brewery and tasting room in the heart of Riverhead’s Polish Town neighborhood. In September, they got their first distribution deal for an IPA called What If We Nuke Mars? (7.5% ABV) — so look for it on store shelves this season.
If you like a darker beer for autumn, owner Rob Raffa is brewing a doppelbock style, You Call That a Calculator? (7.5% ABV) whose flavor profile he called “plummy and clean.”
400 Hallett Ave., Riverhead
More stops for your fall beer crawl …
October is the ideal month to try a new tasting room…or a few! Try these East End spots for local brews and handcrafted cider.
Long Ireland Beer Company
817 Pulaski St., Riverhead
Long Island Farm Brewery
663 Wading River Road, Manorville
Montauk Brewing Co.
62 South Erie Ave., Montauk
Peconic County Brewing
221 East Main St., Riverhead
2711 Sound Ave., Calverton
Shelter Island Craft Brewery
55 North Ferry Road, Shelter Island
Southampton Publick House
40 Bowden Square, Southampton
Tradewinds Brewing Company
70 West Main St., Riverhead
Westhampton Beach Brewing Co.
220 Roger’s Way, Suite I,
729 Main Road, Aquebogue