Little Creek Oysters in Greenport is kicking off the summer with some refreshing news: the arrival of their new house beer, made in partnership with Oceanside’s Barrier Brewing Company.
The light, crisp Top Water Lager was officially released during the unofficial start of summer this weekend.
“We’ve been after a custom brew for a while,” said owner Ian Wile, explaining that the relationship clicked naturally over a pint and platter of oysters, of course.
Wile said he was hoping their house brew would be “infinitely drinkable,” and built for enjoying on or near the water. “So many [craft beers] can be very fun but heavy. There’s something about being waterfront, on the beach,” he said. “I grew up on tin boats fishing with my grandpa and he always had a light drink.”
The name itself is a nod to fishing and its release coincides with the 90th anniversary of White’s Bait & Tackle, the historic shop Little Creek calls home. The oyster farm and market will also celebrate its eighth anniversary July 4.
Wile said manager Travis Zurawski helped oversee the project and bring it across the finish line.
“It was a creative process for us,” Zurawski said. “We had a lot of fun with it.”
Though most people may associate ice cold beer with clams, Zurawski said oysters and beer also make a fantastic pair. “You get the salt of the oysters and it makes you thirstier,” he said.
The beer is now available on tap at Little Creek and in 16 oz. four-packs to go. Wile also said it will be available for distribution to select partners.
For the can labels, they partnered with designer Daniel Birch, who reimagined the iconic Little Creek shack as a tacklebox from the 1930s that features nods to both then and now.
“It shows this place as what it was and also has some things that identify with our Little Creek brand,” Zurawski said, adding that fans should look out for ‘easter eggs’ throughout the label. “It’s a nice collaboration that blends those two things.”
Barrier Brewing Co. is located in Oceanside and was Nassau County’s first craft brewery, dating back to 2009. Just three years later, Hurricane Sandy destroyed the brewery and Wile said he’s inspired at how their local community rallied to help them recover after a six-month shutdown.
Today, Barrier beers can be found in more than 15 states and internationally in the United Kingdom, Germany and Thailand.
“Little Creek is a favorite destination of mine, especially when friends and family are visiting from out of town,” said Barrier chief marketing officer Bobby Carlo. “It’s the perfect place to showcase the best of what Long Island has to offer. Amazingly fresh local food, top quality drinks and fantastic people who give a damn about what it means to be a local,” Carlo said.
In addition to the new house lager, Little Creek is continuing to expand their to-go offerings, made for backyard get togethers, beach days and picnics.
“We really leaned into our smoker,” Wile said. The market, which has typically offered tinned sardines and anchovies, now includes three smoked fish dips, market style ceviches, compound butters used for grilled oysters and more. One of Wile’s favorites combines butter, bourbon and chipotle.
“It’s a nice staple you can put in the fridge,” Wile said. “The market is finally seeing its moment.”