Sign up for our Newsletter

Patrick Donagher serves up Alewife beer at The Shoals. (Photo credit: Jeremy Garretson)

“Everyone loves a beer garden!” says North Fork resident and owner of Alewife Brewing, Patrick Donagher, the Sunnyside, Queens-based brewery that recently launched an outdoor craft beer garden at The Shoals (61600 Main Road, Southold).

And by all accounts, Donagher is right — the beer garden, which launched its ale atelier stint Memorial Day weekend, has been packed with beer-happy crowds flocking to The Shoals by land and sea on weekends. 

Donagher and his wife, Roz Donagher, collaborated with The Shoals owner Jonathan Tibbett to open the alfresco beer paradise for the summer season. Donagher, who hails from Donegal, Ireland, lives on the North Fork full-time and commutes to his Queens brewery during the week. That trek got him thinking about opportunities closer to home.

“I’ve been trying to figure out a way to have something financially safer out here where I could work out here, as well,” Donagher says. “We’ve been going to The Shoals for a couple of seasons and the owner [Tibbett] lives right next door to us. We asked if we could do a pop-up there for summer to see how it goes and he liked the idea.”

The temporary beer garden features four Alewife brews on tap, as well as a locally sourced food menu to complement the brews.

“We buy everything from a two-mile radius,” says Donagher, who notes Blue Duck Bakery and Southold Fish Market as some of the purveyors he’s used to develop the food. Some of the highlights: Little Ram oysters on the half, hot honey quesadilla with shrimp, lobster, crab and scallops; a quarter-pound burger; and an affordable seafood roll for $22. The menu was developed by Erick Turke, a chef from Peru who has added some flair from his native country to the dishes, as well.

Patrick Donagher of Alewife Brewing. (Photo credit: Jeremy Garretson)

Alewife’s beers are “classic styles, but more contemporary,” according to Donagher. “We get creative but we’re especially known for our IPAs.” Some of the beers include a German pilsner, lagers and an IPA that uses hops from the Pacific Northwest. Alewife has also created a special, one-off brew just for the pop-up called “The Shoals,” an American blonde ale in rotation all summer.

“It’s a beautifully balanced beer,” says Donagher. “Everyone that has it has one or two more. And it goes really well with oysters!”

The name “Alewife” is a nod to women who brewed elixirs for medicinal and spiritual purposes, according to Donagher. A more detailed description of Alewife’s website says that “Alewives of ancient times brewed potions for shamanistic rituals with locally grown psychedelics. The beer at Alewife Brewing has an aim, a purpose, and a dream, to bring our community of imbibers as close to a transcendental experience as legally possible!”

Alewife Brewing was the brainchild of Donagher and his wife, and they broke ground on the brewery just before the pandemic. After several years of dealing with opening a business during Covid and maintaining a staff and line of beer, Donagher felt this was the year to expand his brand of brewing to the beer-friendly North Fork scene. 

Alewife Brewing at The Shoals. (Photo credit: Jeremy Garretson)

Donagher and his family came to the United States from Ireland 20 years ago and have lived in Southold for close to seven years. “This is the closest I’ve ever come to [feeling like home],” Donagher says. “Same kind of vibe, same kind of people. So it’s cool to actually operate a business out here.” 

The Alewife Beer Garden at The Shoals is open Thursday from 4 p.m., Friday from 2 p.m. (staying open both days until “late,” the website dictates) and noon to midnight. Visit for more information.