While wineries have traditionally dominated the tasting space on Long Island, a cool crop of breweries have opened up throughout the island in recent years. These destinations offer beer-lovers a place to sample artisan beers (many of which can only be tasted in-house), perfect their hoppy palate, tour the distillery operation, and get their buzz on in the process. Here are a few of our favorite Long Island breweries.
Labor Day weekend 2017 marked the grand opening of this “farm-to-pint” brewery. The beer here is made with the farm’s own barley and hops grown on its 43-acre property, smack dab in the middle of the North Fork’s wine trail. The tasting room and microbrewery are housed in a big old potato barn that opens onto a large lawn with tables and games. Most fall weekends will feature a food truck and live music, and visitors can tour the farm via hay wagon rides. Sample fresh hop-infused beers from dozens of Long Island breweries at the annual Long Island Fresh Hop Festival held on site.
Greenport Harbor Brewing Company has two locations: The original, a cozy tasting room in the old Greenport village firehouse, and the newer larger locale, with an acre or so of outdoor space, a drive away in Peconic. Each serves a slightly different selection of tasty ales, lagers, and IPAs, like popular Facing East, a New England-style IPA full of hops and an apricot/grapefruit flavor. Growlers can always be filled with the OG (Original Greenport) series, a rotating assortment of experimental brews. The Peconic location recently opened its own restaurant featuring brew-centric bar noshes using only locally-sourced ingredients, all from North Fork farms, to perfectly pair with the craft beers.
On any given Saturday, Bay Shore’s 4,000-foot warehouse tasting room is filled with a knockabout crowd of beer drinkers tasting flights and playing foosball or corn hole. What GSB devotees really love about the brewery, though, is its consistently good beers. Its most popular brew, the slightly bitter but fruity Blood Orange Pale Ale, is even bottled and sold in several states, for instance. But there is always a revolving lineup of special, limited-edition brews on tap bound to satisfy the most discerning beer drinker.
Blue Point has been around since 1998 and has a cult following for good reason. Their flagship beer, the Toasted Lager, has won two World Beer Cup medals and the brewery has since filled their taps with a tasty selection of drafts, many of which incorporate interesting local ingredients like seaweed, oysters, and beach plums. Fan favorites include the Oktoberfest and Mosaic Session IPA. And, as of 2018, the brewery has a new, massive space with a restaurant and a 60,000-barrel capacity, less than half a mile away from its old location.
A red barn houses Long Island’s easternmost brewery and, come summer, you’ll find more people drinking blue cans of Montauk Summer Ale on the local beaches than you can shake a stick at. Indeed, the five-year-old brewery produces some easily drinkable ales and, summer or not, the brewery churns out delicious seasonal one-offs, stouts, and Session IPAs. The taproom, tiny with an outdoor patio and picnic tables, just like the beers, reflect that mellow Montauk mentality.
Sand City is one of the newer breweries on the island, opening in 2015, and some hop-lovers hail their IPAs as the best around. The breakout brewery cans many topnotch IPAs which tend to sell out quickly, but you’ll usually find a few of the stars on tap in their tasting room. Mofosaic is one of the winning brews—a complex IPA made with a variety of hops and a sweet yet earthy taste. A sign strung between two buildings marks the alleyway entrance to the cute, blue tasting room where pints, flights, and growlers are on the ready.