A decade ago, the Long Island craft brewing scene could be boiled down to two major players: Blue Point and Southampton. Besides them, craft brews were tough to come by on Long Island, much less New York City. But in the last few years, breweries in Long Island have been popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain.
Greenport Harbor, Long Ireland and Blind Bat are among the many breweries that are crafting excellent beers for Long Island residents and New Yorkers alike. And the latest Long Island brewery to expand distribution to New York is Port Jeff Brewing Company, the brainchild of Port Jefferson's Mike Philbrick.
After more than a decade spent homebrewing, Philbrick decided to go pro. He turned a Christmas-supply shop into the first brewery in this harbor-hugging town on Long Island's North Shore. On a seven-barrel system, Philbrick crafts full flavor, no-hops-spared beers that honor the town's shipbuilding past.
The flagship Schooner Ale is the most approachable beer, a malty-citrusy marriage of English and American brewing traditions. Better still is the Runaway Ferry Imperial IPA, which is made with smoked malt, and the Low Tide Black IPA that receives a tropical edge due to Citra hops. The honey-sweetened porter also ain't half bad, and come summer you'd be happy to sip the White's Beach Wit.
Tonight at 7 p.m., Bierkraft hosts the brewery's big Brooklyn debut. Seven Port Jeff beers will be on tap, including Schooner, Runaway Ferry Imperial Smoked IPA, Low Tide and a couple cask ales, notably the Starboard Oatmeal Stout primed with Port Jeff Birch Beer.
Trust me: This brewery will be your favorite new port of call.