Happy Leap Day! The shortest month of the year has been one of the most active so far, with two new breweries opening up and lots of fun beerfests. The month of March promises to be just as busy and fun-filled, so enjoy our round-up of news and upcoming events across the Long Island beer scene.
On March 12, we are looking forward to the premiere of an interview with Bernie Kilkelly of LIBeerGuide.com on the Beer with Strangers website and podcast, hosted by Tony Russo. Tony interviews beer writers and other industry notables from across the country, and in January his podcast featured an interview with Long Island's own Andy Calimano of Starfish Junction on running beer festivals. We hope you won't be a stranger and will listen in on March 12 or after!
Two New Breweries Open on Nassau County's South Shore
Suffolk Country has experienced the most growth in craft breweries in New York State over the past three years, with 15 new brewery taprooms opened compared to five new taprooms in Nassau County. But Nassau County has taken the lead so far in 2020, with two new breweries holding Grand Openings in Massapequa Park and Long Beach.
Angel Santiago and Kris Constantelos at Motion's Grand Opening on Feb. 14
Motion Craft Brewed has a one-barrel brewing system with a two-barrel fermenting tank, so they are brewing double batches of their beer and ciders. The taproom has 10 taps and initially will be open on Wednesdays to Sundays. According to Constantelos, the name of the brewery and its logo refers to a boat propeller always in motion, and the owners plan to upgrade their brewing system over the next year to keep up with demand and introduce new beers.
Bright Eye team: (l to r) Keira Heneghan, Luke Heneghan, Kaci Heneghan, Molly Allare,
head brewer Brendan Maxim
Bright Eye Beer Co. held its Grand Opening in Long Beach on Feb. 21, with hundreds of craft beer lovers packing the new taproom on Park Avenue across from the LIRR station and City Hall. Co-owners Molly Allare, Luke Heneghan, and his sister Keira Heneghan, took over a 5,000 square foot space in 2018 that had been vacant for two years. The historic building was constructed in 1939 for a McLellan’s Five and Dime Store and most recently housed Long Beach Craft and Variety store. Bright Eye has a 15-barrel brewhouse and a 40-foot-long bar in the taproom, which is topped by recycled steel beams from the old Point Lookout Pavilion that was taken down in 2018.
On hand for the grand opening were many members of the Heneghan family from Point Lookout, who own the popular J.A. Heneghan’s Tavern and Restaurant. Bright Eye’s name came from a fish packing company that was located in Point Lookkout in the 1930s and 1940, Bright Eye Fish Co. “A fish with bright eyes meant that it was freshly caught,” said Luke Heneghan, “so we are proud to be carrying on the name with our freshly made local beers.”
More Taprooms Opening
Two new taprooms are set to open in Suffolk County in March. HopWin's Brewery in Bay Shore will hold its Grand Opening on March 21. Saint James Brewery, which has its production brewery in Holbrook, will open its first taproom in the hamlet of St. James.
For a complete guide to Brewery Taprooms & Brewpubs on Long Island please check out our listings.
Po'Boy Brewery Provides 'Blessing Bags" for Homeless Center
Po'Boy Brewery in Port Jefferson Station held a very special event at the brewery on Feb. 16 that didn't involve a new beer release or festive occasion, but instead made a direct impact on people in the local community. Wesam Hassanin, bar manager of the brewery, organized a donation drive to purchase everyday items -- clothing, toiletries, food -- and on Feb. 16 over 30 volunteers gathered at the brewery to assemble the items into "Blessing Bags." A total of 100 bags holding 33 items each were then delivered to Pax Christi Hospitality Center, a 24-bed emergency housing facility in Port Jefferson.
Bobby Rodriguez and Wesam Hassanin of Po-Boy Brewery with volunteers at packing event
Hassanin and her husband Bobby Rodriguez, owner and brewmaster of Po-Boy Brewery, hope to hold similar events at the brewery in the future. "As a community we have the power to really make a difference," said Hassanin, "and I believe that promoting this sense of togetherness will help to encourage people to pay it forward."
News from around the Island
Croxley's Ale House & Biergarten in Smithtown unexpectedly closed on Feb. 20. The Smithtown location of Croxley's had been open since 2012 and had a loyal following for its 80 beers on tap, German food offerings and Oktoberfest celebrations. Croxley Ales continues to have locations open in Farmingdale, Rockville Centre and the original location in Franklin Square.
Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore introduced the first locally-brewed line of hard seltzers, joining a national trend that is appealing to consumers seeking low calorie, flavorful beverages. GSB's 100 calorie, 5% ABV line of "Spiked" seltzers comes in a mixed pack of 12 oz cans featuring three cans each of Sour Cherry, Watermelon, Pineapple, and Sparking Lemonade flavors. According to Ryan Randazzo of GSB, the flavors were selected for Long Islanders, by Long Islanders. "We started with over 50 flavors and narrowed it down to our final four after letting our customers vote on what they liked the best,” said Randazzo. The "Spiked" mixed packs will be available at beverage centers around Long Island and in the GSB tasting room.