There’s a new ale on tap at the Whale’s Tale in Northport and it’s about as local as can be — from practically next door.
Harbor Head Beach Blonde Summer Ale is the first beer in general circulation from Harbor Head Brewing Co., which began brewing this spring inside a former bait-and-tackle shop in the same marina. Though the brewery isn’t yet open to the public, its beer sells out rapidly from the Whale’s Tale bar each time it is tapped.
“We have a five-barrel system, but we’ve already outgrown it and are thinking about an expansion,” said brewery partner Michael Versandi, who handles marketing for both the brewery and the restaurant.
The two ventures are closely aligned: Whale’s Tale owner Sosh Andriano is the primary owner of Harbor Head, along with Versandi and a few other partners. Cognizant of “how craft beer was exploding on Long Island,” Versandi said, the group decided to begin brewing their own. “We’re a bunch of guys who like to drink and compare beers all day anyway, and we said, ‘this is something we’re definitely interested in.’ ”
They took over the vacant shop at the Britannia Yachting Center at the head of Northport Harbor, about 100 feet from the Whale’s Tail, and hired longtime brewer Rich Ruggiero, a Northport native who is also a fixture on the Maine brewing scene, to fire up their system. “He’s a perfectionist, and doesn’t let anything out the door that doesn’t meet his standard,” Versandi said.
Among the inaugural and soon-to-come beers are the Beach Blonde Summer Ale, a handful of IPAs, Dockyard Kolsch, and a hefeweizen called Sea Legs. Special limited releases will be part of the mix, too.
For now, Harbor Head beers appear only on tap at the Whale’s Tale — that is, until the brewery opens for can and growler sales (but no on-site tastings, at least this season) sometime after Memorial Day.
Harbor Head Brewing Co., 81 Fort Salonga Rd., Northport, 631-793-1327, harborheadbrew.com