Over the last six years, as they poured pints inside JA Heneghan's Tavern, their family's place in Point Lookout, Keira and Luke Heneghan developed a passion for beer. Especially local beer. So much so that they began home brewing on a nano-sized system they built themselves.
As the siblings turned out one-barrel batches with Luke Heneghan's girlfriend, Molly Allare, they realized they wanted to eventually go commercial. That road will culminate Friday when they debut Bright Eye Beer Co. in Long Beach during a grand-opening shindig.
Luke Heneghan, 29, said a lot of hands have been on deck during the process. "We've met some pretty awesome people in the local craft beer industry, from brewery owners to beer buyers, and they're a super-supportive and helpful bunch," he said. The trio also drew on the expertise of Brendan McGivney, a brewing-world fixture, as a mentor; in October 2018, they leased a longtime five-and-dime on West Park Avenue and initiated an $800,000 renovation, installing a 15-barrel system and a spacious tasting room with plenty of wood, brick and steel accents. The striking central bar (with 16 taps), tables and a few couches all overlook the production area.
Staffing the brewhouse is head brewer Brendan Maxim, a Long Island native who returned home after years of brewing out west, most recently at Laguna Beach Brewery in California. Among the beers he'll produce are fruited kettle sours (including one with boysenberries and tart cherries), a hazy IPA called FOAM-O and a coffee stout brewed with roasted cacao.
Heneghan is keen to highlight both local hops, including some from Route 27 Hop Yard in Moriches, and new varieties grown out west, such as Strata. "It has this awesome tropical fruitiness to it, and really great aromatics," Heneghan said. Bright Eye will also work with different yeast strains, he said. Boylan sodas, local kombucha and New York state wines will also be poured in the taproom, and though there is no kitchen, customers can eventually bring in food from nearby restaurants and eateries.
The grand opening for Bright Eye — named after a former Point Lookout fishing concern called Bright Eye Fish Company — starts at 6 p.m. Friday. "We're expecting it to be a little nuts," Heneghan said. While there will be no crowler fills during the event, they're on deck for the future. Moving forward, the brewery will operate Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 11 p.m.; and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Bright Eye Beer Co. is at 50 W. Park Ave in Long Beach, 516-543-5736. brighteyebeerco.com