Drive down Pulaski Street in Riverhead on a weekend afternoon and you might pass a vehicle that looks like a crowd of people pedaling a picnic table. That's the Brew Crew, Long Island's new bicycle tour company that allows patrons to collectively hop between three brewery tasting rooms -- Long Ireland Beer Company, Moustache Brewing Co. and Crooked Ladder Brewing Co. -- all in downtown Riverhead.
"It's a feel-good ride," says Victoria Clacherty, Brew Crew co-owner. "With the growing craft brewing industry and the amount of breweries so close to each other in Riverhead, it seemed like the perfect fit."
TAKE A RIDE
For $30, pedalers can climb aboard the brew cycle, which seats 14, and spend 2 1/2 hours becoming a beer connoisseur. Tours run three times a day on weekends and reservations -- for solo riders or groups -- are needed.
It's a 10-minute, half-mile ride between destinations -- riders pedal but a Brew Crew staffer steers the vehicle. Along the way, don't be surprised to encounter some attention.
"People on the street video you and take pictures," says Dominique Klein, 32, of Patchogue, who recently took the tour with her fiance and family. "It's a sight to see."
Three craft breweries in the same town might seem competitive, but owners say it helps more than hurts. "Everybody has their own brewing style and technique," says Long Ireland co-owner Greg Martin. "We all benefit."
1. LONG IRELAND The tasting room has 12 beers on tap. Order a pint for $5 or get six tastes (five ounces per pour) for $8. There's a spring seasonal NoFo Farmhouse Ale and Breakfast Stout, a low-alcohol beer blended with cold coffee.
After 30 minutes, patrons get back on the brew cycle and head toward Moustache Brewing Co. "After the first run, you are a bit more involved and get to know the other people on the cycle," Klein says. "You laugh and communicate. There's always something you have in common."
2. MOUSTACHE Named after co-owner Matt Spitz's signature facial hair, this brewery is known for its monthly IPAs (India pale ale). "There are so many different hop characters. IPAs can be grapefruity, lemony, herbally, floral or garlicky," co-owner Lauri Spitz says. "Craft beer people always want something new."Named after co-owner Matt Spitz's signature facial hair, this brewery is known for its monthly IPAs (India pale ale). "There are so many different hop characters. IPAs can be grapefruity, lemony, herbally, floral or garlicky," co-owner Lauri Spitz says. "Craft beer people always want something new."
Pick a pint for $6 or order an $8 flight of four five-ounce pours. On tap: Everyman's Porter (a light-bodied dark beer), Milk + Honey Brown Ale or, for the more adventurous, the Wanderlust ESB (Extra Special Bitter) English-style brew.
Last call: Get pumped and head over to Crooked Ladder for the final session before pedaling back.
3. CROOKED LADDER Eight beers are on tap for sampling. Start with Gypsy Road, a "not too hoppy" American red ale and work up to the more bitter 70 West IPA. Beers are $6, or get eight three-ounce tastes for $9.
"We get people who are just starting out with craft beer and others that are real serious," says co-owner and brewer Duffy Griffiths. "People's tastes are becoming more refined. Back in the '90s, you couldn't sell an IPA to save your life. Now that's what it's all about."
Brew Crew bicycle brewery tour
WHEN | WHERE 1, 2 and 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through October from 285 Pulaski St., Riverhead. Heavy rain or lightning cancels. Must be 21 or older. Reservations suggested.
INFO 631-722-1516, brewcrewcycles.com
COST $30 ($375 full bike rental)