New breweries and craft-beer bars have boomed in Nassau and Suffolk, especially in the last decade, creating a region on tap, with beers local and national pouring in.
"It has been a proven winner," said Amanda Danielson, owner of Hoptron Brewtique in Patchogue, which is awash in high-quality beer at several downtown locations. Danielson, whose establishment is a full-time craft-beer bar, added she expected the growth to continue.
"Long Island can support it," added Vincent Minutella, who opened The Black Sheep ale house in 2011 in Mineola, where O'Donnell's Pub stood for decades. He rotates 25 taps by season, region and style. “Selecting them is 90 percent of my job.
Anthony Celentano, proprietor of Tap & Barrel in Smithtown, considers his work "a labor of love." He oversees more than 50 taps on one of the larger rotating lists. "We print the lists two times a day," he said. "Fresh and local and what the customers like to drink" are his three criteria at the bar, which just celebrated its fifth birthday.At The Lark Pub & Grub in East Northport, owner Tim Kelly specified, "We're looking for stuff that is a little rare, a little less mainstream, limited releases, what other bars are not carrying" for his 26 taps.
And Chris Werle, co-owner of the Croxley Ales group, which has three major bars in Nassau and one in Suffolk, noted the lists are divided into three sections: classics, including Pilsner Urquell and Guinness; "more cutting edge craft-y beer," such as Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA; and "rotating rarities," of which Pipeworks Lizard King American Pale Ale is one.
Croxley Ales began 27 years ago in Franklin Square. The four Croxley Ales on Long Island add up to more than 250 taps.
Here are some Long Island bars where you can sample what's new and what's news.
T.J. Finley’s (42 E. Main St., Bay Shore): The motto at this local landmark is blunt: “No crap on tap.’’ And there are 25 taps. The brews may include locals such as Crooked Ladder Gypsy Red, Fire Island Lighthouse Ale and Great South Bay Massive IPA. Nationals: Captain Lawrence Seeking Alpha Triple IPA, Anchor Steam Barrel Ale, Peak Organic Oak Aged Mocha Stout, Bitburger Pilsner. The food choices include “bottle cap” cheeseburger sliders, beer-and-cheese fondue with soft pretzel pieces, fried pickles, house-smoked pulled pork sliders, beef brisket chili and chicken wings. More info: 631-647-4856, tjfinleys.com
A porter-and five-cheese fondue is served with soft pretzels and a goblet and bottle of Erdinger Hefeweizen Dunkel at T.J. Finley's in Bay Shore.
Tap & Barrel
Tap & Barrel (558 Smithtown Bypass, Smithtown): Add to all those tap beers more than 50 in bottles and a dozen in cans. They include locals such as Sand City Stormborn Blonde, Moustache Wanderlust ESB, Rocky Point Artisan Brewers Belgian Quad, Barrier Brewing’s Icculus Kolsch, Blind Bat Hell Gate Golden Ale, Brooklyn Greenmarket Wheat, Port Jeff Nitro Lager and Spider Bite First Bite Pale Ale. Off-Island: Bahnhof Original Leipziger Gose, Captain Lawrence Palate Shifter Imperial IPA, Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball 2013. The food is limited to snacks and visiting food trucks. Expect more by midsummer. More info: 631-780-5474, 52taps.com
Craft beers, many from local breweries, are poured at Tap & Barrel in Smithtown.
The Black Sheep
The Black Sheep (78 Second St., Mineola): The motto at The Black Sheep: “Different is good.” And the name, of course, stems from the idea that the black sheep stands out in a herd. Selections are available via 25 taps, 14 growlers and 81 bottles. There are also a half-dozen brews in cans, plus six ciders, just in case. The choices change regularly. The Black Sheep serves hot dogs and bar pizzas. And imbibers are encouraged to bring their own food. More info: 516-307-1280, blacksheepalehouse.com
In addition to beer on tap, The Black Sheep in Mineola carries distinctive bottled brews.
Croxley Ales (Multiple locations): Each of the four bars in the Nassau-Suffolk group of Croxley Ales has a different theme and a wide range of beers. All four advise, “We do not carry Bud, Coors or Miller.” The Rockville Centre bar (7 S. Park Ave) specializes in U.S. beers and is formally titled Croxley’s Great American Ale House & Beer Garden. The Farmingdale bar (190 Main St.) is Croxley’s Public House; the first in Franklin Square (129 New Hyde Park Rd.) is Croxley’s Original Ale House. And Croxley’s Ale House & Biergarten brings to Smithtown (155 W. Main St.) a German-style outdoor setting for warm-weather festivities, as well as the indoor bar and dining room that serves sausages and mussel pots, wings and burgers. More info: croxley.com
Warsteiner is among the German breweries represented on tap at Croxley's Ale House & Biergarten in Smithtown.
The Good Life
The Good Life (1039 Park Blvd., Massapequa Park): The pub has an English accent and some satisfying food to go along with the beer. You’ll find 25 brews on tap, 57 in bottle, three cans and a couple of ciders. On tap, a recent list had Bacchus Flemish Red, Ridgewood’s Finback Missing Time Black Saison, Other Half Veldrijden Love Saison from Carroll Gardens, and Anchor Steam California Common. In addition to burgers and chicken wings, the selections include pot stickers, chicken lettuce wraps, chicken potpie, salads, house-made potato chips and a Mediterranean platter of dips, cheese and olives. More info: 516-798-4663, thegoodlifeny.com
Host Mike Soblick of Stony Brook welcomes patrons at The Good Life in Massapequa Park.
Hoptron Brewtique (22 W. Main St., Patchogue): Hoptron Brewtique transitioned from its original business of home-brew supplier, beer distributor and tasting room to become a full-time craft-beer bar. There are 16 brews on tap, in styles that appeal both to craft-beer newcomers and drinkers looking for bolder flavors. The list changes each week. Recommended: Flagship Brewing Co.’s Metropolitan Lager and Bunker Brewing Co. Machine Czech Pilz, a pilsner, to start; then, Stillwater Artisanal Tropic Punch, with mango passion fruit and peach, and Other Half Brewing Co.’s Magic Green Nuggets Double IPA. More info: 631-438-0296, hoptronbrewtique.com
In addition to an ever-changing list of 16 beers on tap, cans and bottles covering a full spectrum of styles and tastes are available at Hoptron Brewtique in Patchogue.
The Lark Pub & Grub
The Lark Pub & Grub (93 Larkfield Rd., East Northport): Local brews such as Barrier Brewing’s Money IPA and Greenport Harbor’s Pith ’N Peel are among the 26 recent draft beers. Also: Ninkasi Dawn of the Red India Pale Ale, Bronx Spring Pale Ale, Stone 12th Anniversary Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Bear Republic Tartare Rouge and Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale. To go with them: turkey stout chili, soft baked pretzels, meatballs and polenta, sliders, spicy fried chicken. More info: 631-262-9700, thelarkpubandgrub.com
Patrons sip craft beers at The Lark Pub & Grub in East Northport.
The Tap Room
The Tap Room (Multiple locations): There are 33 brews on tap in Massapequa Park (1010 Park Blvd.) and 24 in Patchogue (114 W. Main St). Highlights include Stone Patazkala Red IPA, Bell’s Hopslam, Long Trail Unearthed Stout Nitro in Suffolk; and Oceanside’s Barrier Brewing Non-Cents American Pale Alse, Victory Dirtwolf, Chimay Trappist White, Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen, Smuttynose Durty American Strong Brown Ale. Artisanal cheeses and cured meats, sausages, mussels, sliders and tacos are on both menus. More info: Massapequa Park, 516-590-7030, taproommp.com; Patchogue, 631-569-5577, patchoguetaproom.com
A bartender threads her way through the crowd with an order of beer at The Tap Room in Massapequa Park. -- PETER M. GIANOTTI