A pint of craft beer is tapped at Blue Point...

A pint of craft beer is tapped at Blue Point Brewing Co. on June 14, 2013. Credit: Blue Point Brewery

In recent months, I've tasted more than 150 Long Island beers.

That's something you couldn't say a decade ago.

The rise of local breweries should be on your radar. It doesn't exactly parallel the growth of vineyards and wineries, which, in addition to winemaking expertise, require the right land. A brewer can get started anywhere, and often does in the garage. Now, however, he or she could obtain hops from Condzella's Farm in Wading River.

If you're just starting to imbibe local brews, I suggest you try some of the smooth and immediately approachable choices. These include: Great South Bay Blood Orange Ale, Long Ireland Celtic Ale, Port Jeff Brewing Co.'s Schooner Ale, Greenport Harbor's Harbor Ale, Fire Island Lighthouse Ale, Oyster Bay Brewing's Amber Ale, Montauk Brewing Co.'s Driftwood Ale, Southampton Publick House's Burton India Pale Ale, and, of course, local mainstay Blue Point Toasted Lager.

After these introductions, you may be interested in brews such as Blind Bat's Hell Gate, a gilded and malty tribute to Belgian strong ales and the brewer's Vlad the Inhaler oak-smoked wheat beer, Spider Bite's White Bite Wheat Ale and Eight Legged RyePA, Southampton's Altbier and Imperial Porter, Greenport Brewing's Black Duck Porter, Barrage Brewing's Black Spot Ale and Flemish Giant witbier, and whatever you can find from Rocky Point Artisan Brewers and especially Barrier Brewing Co. of Oceanside.

Good sources for local beers include Superstar Beverage in Huntington Station and other locations; Shoreline Beverage in Huntington; and Bellport Cold Beer & Soda.

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