Chances are, if you’re drinking, you’re going to want to eat sooner or later. New York’s laws recognize that, and require breweries to offer food if they’re pouring full beers on-site. But most brewers want to make beer — not run a restaurant — so eats are often limited to wax-paper satchels stuffed with popcorn or peanuts, or tiny, dusty bags of chips clipped to the wall behind the bar.
But how nice is it when a brewery offers a whole menu of delicious eats? Suddenly, you’re free to take an extended wander through the tap list — drink a few pints, snack on some fries, grab a burger, pair a porter with a cherry-chocolate tartufo.
With LI’s craft beer boom now entering its second decade, there are local brewers who are stepping up their food game with chef-driven menus, trendy food trucks, and even fresh sushi made to order.
Barrier Brewing Co.
3001 New St.., Unit A2, Oceanside; open 3-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., noon-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and noon-8 p.m. Sun.; 516-594-1028, barrierbrewing.com
As Nassau’s first brewery, Barrier Brewing Co. was a bit of a local pioneer when it opened in 2009. These days, hopheads check in for juicy IPAs, but drinkers shan’t skip the experimental ales and sours that also rotate through the tap lines.
A few years back, Barrier owner Evan Klein partnered with “Cheezy Pete” Peter Robideau’s 3rd Rail Kitchen food truck. Robideau’s daily menu includes sliders and cheesesteaks, wings and disco fries, and specials like tangy Thai wings and hand-cut fries loaded with beer cheese, bacon and ranch. New this season, find meatless Mondays (3-9 p.m.) catered by Queens-based Secret Vegan Kitchen, which makes its own deli-style sandwiches thin-sliced, savory seitan cold-cuts — don’t miss the “Rubin,” with pastrami, Swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing — and meat-free versions of Nashville hot chicken and buffalo popcorn chicken.
Blue Point Brewing Co.
225 W. Main St., Patchogue; open 3-9 p.m. Tue.-Thurs., noon-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and noon-8 p.m. Sun.; 631-627-8292, bluepointbrewing.com
Although Blue Point has been part of Anheuser-Busch InBev's international beer portfolio since 2014, it has remained steadfastly rooted here on Long Island. In 2019, the brewery doubled down with expansive new digs in downtown Patchogue. Visitors to the second-floor brewpub can take in a fishbowl view of the brewing operations and sip pints of Toasted Lager and Spectral Haze IPA. When hunger strikes, tuck into big burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, sautéed clams with chorizo and herbs or smoked-Gouda spinach-artichoke dip.
Garvies Point Craft Brewery & Restaurant
45 Herb Hill Rd., Glen Cove; open 2-9 p.m. Sun.-Wed. (bar open Mon. but kitchen is closed), 2-10 p.m. Thurs. and noon-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 516-927-8300, garviespointbreweryandrestaurant.com
For a Gold Coast drinking experience, yachters can set sail for Garvies Point Craft Brewery’s new Glen Cove restaurant, where there’s docking for boats (to 49 feet). The barroom’s soaring ceilings and window-paned walls impart a wide-open, airy feel; There’s ample room for reveling inside, or on the 150-seat outdoor patio.
Sip a stout or witbier while browsing raw-bar oysters and clams, or pair an icy kolsch with a lobster roll. Those seeking a proper supper will find pan-roasted chicken, pasta with shellfish and cognac, and grilled New York strip. And sushi fans can show off their chopstick chops with classic nigiri and maki, available after 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.
Greenport Harbor Brewery & Restaurant
42155 Main Rd., Peconic; open noon-8 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and noon-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 631-477-1100, greenportharborbrewing.com
At Greenport Harbor Brewing’s Peconic brewery and restaurant, chef Greg Ling keeps his menu basic — just a few salads, snacks, sandwiches and tacos. But he builds each dish around fresh Long Island products. Pair an easy-drinking Haus pils or Light Work pale ale with a salad of crisp farm greens, or tip back an Otherside IPA with a North Fork grass-fed burger or a crispy fish sandwich. Simple kielbasa becomes a textural affair with mustard and slaw, beer cheese, pickles and fried onions, while tacos cradle marinated steak, chorizo or chipotle pulled chicken.
2711 Sound Ave., Calverton; open noon-8 p.m. Mon. and Wed., noon-9 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.; 631-591-0217, riverheadcider.com
Since opening in 2017, Riverhead’s resident cidery has become a standby for family-friendly drinks and casual café fare. The food — conceived to play nicely with the house ciders and a long list of New York beers and wines — is tailor-made for sharing. Soft jumbo pretzels come with three dipping sauces, while the guacamole (prepared tableside) makes a fine prelude to Thursday’s popular taco specials. Cheese — a forever friend to all things apple-y — takes center stage in a sweet-and-salty grilled cheese with brie and figs, and in Italian-inflected offerings such as meatball Parmesan and chicken Parmesan heros and flatbread-style pizzas.