The South Shore can probably stake a claim to the lion's share of new craft breweries in recent years, but during the past month, the North Shore is coming in strong, too. On the heels of the new Centerport bistro from Blind Bat Brewery, Bayville now has a brewery to call its own, too: Old Tappan Brewing Co., a venture from longtime friends and colleagues Matthew Cryan and Brent Kunkle, which has opened in a former dance studio.
Cryan and Kunkle met over a decade ago while working on a horror film called "I Sell the Dead," (Kunkle was producing, Cryan was best-boy grip) and became friends as they worked together on several other films. "A number of years ago, our wives ended up getting us small home brewing kits as gifts," said Cryan, a Glen Cove native and now, Bayville resident. The "tinkering" that ensued evolved to full-on hobbies and then, that fever that strikes some of the most devout home brewers: Hey, maybe I/we should open a brewery?
"Six years ago, we first put pen to paper to execute the model," said Kunkle, who grew up in Pennsylvania but lives in Sea Cliff. A crowdfunding campaign that didn't reach its goal did not deter them. "Being part of the film industry, creating something has always been a part of us, and we went into craft beer with that same spirit," he added.
At 1,200 square feet for both the brewhouse and taproom, Old Tappan — which is named for a Glen Cove road where Cryan skateboarded and biked as a teenager — shoehorns a lot into a small space, including a bar whose top is made from the dance studio floor; a few tables, and a one-barrel brewery manned by Cryan. "We are incredibly small," as far as breweries go, said Cryan, who turns out 30-gallon batches of primarily sessionable beers, or beers that fall under 5 percent alcohol: a pale ale, a blonde ale, and an English brown porter are all in the current lineup, with stronger beers and ales such as an English-style bitter and a West Coast-style IPA on deck.
For now, the only food offered is fresh popcorn (a nod to the partners' cinema-world past), but that may change in the near future, said Kunkle; growler fills cost between $17 and $19, with the growler itself costing $6.
In a sweet twist, spent grain from Old Tappan's brewing process goes to Orkestai Farm in Upper Brookville, which is where Paul Dlugokencky of Blind Bat Brewery gets cucumbers for some of Blind Bat's plates.
For now, Old Tappan Brewing Co. is open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday — though because of an especially busy weekend, the brewery will be closed until August 16 to restock its beer stores.
37 Ludlam Ave., Bayville. 516-802-0174, oldtappanbrewingcompany.com