In a farmland-scarce place such as Long Island, longtime horticulturalists Melissa Daniels and Anthony Caggiano have accomplished the improbable: They’ve opened a microbrewery where all of the hops and grain for the beers are grown on site.
On Aug. 26, Daniels and Caggiano opened Jamesport Farm Brewery, a 10-barrel microbrewery on Sound Avenue whose brewing equipment and tasting room is housed in a renovated former potato barn.
The brewery sprung from their years of growing hops and, more recently, barley and wheat on their leased 43-acre farm, where they also raise shrubs and trees. The partners have long sold the five variety of hops grown here to local brewers under the banner Long Island Hops. Two years ago, they began planting barley and wheat as well, said Caggiano, harvesting 7,000 pounds last summer and 20,000 pounds this year.
Once the grain is harvested, it is malted — steeped, germinated and kiln-dried — and that malt is the foundation of the brewery’s opening lineup of beers, brewed by Caggiano, ranging from an extra-special bitter called Ex-Wife to Haybaler, a crisp pale ale that serves as the brewery’s signature. “We don’t want to make super-hoppy beers,” Caggiano said (though there are two IPAs on tap, too). Guests can grab pints — or growlers and Crowlers, aka 32-ounce cans — at the tasting bar and sip them at an umbrella-topped table on the lawn, where there is also a cornhole and a food truck run by Christopher Michael Catering.
Just as people trek out to the North Fork to taste wines made from locally grown grapes, Daniels and Caggiano think hops and grain grown on the North Fork subtly express the region’s maritime terroir. Soon bags of their malted grain will be for sale in the store, as will bags of this year’s hops — and they still plan to sell some of the latter to local brewers.
The tasting room is open from Wednesday to Sunday; check the website for hours.
Jamesport Farm Brewery, 5873 Sound Ave., Riverhead. 844-532-2337, jfbrewery.com