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Weekend picks: Where to find best brewskis

The bartender at T.J. Finley's in Bay Shore

The bartender at T.J. Finley's in Bay Shore takes orders as patrons watch a basketball game on one of the many televisions in the bar. (March 4, 2010) Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

The big beer holidays are July 4 and Super Bowl Sunday. But autumn is the season of serious brews. No, not going from Miller Chill to High Life or Bud Light Lime to Budweiser. It's about top American craft beers and major imports, on tap if possible.

Here are a few places where you can toast your teams in the baseball playoffs and enjoy what you're drinking, too. And each establishment has some good food, as well.

Waterzooi in Garden City stands out for its excellent selection of brews from Belgium, which produces the world's best and most varied. You can go across the full spectrum here. While you're doing so, try the two-star restaurant's namesake seafood stew or a hearty beef stew, the tasty lobster croquettes and a first-class burger. Essential: fries with mayo. Waterzooi, 850 Franklin Ave., Garden City; 516-877-2177, waterzooi .com

T.J. Finley's in Bay Shore has an extensive repertoire of brews on tap, and they're high-quality choices. Pick at random, local to international. The casual menu includes chili made with stout, a bock beer Bavarian fondue with a soft baked pretzel, plus meaty chicken wings, pulled pork sliders, a hanger steak sandwich, assorted burgers and "bottle caps," or a trio of mini-burgers. T.J. Finley's, 42 E. Main St., Bay Shore; 631-647-4856,

BrickHouse Brewery in Patchogue offers its own beers and ales for a refreshing local entry. The brewery is in a vintage building in downtown Patchogue. BrickHouse's fare includes beer-battered onion rings and, yes, beer-battered mozzarella. You'll also find burgers, sandwiches, salads, steaks and entrees such as chicken potpie, sauerbraten, jambalaya and, of course, beer sausage with sauerkraut and mustard, BrickHouse Brewery, 67 W. Main St., Patchogue; 631-447-2337,


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