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Long IslandSuffolk

Craft brews shine at Patchogue’s Blue Point Cask Ales Festival

Ricky Gunzel from Farmingville makes his rounds tasting

Ricky Gunzel from Farmingville makes his rounds tasting craft beer at the Cask Ales Festival in Patchogue on Saturday, April 16, 2016. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

The flavors were varied and, sometimes, almost a little more food than beer: an oatmeal stout with peanut butter and jelly. Banana and pecan. Lavender.

These, along with a seaweed India pale ale, and a beer that incorporated tequila-soaked raisins, were among dozens of brews featured Saturday at the Blue Point Brewing Company’s Cask Ales Festival.

The annual outdoor craft beer fest, featuring 50 house cask varieties and scores more from 63 breweries hailing from as far away as the Midwest, has been hosted by the Patchogue brewery since 2004.

On Saturday, about 3,000 people crammed into the brewery’s backyard to sample cask brews from renowned beer makers such as Chicago’s Goose Island, Vermont’s Magic Hat and Brooklyn Brewery. More than a dozen Long Island breweries and home-brew clubs represented the local brew scene.

“It’s about collaboration,” said Blue Point brewmaster Dan Jansen. “It’s about inviting other people in, seeing what other people are doing. We like to give everybody a chance to show off what they can do.”

Blue Point’s cask lineup included some new pet projects and several brews made with an array of ingredients; an Earl Grey pale ale, a session IPA with cucumber, and a jalapeño pale ale also were on tap for tasting.

Jansen said he thinks interest in making and drinking artisanal beers has surged in part because it’s both an art and a science: It’s a craft that has a formula, but it’s rare that two batches turn out exactly the same.

“I think a lot of people like the fact that people are making their own type of beer and different types of beer as opposed to Budweiser or Michelob or Corona, because they taste the same all the time,” said Janice Rung of Malverne, a recent craft beer enthusiast whose husband is a member of the Handgrenades Homebrew and Craft club. “But when you go to people who are making homemade beer ... the beer is amazing.”

Toward the end of the festival, Justin Spegele of Yaphank was manning Bellport Brewing Company’s last remaining cask of American IPA — a mango and citrus-infused IPA already had run out.

He said in the last several years, the number of Long Island breweries has exploded.

“There is a lot of really good, interesting new stuff out there. It probably ties a lot to the trend in gastropubs, and being more of a foodie these days,” he said. “I think people are just kind of expanding their tastes outside of Bud Light. ... there are so many different things you can try.”

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