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Long Island Craft Beer Week early start

 

Dan Burke and Greg Martin of Long Ireland Brewing and Great South Bay's Greg Maisch at Croxley's Craft Beer Week preview party.

Long Island Craft Beer Week for 2012 got underway today—for most folks.

For me, this 10-day celebration of Long Island brewers and beer purveyors (May 11-20) got underway a day early at Croxley’s Ale House in downtown Farmingdale, where four local brewers poured limitless cask-conditioned samples of their brewers’ art in a crowded back part of the bar’s dining room, and a parade of servers carried in trays of boneless hot wings all night. I was disappointed I didn’t get to try the promised sldiers, bacon sticks, crab cakes and the like. Gone, perhaps, just two hours into the five-hour event or never served.

But never mind, We were there for the beer. And there was plenty of that.

Greg Martin and his partner, Dan Burke, of Riverhead’s Long Ireland Brewing Co., were easy enough to spot in their dark green tee shirts. They were serving up glassfuls of their original brew, Celtic Ale, a sweetish mild-tasting brew.

A few steps in and you tripped over one of the several brew crew members from Bay Shore’s Great South Bay Brewing Co.: Phil Ebel V, the brewery’s energetic director of sales, sales rep Sean Nolan, brewer Greg Maisch and assistant brewer Kevin Ryan. So many of them, but just two Great South Bay brews, the lovely, fruity and spicy Kismet Saison and the potent Massive IPA.

Barry McLaughlin of distributor Clare Rose / Long Island Craft Beer Specialists was there with a Blue Point Brewery team pouring the Patchogue’s brewery’s resiny, dry-hopped White IPA and its black IPA, Toxic Sludge, which is eminently more drinkable than its name would suggest.

And last, but certainly not least, there was Mike Philbrick of Port Jeff Brewing Co. with casks of his idiosyncratic White’s Beach Wit with lime zest and Schooner Pale Ale with cherries. The former packed a wallop of coriander, which became less noticeable as the level of the beer in my glass got lower, The latter offered just a hint of cherries, just a new accent for the brewery’s fine pale ale.

Enough beer, really for a few hours. As the hours ticked by I remarked to Philbrick that I had it. His response: “I’ve got 10 more days of this.”

A wide range of Long Island Craft Beer Week events will taking place across the region, including the Golden Tap Awards, a people’s choice awards competition that will honor Long Island’s best bar, brew pub, brewery, sales rep, new beer and overall beer. It will be held on May 15 at the Boulton Center for Performing Arts in Bay Shore. There will be plenty of chances to enjoy the local suds.


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