By JIM McCUNE //
With a jumpstart on this year’s American Craft Beer Week, the seventh-annual Long Island Craft Beer Week returns with a Nassau County Cask Kickoff May 11.
The event’s mission is to promote patronage at Long Island’s breweries, bars and restaurants and to raise awareness of local craft-beer culture, while doing some good through the Craft Cares food drive. But for those who are new to the scene, Long Island Craft Beer Week is a great chance for craft-beer lovers to experiment with exciting new beers and meet the rock stars of the local beer scene.
Bellport Cold Beer & Soda owner Dave Schultzer, president of LICBW and organizer of Craft Cares, promises “the largest Long Island Craft Beer Week to date.”
“Ten days of exciting beer events in Nassau and Suffolk counties,” Schultzer notes. “We also brewed a very special beer for Craft Cares, a hoppy IPA.
“So please participate in our Cans for a Can food drive,” he added. “Most of all, get out there and have some fun.”
One of the many awesome features of LICBW is registering for a commemorative event glass. The glass is free, but you’re encouraged to support local brewers by filling it up with their fresh beer.
This year, every free event glass comes with the all-new LICBW VIP wristband, which provides year-round access to special offers and discounts at craft-centric establishments Island-wide (for a list of participating locations, visit here and click “Pint Glass”).
Paul Komsic, head brewer of BrickHouse Brewery and another event organizer, said planners are “excited to rollout a brand-new LICBW this year.”
“It was a massive undertaking to overhaul the event,” Komsic notes. “But we used great feedback from previous years and received a lot of support.”
At the heart of LICBW is Craft Cares, which invites local brewers to join forces and brew an awesome beer specifically to support the “Cans For a Can” food drive. Participants swap three or more cans of nonperishable foods for one delicious Craft Cares Bi-Coastal IPA (one swap per person).
Bi-Coastal IPA – a name-play combining the popular East Coast-style New England IPA and the hop-forward characteristics of a West Coast IPA – is an exclusive small batch brewed collaboratively by 1940s Brewing Co., Barnshed Brewing, Barrage Brewing Co., The Brewers Collective Beer Co., BrickHouse Brewery, Destination Unknown Beer Co., Fire Island Beer Co., Great South Bay Brewery, Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., Lithology Brewing Co., Long Ireland Beer Co., Port Jeff Brewing Co., Montauk Brewing Co., Moustache Brewing Co., North Fork Brewery, Oyster Bay Brewing Co., Saint James Brewery, Sand City Brewing and Spider Bite Beer Co.
Kaety Jackson of Lithology Brewing says the Bi-Coastal IPA “not only showcases the work of the talented brewers on Long Island, it also demonstrates how the craft beer community uses collaboration to support the community.”
“We wouldn’t be able to produce great craft beer without our maltsters, hop farmers, canners and all partners who support us,” Jackson notes.
Proceeds generated by the Bi-Coastal IPA will go to Long Island Cares-The Harry Chapin Food Bank. A full list of exchange locations is also available at the event website.
Last year alone, LICBW raised 3,400 pounds of food and more than $2,000 for Long Island Cares. This year, organizers set a goal of 5,000 pounds of food (with rumors circulating that some local brewers have agreed to shave off their cherished beards if the goal is met).
“The craft beer community is well known for being caring and for giving back to those in need,” notes Jaclynn Brandi, who co-chairs both LICBW and the Craft Cares initiative. “That’s why the LICBW Craft Cares Cans For A Can food-exchange program is such a great way for everyone to drink-it-forward.”
Here are some highlights from the LICBW calendar of events:
Nassau County Cask Kickoff
3-6 p.m., That Meetball Place, Farmingdale
Enjoy cask beers from 1940s, BrickHouse, Fire Island, Greenport Harbor, Jamesport Farm Brewery, Long Ireland, Montauk, Barnshed, Moustache, North Fork, Po’Boy Brewery, Port Jeff and Long Beard Brewing Co.
Nassau County Town Takeover
Participating locations include That Meetball Place, the Nutty Irishman, Republic, The Library, Daytona’s, Croxley’s and Dark Horse
LICBW Glass & Wristband Pickup
Pickup locations include Bobbique, Tap Room Patchogue, Tap Room Massapequa, Rudi’s, Parlay, Mill Roadhouse, Morrison’s and The Lark
Suffolk County Cask Kickoff
3-6 p.m., LI Pour House, Port Jefferson
Enjoy cask beers from Barrage, Destination Unknown, Garvies Point Brewery, Great South Bay, Lithology, Six Harbors Brewing Co., Long Beach Brewing Co., Oyster Bay, Sand City, Saint James, Spider Bite and Brewers Collective
Suffolk County Town Takeover
Participating locations include Arooga’s, Del Fuego, Village Idiot, That Meetball Place, Rudi’s and Fulton’s Gate.
The best advice is to plan ahead, get out and experience some of these fantastic local events. Pair great beer with great food, experiment with new beer styles and above all, donate to the Craft Cares Cans For A Can program.
“The cask events this year are unique because the Nassau cask features beers from Suffolk and vice-versa,” notes Mark Scoroposki, co-owner of Garvies Point Brewery. “It’s a great way to expose everyone to all of the breweries.
“Cask ales have a softer mouthfeel due to the cask conditioning,” he adds. “It allows brewers to add special ingredients to further enhance the flavors imparted in the beer. Brewers are able to push their limits with these additions.
“Don’t take my word for it, come and try some for yourself!”
McCune is director of the Craft Beverage Division of Melville-based EGC Group. Reach him at email@example.com or (516) 935-4944.