By JIM McCUNE //
Long Island Craft Beer Week kicks off this Friday and, despite its name, runs a full 10 days.
Launched by local craft beer entrepreneurs and beer-passionate marketers, the event seeks to raise awareness for the regional craft beer culture and promote patronage at local breweries, bars and restaurants.
It also seeks to help out the less fortunate by collecting food and donations for the Long Island Cares food bank through the event’s charitable arm, Craft Cares.
“I’ve been fortunate to witness the birth of craft beer on Long Island be part of its meteoric rise,” said Dave Schultzer, the owner of Bellport Beer & Soda and president of the beer week organization LICBW. “We are dedicated to making each year’s event bigger and better in every way.”
One of the most popular features of Long Island Craft Beer Week is the chance to register your own commemorative LICBW pint glass. The glass is free, but patrons are encouraged to support local brewers by filling it up with local refreshing craft beer.
On the “drinking it forward” side 0f the event, local brewers have collaborated again this year on a special brew for the Cans for a Can food drive, via which patrons exchange two cans of food for one can of commemorative Craft Cares, this year a big, malty red ale. One exchange per person, please, at participating locations that will be announced on the website soon.
This year’s collaborative brewing included Blue Point Brewing Co., BrickHouse Brewing, 1940s Brewing Co., Barrage Brewing Co., Twin Fork Beer, Sand City Brewing Co., Port Jeff Brewing Co., Spider Bite Brewing Co. and Great South Bay Brewery.
“With so much emphasis on hops these days, we collectively decided to do something a little different this year by brewing a malt-forward red ale,” said BrickHouse Brewing head brewer Paul Komsic. “This beer has a nice hops and malt balance, is deep red, crystal clear and with a huge chocolate note and sweet caramel malt base. Can’t wait for everyone to taste it!”
Last year, the organization collected more than 2,300 pounds of food and raised more than $2,000 for Long Island Cares with a commemorative IPA.
“It was amazing, as always, to work elbow-to-elbow with other local brewers. Spending time together collaborating on the recipe and the brewing process. Then taking these concepts and making great beer for an amazing cause,” said Jim Richards, Blue Point Brewing’s Brewer & Cask Master.
“Projects like this give me faith in our world, that everything is going to be OK. I love using my craft to do the right thing.”
Some advice for beer week attendees: Plan ahead. Get out and experience some of these fantastic local events. Pair great beer with great food. Experiment with new beer styles, celebrate responsibly and above all, donate to the Craft Cares Cans for a Can program.
McCune is director of the Craft Beverage Division of Melville-based EGC Group. Reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org or at 516-935-4944.