Great South Bay Brewery
August 18, 2017
For months now I've been hearing about Great South Bay Brewery but hadn't found time to make the trip until recently. I've sampled a few of their bottled beers when I've found them at my local distributor, but other than that I hadn't looked into them too much. Not for any particular reason, I just haven't ventured to many of the breweries of eastern Long Island. After being berated by colleagues and friends, however, I figured it was probably time I made the trip out.
As if the stars had aligned, a few weekends ago my wife's and my work schedules lined up and we were both able to take off on a Friday afternoon. We pretty quickly decided that we wanted to go try out a new brewery and Great South Bay immediately came to mind. I really can't overstate the hype that had been built about this brewery, everyone I know who had visited had raved about it. I knew close to nothing about the place so the first step was a trip to google to double check their hours and find out where they were actually located (I'm really bad with LI geography). So Friday afternoon rolled around and we were off!
The brewery is extremely convenient to get to, right off the parkway. As long as you're not competing with beach traffic it's a pretty easy trip. Pulling up to the place, I wasn't sure what to expect. It's in a relatively industrial neighborhood that looks like an old office park. The facade still looks like some old office space but we spied the familiar Great South Bay logo perched over the entryway. I do enjoy the interesting spaces that breweries find to setup shop in, I think it adds to the charm of the place.
As you walk into Great South Bay Brewery, you might think you mistakenly walked into the wrong building when you find yourself in an old waiting room, receptionist station and all. Luckily there's an AWESOME mural that reassures you that you are in fact at the brewery and the familiar sounds of other patrons help guide you past the reception desk into the tasting room.
Once you walk past the desk into the tasting room, it's amazing. The first thing I was taken by was just how big it is. 4000 square feet to explore with plenty of activities to enjoy. The bar is located at the far end of a room filled with an eclectic collection of games including, but not limited to, a pool table, air hockey, and my personal favorite, foosball. Also scattered around the room are a few barrels to rest drinks on, plenty of tables to sit at, and even a set of old airplane seats in one corner. The decor is a perfectly eclectic representation of the craft beer community.
As is customary for a first-time brewery visit, our first stop was to the bar to investigate the tap list and put together a flight to try. Great South Bay has 14 beers on tap in their tasting room so there are plenty of options. You get four beers in a flight so I went with their Blood Orange Pale Ale, Nautigirl NE IPA, Massive IPA, and Hog Cabin Maple Bacon Porter. Although the Massive IPA wasn't my favorite, I thought the rest were delicious.
I've been on a New England IPA kick so I may have been a bit biased towards Nautigirl but I loved it. The Blood Orange Pale Ale was nice and juicy and was a great balance of tart and sweet. The Hog Cabin was by far my favorite though. I do love a good porter and the flavors mixed into this creation were fantastic. A nice smoky aroma and flavor with subtle hints of coffee and a sweet finish from the maple syrup. All four were enjoyed over a few rounds of foosball and ping pong that got unusually competitive for casual brewery games.
We decided to stay for another pint and I couldn't bring myself to try anything new, the Hog Cabin was just too good! We did a little perusing while we enjoyed our pints and saw a few advertisements for a host of events they offer. Not only that but I learned you can reserve the space for private parties. I definitely plan on investigating that option in the future! I wanted to take something home from the brewery as well but was torn between one of their crowlers or one of their awesome Hawaiian shirts! Ultimately beer won out and we took home some of their Field 5 Golden IPA.
I can't believe it took me so long to make it out to Great South Bay Brewery but I definitely want to find time to go back with a group of friends. I wish it was a bit closer so I could stop by more often but at least it's easy to get to. If you live in a region they distribute in, you've gotta try a few of their beers, and if you're in the area, it's absolutely worth the trip to visit.