The Black Sheep Ale House Summer Fest = $4 Beers

Black Sheep Ale House Beer

Twenty beers for $4 all day, every day through Labor Day.

This summer marks the fourth annual Summer Craft Beer Festival for the Black Sheep Ale House in Mineola. The festival runs from July Fourth through Labor Day and means that 20 of 25 taps will be pouring $4 beers, all day every day. The idea started as a way for owner Vince Minutella to sustain business during the summer and continues because “customers won’t let me not do it,” he says.

Four years ago, Minutella bought a small Irish bar and went about turning it into the Black Sheep Ale House. “We lost all the customers,” he says. However, word of mouth built a solid base of regulars in the fall and winter. After managing bars and restaurants for 30 years, Minutella knew summer was going to be a struggle. “Everybody goes to Long Beach or out east or on vacation,” he says. “They don’t go to their neighborhood bar.”

Not only was he concerned about the bar itself, but he was very worried about the staff. “We finally built up a great group of core bartenders and I wanted to make sure they were taken care of.” So he figured he was not going to worry about making money for the bar and instead focus on getting people through the door. His solution was to make every beer in the entire bar $4 for the summer.

“I really wanted to reinforce the idea that it’s really just beer. It’s still an everyman drink,” says Minutella. “It was our way of saying to people, ‘You’ve got it wrong.’ It’s not about high price and putting on airs; it’s a good product with good people in a nice environment where everyone is welcome.”

People loved the idea, the bar was packed and after that summer they never looked back. Minutella says as long as Summerfest is still financially possible, it will continue.

This year there is a slight twist; 20 of the 25 taps are reserved for $4 pours. The other five will have more elusive beers Minutella is now able to get his hands on due to better relationships with brewers and distributors. “We don’t want to become a different place over the summer by serving different beers. This is a way to make everyone happy,” says Minutella. Click here for a list of the beers on tap.

This story originally appeared on Edible Long Island.

Communal Consumption: A Dinner and Bottle Share at The Trattoria in Saint James

The Trattoria Saint James Brook Trout

Brook Trout w/ Parsnip & Radish
 

Monday July 13th there will be a Dinner and Bottle Share at the Trattoria in Saint James and it is going to be great! The dinner is set up as a chef’s tasting menu consisting of five courses. The Trattoria is BYOB so that means attendees dive into their cellars (essentially beer hoards if you didn’t know) and bring some real gems to share with everyone.

We (Alicia + Kevin) were lucky enough to attend the last dinner, a truly enjoyable evening of tasty food and rare beer. The seating was communal and so was the atmosphere. Patrons got up and poured samples of what they brought for others in the room, shared stories about beers they had tried and of course commented on how these stellar cellar selections paired with the menu.

The brews poured were varied. We sampled some wonderful homebrew, 2010 Bourbon County Vanilla, 2012 Dark Lord (a beer that people line up to get), 2010 110K+OT, Cantillon Vigneronne (which we brought back from Japan of all places) and so many more. The food didn’t play second fiddle to all of this fine beer. Highlights included a dish of Orecchiette with House Made Sausage and Pesto, Black and Tan Duck and Brook Trout with Black Barley, Parsnips and Radish. The entire menu built as each of the four savory courses were served to the finale of a Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart which was accented with salted caramel. Trust us when we say everyone left The Trattoria satisfied after their meal.

The menu this time around is no less impressive and we are sure will be just as delicious. Attendees will once again reach into their stash and bring some amazing beers to share. If you are a fan of fine food and drink we suggest you make sure to secure your seat at The Trattoria’s Dinner and Bottle Share. To reserve a seat and for more information including the menu for Monday July 13th head over to Eventbrite.

The Trattoria is located at 532 N Country Rd, St James, NY 11780

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Orecchiette w/ House Made Sausage & Pesto

Michael Tonsmeire Talks Sour Beer Over Brunch at The Good Life

The Good Life Massapequa

The Good Life in Massapequa Park recently hosted a morning of brunch, education and sour beer. And when we say morning, we aren’t kidding. The day began bright and early at 9 a.m. and attracted nearly 40 people to eat, drink and listen to Michael Tonsmeire, author of American Sour Beers, speak.

Pete Mangouranes, owner of the Good Life, is no stranger to beer dinners, but he has only hosted a couple “beer brunches” so far. Andrew Luberto, chair of the education committee for local club Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts approached Mangouranes with the idea. He was interested but had to carefully consider the selections saying, “First thing in the morning even OJ tastes sour.” Though sours are quickly becoming the next big thing in craft beer, they can still be polarizing, so Mangouranes wanted to ease diners into it.

He opened with biscuits and gravy paired with kombucha, which really is a fermented low alcohol tea. “We thought the kombucha was a nice cup of tea, so to say.” Next up was a dry, slightly sour pear cider paired with a tomato frittata. “It’s brunch, there’s gotta be an egg in there somewhere,” says Mangouranes. He closed with a rich, broth based noodle bowl with mushrooms and greens. This was paired with Rodenbach. “I wanted to hit you with a real traditional sour,” he adds.

Though sour beers may sound intimidating or rather unappetizing, Mangouranes created a pairing menu that accented their flavors without overpowering the food. Tonsmeire was able to offer a brief education on the style while even answering questions from some home brewers in the crowd. This duo gave a whole new meaning to the term “boozy brunch.”

This article originally appeared on Edible Long Island.

Blue Point Brewing & Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Brewery

8:15 on a Saturday morning in January isn’t exactly a prime visiting hour for most breweries, especially when a 10 mile run in below freezing temperatures is required before the first pint is poured. But that didn’t stop over 1,200 runners from showing up bright and early at Blue Point Brewery for the 2015 10 Mile Run to the Brewery.
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We arrived at Blue Point at around 7:45, with a half hour to race time. Parking didn’t seem to be an issue, as there were a couple people directing traffic. Kevin dropped me off while he snagged a spot in the train station parking lot and I headed to the brewery. A heated tent was set up outside where runners and spectators could stay warm, there were multiple port a potties with a very short wait time and a bag check was also available.

At 8:05 announcements were made directing runners to the starting line, which was right in front of the brewery on River Avenue. Though it was cold, enthusiasm was high and at promptly 8:15 am the race began and we were off. Timing mats were set up at the start, five mile mark and finish so even runners that started in the back of the crowd would get an accurate finishing time (always a welcome feature at larger races.)

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The course itself is generally flat compared to some other Long Island races (I’m looking at you, Cow Harbor), with a few hilly patches that aren’t anything to stress over. This year the route was run in reverse from previous years, but all that really meant to me was that I passed the water earlier than I remember last year. The scenery is pretty diverse as well, with a few stretches near the Patchogue River which gave a nice, distracting harbor view. [Side note: Kevin and I have both lived on Long Island our entire lives and had to Google, “What is the water in Blue Point called?”] So anyway, the course overall is fairly flat, scenic and there are a lot of turns which I personally like. There were never any real long stretches of just running straight down a road. Spectators weren’t exactly lining the entire route, but there were definitely some people cheering along the way which is always nice to see. After crossing the finish line I was reunited with Kevin, we took the short five minute walk back to the brewery and then…

The after party! I don’t usually love to stick around after races, especially when it is freezing out, but Blue Point really knows how to celebrate 1,200 people having just run ten miles. Two massive tents were set up outside the brewery. One had heat lamps and a band, both had tons of food and there was a station set up outside of each where the beer was flowing. We never had to wait for more than maybe 30 seconds which was pretty impressive considering the size of the crowd. On tap were staples Rastafa Rye and Toasted Lager with newer brews Baltic Porter and Helles Lager available among others. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Baltic Porter on tap, though at almost 8% I probably went a little too hard on those. But hey, it was a celebration.

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Overall I’d say this is one of the best race values on Long Island. The course is interesting, everything is well organized (including early bib pick up), the race shirt is a nice, Saucony long sleeve tech shirt, there’s tons of food beyond your typical bananas and bagels and of course there’s the beer. The race sold out extremely quickly this year, so make sure you keep an eye out for the 2016 signup. I know I’ll be there and may just spend the next year trying to talk Kevin into running it too.

Feel free to share any pictures on your Facebook and check out ours for the full gallery!

Blond on Blonde : November 20 at The Lark in East Northport

Blond on Blonde

Back in May, the Brewer’s East End Revival hosted their 18th annual home brewing competition. Each year beers from around the country are sent in to the B.E.E.R. Brew-Off with the hopes they will receive positive feedback and perhaps take home a prize. Nearly 200 beers were judged in multiple categories at this years event with prizes being given out for best stout of the day all the way to best in show, but there was no award coveted more than the Brewer’s Cup.

“Why?” you may ask. Each year the Brewer’s Cup winning beer, which is selected by a local Long Island brewery, has their homebrew recipe scaled up and professionally brewed. Last years winner was Bobby Rodriguez, who is now getting ready to launch his very own venture: Poboy Brewery. His award winning Imperial Force was brewed by Port Jeff Brewing Co. and has now been aging for over a year, with a bottle release coming soon. At 2014’s brew-off, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company selected and would ultimately brew the wining beer. After a long day of deliberations where DJ Swanson, head brewer of GHBC participated in the judging, a winner emerged: Jim & Jean Thoms’ Belgian Blond Ale.

The Thoms’, who have been brewing together for years, frequently show up to monthly B.E.E.R meetings and festivals across Long Island with delicious and meticulously crafted homebrew. The Blond was no exception and a couple months ago it was recreated at the new Greenport Harbor Brewing facility in Peconic. In case you’re wondering about the spelling difference, J&J spell their Blond the Beglian way (no “e”) while Greenport went with the Americanized version Blonde.

The Thoms are avid fans of Belgian style beer trying everything from Blond Ales, the lightest brews, to Tripels, the strongest, and even sour ales. Like the brewmasters of Belgium they have razor sharp focus when it comes to brewing, always striving to make a better beer. Each ale they create is brewed again and again the recipe being tinkered with each time in an attempt to come close to their ideal. Since the competition, Jim & Jean have brewed their Blond five more times at home based on the winning recipe. They have cultivated and used the same yeast bed for each batch, making small tweaks along the way to perfect the beer.

Thursday will offer patrons a unique opportunity to taste both the homebrewed and professional versions of J&J Blond(e) Ale side by side at The Lark in East Northport. Additionally, Greenport IPA and 2014 Cuvaison will be on tap. Cuvaison is brewed using local wine grapes and this will be one of the first times it’s available this year. Specials for B.E.E.R members will be running throughout the event, and Karp’s was generous enough to donate grain for a raffle. We will be there, will you?

The Secret's Out: Rocky Point Artisan Brewers & Secret Engine Brewing Release Collaboration Beer Sticke Handwerker

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Mike Voigt of Rocky Point of Artisan Brewers, left, and Mike Mare of Secret Engine.

“Sometimes the beer just tells you when it is ready,” says Mike Voigt of Rocky Point Artisan Brewers about their recent collaborative brew with Secret Engine Brewing of Brooklyn. Mike Mare, brewer and co-owner of Secret Engine, is currently trying to find a permanent home for the brewery while still getting his beer out there. Though the original plan was to wait until later this month, Sticke Handwerker, the Long Island debut from Secret Engine, will be released this Friday at Tap and Barrel, The Black Sheep Ale House and a to-be-determined location in Brooklyn.

Mare has been brewing for more than 10 years and decided to make the leap to commercial brewing about three years ago. However, as the guys at RPAB know all too well, finding a suitable home for your brewery and an agreeable landlord is not the easiest task. While the search for a headquarters for Secret Engine in Brooklyn continued, Mare decided to reach out to established breweries for some advice and a possible collaboration. As a former touring musician, what Mare missed most about being on the road was the ability to connect with people from all areas and backgrounds, so he sent out e-mails to about 600 breweries. One of the few responses he received was from Mike Voigt of RPAB.

The two met at Voigt’s house to enjoy a few beers, play guitar and get to know each other. That same night they started throwing around ideas for a collaboration and over the next month Sticke Handwerker was born. “We have majorly different brewing styles,” says Voigt. Though they both feel Sticke Handwerker truly reflects the two breweries. RPAB tends to brew to style with small tweaks, while Secret Engine is more outside the box. Together they created something unique. So unique, in fact, when we asked what type of beer it is we were told, “You have to delve around to find out what the secret meaning of the secret beer is.” Thus leaving everything to the palate of the taster.

We were able to try this mysterious beer right out of the fermenter at RPAB and can attest it is one of a kind. Sticke Handwerker hasa velvety mouthfeel and gobstopper-like array of flavors and aromas. The first release this weekend will be in firkins, with kegs to follow. This cask-conditioned version of the brew will be lightly carbonated and served close to cellar temperature allowing the flavor to shine through. Voigt and Mare are already brainstorming their next brew, which is rumored to include mint, so this won’t be the last Long Island sees of the Secret Engine Brewing/Rocky Point Artisan Brewery partnership.

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First Appeared On Edible Long Island