Bobby Rodriguez of Po’ Boy Brewery is the new kid on the block as far as Long Island nano breweries go, but he’s far from a brewing novice. Rodriguez began homebrewing in 2008 and since then he has won over 30 awards for his beers and ciders; most notably having his Imperial Force produced by Port Jeff Brewing Company. Now Rodriguez has launched Po’ Boy Brewery out of A Taste of Long Island in Farmingdale, but he’s not quitting his day job just yet.
In addition to brewing, Rodriguez works in health care and shares a passion for both fiends. So when he connected with Jim Thompson in 2013, who at the time was just considering launching an alternating proprietorship brewery at A Taste of Long Island, a spark was ignited. Of brewing professionally Rodriguez says, “It’s different for me. It’s not that I have to do this to make a living, I’m doing this because i’m passionate about it.” He saw A Taste of Long Island as a way to enter the brewing industry without giving up his career and him and Thompson worked together to get the location ready as a host brewery.
After about a year of paperwork, waiting on licensing and equipment and outfitting A Taste of Long Island to brew, Po’ Boy Brewery finally sold their first commercial beer. Though Rodriguez is a running a craft brewery, he holds a farm brewers license which allows him to also produce ciders under the name Po’ Boy. Rodriguez honed his cider making craft at home and is now scaling it up, turning out spiced, sweet yet potent creations that draw in customers beyond the craft beer crowd. Among the first releases are Catch Me If You Can Gingerbread Cookie Cider, All American Apple Pie Cider and Monster Eye Rye IPA.
Po’ Boy Brewery beer and cider can currently be found on tap at A Taste of Long Island, The Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale and Tap & Barrel in Hauppauge. Rodriguez also plans to expand his distribution beyond the usual locations saying, “The people that buy beer in a bar or a brewery are the people already looking for it. You’re not going to reach that couple who just went out to eat and stops by a farmers market. That’s how you get your name out there.” As production increases so will the reach of Po’ Boy Brewery beer and cider, so keep an eye out for it on tap across Long Island.
History runs deep for 1940’s Brewing Company
Charlie Becker recently launched 1940’s Brewing Company out of A Taste of Long Island in Farmingdale, but brewing has always been part of his family heritage. His great grandfather worked for a New York brewery and helped Becker’s father Walter Becker get into the U.S. Brewing Academy. 1940 was a big year in the Becker family, as it saw Walter graduate from the academy and marry his wife. He went on to become the assistant brewmaster at Rheingold Beer and worked there for 41 years.
Charlie Becker still recalls his fathers career proudly and even brought photo albums of him on the job when we met him at AToLI .1940’s Brewing Co. is aiming to continue the family brewing lineage, as Charlie honed his craft while homebrewing with daughter Anne Marie. His son Joseph created the logo, artwork and branding for 1940’s, further keeping it “all in the family”. The Becker’s have relatives that come from Germany, Ireland and Austria so 1940’s plans to brew a mix of American and European styles, as a tribute. Becker does not want his beers to be too extreme saying, “we just want to brew a good product that people are going to enjoy.”
Hefie Injustice, a 4.7% ABV hefeweizen, is the first offering from 1940’s that is being commercially distributed. Though Becker is pleased with the result of his first commercial batch and plans to make his hefeweizen the flagship of 1940’s, scaling up to a professional system did not come without it’s share of challenges. Becker laments, “you have to understand it’s a commercial kitchen we are brewing in. It’s more compact and there is a learning curve.” He saw just how steep this curve was when he had a problem with one of his fermenters which led to a beer overflow. The issue was fixed with a little handy work and he plans to re-brew and tweak many of his recipes as he becomes more familiar with the equipment and new environment.
Charlie Beckers sip his Hefeweizen at A Taste of Long Island
1940’s Brewing Company currently has their beer on tap at a couple bars and restaurants on Long Island, but look for them to ramp up their production and distribution in the coming months. Becker hopes to branch out to taprooms in Nassau and Suffolk to cover the island and also plans to have a presence at beer festivals and farmers markets. His beer will draught only and is currently on tap at A Taste of Long Island and a couple other Long Island locations. Po’ Boy Brewery and The Brewers Collective, the other pioneer brewers, have beer out as well. We had the chance to speak with those breweries, so look for their profiles to come out soon as part of our continuing series.
Barrage Brewing Company has had their doors open since January of this year, thanks to a lot of hard work by owner Steve Pominski and a little help from Kickstarter, but there is now a new addition to the brewery: a place to enjoy the beer. Pominski and longtime friend Al Nappi have had the brewery under construction for the past couple months and the tasting room is now (softly) open for business. The official grand opening celebration will be on July 19.
Barrage Brewing Company’s New Tasting Room
New, expanded hours include Friday from 4-8 pm, in addition to their current hours of 1-5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Instead of waiting in the brewery for growler fills, customers will be now able to both fill their growlers and enjoy pints and sample glasses from the 8 tap system in the new tasting room. Though the area is small, seating is available and there are even some bar stools upholstered with horse hair, we kid you not. The personal nature makes it feel like a true garage bar aka bar-rage. Hey, that’s the name of the brewery.
Owner and Brewmaster Steve Pominski Contemplates His Work
Not only does this give people an awesome place to hang out in Farmingdale, but it also frees up time for Pominski to produce more Barrage beer. Turns out it’s kind of hard to brew and fill growlers at the same time, but with the brewery and tasting room now separate it allows him to produce beer while someone else mans the taps. Don’t worry though, he will still be popping his head in from time to time to say hello. He is excited about the addition saying, “we’d like this to become a destination,” and a tasting room is a big step towards making that happen.
Steve Pominski Owner and Brewmaster
The grand opening party kicks off Saturday, July 19 at 1 pm. All eight taps will be flowing, with a few rare releases making an appearance. Most notably is the Yada Yada, a Seinfeld themed brown ale that is fermented with Snickers bars and as Steve put it “is Snickering as we speak.” Do you think he cut them with a fork and knife? Stop by to check it out, try the barrage of selections and most importantly, do it all while relaxing under the same roof where your beer is made.
Steve Pominski Owner and Brewmaster