Sunday, February 8, 2009

Brew Pub Smack in the Middle of Wine Country

Long Island is well-known for its vineyards and internationally recognized wine industry, but not for its artisanal beers and ales which are crafted in local microbreweries (there are two in Suffolk County -- Blue Point and Southampton Breweries).

OK, admittedly I don't know much about beer (it's something I don't seek out largely because of the calories but also because my beer experiences were pretty much limited to keg parties at college in the early '80s, Corona fruited with lime and Tsingtao to wash down fajitas and spicy Chinese fare.
Last night, Henry and I had a "lighthearted locavore" dinner at Southampton Publick House -- Long Island duck and local beer.

Photo (Lexi Van de Walle): Southampton Brewery Double White and Tiffany Mug

Henry's been to SPH a bunch of times without me as a beer pub is not my typical hangout, but that may all change -- I love this place!

The host gave me a mini flight to taste before I selected the delicious and light Southampton IPA which is a good choice for a beer neophyte and Henry, who has far more craft beer experience, ordered the very dark (think molasses) and rich Southampton Imperial Porter which I found to be too strong. The food was "above average pub fare" and quite good.

A sprawling, historic mansion just outside the village, Publick House is a microbrewery, restaurant and brew pub rolled into one with steel brew tanks that span the basement and first floor levels housed in section of the mansion where the floor was removed to make room for the tanks. Showcased behind glass on the exterior walls. the sleek steel tanks line the perimeter of the dining room and bar areas.

Located in the old Herb McCarthy's Bowden Square that had been in the location for 60 years and was well-known among the martini set of yore, Publick House opened in 1996. Master Brewer Phil Markowski has been making award winner beer there for over a decade. It' a charming place with an old world feel and a lively energy.

NOTE: Made in Southampton doesn't mean grown in Southampton. All the beers are brewed locally but from imported ingredients, largely because there's not a lot of hops grown here in the US. Like chocolate dessert lovers, coffee drinkers and tropical fruit eaters, beer locavores in New York need to be "lighthearted" about their sudsy drink as many of the ingredients are flown in or trucked from more than 200 miles.


SPH and Southampton Brewery are both owned by Don Sullivan. The brewery crafts eclectic British, German, American and Belgian style beers.
To learn more about their eclectic beers on tap and in bottles (Pumpkin Ale, Montauk Light, Secret Ale, Altbier), find out about the release schedule of limited batch ales with names like Grand Cru, Saison Deluxe and Russian Imperial Stout (party and release date February 14) or where you can buy bottled beers link to their website.

Stop in one night and enjoy a pint and some good pub food, some made with their beer (potatoe and pale ale soup, mussels and beer, ale battered fish and chips).
Or pick up a six-pack. I did -- can't wait to try the Southampton Double White that I used for the photo shoot.

Southampton Publick House
40 Bowden Square


To buy in Southampton go to:

Peconic Beverage
74 North Highway
County Road 39A
Southampton, NY 11968

For a list of stores visit:
Southampton Brewery

The bottled beer can be found at Fairway, Food Emporium, Gristedes, Gourmet Garage and other stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn and Hudson Valley, Suffolk and Nassau Counties.

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