Brewed in New York – Long Island Full Episode

– Today we’re traveling east
on New York’s Gold Coast to a land where vineyards
meet the Atlantic Ocean and where you’ll find some of
the best beer anywhere around. Plus, the art of
craft barrel making. Don’t miss a refreshing moment of Brewed in New
York: Long Island. Discover even more local
foods and beverages at Taste New York locations
throughout the state. Whether you’re at a
state park, sporting event, or stopping at one of our
New York welcome centers, it’s never been easier
to choose local and buy New York. Unalam, a family owned business
in upstate New York serving the building industry
for over a century. You can spot Unalam’s finely
crafted timber products in breweries throughout New York
State and beyond. Learn more at 1886 Malt House proudly partnering with
New York’s finest grain growers to produce locally sourced,
high quality malt. for farm and craft breweries. The Northeast Hop Alliance Farmers, brewers,
and educators working together to
provide high quality, locally grown hops
to craft beer consumers in New York and
the Northeast. (upbeat rock music) Long Island. – The novelist Susan Jenkins
said there are 10,000 different worlds between
Great Neck and Montauk. Perhaps that’s why
this land has inspired so many different writers,
poets and artists. – F. Scott Fitzgerald based
his most famous novel, the Great Gatsby, on the
lives of rich socialites living along the North Shore. When Jack Kerouac
hit the road here, he was drawn to bars populated with fisherman from
the public docks. And Walt Whitman spent many
of his formative years here surrounded by the
rugged, natural beauty that would later inspire
some of his poetry. From Fire Island and Jones
Beach to the Hamptons, Long Island truly has
something for everyone. And if you’re as passionate
about we are about good beer, then you won’t be able
to resist its charms. Where are we gonna start, Maya? – Well, Matt, I decided to
visit the historic North Fork and the seaside
town of Greenport. And I can’t wait to
tell you about it. (bright music) When you travel almost three
hours east of New York City to get to the end
of Long Island, it’s hard to believe you’re
still in New York State. And the North Fork
certainly has a landscape and culture uniquely its own. Unlike the Hamptons
to the south, this quaint area is known
for its uncrowded beaches, farm stands, and
over 40 wineries. There’s a historic maritime
feeling to the villages here. The town of Greenport was
once a major whaling hub and the oyster harvesting
capital of New York State. So when two lifelong
friends decided to open their brewery here, naturally
they made it a point to celebrate the
town’s harbor heritage. Back when Greenport Harbor
co-founders John Liegey and Rich Vandenburgh
were in college, they used to talk about
opening a brewery one day. But it was only a dream
for nearly 25 years until an old
firehouse in Greenport went up for sale in 2008. The opportunity
proved irresistible. In 2012, they expanded
to a second location seven miles away in
the town of Peconic that dwarfs the
original brewery. I wanted to know about
their formula for success in a region known more
for wine than beer. Tell me, how did you pick
this specific location? – We kinda call it an oasis
amongst all the vineyards for good beer. – I think the work ethic
out here is really strong. I mean, they’re farm people and they’re sea
people, fisherman. Long line fisherman
still leave Greenport. And I think them seeing
us and how focused we were on what we wanted to do;
we did 95% of the work on our original
brewery ourselves. They share that
same kind of ethic. – You have two
different locations. Is there a difference
between the two locations? – The original brewery is
right in downtown Greenport. It was an old firehouse
that we renovated. So you get a lot
more walk up traffic. This was an old car
dealership that we renovated. Loved repurposing an
old space like that. Now, here we’re more
surrounded by the vineyards. So it is almost two different
type of demographics of people that come to visit us. The original location is kind
of the heart of the brewery. It’s very small. We outgrew that in two years. And we always kind of
intended that that would be the test kitchen, if
you will, for Greenport. So that is what that
brewery has become, and this brewery is
more the home base. But this is our
larger location here. – You mentioned that it
was an old firehouse. I saw a gorgeous firetruck. It looked like there
were tap handles in it. – We retrofitted
it where we have six tap handles on the side. You know, you have the
eight-year-old kids that are, “Dad, that’s
a cool firetruck.” But then you have the
40-year-old firemen like, “Oh my gosh, that’s the coolest
firetruck I’ve ever seen.” – I’d love to know about
this oyster festival that you two host. – Every year we
host it in Greenport on the Sunday of
Columbus Day weekend. – And it’s at the
original brewery. It is our one festival there
that we really focus on. It’s home, and it just
feels great being there, ’cause most of our time now is
spent at the second location. It is just really
getting back to the heart of that original brewery
and working with people that are super connected
to the oyster farms on the east side of Long Island. – [Rich] We’ll bring
in eight or 10 growers that are all
regional to the area. We had like this great
two local musicians that play these sea shanties. We brought the firetruck down and served beer
off the firetruck. So, you know, it’s
not necessarily the kind of oyster
festival that you have tens of thousands of people at, but it’s really
such an authentic, kind of intimate
village setting for us that it’s actually really cool. – In fact, John and Rich love
the oyster harvesting legacy of Greenport so much that
they even found a way to celebrate it that
might surprise you. I have never heard of
an oyster beer before. Is that something new to
just specifically you all or is this an old recipe? – I think it’s more of
a harbor kind of style. There were over two
dozen oyster factories back in the early 1800s. It was at one point the
capital oyster industry out here in Greenport. So it just seemed like
a real natural fit. And then the
aquaculture industry has really rebounded
tremendously and we’re very
supportive of that. Great symbiotic
relationship with the waters and the bays and our brewery. – If you think an
oyster-inspired beer sounds a little fishy,
it did to me too. So to understand it better, I
sat down for a little tasting with head brewer Patrick Alfred. Now, tell me about
this oyster beer. I have never heard of
this in my life before. – Hidden Pearl is
our oyster stout. Basically, we take out
traditional dry Irish stout, slightly roasty, little
bit of chocolate malt, keep the gravity low so
it’s like a 5.8% alcohol, and then we shucked about
three dozen oyster shells into the boil, where it
sat for about 60 minutes to the duration, as well as
some of the oyster liquid from the shell, but
no actual oyster meat. And what that does
is kind of lends like a nice briny minerality,
and not fishy at all. – Where do you
harvest these oysters? – Little Creek
Oysters in Greenport, so really super local,
backyard oysters. And he said he picked them
because of the brininess and what they can contribute
to the beer overall. – Now, we are in wine country, so what is the advantage
to being a brewer here? Do you get to use some
of the ingredients? – Absolutely. Harvest started about
I think two weeks ago, and it’s still going for grapes. We do a beer every
year in collaboration with a different
winery called Cuvaison. We use either grapes
or the juice or both. We interchange whether a
white or red each year, and I believe this year
we’re using a red grape. So, definitely just tying
into locally produced any kind of ingredient that
we can get our hands on. – [Maya] So it’s not
just oysters that
make it into the beer but all kinds of local
products and flavors. And their commitment
to local agriculture extends to the restaurant
side of the business as well. – We
definitely utilize local, as far as all of our
produce is actually grown right across the street. And the seafood’s pulled
right from Greenport Harbor and local fish purveyors. – What’s it like being
owners of a brewery? – I think what’s
amazing about it is we’ll be able to
kind of interact with
people that come in that are exploring beer,
kind of learning about beer, not certain about whether or
not they really like beer, and then being able to kinda
watch their eyes open wide when they taste something
that they really love or have that experience,
and it’s a great place. – I have one other
question for you. What do you see next? Are you guys gonna try
to open another location? – No.
(laughter) – Okay. – [John] This is it. We’re very happy to
be in the space we are and making the amount
of beer that we make and making the kinds
of beer we make. So there are absolutely no goals to go any bigger
than what you see here. – Hey, I think it sounds good. When you got a good hand,
you just gotta call it. John and Rich definitely
drew a straight flush when they went all in
at Greenport Harbor. Just like a game of poker, you need a bit of
luck and skill to win. Except, in this
case, the winners are the people of Greenport
and everyone who’s had a chance to sample what this
brewery has to offer. – Long Island is home
to many great artists. And if you want to
see a perfect example, look no further than the label
art for Greenport Harbor. East End artist Scott
Bluedorn created a series of surreal
ocean-inspired images for each one of
Greenport’s flagship beers. It’s just one more way they
celebrate the art of craft. Being a small craft brewer
allows you the freedom to differentiate yourself
in all kinds of ways, from the branding and packaging to the way the beer is made. Barrel-aging, for
example, allows a brewer to create really unique flavors, sometimes flavors that
have never existed before. And some of this
flavor comes directly from the individual barrel in
which the beer is produced. So choosing the right
one is important, and it’s led many
brewers to seek out the highest quality
barrels they can find. And the demand for
high-quality barrels has helped bring an
industry back to New York that had been gone
for a long time. – I’m Kelly Blazosky. I’m married to Joe Blazosky. And he and I together own
Adirondack Barrel Cooperage here in Remsen, New York. Well, my husband and
I came upon the fact that there was a gap in services for the craft beverage industry. Craft beverage
producers were having a hard time finding barrels. – In 2014, when we
started looking into it, there were no barrel cooperages in the northeast United States. Well, the thing that’s
driving this resurgence in barrel coopers
and barrel coopering is the resurgence
in craft brewing,
distilling and wineries. Our whole goal has been to focus on the smaller craft
beverage producer. We’ll produce one to 50 barrels
and anything in between. – When I got into this, I
wanted to build a better barrel. We’re building a
very consistent, very
high quality barrel. My background is
in construction. I build things; I’ve
always done that. And I’ve always tried to
be as good as I can be and take it to a
different level. We’re just a small,
four-man crew, but I’ve got a great crew. They’re all very good. We blend high-tech machinery
with old world ways. We’ve had all this
machinery custom built for us specifically. It’s not easy to build barrels. There’s a lot of process
that goes into it. Firstly, machining the wood. We use a very high-tech
process for that. We have a CNC stave
jointing machine that produces really
good stave flanks. We use all 24 to 36
month air-dried lumber. We don’t do any
kiln-dried wood here. It sits out in the
rain, the snow. It mellows the wood. We raise them up into skirts, and we bend those barrels. We low-temperature toast. We don’t do any
steam bending here. So that fire bending and
that low-temperature toasting adds another whole
layer of complexity to the barrel as
far as flavors go. There’s no glue. Those hoops are the only thing that holds that barrel together. So during the heating
processes and then the pressing we’re marrying
that wood together. We’re smashing them
joints together, creating a watertight joint. All our hoops are
pressed the same, so our hoops aren’t
all over the place. If you look across
the row of barrels, every hoop is pressed
the same height, and those are the pressure
points on that barrel. We’ve been in production
almost two years now, and I’ve not had not one barrel
come back yet for a leak. And then we have a
one-of-a-kind charring process that is very, very accurate. I tell people that we use a
Dragon to char our barrels. We feed him, and then
he chars our barrels. I can achieve certain flavors
with certain temperatures and certain types of
wood: caramels, vanillas, smoky and nutty,
marshmallowy, bread. We can actually dial those
temperatures in exact and reproduce that every time. – Really the most
exciting part has been just to serve a
growing industry. You know, it’s great people. They’re very passionate
about their craft, whether it’s distilling or
wine making or brewing beer. They often cite that
they’re really excited to be able to tout
that they are going from grain to barrel to bottle with a New-York-made product,
ingredients and process. – Our production
schedule runs about 120 to 125 barrels
a month right now. Soon to produce 200 within
the next couple years. Big cooperages can produce
up to 2,000 barrels a day. I want to grow slow so that
we can maintain the quality and consistency that
we’ve set out to do. We hope that we can change the way people look
at their barrels. At one point they
were just a vessel. Now people are doing a
lot more experimenting than what they used to. That’s who we want to work with, is the progressive
distiller, brewery, and winery that wants to do
something different than what’s been done for
the last 40, 50 years. This is a whole new revolution. We’re starting to make a
really good name for ourself. – If you’re planning on trying
out beer tourism in New York, there are plenty of great
public transportation options for your next brewery tour. Investigate and plan ahead
so you can enjoy responsibly. Please remember, you should
never drink and drive. – [Megaphone] Craft 101! – Superman versus Batman. Coke versus Pepsi. Cats versus dogs. These epic rivalries have
divided mankind for ages. The world of craft beer
has a rivalry all its own. Cans versus bottles. From supermarket six packs to
takeaway growlers and crowlers there’s no shortage of opinions on the battle over
glass and aluminum. Let’s take some time to talk
about the pros and cons of each and maybe even settle this
debate once and for all. For a long time cans
have suffered the stigma of being equated with
mass market beers, so the craft beer industry
differentiated its products with fancy glass bottles. Many old school craft
beer drinkers will insist that a beer from a bottle
just generally tastes better than from its
aluminum counterpart, although there’s little
evidence to back this up. But lately cans are
steadily making their way into production lines
and onto store shelves. So which is better? Well some would argue
that aesthetics or
personal preference are reason enough to
choose one over the other, there are actually some more
technical considerations that guide the debate. At the top of that list
is the preservation of the beer’s flavor. Light, oxygen and heat are
the three biggest enemies to a great tasting beer. Keep these three things in check and your beer can stay as fresh as the day it left the brewery. Give them access, and your
beer can get a bit … Well, I think you can agree
no one likes a skunky beer. Amber shades of glass
actually do a pretty good job at stopping most light
exposure into bottles, but they can’t offer the
full protection from light that a can does. Also unlike bottles, cans
offer a perfect airtight seal, keeping oxygen from
getting into your beer and making it taste stale. Add to that the convenient
mobility of cans that don’t break when you
through them into the cooler for a day at the beach,
and we can start to see why cans are making
such a large comeback. But while cans do
dominate in these areas, bottles still have
some unique attributes. Belgian styles, for instance,
undergo bottle fermentation. This involves adding a
little extra yeast and sugar before the final corking. And because the seal
isn’t perfectly airtight, the bottle can accommodate
this extra boost. Attempting to do
the same in a can could cause it to explode,
which, as you can guess, is generally not great for beer. So while cans can
keep your favorite IPA a little more crisp
than a bottle, those maltier Belgian
styles you love so much wouldn’t quite make
it to your home without the classic
glass bottle. In my opinion, cans just
have an undeniable aesthetic. The labels look cooler,
especially on a tall boy. So have we broken the stigma? It’s cans, right? (off-screen commotion) Well, for what it’s worth,
my money is on cans. But whatever mode of
transportation you choose, as long as tasty craft beer
has somehow made its way from the brewery to your mouth, there’s really not much
worth fighting about. – Soup strainer. Caterpillar. Bro-mo. Do you know which brewery
I’m speaking about yet? Mustache Brewing in
Riverhead, Long Island may have unwittingly embedded
a lesson in its kitschy name. Growing a handlebar moustache
takes commitment and patience, and the same is true for
launching a successful brewery. – I am Matthew Spitz. I am one of the co-owners here
at Moustache Brewing Company, along with my wife. – I’m Lauri Spitz. I’m the other co-owner, the non-mustache
half of the brewery. – Our mission is to make
universally enjoyable beers for everyone. We have brown ales and porters
and cream ales and pale ales, more of your
traditional craft beers, but we also do all
these crazy IPAs and new and experimental
things with hops and fruits and things. We can satisfy a lot
of different levels of craft beer drinkers. – [Lauri] Some of
our signature beers, our Milk & Honey brown
ale, our Sailor Mouth IPA, Lawn, which is a cream ale, Life of Leisure,
which is our pale ale, Everyman’s porter, Wanderlust, ESB, which as a English-style. – [Matt] In the taproom
here we try to really pull in the community
space kind of feel. We have long tables that
are communal tables. We invite people to bring
their children and dogs, and you can bring
in outside food and just come and
hang out if you want. – We have people that come and they’ll have
work meetings here. They’ll just come
here, grab a pint, stand around a table and just
discuss what they have to do. We have people who come and
do homework, read books. It’s great, I love it. – Having that kind of space
where people come and meet and have conversations and
enjoy each other’s company instead of being
glued to a TV screen. It’s a third space. It’s not home or
work; it’s here. – One of the things that’s
really important to us also is giving back to the community. So we do a bunch of different
beers throughout the year where we donate a
portion of the profits to cleaning up the local water,
educational scholarships. When we opened, we
auctioned off the first pint ever poured in our tasting
room for I think about $250. We donated the money to
a local animal shelter. – We have a captive audience. And when you have
a captive audience, if you can do something good
with that, that’s important. – [Lauri] So Matt and I
went to high school together. – I was one of the
leads on stage crew. She was helping build
a lamp post, I think. – I think that’s
what I was doing. – And she caught my eye. And the rest is history. – [Lauri] Yup.
(laughter) – Being married to
your business partner, finding that work/life
balance has been challenging. – There’s never the
separation of work and life. Sometimes we have to
designate, all right, we’re not talking about
work during dinner tonight. – That’s also one
of the great things about being married to
your business partner, is the expedition
of ideas and stuff. You don’t have to wait
until you go to work the next morning, write
an email or whatever. It’s just right here and
it happens instantly. A lot more things
happen faster that way. – Home brewing is what spurred
opening the brewery for us. We had a friend who was
a professional brewer. We were at a bar one
night, and he’s like, yeah, you can do this at
home and brew on your stove. And we’re like, really? We’re like, all
right, let’s try it. So we bought all
the ingredients. And the next weekend he
came over, we brewed. Couple weeks later we
had our friends over. We drank it. Nobody got sick or died or
went blind, so we did it again. – And then probably back
in 2011, I would say, 2010, 2011 we got really
serious into figuring out, all right, what does it
really take to open a brewery? How can we feasibly
really do this? – We had a friend that
had done a Kickstarter. And we’re like, you know
what, we’ll just try this. If we raise the money, great. If we don’t, either
maybe we weren’t supposed to be doing this, or we
just gotta find another way. And we raised over $31,000, which we had a goal of $25,000. We were like, oh crap, we
have to actually do this now. (laughing) – At the time, when we were … Time to come up for a
name for our brewery, it just kind of fit. It was under my nose the
whole time, you know? When we started,
it was her and I doing every single thing here. – Yeah, we jackhammered out
the floor for the drains. Apparently they let you do
that at the hardware store. They just let you leave
with a jackhammer, just, “Good luck, guys.” – I was working a
full-time job still. So I’d get out of
work, I’d come here. I’d brew a batch till
four in the morning and go to work the next day. It was crazy. (chuckling) – I did, and I still do,
everything on the back end. So I’m doing all of the
logistical stuff, the paperwork. I design pretty much
all of our can labels, all of our packaging,
our social media, all of our marketing. – We were very
fortunate to find Rob, who is way smarter than I am and has the similar
level of OCD that I do. – Working with Matt is
absolutely terrible. (chuckling) No. Working with Matt
and Lauri is great. They’ve very open to ideas. If I come up with
something and I say, oh, I’d love to try
this, they’re for it. They’re not going to
shoot the idea down. And I think that that is one
of the keys to our success, is that it’s so collaborative,
even internally. Matt and I both
have a lot of OCD, and I realized that
really early on, ’cause he’d have certain things
placed in a certain spot. And then I would say, oh,
I like it placed here. And then things would kind
of move back and forth. And then we kinda
realized that we’re just moving the same piece. It’s worked out really well
because it allows the brewery to be very clean, uniform,
and everything has a purpose, everything has a sport, and
it’s easy to find things when you really need them. – We currently occupy a quarter of the space in this building. We just signed a
lease to take over the rest of the
building, so going from 1,400 square feet to
5,600 square feet. Right now our tasting
room is a flexible space where it’s our
loading dock as well and a staging area for kegs. So we can’t be in production
while we’re open for tastings. In the new spot we’ll
have a complete separation so we can be brewing 24 hours
a day if we really wanted to and not impact anything
in the tasting room. That will also have an
extra space for more tanks and a bigger brewing
system and capacity. We’re not gonna max out our
entire space right away. We’ll definitely be able to
grow into it as we need to. – This expansion will be expanding the Moustache
family as well. We’ll be bringing on probably
about 10 new employees. – [Matt] Independence is
knowing where your beer is made, who’s making it, and
ultimately where the money is going after you
purchase your beer. – We’re making
our own decisions. The product isn’t being
driven by marketing. It’s being driven by
what we think is best, what’s right at the moment. It’s not beer being marketed
as craft beer but really being produced by global
conglomerate corporations. – Aw, Matt and Lauri
are a really cute couple. And like Matt’s moustache,
the brewery has grown a lot. – So, just in case it
wasn’t clear that the name was inspired by Matt
Spitz’ handlebar moustache, here’s a picture from 2016. – So, maybe now
they’ll change the name to Bearded Brewery? – I wouldn’t bet on it. Well, that’s all
the time we have. Thank you so much for joining us on Brewed in New
York: Long Island. (upbeat rock music)

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