|Blue Point Brewing in Patchogue, New York|
Located in Patchogue, New York right near the waters of Patchogue Bay, the brewery is about an hour away from southern Brooklyn, which makes it a perfect candidate for a day trip. With tasting room hours available Thursday through Saturday and tours on Saturdays only, it makes for a great weekend getaway, particularly because the tasting room is completely free. Going on Saturday means being prepared for a crowd as it is a very popular spot with the locals as well as those who travel from afar for their delicious craft beer. Even still, the space inside where the tasting room is located is large enough to accommodate a decent sized crowd and any overflow tends to work its way out into the enclosed parking lot/loading dock area towards the back of the facility.
What's great about the tasting room (aside from the fact that the samples are free) is that there are often a large number of beers on tap--upwards of a half dozen to a dozen depending on the time of year. For someone like me who enjoys trying as many new beers as I can, it represents a great opportunity to cover a lot of ground quite easily. Plus, when the beer is almost universally awesome, you really can't beat it!
Aside from the tasting room, the tour is also pretty incredible. We had an absolutely hilarious tour guide who was clearly passionate about both brewing and public speaking. He was knowledgeable about all-things craft beer and had a panache for interacting with the crowd. On the day that we went in 2009, there was a heckler who had clearly had too much to drink who kept interrupting the guide's presentation. He managed to handle the man respectfully while maintaining his composure and keeping the rest of us entertained. The tour was definitely worth it, even with the guy who couldn't handle his suds.
Inside of the tasting room is also a small gift shop area with some pretty sweet swag. You can find some cool stuff, so if you're into supporting your local craft brewery (and who isn't!?) you should definitely consider picking up a shirt, a hat, or whatever will tell the world that you're a fan of Blue Point brewing.
I give Blue Point Brewing an A+ because they offer a tremendous, diverse array of beers for free, as well as a free tour on Saturdays. Since the beers are delicious, the tours are informative and entertaining, and the gift shop offers some really awesome stuff, I can say confidently that there really isn't anything more that you could ask of a brewery. One of my first favorites and, after visiting over seventy different breweries and brewpubs, it's still one of the best I've been to. The Blue Point Brewery comes with my highest recommendation.
BEERS SAMPLED (Over the course of two visits)
Blue Point Toasted Lager
Blue Point Winter Ale
Blue Point Blueberry
Blue Point Hoptical Illusion
Blue Point Oatmeal Stout
Blue Point No Apologies Imperial IPA (AMAZING!)
Blue Point Golden Ale
Blue Point Pale Ale
Lessing's Local Ale (contract brewed for Lessing's)
WHAT ELSE TO DO IN THE AREA
If you're looking to grab some grub, I'd definitely recommend visiting the Brick House Brewing Co. brewpub located less than five minutes away from Blue Point. The beer there is decent and the food is solid. The odds are, though, that you'll be heading back west at some point so I would also suggest stopping off either at John Harvard's in Lake Grove or at Buffalo Wild Wings in North Babylon if you're a wings person. There is also an awesome Tanger outlet center located nearby in Deer Park, so if shopping's your thing, you can't go wrong there either.
For more information about Blue Point Brewing, please visit their official page here:
--Beer Whisperer Matt