Written by Tab Hauser
Beer is a beverage that is best served fresh. For residents on the North Shore, the good news is that you can get good, fresh beer at the Oyster Bay Brewing Company. We met owner Gabe Haim at his microbrewery’s store front to learn about—and taste—what they are cooking up.
Haim told us that he and his partner, Ryan Schlotter, got involved in making beer by experimenting with a home brewing kit. This passion grew into the Oyster Bay Brewing Company, where they produced 700 barrels last year in mostly four-barrel batches. Their goal is to get to 10,000 barrels.
Our conversation continued while Haim pulled us a flight of six of the beers he had on tap. A flight is a way to taste the different beers available in three-ounce glasses. Each mini-glass served is placed in an order so that the taster knows what style they are trying. For our tasting, we started with four ales: Lawn Mower, Honey, Pumpkin and Amber. We finished off with an IPA and a stout. What impressed us were how easy these were to drink.
The Lawn Mower Ale was the lightest of the group. It had good flavor and a 5 percent alcohol content. The Honey Ale is made with a real honey, but is not a sweet beer. It had more body than the Lawn Mower style. While not a fan of anything pumpkin flavored, we liked their Pumpkin Ale because it had only a slight hint of that flavor. This beer was served in a glass with the rim dusted with cinnamon and sugar.
My favorite of the ales was their amber. This 6 percent alcohol content beer had a golden color and a bold taste. We moved on to the IPA, which was a little bitter (as IPAs should be), finishing with slight lemony taste.
The last beer served was their stout. We found this dark beer to be smooth with a slight chocolate finish.
Flights cost $7 for a taste of six beers. After your tasting, you can pick up a growler of your favorite to go or enjoy a glass while standing at one of the counter tables in the store. From the bar and tables, patrons can see the tanks where the beers are brewed. The staff there is happy to show you how they brew.
Beer styles at Oyster Bay Brewing do change, so during your visit you may find different taps available. This could include a winter ale, which should be available soon. You can also try their beers at area restaurants, as well as at the Nassau Coliseum during Islander games.
For those looking for a present for a beer lover, Haim said that gift baskets are available. These baskets have certificates for tastings, a growler, two pint mugs and a T-shirt. For those interested in a visit to the brewery, he said there is a $14 Groupon promotion that gets two tasting flights, two pint glasses and one growler of beer. Go to www.oysterbaybrewing.com for info.