Augie Hoffmann and co-owner John Liegey pour during the VIP hour in the brewery.
Greenport Harbor Brewing Company celebrated its 5th anniversary and grand opening of their 13,000-square-foot brewery on Main Road in Peconic this past Saturday. Since buying the building in April 2012, co-owners and friends Rich Vandenburgh and John Liegey endured “about a year of tearing our hair out,” before gaining traction and starting construction. Hundreds of Long Islanders joined them at the festivities, which included food trucks from Noah’s, Lucharito’s and the Roaming Fork, music and of course, plenty of GHBC beer.
Most notably, on tap was #5, an anniversary Belgian dubbel fermented with tart cherries. Liegey accurately described it as “clean, nice, refreshing; didn’t hang on the palate.” Bitter Monk, a wheat beer using trappist yeast, was the first offering from new brewer Joe Hayes and a crowd favorite. Later in the evening, a keg of their Baltic Porter, which had been aged for two years was unveiled as a treat for those who had stuck around.
Though Peconic just officially opened, the large scale brewing system is already in place and brewers DJ Swanson and Joe Hayes have begun to test it out. On Saturday, one fermenter housed 60 barrels of Summer Ale with the duo planning to continue production at a rapid rate. Leaf Pile, their fall seasonal, is slated to be brewed within the next couple weeks in addition to the rest of their lineup. As attendee Greg Woody put it, “Anything that allows them to pump out more stuff like the Black Duck Porter I’m all for.”
Lee Ann Romanelli mans one of the beer trucks.
The overall celebratory mood of the event was really solidified when we spoke to Liegey and Vandenburgh, who acknowledged they couldn’t have done it on their own. “we’ve been just so lucky to have friends, fans, investors, accounts and everybody that’s been behind us the whole way,” said Vandenburgh. Liegey added, “Our backs alone have not been enough to get this place open.” They received congratulatory calls from national breweries Lagunitas and Ballast Point as well as local colleagues; the sense of community within the craft brewing sphere is great.
The original brewery at Carpenter Street in Greenport will remain open as a tasting room and brewery. The current brewhouse equipment will be moved to Peconic, and a smaller 15-barrel “pilot system” is being installed in Greenport for one-off and experimental batches. Peconic is not done growing yet; plans are underway to add an on-site restaurant within the next year. Big things are coming from Greenport Harbor Brewing Company and it’s all beginning with the new tasting room and brewery. Peconic is currently open noon-7 p.m. on weekends with weekday hours coming soon.