Two Irish guys and a German walk into a bar…sounds like the beginning of a joke, but what resulted is a thing of beauty: a Long Island–brewed Kölsch-style beer.
Plattduetsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square longed to make its very own house beer. After some investigating at our local breweries, this German restaurant, catering hall and biergarten wound up partnering with a brewery of a different culture, Long Ireland. What transpired when Long Ireland’s owners, Greg Martin and Dan Burke (the formerly mentioned Irish guys), met with Matthew Buck (the general manager of Plattduetsche Park) was chemistry—interpersonal, business-minded and definitely all about beer.
With a rich German-American history, Plattduetsche Park is about as authentically German as you can find on Long Island. In 1883 a group of German immigrants living in Brooklyn came together and founded a society called Plattduetsche Volksfest Vereen to support one another in times of need. The society, which was funded by annual beer festivals, eventually outgrew their Brooklyn digs and moved to their present location in Franklin Square in 1939.
Dedication to their German roots was the impetus to brew a Kölsch. Investigating this German beer style, I discovered that Kölsch has a place-based appellation (like Champagne and France). A true Kölsch is brewed in Cologne (Köln), Germany. It is easy to forget that this beer is brewed in Riverhead. Long Ireland’s Kölsch is made as closely to das real deal as possible. “We used all German malts, hops and yeast,” explains Martin, “even Plattduetsche chef Herbert Aigner, from Austria, stepped out of the kitchen, grabbed a half-liter and said ‘it tastes like home.’ That was a pretty ringing endorsement in my mind.”
All photos by Sophia del Gigante
Walking into the restaurant, I am struck with the spirit of gemütlichkeit—warmth and friendliness that will yield good times with good friends. In the restaurant stands a glass case containing trophies (tiaras for the women) from their annual Schützenfest. Formerly a shooting contest, Schützenfest is now the restaurant’s annual Oktoberfest/Ompahfest. Held in the beer hall at Plattduetsche’s recently expanded biergarten on September 21, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Schützenfest will celebrate German-American heritage with live bands (many from Germany), traditional dancing, vendors, authentic cuisine and plenty of beer.
Plattduetsche Park Restaurant: 1132 Hempstead Turnpike, Franklin Square, NY.