Long Island Craft Beer Week Kicks Off!

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Founded in 2011, Long Island Craft Beer Week has been an annual staple (with the exception of 2014) for showcasing the finest microbreweries the island has to offer. The week long celebration runs May 8–May 17 and includes events at participating breweries. This fourth installment begins on May 6 at 6 p.m. with Craft Cares, a charitable tasting of 20 of the best craft beers paired with some of the best food Long Island has to offer. Silent auctions and raffles will accompany the tastings throughout the evening. All proceeds from ticket sales and the event will go to support the Lustgarten Foundation, NY Bully Crew and Long Island Cares, a food bank for which there will also be a collection of non-perishable foods. Bring some cans with you!

Craft Cares is a “great place for everyone to get together to meet and give back to the community,” says Alicia Valeo of Beer Loves Company, one of the organizers of the event. In addition to the proceeds from the fundraiser, a handful of “gold level breweries” — Barrage, Blue Point, BrickHouse, Great South Bay, Port Jeff, and 1940’s this time around — will brew a special charity beer from which the proceeds will go to Long Island Cares. Along with the beer, a close-knit craft beer community is brewing.

Along with the beer, a close-knit craft beer community is brewing.

Just two years ago, that community came together when Hurricane Sandy struck the island and caused particularly devastating damage to fellow Barrier Brewing Company in Oceanside. Seven other local breweries — Blind Bat, Blue Point, Great South Bay, Greenport Harbor, Long Ireland, Port Jeff, and Spider Bite — came together, along with Barrier, to produce a 30-barrel batch of Sandy relief beer aptly named Surge Protector IPA. The limited edition sold out soon after and the almost $58,000 in proceeds were donated to Long Island Cares and Barrier.

Between the supportive community that embraces its own and the craft of those that compose that community, microbreweries old and new will continue to thrive on Long Island. “Beer tourism is catching on” and the Long Island brewing community is still growing, says Valeo. “Five or six breweries are still waiting for their license and a whole new group of breweries will be opening up soon.” These new breweries will be joining a vibrant community, one which will embrace their arrival.

Tickets run just over $59 for the kickoff event and can be purchased online. For more information, please e-mail Alicia Valeo and Kevin Breslawski.

Full list of participating breweries: 1940’s, Barrage, Barrier, Blind Bat, Blue Point, Brewers Collective, BrickHouse, Bronx Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, Crooked Ladder, Destination Unknown, Fire Island, Great South Bay, Greenport, Long Ireland, Montauk, Moustache, Ommegang, Oyster Bay, Port Jeff, Southampton, Southern Tier, and Spider Bite.

Full list of participating restaurants: BBD’s, Noodles & Company, The Tap Room, The Trattoria, Verde.

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