It’s officially Long Island Craft Beer Week, so naturally that means free beer. Wait, what? Craft Cares, the exclusive beer of the week, is now available across the island and the only payment required is two cans of food to benefit Long Island Cares.
Craft Cares was brewed as a collaboration among 1940’s Brewing, Barrage Brewing, Blue Point Brewing, BrickHouse Brewery, Great South Bay Brewery and Port Jeff Brewing. The beer, ultimately dubbed a Long Island Common Ale, uses orange blossom honey and local grain and hops. The result is a refreshing, clean, well balanced beer that lends itself to the season. Jim Richards, brewer at Blue Point, says it’s “the perfect beer for anyone’s palate — transitional but also interesting and aggressive.”
Everyone involved brought something to the table: recipe ideas, ingredients, equipment or even the use of their brewery. Brewers gathered bright and early at BrickHouse for the Craft Cares brew day, and it was all hands on deck when it came time to can the beer. “There’s a feeling of camaraderie, we hope that comes through in the beer,” says Arthur Zimmerman of BrickHouse.
Common Ale indeed refers to the common ground the brewers found themselves on more than the actual style of beer. “You’re not in this to compete, you’re here to promote craft beer on Long Island,” says Charlie Becker of 1940’s, the youngest brewery involved. “A lot of these guys are mentors for us.”
Craft Cares’ goal is to help locals in need and bring awareness to the Long Island Craft beer scene. “We’re all hoping down the road that Long Island is that beer destination for people out of state,” says Steve Pominski, owner of Barrage. Matt Gundrum, head brewer at Port Jeff adds, “On Long Island everybody goes for local farms and local food but sometimes they don’t even realize there’s a brewery down the street.”
“We’re lucky enough to be able to feed our families by making beer. To make a beer and help feed other peoples’ families is a good feeling,” says Phil Ebel of Great South Bay, a sentiment echoed by all the brewers. The “can for a can” promotion is currently running at more than 20 establishments across Long Island. Two cans of food will get you one can of Craft Cares, while supplies last. For a full list of participating locations visit #LICBW15’s website.