On a recent visit to Oyster Bay, I was heading over to Jack Halyards American Bar and Grill for dinner, when I stumbled upon the Oyster Bay Brewing Company next door. Curious, I walked over and discovered a hidden jewel in the heart of Oyster Bay. This small craft beer establishment was “hopping” in more ways than one. It was only six o’clock, and the place was already packed. People gathered around tall, stand-up tables and muddled around the small bar trying a variety of craft beers. The Preakness was about to begin, and could be watched on two large televisions hung on the walls amid Oyster Bay Brewing Company T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. The whale fin logo on all their merchandise was so “Oyster Bay,” and I ended up coming home with two of their signature pint glasses and a growler.
I am hardly a connoisseur of craft beers, but I know good beer when I taste it. I ordered the sampler, which included six hand crafted beer made on premises. In fact, the tanks are just to the right of the bar. The beer sampler was served in a small, nautical-looking wooden crate edged in rope. The beers were the ever popular “Barn Rocker,” which had its debut at a New York Islander’s hockey game, an American wheat, Honey Ale, Amber, IPA and a Summer Ale. All were delicious, but my favorite by far was the Barn Rocker, followed by American Wheat and the Honey Ale, made with real honey.
I met Ryan Schlotter, one of two owners who opened the Oyster Bay Brewing Company in 2012. He and partner Gabe Hain experimented with home brewing a few years earlier and immediately developed a passion for it. “The business is so hot right now. It’s really a lot of fun,” said Schlotter. “It was the right time for us to start this. The craft beer business is booming.”
Five to six beers are on tap. They change monthly, and seasonal beer is offered. Most is made by head brewmaster, Pete DeLuca, who brews daily in eight tanks, in which the beer is aged for 10 days.
Beer is not the only item. Their homemade dog treats — made with the same grain used to make beer — have developed a cult following, according to Schlotter. “The dogs seem to really like them, and they’re all natural,” he adds. “People are constantly coming in for them.”
If beer and biscuits were not enough, they have recently created a beer soap. Their innovations in producing quality craft beers have also earned them the 2015 Edible Long Island Local Hero Award for Best Food/Beverage Artisan.
The Oyster Bay Brewing Company has been frequented by many guests including Oyster Bay resident, Billy Joel. The tasting room is open Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday 4-10 p.m., Saturday 1-10 p.m., and Sunday noon-5 p.m. Stop for a pint!