A Taste of Long Island is where aspiring brewers can get their start. The space started with four breweries operating under one roof, including a Taste of Long Island. Now that they’ve been open for a year, some of the original breweries are moving onto their own space and being replaced by a new class. The one constant will always be a Taste of Long Island, but their beer has been anything but stagnant.
Owner Jim Thompson initially set out to brew a series of blonde ales, each with tweaks based on seasonal ingredients and flavors. For the first six months he stayed true to the vision, brewing three or four times, but then he met Billy Powell. Powell was interested in starting his own brewery — and still is — but the two clicked and soon after Powell became head brewer for a Taste of Long Island.
With Powell on board they are building on their blonde ale base with beers like a black and white summer porter and orange creamsicle wheat beer.
“He would brew and not even get paid. He just loves brewing so much,” says Thompson. With Powell on board they are building on their blonde ale base with beers like a black and white summer porter and orange creamsicle wheat beer. “At first the brew days were taking ten hours,” says Thomspon. “I wanted to cut it down but realized that’s just how Billy’s creative process works.” Thompson tasted the results and has never looked back. “The reception to the new beer has been phenomenal.”
This fall, Thompson and Powell are taking their beers to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The GABF is widely regarded as the most prestigious beer festival and competition in the United States. They will be pouring their beer for patrons at a Taste of Long Islands booth and also have entered two beers for judging: Orange Creamsicle and Half Wit in Paradise, a witbier brewed with tropical fruit.
The beer aims to recreate a memory, like waiting for the Good Humor ice cream truck or sitting around a campfire. On deck are a s’mores inspired smoked beer, a play on root beer and something using maple syrup as the primary ingredient. The pair come up with an idea or inspiration, then create a recipe around it. A Taste of Long Island beer can be found in their tasting room, at farmers markets and in select bars in Farmingdale and throughout the island.