By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

BlindBatBrewerylogoBLINKY For several years now, I've allowed an idea for a series of local beer, wine and spirit dinner macerate in my mind. I wanted them to be somehow different from the dinners already happening — because where's the value or fun in doing something that is already being done?

First and foremost, I wanted these dinners to celebrate a person rather than a winery, brewery or distillery. The artisan behind the local beverages needed to be the star. Front and center.

Next, I wanted the dinners to be as affordable possible — to make them accessible to people who enjoy quality, local food and wine but maybe can't afford $100 per plate.

And lastly, I wanted the food to be creative and the menu be crafted with the chosen beverages in mind. No cookie-cutter menus with "Insert White Wine Here."

And when I met Keith Luce, chef at Luce & Hawkins in Jamesport, a while back, I knew I had met a brother in arms in the eat and drink local movement. These dinners would finally have a home — outside of my own brain — and a chef willing to make it happen.

Keith and I — along with mutual friend and local 'wine guy' Mark Grimaldi — are pleased to announce the first in this series, an evening with Paul Dlugokencky, founder and brewer at Blind Bat Brewery in Centerport on Monday, May 23 at 7 p.m.

Paul is a true pioneer in the craft brewing revolution underway on Long Island today. Throughout the evening, Paul will discuss his beers and brewing style as we enjoy a three-course meal and five of Paul's small-batch beers — including his first-ever honey-basil ale.

Seats are $55 (including tax and gratuity) and we only have 40 seats available for this dinner.

If you'd like to join us, please email me to reserve your spot!