On the way to his next-door neighbor’s house, Larry Goldstein felt a pinch . On his arm he saw a raised welt with two red marks characteristic of a spider’s fangs. Unfortunately, the bite didn’t endow him with super powers, but it did give him a name for his brewery, which is getting a lot of attention from across New York State.
That’s what winning “Best New Brewery” at the annual TapNY beer festival will do.
“I thought some of our beers had a chance to win an award in a style category,” says the former chiropractor turned brewer, “But I never thought we’d win that.” His Boris the Spider Russian Imperial Stout, however, was right in the judges’ wheelhouse. Not bad for a brewery that only received its license last November.
While the brewery may be new, Goldstein is no novice. His love of beer and brewing goes back over twenty years. “I was living in Atlanta at the time, and I got into craft beer clubs, he said. “I would trade beers around the world; all we would talk about is beer and brewing. At the same time, I found a local homebrew shop.”
It took nearly two more decades, a formal brewing education through the American Brewers’ Guild, and a move back to Goldstein’s native Long Island, but finally, toward the close of 2011, the Spider Bite Brewing Company became an incorporated, licensed, fully armed and operational beer station.
As is so often the case these days, the prohibitive cost of a full brewhouse and fermentation facility meant Spider Bite needed to contract brew their beer. That’s done at Butternuts Brewing in Garratsville, New York. Goldstein, however, conceives of and formulates the recipes. There is a growth plan in place to build an in-store tasting room next year, and a production brewery the year after that, although, according to Goldstein, nothing is set in stone and expansion will be demand-driven. Currently, Spider Bite is available across Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Westchester.
As for the award, Goldstein isn’t resting on his laurels. He has a saison due out soon, which he describes as bright, with a character reminiscent of sauvignon blanc. He also continues to formulate and tinker on his one-barrel pilot system. “We’re trying to decide what to do for the summer.”
Whatever Spider Bite comes up with next, Goldstein fully intends to stick to the ethos that pulled him into beer in the first place: bold styles and flavor. “I like the bigger beers. I started brewing because I wanted something higher alcohol, more flavor, and that’s how I’ve been brewing. We like to push each style.”