Where I went to college, there was a lot of beer. Disclaimer: I didn’t drink any of it*.
Natty Light, The Beast and an occasional mystery keg abounded, sending me directly to the bottom of a bottle of bourbon. The blanket statement of “I don’t drink beer” made me pretty unpopular when I lived in Boston, Massachusetts during graduate school. I danced to chants of “you’re so wicked high maintenance” as I threw another stoli doli on my credit card. It wasn’t until I started worshipping wine that I saw the potential craft brews had to offer.
But a girl can’t just shuck over a decade of ‘just saying no’ because all the sudden a quintessential foamy headed cold beverage looked appealing. Or could she?
Having spent years enjoying hard cider has a gateway drink (though, I DO enjoy a Strongbow, cider snobs), the time has come to introduce beer into my alcoholic diet. Appropriate I get my start at a brewery whose founders dreamed of a better beer over a pint of something crappy.
A group of friends and I visited Greenport Harbor Brewing in (as the name would tell you) Greenport, NY. I suggest people who love beer and know what they’re talking go to GHB. I also recommend people who have no experience with beer stop by GHB. You’ll have a great time either way.
The tasting room sits above the production facility housed in a renovated firehouse. Since most of the firefighters I know REALLY like beer and can pack away a lot of it, the aesthetic is a perfect fit. The clean modern loft I welcoming and sets the stage reminding patrons they’re ‘tasting,’ not pounding pints. An unassuming merch corner stands on a gleaming wood floor, a smart move as 50% of my party came home with new gear. Everyone loved the logo. The Long Island-ish shaped whale came in handy to teach a Southern Belle about her current location.
Now, on to the beer!
The $8 fee (including a souvenir glass) is one of the best deals on the either Fork. It’s a lot for your money. The delicate girls in our group were unable to finish each of the beers presented in the six flights.
Harbor Ale – A Pale Ale in the American style was light and crisp, which I discovered for myself before reading it on the chalkboard in front of me. It was approachable for the neophyte in me, but didn’t wow the dudes who drink a lot.
Black Duck Porter – We declared it a breakfast beer and vowed to consume in coffee cups. It had sort of an umami thing going on that I enjoyed but didn’t fall to pieces over.
Havre Rouge – Immediately nicknamed Brett Havre was the MVP and favorite. It smelled pleasantly of corn nuts and had enough heft to make its presence known, but wasn’t so heavy that it felt like a meal.
Summer Ale – Crowned the 2nd runner up in the Miss Beers of Greenport pageant, this beer was refreshing and flavorful with a mild citrus and floral taste. This was the beer I was most excited to pair with food.
Citrus IPA – Way too IPA-ey for me. The beer drinkers really enjoyed it and finished mine happily. I don’t know if they tasted the lemon-line-orange bouquet suggested in the notes because they are a bunch of drunks and spent that round rating the women who had entered the now busy tasting room.
Hoppy Stout – Aptly named and chewy, but lighter than I expected. I enjoyed the nose more so than the fire on the way down.
While I can safely say I preferred the lighter craft beers in every way to the darker, I will readily admit that I have a lot to learn.
About a year from now, there will be more opportunities to sample as there are plans for a second tasting room in Peconic and increased production. Greenport Harbor Brewing Company is a fantastic addition to the North Fork and a place where wine lovers and beer lovers can convene happily and eat free pretzels.*Except for Green Beer on St. Patty’s Day, but who could taste beyond the food coloring?