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The lazy local’s unauthorized guide to LI Craft Beer Week

craft-beer-week

Brain to Liver! Brain to Liver! Brace for impact! Long Island Craft Beer Week 2016 is approaching! 

We repeat, BRACE FOR IMPACT!  

What is Long Island Craft Beer Week? 

From Manhattan to Montauk, it’s a week-long celebration of craft beer with a focus on regional brews.

Tap takeovers, tastings galore, beer dinners (where courses are carefully paired with select beers) and a whole host of other events are sure to please your taste buds and broaden your palates just in time for the next drinking season.

But let’s say you’re not looking to trek to Montauk or South Nassau from now through next weekend, here are some must-do’s and suggested events that aren’t too far from home.

First off, let’s fill up our emergency craft beer-drinking preparation kit:

1. Starting on Friday, May 13, you can pick up your very own can of Craft Cares IPAThis is beer you actually don’t buy (I know, I know. There’s an old joke about how you never really “buy” beer; you just rent it.)  Stop at one of these locations and trade non-perishable food items for a can of hoppy goodness.

This is an IPA, so those of you who don’t groove on things sticky, piney, sharp and citrusy might not like it, but it’s for a good cause. So go get you some anyway! (And then give it to me.) Follow these efforts on Facebook.

Aside: Bellport Beer is my go-to distro but other places will have them as well. Spider Bite Beer in Holbrook, for example, does have the cans but also has the IPA on tap!  Drink one (or two) now and save the can for later.

2. Later Friday evening, Craft Beer Week kicks off in earnest at 8 p.m. with the “SimulCask.” Here multiple, special cask ales are tapped at various locations in a “New Year’s style countdown.”

Aside: As I previously mentioned, Spider Bite has the Craft Cares cans but will also be tapping a cask of Tiramisu Melba Brown Ale for the SimulCask.  Shoot the bull with Larry. Discuss the irony of the co-founder and brew master of said brewery having arachnophobia.

3. Get yer glass. You don’t need it to drink throughout Long Island Craft Beer Week, but it’s a cool way to commemorate the event.  Register here at your favorite watering hole, then pick up your glass on Monday, May 16, starting at 5 p.m. They’re taking orders until Sunday, May 15so hurry! Then fill, drink, and repeat.

Aside: I’ll be picking mine up at Bobbique. Besides having one of the best craft beer tap lines in this neck of the woods, it has a killer happy hour and solid, tasty ‘cue. They’re also hosting a cool, craft-beer infused Taco Tuesday event on, um, Tuesday, complete with a photo booth.

After hitting all the initial must-dos check out LongIslandCraftBeerWeek.com for a full list of events.

Here are some more suggestions from a Long Island Craft Beer Week veteran: 

West vs. East Smackdown at Hoptron Brewtique, Patchogue. (May 13 to May 22)

Yankees vs. Mets. Isles vs. Rangers. Jets vs. Giants. Now, with Long Island’s rapid growth of craft brewers, it was only a matter of time before the East End and West Side collided.

We’re New Yorkers after all, aren’t we?

Pop in to sample some of the best that both Nassau and Suffolk counties have to offer.

Great South Bay Brewery’s Bay Fest, Bay Shore. (May 14)

It’s a craft beer fest hosted by one of the best breweries on the Island. Always boasting a solid line-up, I’m sure Rick’s got some gems he’ll showcase to commemorate Long Island Craft Beer Week.

Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing finally makes it to Long Island! (May 18) 

Launch parties abound but if you’re sticking local:  Tap RoomHoptron Brewtique and Bobbique will all be hosting. New Belgium’s Fat Tire Ale, oft-maligned by the Cognoscenti on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer is still a favorite of mine. Screw you, Cognoscenti!

And all that is just the tip of the craft beer iceberg, my friends! See you around town!

About the author: BJ (Beer Zombie) Gamboa

BJ is a craft beer aficionado who lives in Patchogue and does his best to drink Main Street dry. Follow him on Twitter @BeerZ0mbie.