LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
Since I’ve been visiting cousins ‘out on the Island’ and riding waves at Robert Moses beach since childhood, this oceanic haven feels like home, securing great memories. Although limited bottled beer selection hampers its idyllic splendor, Shoreline Beverage, Huntington (on Route 110) will impress drinkers with its selection of “over 800 beers.”
By February 2007, Shoreline boasted “over 1,200 beers,” including a large Belgian section where I found Brasserie Des Geants Saison Voisin, Drie Fonteainen Kriek, Du Bocq Blanches Des Moines, Fantome Brisse-Bon Bons, and Regenboog T’Smisje Kerst. Also picked up four Thomas Hooker and Tractor brews, Legacy Hedonism, Victory Boisterous Hellerbock, and Oskar Blues Gordon IPA.
During February ’07 two-day trip, finally visited three divergent Long Island brewpubs. Celebrating Mardis Gras-styled Fasching Festival (a German carnival flaunting fancy dresses, costume balls, and elaborate floats), Farmingdale’s industrial-sectioned large-theme restaurant-brewery BLACK FOREST BREW HAUS had fascinating beer assortment to go with Bavarian dishes such as wiener schnitzel, wirtshaus veal, sauerbraten, zwiebelrostbraten (ribeye), rouladen (steak with bacon), and loaded potato pancakes. Inside the tan cement building with red triangle entry and green awning, the slate-floored pub area had solid oak main bar, decorative porcelain tap towers (at secondary terminal), copper brew vats, and festive mural-backed stage area. Carpeted green-walled wood-chaired back dining space with fireplace plus ample outdoor biergarten added breadth.
Operating since August ’98, head brewer Joe Hayes supplied wide-ranging German-styled winners such as salty hop-fizzed lemon-peeled banana-clove-centered grapefruit rind-backed light body Hefe Weizen, dry Noble-hopped corn-malted citric-soured vegetal-dabbed floral-muted wood-lacquered Black Forest Pilsner, and caramel malt-smoked, raw-honeyed, mineral-grained, fig-date-tinged, Marzen-styled Black Forest Amber Lager.
Best bets: sweet ‘n sour banana-bruised, prune-raisin-cherry-pureed, coriander-clove-allspice-seasoned, pecan-walnut-toasted, burgundy-brandy-port-finishing Weizen Bock and alcohol-warmed fig-raisin-grape-dried banana-bruised cocoa-chocolate-heeled cola-walnut-tinged earthen-hopped Scotch Ale.
During quick May ’08 stopover, tried impressive woody-hopped, orange-grapefruit rind-embittered, apricot-apple-sweetened I.P. Hayes IPA and cereal-grained, honey-malted, cornmeal-sorghum-influenced, lemony grapefruit-apricot-fruited Maibock.
My friend, Dennis Flubacher, visited Black Forest, October 2010, buying growler of resplendent Marzen-styled Oktoberfest. Its creamy maple malting intensified leafy gourd-spiced full body, gaining almond-toasted gingerbread-cardamom-cinnamon accents.
On two-hour lunch stint, January, 2011, tried superfine Black Forest Imperial Stout, a popular winter dessert treat that was going like hotcakes this Saturday afternoon with the wife. Its coffee-oiled hop-charred black chocolate roast stayed firm above ashen pine-sapped thickness and fig-dried black cherry variance to caramel-burnt toffee finish.
Before visiting my cousins for a graduation party, August ’12, stopped by to try another fine elixir while sharing creamy spinach dips with wife and kids. Lactic cocoa-powdered black chocolate theme sufficed for lightly creamed Black Forest Oatmeal Stout, a rich dessert treat with a caramel-burnt Hershey’s chocolate kiss finish when warmed. Tertiary hazelnut-cherry-plum illusions faded through the toasted hop char and dark roasted mocha malting.
Discovered two previously untried Black Forest brews during short April ’13 stopover. Totally awesome German rauchbier, Black Forest Smoked Porter, gathered peat-smoked dark chocolate malting, beechwood-kilned stove-burnt coffee bittering and pruned plum dabs, creating a Band-aid-like astringency that fades into an ashen hop char.
Vibrant Black Forest Imperial Pilsner allowed brisk grapefruit-sugared lemon zest as well as tangy tangerine and navel orange juicing to speckle cannabis-oiled salty hop bittering.