Perched between Black Forest Brew Haus (a half-hour east) and Southampton Publick House (an hour west) in the mall-filled village of Lake Grove, JOHN HARVARD’S BREW HOUSE is an affiliate Northeast brewpub with same-named locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts (plus Providence, Rhode Island’s Union Station Brewery). Originally opened 1997, this spacious freestanding Smith Haven Mall bar-restaurant (with flashy maroon awnings) greets customers at its bright yellow-painted middle entrance.
Visited August ’09, the commodious interior featured formal right side wooden square bar (festooned by hanging ceramic mugs and multi-TV’s) serving surrounding pub area and large left dining spaces with house beers from large glass-encased center-staged brew tanks. Menu included fine salads, gourmet sandwiches, and Americana fare to go with Dave De Turris’ stylistically distinct beers and ales.
Lighter libations included astringent straw wheat-fronted, maize-dried, lemon-spiced Long Island Light, soft grapefruit-tangerine-lingered honey-malted woody-hopped dry-bodied John Harvard’s Pale Ale, and mild lemon-candied honey-glazed banana-clove-smitten Hugh Hefe.
Buttery vanilla-honeyed, candi-sugared, cream-corned, cinnamon-nutmeg-spiced Belgian Tripel and soft black cherry-ripened, cedar-charred, beechwood-smoked Flanders Flemish Stout (with ascending stove-burnt coffee finish) were Euro-styled delights.
Dry-bodied apple-orange-grape-soured celery-thin Red In The Face (Red) Ale merely sufficed but toffee-malted plum-soured cherry-pureed banana-breaded grape-nutty apple-skinned Mad Tom’s Old Ale proved interesting.
Best bet: Belgian-styled witbier, Friggin’ Swheat, a busy medium-bodied delight featuring toned-down Italian plum, boysenberry, and blackberry fruiting usurped by dry cider-soured cherry-banana-confluence rising above recessive lime-y brimstone dusting.