co-owners Greg Martin and Dan Burke will release the brewery's newest bottling, a Double India Pale Ale, on Friday night at Bobbique restaurant in Patchogue from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The brewery’s first bottling, a Black Friday Imperial Stout, came last fall.
Long Ireland's DIPA relies on hops infused into the brewing process at 20 separate intervals from boil to bottle (11 during the boil and nine during the dry-hop stage), resulting in an intensely aromatic beer. The brewery hand-bottled roughly 4,500 22-ounce bottles.
"I remember when we first started Long Ireland, IPA's were the big thing," Martin said, recollecting 2008-2009, when he and Burke started contract brewing with a Connecticut-based company. "It seemed that every brewery that opened up, one of the first questions was, 'When are you coming out with your IPA?' And a lot of places seemed to be judged on that."
Instead, Long Ireland took a different road and made its flagship the maltier Celtic Ale, and followed up with a Breakfast Stout. In time, a Pale Ale was added to the mix, though with an alcohol by volume of 6.8 percent and potent hops evident, it pretty much drinks like an IPA would.
Martin said last winter, at a beer dinner held at Blackwell's, he and Burke brought a 10-gallon batch of Double IPA they brewed on a home system and tweaked their current recipe from there. The unfiltered brew includes Magnum, Cascade, Columbus and Summit hops, and pale, crystal and caramel malts.
Martin said the special release bottles "allow for a different approach, to access a certain target audience" - that being craft beer drinkers, a group expanding more and more on Long Island. Not far to the east, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company recently in Peconic, hoping to in time quadruple its current output to meet demand.
As for the bottling process itself, Martin said this marks Long Ireland's eventual transition to installing a bottling production at the brewery to further make their way into the retail market. However he said as with any new venture, adjustments will need to be made as the brewery works into it.
"We're just getting our feet wet with the whole packaging process," he said. "It's ridiculously labor intensive." The "guy who does everything" at the brewery according to Burke, Fred Keller, had spent about 20 hours hand-bottling by Tuesday evening, and still had about half to go.
Martin said he plans on purchasing an automatic bottling machine to increase bottling production from six to 30 cases per hour, and hopes to move into bottling their regular rotation of beers within six months.
As far as beer production goes, Martin said they may do yet another bottle release in the spring, with a saison. And then possibly a summer beer, and back to its Raspberry Wheat.
"Who knows, really," he said. "That's one of the best parts about this job. If we get bored, we can always plunk something else in there."