Quick trip to Riverhead and Greenport NY

My husband and I made a quick beer-focused overnight trip out east on Long Island this past weekend. I wanted to surprise him with a quick getaway that would take us no more than 3 hours to get to from Northern Westchester and would have a high concentration of breweries to hit that he hasn’t been to yet (a tall order). Much research led me to Riverhead, NY, where there is a “trifecta” of new-ish microbreweries all within a mile of each other. I took on the role as DD and we set off.

Our first stop once we got to Riverhead was at The Birchwood of Polish Town for lunch. My husband loves Polish food but as I am the resident dinner-chooser and don’t love it we don’t often have it. We walked into this place and I knew he would love it. Very casual, friendly place with Polish food that hit the spot. They have a lot of American specialties too but we stuck to the Polish dishes-- a salad and a side order of pierogies for me (generously sized and enough for lunch) and the kielbasa platter which came replete with sauerkraut, fresh green beans, and truly excellent homemade potato salad.

Our next stop was Crooked Ladder, a brewery on a main drag in Riverhead with a very small tasting bar in the front. The bartender was really sweet and friendly. We got a tasting which for $10 got my husband a pint glass and eight three ounce(ish-- they were generous) samples. Nothing spectacular, but all above average. My husband’s favorite was the oak aged Gypsy Red American red ale, which was a bit drier than the description promised and thus not my favorite. The crowd here was pretty tame, although it was early.

What we discovered when we got to Mustache Brewing Co. was that people truly make a day out of circling among the three breweries. Half the people we saw there had been at Crooked Ladder and were now several more sheets to the wind. Mustache is run out of what basically looks like a garage. Again, extremely friendly servers and some tasty beers. For $8 you could get 4 generous samples so we went for 2 samplers (when I say we, I mean mostly my husband!). Again, nothing out of this world, but some very solid beers and a few saisons, which are one of my favorites. We agreed that the best one was the toasted coconut porter.

We made a quick stop at Snowflake Ice Cream after that for a frozen treat. Nicely textured ice cream with a large variety of flavors. Nothing special but delicious nonetheless.

To finish out the trifecta, we stopped at Long Ireland Beer Company last. At this point you could tell people were extremely well lubricated so this was a bit chaotic and noisier than the other breweries. My husband was also just about beer-ed out although he didn’t want to admit it. It seems like the trifecta is a favorite for bachelor/bachelorette parties and birthday celebrations and some people had definitely had wayyyyy too much to drink. We bought a sampler for $10, which got us 8 tastes, but after 4 we threw in the towel and headed out to Greenport. I can’t remember any of these beers so they couldn’t have been that impressive.

We drove out to Greenport to the Harborfront Inn and discovered that Greenport too seems to be a big destination for bachelorette parties, as evidenced by the rousing rendition of “Shut up and Dance With Me” by about 25 screaming girls in their hotel room down the hall. After a little rest, we headed out for some pre-dinner oysters at Little Creek Oyster Farm where you have the choice of shucking your own for a considerable discount or paying more for them already shucked on the half shell. My husband still has a scar from a clam he tried to pry open so we decided NOT to shuck them ourselves. The oysters were incredibly fresh, probably the best I’ve ever had, all plucked what could only have been hours before from local waters. Truly a treat.

Dinner was at American Beech, also a treat, although the loud clubby atmosphere when we got there was a bit of a turn-off for us. Luckily it quieted down and we really enjoyed our meal. Friendly servers, delicious food, and a really gorgeous atmosphere. The duck bastilla appetizer was delicious with a flaky crust and harissa dressing. A nice salad also to begin. I had the generously sized and tasty lobster roll with perfectly crisp chips. My husband’s eyes lit up when he saw his enormous wienerschnitzel which came with spatzle and sauerkraut. Both entrees were outstanding and reasonably priced, I thought. We chose an almond pound cake for dessert which was a perfect, not too sweet end to our meal. We debated grabbing a drink at Brix and Rye but instead opted to call it a night.

Overall we had a fun 24 hours out on Long Island and got to drink some good beer and eat some great food!

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Thanks for the detailed review. You know, I live near Riverhead and pass all those breweries on a daily basis but don’t think I’ve been in any of them to actually do a tasting. They do offer all those beers at many local restaurants and events though, so I get to try them without the party atmosphere, which can be distracting and take away from the experience to some extent. Our favorite brewery, the only one we have actually visited, is Harbor Brewing in Greenport, it’s in an really old firehouse next to the old single cell jailhouse and is my favorite beer of them all. The setting as well as their brews.

Yep the season is upon us. The last ten years or so, our quiet little fork had been “discovered”. It’s a bit quieter during the week, at least until July and August, in case anyone else is contemplating a trip. Or better still, after New Years/before St Pats, after that it turns into Partyville Central around here. It seems people think it’s like the Wild West out here and no laws nor cops. Still worth coming out but better to come in the off times.

American Beech was a great choice for dinner…and thanks for the reminder, my Bday is coming up soon :wink: I was trying to think where to go!

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Hi Coll! I bet the breweries aren’t so wild on a weekday. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed ourselves, but by the end of the afternoon we were seeking a bit of respite from the revelers! My husband has been to the Greenport brewery and loved it; this time, he chose a restorative post-beer nap over revisiting (they closed early, at 7)! We did walk by and see the historical jail.

I do have to say we were somewhat surprised with how big the area was as a party destination. I imagined it a bit quieter. Beautiful, though.

American Beech’s food, given the raucous and frankly seemingly intoxicated clientele, was way better than it needed to be. One of my favorite meals of late. And they made me a delicious hot toddy for my sore throat, which did just the trick.

They are so nice at American Beech: It does tend to get as mobbed as anywhere else though. The owner/chef used to own tRP in Riverhead, same kind of food and service, too bad he had to move so far away. Although I’m certainly glad he’s still around!

The invasion of partiers in recent years really has changed the atmosphere out here from genteel connoisseur to frat house. Businesses and local governments do appreciate the cash flow though, so I don’t see any end to it in the near future.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold