Though unable to distribute beer for legal sale until proper state licensing is approved, Port Jefferson Brewing Company presented a to attendees of the North Fork Craft Beer, Wine & BBQ Festival at Martha Clara Vineyards on Saturday.
The sold-out Starfish Junction Productions-organized event showcased over 50 craft breweries alongside wineries and barbecue-themed cuisine, and was Port Jefferson Brewing Company's first festival appearance since obtaining its Brewer's Notice from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in May.
It also provided the infant brewery an opportunity for first-time large-scale exposure.
"We had the chance to get in front of a large audience, most of whom did not yet know we existed," said Michael Philbrick, founder and head brewer, of the four-hour craft session in Riverhead. "Many patrons use the event to figure out what beers they are going to purchase throughout the year, and also go in hopes of finding their new favorite beer they've never tried. We can only hope that some found ours in that light."
Attendees were able to sample five Port Jefferson Brewing Company beers — Schooner Pale Ale, Porter, White's Beach Wit, and the debuts Big Boy Root Beer and Low Tide Black IPA — and provide direct feedback to Philbrick, who, with wife, Sharon, poured each request.
Big Boy Root Beer, which utilizes organic sarsaparilla and ginger roots during the boil, and wintergreen and vanilla extracts post-fermentation, was "received the best."
"We got an overwhelming response at the event and ran out of beer about an hour before the festival was over," he said. "For many who have been following our progress over the past year, it was their first chance to sample our beers."
Though Philbrick is unable to speculate on a definite date, the official launch of Port Jefferson Brewing Company is "any day now."
"We are really waiting on approval from the state," he said. "It is out of our hands and completely in the court of the New York State Liquor Authority. They have everything they need from us."
Once Philbrick obtains approval from the New York State Liquor Authority, will possess all necessary licensing to produce and distribute beer to an already-secured 20 accounts in Port Jefferson and the immediate area.