Port Jefferson Brewing Company, a microbrewery established in 2010 and currently stationed in founder and head brewer Michael Philbrick's personal residence, has secured a nearby location in Port Jefferson Village. The 1,600-square-foot property that will house the brewery, located at 22 Mill Creek Rd., the former site of holiday-themed shop , is expected to open in July, coinciding with the brand's formal launch.
Following a real estate search that lasted "between three and four months" and yielded no prospective locations, Philbrick―a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who relocated to Port Jefferson three years ago for his full-time occupation as general manager of a home construction company―immediately connected with the one-story brick building during his initial visit, due in part to its proximity to the village's harbor.
"It's right across from the harbor, in the heart of downtown, and has a maritime feel that really accentuates what Port Jefferson and we're all about," stated Philbrick. "The property looked me in the face and said, 'I need to be a brewery.'"
With a 7 barrel brewing system that can produce 217 gallons of beer at one time (equivalent to 14 kegs), the brewery's set-up―currently being custom-manufactured in San Diego, California―is quite different from Philbrick's initial foray into craft brewing, which began in 2000 after receiving a homebrewing kit from his wife for Christmas. However, following a decade of pilot batches, recipe experimentation and development, and the completion of a formal brewing education at Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy in Chicago, he appears prepared for the transition to larger, more sophisticated equipment and, as a result, an increased workload.
"I'd like to brew at least three times per week, not including the cleaning, kegging, promotion and distribution. But I'm ready for it all."
Though primed to showcase his own interpretation of craft beer and forge a bond with the surrounding community through the quality of his product, Philbrick also possesses a desire to educate his customer base on the very place its created.
"Our beers all have a unique story, each tied to Port Jefferson by the town's history or its present happenings."
Port Jefferson Brewing Company's initial line-up of beers, each a distinctive reflection of its birthplace, will consist of four flagships: Schooner Ale, a light, session-friendly Pale Ale, Port Jeff Porter, a chocolate and caramel Porter brewed with organic honey obtained from local farmer John Condzella in Wading River, Ryez-N-Bock, a Weizenbock influenced by Victory Brewing Company Moonglow, and Runaway Ferry, an intensely-hopped Imperial IPA. Tentative production plans are to increase the brewery's portfolio throughout the year by creating signature beers for local businesses and introducing seasonal exclusives like the Halloween-themed Boo Brew, White's Beach Wit, and Cold North Wind, a winter warmer Barleywine.
The above beers and more ("between seven and ten at a time," Philbrick hopes) will be available for sample at the microbrewery, which will also function as a tasting room offering growler fills, official merchandise and guided tours of the premises and brewing process.
"You can spend the entire day at the brewery," Philbrick said. "It's going to be a great time."