Drinking LI, Part 3: The Islander Fan's Guide to Craft Beer

Here, you need a beer. - Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

During this difficult time in the New York Islanders 2016-2017 season, I am astounded--astounded, I tell you!--to hear that some of us have turned to the bottle in an attempt to ease the pain. Our team seems unable to buy a win lately, but at least there's still plenty of excellent Long Island beer to be had. What's more, our Island is now gaining a nationwide reputation as one of the better regions for the craft beer industry.

Take pride, win and one drink at a time.

As always, drink responsibly! Or as the good folks at Unibroue put it, "drink less, drink better."

1. Oyster Bay Barn Rocker: FINALLY, finally finally got to try the "official" Islanders beer on tap, and it is a good one. Clean, easy, unpretentious drinking here with a touch of malt sweetness on the aftertaste. Now available at the brewery itself and elsewhere in canned 6-packs, it goes super fast. It tastes like better hockey times gone by, and more importantly like better hockey times to come. Very few other teams in any sport have this level of dedication to a team from a local brewer.

2. Oyster Bay Honey Ale: If you have a slightly bigger sweet tooth than usual, you will likely appreciate the mild taste of Honey Ale. It also keeps itself interesting by working in a pleasant dryness on the back of the tongue. This one is another real crowd-pleaser--my cousin's now-husband served a full keg of this stuff at the wedding, and boy did it go. Even Bud Heavy on tap didn't stand a chance!

3. GSB Hopsy Dazy Session IPA: This style of brew isn't usually my favorite, but Great South Bay did a great job softening the usually-sharp flavor and mouthfeel for smoothness. Only 4.5%! I can personally vouch that fresh growlers of this golden stuff do NOT last long. Good for everything from Islanders game night on your couch to summer barbeques in the offseason.

4. GSB Snaggletooth Stout: Could be the best 'regular' stout brewed on Long Island, as opposed to the super-heavy imperial stouts or coffee stouts. Wonderful roasty and rich flavor, but at 6.5% won't make you fall out of your seat...after the first one, I think. Goes well with beef stew and a big pile of mashed potatoes.

5. Port Jeff Schooner Ale: A delicious amber ale that I've only ever seen in large table-style bottles (as opposed to the usual 12-oz cans). Schooner Ale tastes a lot heavier than it actually is at just over the 6% ABV mark. Wash down your Thanksgiving leftovers with this one!

6. Sand City Promises Pale Ale: My latest stop on the ongoing Head of Metal Long Island craft beer tour, this Northport operation does everything right with regards to fresh, clean ales of all stripes. This (American) Pale Ale was my favorite, with a bright tropical zing up front and an addictively smooth character. A true, year-round drinker for everybody.

7. Sand City Tafelbier: Billed as a "Belgian-style table beer," this rotating draft may seem unassuming at 4.2%, but offers one of their best and most sessionable offerings available. The grain taste is both fruity and peppery, a truly delicious take on the style. Proof that you don't have to amp up the alcohol for Old World flavor, and great way to start off a sampler of ten when you visit Sand City.

8. Brooklyn Local 1: Fully bottle-fermented golden ale, served appropriately in Belgian-style 750-ml corked bottles. This delicious, rich brew disappeared quickly from my family's Thanksgiving table, and I plan to bring another for Christmas dinner. Makes for a wonderful gift when you show up at someone's door for the holidays!

9. Captain Lawrence Clear Water Kolsch: This Cologne, Germany-inspired ale has the perfect lick of lemon pepper that is a hallmark of the style. Excellent, 4.8-pct drinking for those of us living in the Ranger turf of Westchester County.

10. Flagship IPA: As far as the city breweries go, Flagship makes one of my favorite regional IPAs, with a rich blend of numerous hops that makes every sip a true pleasure. Right in the sweet spot of flavor and buzz at just under 7% ABV. If you find some, drink some. Because Staten Islanders...are still Islanders.

"Stay thirsty, my friends."

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3: (On the Road in Tampa)

Written by Matt P

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