Brewery Name: Blue Point Brewing Company
Type of Brewery: Retail Brewery
Location: 161 River Ave, Patchogue, NY 11772
Facebook: Blue Point Brewery
We’ve spent months and months visiting, touring, and drinking at some of the finest breweries in our respective locations. We’ve seen a lot of different brewing setups. We’ve seen a lot of cool and interesting taprooms. We’ve eaten a lot of delicious food, and, most of all, we’ve sampled a lot of delicious beer.
But over the weekend, we were offered the chance to do something a little outside the ordinary: Blue Point Brewing Company reached out and asked us to join them in Maine for a beer and oyster tasting aboard a schooner in the Portland harbor. As the New England representative of our little corner of the beer review world (and, more importantly, a person not in the habit of turning down free beer and oysters), I was only too happy to oblige.
Accompanying me to the event was my long-suffering girlfriend Alex, despite the fact that her gluten intolerance prevented her from actually tasting any of the beer. God bless her for putting up with my craft beer obsession as much as she does—just two weeks ago I bailed on dinner plans in favor of an impromptu trip to Tree House and she barely batted an eye—because she would have every right to tell me to kick rocks. Thankfully, she is as good a sport as ever there was, and, even without the ability to sample the beer, a boat trip and oyster tasting is hard to turn down.
We embarked on the Frances Schooner, a beautiful little wooden ship that is a perfect replica of the pilot cutters commonly seen in that waters of New England during the 1800s. Aboard the craft were 10 or so representatives from Blue Point, including Russell Thorstenberg, one of Blue Point’s senior brewers, and 20 or so local attendees, most of whom were either writers for local publications or owners of popular beer hotspots.
Blue Point was joined aboard the schooner by a talented team of oyster shuckers. Off the side of the craft, on what I can only assume was one of the lifeboats (to any nautical-minded readers, this is your cue to roll your eyes), Blue Point had set up a bed of ice filled to the brim with oysters and beer. Coolers full of additional oysters were all around, making it pretty clear that there was no possible way we were going to run out of food. Other food options included what appeared to be a puff pastry pizza, which was absolutely outstanding.
Of course, that’s all so much burying the lede. Blue Point put together an outstanding menu for this event, but their beer was the reason we were there. Blue Point treated us to four different beer selections: their flagship Toasted Lager, a Mosaic-hopped session IPA, an oyster stout (naturally), and an experimental seaweed beer. Coolers piled high with Toasted Lager and Mosaic could be found all over the ship, and the Blue Point team periodically broke out one of the other beers and passed around samples. Since this is a beer review blog, let's dig a little deeper into these beers.
I'll say it again: having the opportunity to talk to one of Blue Point’s actual brewers while sampling these beers was great. Russell gave us a little bit of background on the tour itself, which covers a whole host of east coast cities from Portland, Maine, all the way down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with stops everywhere in between. Blue Point is sure to have at least one brewer at every event, and, according to Russell, which brewer goes to which event can get a little bit competitive.
"Everyone wants to go to places like Portland," he explained. "Since I have a little bit of seniority, this year I got to go."
Not every event on the Toasted Tour is as elaborate as Portland's beer and oyster tasting on the open water—more straightforward events, like tap takeovers, are often on the docket. Still, Blue Point is all about making sure everyone there has a good time, and there is no doubt in my mind that every event on the tour is well worth checking out if you ever have the chance.
After two hours of cruising around the Portland harbor, chatting with other local beer aficionados (including the owner of The Thirsty Pig, one of my personal favorite restaurants in Portland—and one with a tap list to die for) and gobbling up outstanding food and beer, we made our way back to the pier and said our farewells. Blue Point made sure to send us away with a nice little gift bag, which included a bottle of their New York Oyster Stout and, somewhat hilariously, an oyster shucking kit. I’m not really sure when I’ll need to personally shuck any oysters, but I’d be lying if I said the Blue Point monogrammed knife it included wasn’t pretty cool.
All-in-all, I was incredibly impressed with Blue Point. They aren’t a brewery that I was overly familiar with—outside of their famous Toasted Lager—and I came away eager to try more of their offerings. I was also thrilled with how laid back and easygoing their representatives were, and I enjoyed the chance to talk to Russell (a man of great height who, like me, was nearly decapitated by the schooner’s boom about a half dozen times) about favorite beers and beer styles. If I ever find myself on Long Island, I will definitely make it a point to check out their brewery—and so should you!
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