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Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!

Great South Bay Revamps Beers for My Beard

The success of Niko Weisse, my #beerselfie, has prompted Great South Bay Brewery to revamp the concepts of several beers—and the new focus is my beard. The first revamp is Great South Bay’s summer seasonal, Blonde Ambition. Its new incarnation, Beard Ambition, will debut at undisclosed and nonexistent locations on Saturday, July 19. The label is below.


Great South Bay will host a parade prior to the release, starting in Brooklyn, where I currently reside, and ending at the brewery’s 13,000-square-foot home on Drexel Drive in Bay Shore. The route is roughly 65 miles. I will ride the length of the parade on a motorized cloud of existentialism. The motorcade will include miniature mechanical mermaids used in the 1953 film, Attack of the Coney Island Merbots, and Mom’s Plate. A performance by musical duo, Kid Break, will close the ceremony.

Beard Ambition will have the same recipe as Blonde Ambition, a light-bodied, pale-colored, apricoty-flavored ale, “but with much lower levels of estrogen,” says brewmaster Rick Sobotka. “There is something about Niko’s facial hair that empowers our customers unlike anything I have ever seen. The ancient Greeks believed in mystical powers embedded in the braids of their hair that gave them Zeus-like strength. We want every one of our beers to simulate this same stimulating feeling found in Niko’s beard.”

Niko Weisse was released on June 28. The brewery will follow Beard Ambition with other revamps released monthly, including: Straggly Haired Stout, formerly Snaggletooth Stout; Dirty Dude Greek Imperial Stout, formerly Dirty Deeds Russian Imperial Stout; and Massive Beard On A Fish IPA; formerly Massive IPA.

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Great South Bay Brewery Niko Weisse is a beer. Seriously!

Hear Ye, Beer Me! I’m stupidly geeked, and Greeked, to announce the release of my upcoming collaboration with Great South Bay: Niko Weisse, a Greek-inspired Berliner Weisse with cucumbers!

Berliner Weisse, a regional specialty of Berlin, Germany, is a pale-colored, wheat-malty style alcoholed between 2.0% and 5.0% ABV. It’s traditionally defined by a lactic, yogurt-like sourness with descriptors of cloudy, dry, tart, sharp, and effervescent. Niko Weisse isn’t merely a facsimile of history, though. We added cucumbers, a primary ingredient in tzatziki, to uniquely celebrate my Greekness.


Our collaboration wasn’t a spontaneous affair. An impromptu escapade between two strangers involving intimacy-devoid intercourse? Nope. This collaboration was intense cinematic moments of foreplay between two close-knit companions. Harry and Sally. Jack and Rose. Romy and Michelle. That was us. Before our foreplayage, though, Niko Weisse was anticipated for centuries in Greece, the homeland of my ancestors.


ArchiKromedes was a renownedly dope prophet in Athens. He was also my great-great-great-great-great-blogfather. He presaged the creation of a marvelous liquid by his great-great-great-great-great-blogson, one capable of quenching universal thirst for eternity. The metropolis buzzed with curiosity.

Who? When? Where?

ArchiKromedes remained silent, then, at the lip of a promontory, combusted into a polychromatic mess of organs, evoking a scene from Street Trash. As an effervescent, straw-pale liquid oozed from every orafice, the metropolis gathered and imbibed gleefully amidst the splatterfest. Niko Weisse was born!

Kidding. Its conception actually occurred during a visit to the Bay Shore-based brewery in March, where I chatted with Rick Sobotka, owner and brewmaster, to gather quotes on Lethal Cupcake for an installment of Drank That Local Sh*t. As we popped a bottle of the sweet, chocolate-heavy porter, a covey of cupcakes penetrated our mouthholes and secreted globules of [I dunno] into the skin-encased recesses of our esophagi. We started to drift into the depths of our unconsciousi, initially discussing the genius of Clone High, but eventually settling into a 63-day discussion on streetmeat. We genuflected daily to the enigmatic power of tzatziki, a sauce capable of transforming an inedible, often unidentifiable meat into a lavish delicacy. Our worship immaculately spawned the birth of Niko Weisse, which we started brewing on June 3.


Great South Bay started the process by intentionally souring a 30-barrel mash—malted wheat comprising half of the grist—with Lactobacillus delbrueckii. This bacteria produces carbon dioxide and lactic acid as a by-product of fermentation, the latter responsible for the brightly acidic and sour characteristics of a Berliner Weisse. After two days, allowing the wort to ferment to a desirable pH, I returned to the 39,000-square-foot brewery and hand-sliced cucumbers—100 pounds of cucumbers. Then I combusted into a monochromatic mess of streetmeat.

Great South Bay will host the release of Niko Weisse on June 28. Ελπίζουμε να έρθετε!

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Nikos Natsoulis wrote on June 30, 2014

Can’t wait to try this beer.
Καλή επιτυχία σας εύχομαι


Drank That Local Sh*t: BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant The Maudness

Drank That Local Sh*t explores the nitty-gritty of Long Island-born beers consumed by Niko Krommydas—with assistance from their creators.

BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant/The Maudness


Style: Session Red IPA

ABV: 4.4%

Date of Birth: 06/05/14

Availability: Draft

Super Neat Beer Description Thoughts N’ Stuff

Piney. Caramel. Dry. A rough, snappy finish. Resiny. It’s bitter—perhaps too bitter—but still flavorful and different, as most in the hugely popular “session” sub-genre gush with fruitiness. The Maudness, however, is extremely piney. I enjoyed. I alluded to the transformation of BrickHouse in my latest column for Pulse, but I must reiterate: Paul Komsic and Arthur Zimmerman have resuscitated the brewpub, longtimingly offering a static menu of dated recipes, with relevancy and adventure. The Maudness is a beer with both.

Creator Story Time!

The Maudness has two distinct meanings. As an adjective, The Maudness is used to describe the organized chaos that becomes a unified vision under our general manager Maud Franklin. As a noun, The Maudness is our 18th anniversary beer, a sessionable but extremely hoppy red IPA.

When I first drove through Patchogue four years ago, BrickHouse caught my eye right away. I was always a fan of brewpubs and had just moved to Blue Point. I quickly became a regular, bringing my growlers back and forth, going to art shows and watching live music. There was an awesome scene happening in Patchogue—you could just feel the buzz. I was just getting into homebrewing at the time and hated my job, so I decided to fill out an application at BrickHouse. I figured I could maybe get my foot in the door on the kitchen side of things and learn about beer.

Well, I just hit my four-year mark here and looking back at Patchogue, what it was then, what it is now, is pretty amazing. Main Street is full of attractive businesses, more people want to come to town than can actually park, and it is forcing everyone to be at their best. But with just as much change in town, I feel like I have seen twice as much change at BrickHouse and Maud is a huge reason for that. She is actually hitting her eighth year here on our 18th birthday. One by one she has brought BrickHouse up to speed on so many different levels—especially beer.

In the last year, Arthur Zimmerman has came aboard as brewmaster and I got promoted to brewer, and together we have been able to really work on changing the perception of our beers. Trust me, I’ve heard it all and I don’t dispute the past. But Maud has put a lot of faith in us and let us just create and prove ourselves and it has worked out great so far. We used to have a set lineup of staples for years, but now we have been putting out a new beer almost every two weeks. We even started to distribute to places like Bubba’s Burritos Bar in Islip, Morrison’s in Plainview, and Relish in Kings Park. This is the first time our beer is being served across Long Island.

Brickhouse wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for Maud, that’s why we wanted to brew this beer, actually the 18th new recipe from Arthur and I, for her. When we were brainstorming, we knew we wanted to do an easy-drinking session IPA but we wanted to put a twist on it for Maud. We decided to go with a red-colored ale to pay tribute to her being Irish. We also wanted to make this beer very hoppy and resiny to pay tribute to her “hippy days,” so we decided on using Chinook, Columbus, and Centennial hops for bright, piney aromas. What we ended up with was a sessionable red IPA with just enough body to know you’re still drinking a real beer, but also more then enough hops to satisfy any hop-head on the longest of lawn mower days. [Paul Komsic, brewer at BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant]

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Red Zone Xtra: BBD’s (Beers, Burgers, Desserts)


Red Zone, my monthly column, plunges palate-first into the beer-filled pool of Long Island, without the assistance of arm floatie-thingies. A magazine is structured with specific counts on words and pages, though, so occasionally, my swim is briefer than desired. This was the inspiration for Red Zone Xtra, a series revisiting establishments previously spotlighted in Red Zone, but without any limit on words. It’s a free-ballin’ cannonball into the beer-filled pool—while consuming a beer, of course.


BBD’s (Beers, Burgers, Desserts)

Location: Rocky Point
Opened: 2013
Beers: 85

Photo: Jaclyn Morena

Atmosphere: Its strip-malled location, also home to 7-11 and Carvel, oozes generic and belies the interior, a mysterious, goth-industrial layout soundtracked by Slayer, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. My entrance is Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning,” which prompts a singalong and gesticulation, but the Ric Flair-esque strut is short-lived: BBD’s is jam-stuffed with humans (and reservationless). I wait and eyeball the room, noticing a chandelier erected with cookware—the grandmother’s of Ralph Perrazzo, owner and chef, specifically. I’m eventually seated at a repurposed church pew, near the chandelier. It’s fastened above a monstrous, brick-encased grill devouring charcoal and wood. The scent of burger.

Photo: Barton Silverman

What To Know: A native of Lake Grove, Perrazzo has cooked at New York’s Jean-Gorges, Boston’s Clio, and Las Vegas’ Bradley Ogden. He butchers and grounds beef for the open-kitchened restaurant daily (“Our meat arrives whole and never sees a Cryovac bag,” he says), and prepares burgers using three methods. The popularist, according to Perrazzo, is “steakhouse,” a 12-ouncer grilled over wood and charcoal, then stuffed in a brioche bun branded with BBD’s logo. The available add-ons include scrapple and bacon jam. My favorite was the thinner, griddle-cooked patty on a potato bun—double-stacked, of course. Lisa Krommydas, my mother and partner for any burger-themed adventures, preferred the third option: steamed-over-onions, which evoked 1970s-era evenings at White Castle in Rego Park.

Photo: Jaclyn Morena

What To Drink: BBD’s rotating, 25-draft lineup is one of the best on Long Island, featuring selections from The Bruery, Bear Republic, Cigar City, Founders, and Troegs. La Trappe Quadrupel and Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier are both mainstays, while the latter is also available with a dose of banana purèe. “I’ve seen this a lot in Germany and Germans know drinking,” Perrazzo says. “Fresh banana in a hefeweizen tastes awesome, but you can also drink a bunch, get lit, and not have a hangover. The calcium comes in handy for that.” BBD’s collection of bottles, approximately 60, is also dope, highlighted by Maine Mean Old Tom, The Bruery Rueze, and a squad of not-so-ubiquitous imports from Japan. I attacked the squad during my visit, starting with Ozeno Yukidoke IPA. This hazy, orange-yellow ale showcased aromas of grapefruit, mango, and yeast and tasted citrusy, floral, and doughy, but with restrained bitterness, lacked the hoppiness synonymous with the American-style IPA. Yukidoke was refreshing and enjoyable to pronounce, nonetheless. I followed with a draft, opting for Bear Republic’s Tartare, a delicious bomb of lemony, Warhead-esque sourness. Both were expensive, but especially the 11-ounce bottle of Yukidoke at $15. This was the only establishment serving both on Long Island, however, so personally, the pricetags are justifiable. I prefer beer rare—like my burger! [Note: This noise confirms my joke was awful.]

Also Know: If you imbibe regularly at BBD’s, Perrazzo has instructed staff to offer patrons complimentary beers from his “personal, super-private stash” (the leftest-positioned cooler behind the bar). This includes gems unavailable in New York, such as The Alchemist Heady Topper, Russian River Consecration, and Epic Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout. “We travel to get great liquid for ourselves and sit around trying to figure out ways to downsize our hoarding issue. My bartender Tom [Beiner] travels to Vermont like every three weeks to grab a case of Heady Topper, which is an unbelievable IPA,” Perrazzo says. “It’s just another way to thank customers for the support.”

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Gabrielle wrote on May 09, 2014

Awesome article! Makes me want to visit this weekend and take my mama for Mother’s Day. Creative writer too.

The Return of Greenport Harbor’s Hopnami

I sampled countless cask-conditioned beers at Blue Point’s Cask Ales Festival and, despite an incessant effort from Ale-Qaeda, I was not poisoned by poison.


During my samplage, I sampled several samples of Hopnami, an IPA from Greenport Harbor Brewing Company. This sunshine-colored ale was insanely aromatic and each fluffy, juicy, fruity swallow didn’t piledrive my palate with bitterness. It was actually my favorite cask at Blue Point. I have same-day evidence affirming my statement, too, for any nonbelievers:

Told you.

Told you.

Hopnami debuted in 2010. It was overwhelmingly successful for John Liegey and Rich Vandenburgh’s 15-barrel brewery, securing endorsements with Nike, Apple, and Caldor. The beer disappeared without explanation, however, in 2011.

According to brewmaster DJ Swanson, Hopnami secretly relocated to Japan to film Hopnami vs. Godzilla, a remake of the 1964 classic, Mothra vs. Godzilla. This iPhone 3G-recorded kaiju was critically skullbashed, though, and only received a direct-to-VHS release in Indonesia. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of Indonesia, then instituted a countrywide ban of Hopnami vs. Godzilla in 2013, citing “incomprehensible suckiness.” Hopnami, dejected and deflated, returned to the tranquility of Greenport in March—shortly before Blue Point’s Cask Ales Festival.

Hopnami vs. Godzilla!

Hopnami vs. Godzilla!

Okay. The film isn’t real. Hopnami did disappear in 2011, but its hiatus was unintentional.

“We got caught up with Project Hoppiness and then Other Side IPA was really successful for us,” explains Swanson. “We discussed it a lot over the last few years, but it was finally the right time.”


The revival will occur at Hoptron Brewtique on April 17, as Hopnami pours alongside Black Duck Porter, Other Side, and Spring Turning Rye Saison. This isn’t Grandpa Grandmaster Flash’s version, though. Swanson has developed a new recipe with four different hop varieties: Amarillo, Citra, Cascade, and Experimental Hops #05256.

“The IPA world has changed over the last few years, and everyone seems to use the same mix of hop varieties in their beers,” says Swanson. “I wanted to differentiate this from everything else—especially from Other Side.”

While Swanson digs Other Side’s prominent maltiness, characteristic of his recipes, Hopnami now has “less malt flavor and a lot more hop aroma from whirlpool additions and dry-hopping.” The result is an IPA with “the danky style that’s really popular right now. It’s big with sweet fruit juice aromas—more tangerine, less mainstream grapefruit. But not overly bitter. Real easy to drink.”

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company relaunches Hopnami at Hoptron Brewtique on April 17.

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