LONG ISLAND–This past fall, at an industry-insiders beer dinner at Mirabelle in Port Jefferson, where we supped on cassoulet and sipped rare Brooklyn Brewery selections, brewmaster Garrett Oliver regaled us with stories of his own childhood memories of growing up just west of the Nassau County line (in Queens) and hunting birds on horseback with dogs as part of the Long Island German Shorthaired Pointer Club. The room was packed with bar owners and barkeeps from Long Island’s craft beer illuminati–think Good Beer Seal bars, but with a stronger Island accent–including at our table, a fine young man from T.J. Finley’s in Bay Shore.
We’ve been meaning to visit T.J. Finley’s (42 E. Main Street, Bay Shore) not just to sample from their 26 tap lines, 60 bottled beers, and cask offerings. But also because it is one of the few places that gets its hands on those little-known (and little-produced) beers from Long Island’s blossoming nano-breweries chronicled in Edible East End by Ben Keene this past summer.
And now there’s one more reason to hop the LIRR or brave the LIE, because T.J. Finley’s launches its “mystery rare release beer night” on Thursday, February 3. The weekly event will showcase one uncommon, unusual or unique beer from the U.S. or abroad. T.J. Finley’s will release clues–every hour starting at 10 a.m. on Thursdays–on its Facebook page every Thursday morning. The first person to solve the mystery wins a $50 bar tab for the night. “Long Island has become quite sophisticated in their appreciation of beer,” said T.J. Finkely’s owner Drew Dvorkin. “We hope to really hit it out of the park with some amazing, hard-to-find, extreme beers.”
Dvorkin spoke of “the new breed of local beer enthusiasts” on the Island, and we welcome anyone of that breed or ilk. And just to get you even more inspired, here’s a link to the story and map that accompanied Keene’s ground-breaking roundup this past summer.