Author William Bostwick said, “Humankind was built on beer. From the world’s first writing to its first laws, in rituals social, religious and political, civilization is soaked in beer.”
And how very civilized the South Fork is. From Montauk to Westhampton Beach, both old and new, the Hamptons has its own hoppy charmers, with a beer for every occasion and for every beer drinker. Whether you have a penchant for porter, you’re content sipping on a crisp pilsner and watching the tide roll in or you’re an IPA enthusiast searching for the most hoppy, citrusy brew around, these South Fork spots pour out that and much more.
To begin, let’s start at the end. Since 2012, Montauk Brewing Co.’s been ubiquitous, with their “Come As You Are” slogan as the perennial mantra on the East End for kicking back and cracking one open. Located a block away from Main Street, their red building houses not only a tasting room, but a thriving brewery where their limited edition Barn Series is produced, with new releases at least once a month.
Mass production for the flagship beers, like their Driftwood Ale and Wave Chaser IPA and now Montauk hard seltzers, remains in Westminster, Massachusetts, where for over a decade they’ve had a co-packing deal with Wachusett Brewing Co..
With the sale of Montauk Brewing to cannabis-lifestyle company Tilray Brands this past December, there’s no sign of slowing down as the brewery gears up to have their beloved brightly colored cans in Connecticut, the newest state in the Northeast where the beer from Metro New York’s fastest growing craft brewer will be available. Open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m..
Heading into their second year of canning homemade brews, Lindsay Reichart and Gunnar Burke of Springs Brewery started home brewing about 10 years ago and “have been in the process of honing our craft since,” says Reichart. Headquarters is at her dad’s auto body shop in Springs, while production is at übergeek Brewing Co. in Riverhead.
Springs Brewery’s craft beers can be found locally at Sagaponack Distillery on Sagg Road in Sagaponack, at East Hampton’s Sam’s Beverage, Rowdy Hall, Coche Comedor, plus Damark’s in Springs, to name a few. Although they don’t have an official tasting room yet, “we will be releasing a fresh batch of View from the Mountaintop Double IPA at the end of the month,” Reichart says. “And we know for certain we will be at the Spring’s Farmers Market in the upcoming months.” Something nice and springy to look forward to.
The newest addition to the South Fork brewery scene is Kidd Squid, at the old train depot next to Sag Harbor Garden Center behind Main Street. Owners Rory McEvoy and Grainne Coen opened in 2022, partly naming the brewery for Captain William Kidd, a pirate who buried treasure on Gardiners Island (for their full story, click here). That hat tip to local whaling lore was paired with the couple’s young son’s suggestion of “squid,” and the name Kidd Squid came to be.
With about a dozen beers available at their rosy-colored tasting room, Kidd Squid has the distinction of being a licensed New York State farm brewery, so, according to McEvoy they “strive to use local ingredients as much as possible.” In addition to their tap roster, which comes in either pint or half pint format, Kidd Squid also offers hard seltzers and beers in cans, as well as hard cider, wines from the likes of Wolffer Estate and Channing Daughters, plus housemade kombucha as a non-alcoholic option. There’s a small grab and go section for food and soft drinks. The brewery’s pastel-colored furniture and dim, trademark pink ambiance makes for one of the cozier beer-tasting experiences around. Open Thursday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m..
It would be impossible to talk about South Fork breweries without mentioning the OG. And although Southampton Publick House no longer brews at their Jobs Lane location, their award-winning beers are readily available at dozens of East End locales. Owned by Don Sullivan since 1996 he and current brew master Evan Addario continually churn out crowd pleasers, with their Altbier, Burton IPA, Keller Pils, and Double White medaling year after year at countless international beer competitions for the past 20 years. And if you do go visit their Southampton location, their chicken wings are pretty good too. Open Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m..
Tucked away on the same grounds as Gabreski Airport, Westhampton Beach Brewing Co.’s been serving their signature brews daily since 2016. Their bright and spacious tasting room, adorned with surfboards and floor-to-ceiling windows, serves personal sized pizzas plus over-sized pretzels all day. Belly-up to the bar for a pint or chill out at a table and enjoy a personalized flight from brew master Mike Rizzo’s near perfect lineup, ranging from pilsners to stouts, and hitting every style of IPA in-between. Open daily, noon to 8 p.m..
Bridging the gap between the two Forks, Shelter Island Craft Brewery has over 30 beers in their repertoire along with glasses of wine available from the North Fork’s Lenz Winery. Owner and brewer Jim Hull has been serving their flagship tangerine IPA “114” since 2017, along with a chocolate stout, a two-week-lagered pilsner and a raspberry ale. They’re taking a well-earned break for the month of January, but check out their tasting room next month for a pint and a sando… both made in-house!