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Kidd Squid’s newest beer, Brew for the Bay Sag Harbor, will help keep local waters healthy. (Photo courtesy of Rory McEvoy)

Sag Harbor’s Kidd Squid Brewing Co. is no stranger to giving back to the South Fork community. Since opening last year, the little brewery that can has been busy not only crafting their delightfully crushable, easy-to-love flagship beers, but all sorts of specialty brews in honor of familiar locales, organizations and businesses across the East End. And their latest release is arguably their most valiant effort yet.

Sag Harbor’s Kidd Squid hosted a lecture from Cornell Cooperative Extension this past summer. (Photo courtesy of Kimberly Barbour)

Joining forces with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Back to the Bays Stewardship Initiative, the brewery is releasing a limited amount of Brew for the Bay Sag Harbor this Friday, December 15, at their Spring Street tasting room to help raise funds for two new water quality projects in the tiny former whaling village.

Available for sale as either a 4-pack ($24) or as a case of 24 ($140), every 16-ounce can of the specialty beer sold will help seed 10 oysters and plant five shoots of eelgrass, two actions that dramatically improve the health of local waters. Beer will be available for pick-up at Friday’s official collaborative release party, from 4 to 7 p.m. at 11 Spring St. in Sag Harbor. Additionally, members from CCE will be on-hand to speak about specific plans for future oyster beds and eelgrass plantings.

The initial collaboration, according to Kidd Squid owner Rory McEvoy, came after the folks at Cornell reached out while they were hosting their Back to the Bays Brewery lecture series at local East End breweries this past summer.

“We were invited to host one,” he says, noting the lecture was done at Kidd Squid with help from fellow Sag Harbor resident Shawn Sachs, who was instrumental in beginning the process of restoring eelgrass at Sag Harbor’s Haven Beach and helping CCE establish a long-term receiving area for shellfish and habitat restoration efforts.

“He was trying to fundraise,” McEvoy says, “so we thought ‘let’s do a standalone beer.’”

Brew for the Bay is a tried-and-true, locally made affair. Crafted from Sagaponack-grown malt barely from Foster Farms, according to McEvoy, and hopped with an experimental hop developed and grown upstate, the brew is a smooth and hazy IPA, clocking in at 6.6 percent ABV. “We wanted to use products that were easy to find and easy to use,” McEvoy says of the “smash” beer (that’s beer made from one single malt and one single hop). “We were very lucky to have this wonderfully low-hanging fruit with the grains from Foster Farm.”

“Spat-on-shell,” like this one here, is when the oyster larvae permanently attach to a surface, usually another oyster shell. (Photo courtesy of Kimberly Barbour)

According to Kimberly Barbour, director of Back to the Bays and senior resource educator at CCE, the initiative is nearly at their $25,000 fundraising goal that will enable both eelgrass work to continue into next year and to enable CCE to select a suitable site off Sag Harbor for a new spat-on-shell oyster reef, slated to deploy in late summer of 2024.

“This Brew for the Bay is going to help us meet our fundraising goal for establishment of a Back to the Bays Stewardship Site in Sag Harbor,” Barbour says. “Each can that’s sold will directly support our oyster reef and eelgrass restoration work in Sag Harbor, so we are very grateful for the generosity of Kidd Squid and their commitment to donate all profits from this special brew to support Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program’s Back to the Bays Initiative.”

Friendly reminder, folks: This is a one-and-done, extremely limited release, so McEvoy recommends pre-ordering your own stash of brews before hittin’ Kidd Squid this Friday. “We’ve made about eight barrels, which translates to 1,800 cans or 75 cases,” he says, “and we’ve sold about 70 percent already.” Aside from pick-up, beer will also be available for shipping within New York state only. Secure your stash by clicking here.