By Donavan Hall, Long Island Beer Correspondent
One of my brewing heros here on Long Island is Paul Dlugokencky who back in 2008 launched Blind Bat Brewery out of his garage in Centerport. When Paul went pro he was still using a 10-gallon Sabco brewing system. Since opening his doors for business Paul's nanobrewery has grown; now he's brewing on a three-barrel system (that's nearly 100 gallons).
Mike and I were still brewing together for fun when we heard about Paul and what he was doing. I don't think anyone was using the term "nanobrewery" back then, so we used Paul's term, cottage brewery. Mike and I decided we'd start our own cottage brewery. And Paul was kind enough to sit down with us and put us on the right track.
Cooperation, not competition.
Last Friday evening, I drove out to Centerport to chat with Paul and to get a look at his three-barrel system. Paul gave me a tour and showed me the renovations he did to his brewing space to accommodate the larger brewing system. "This is really gorgeous, Paul," I said not disguising my brew-envy.
We craftbrewers get turned on by equipment. For some guys it's cars, others guns, but in the craft beer world we tend to be slow and peaceful, so we get excited about brew kettles, pumps, and heat exchangers.
"You guys should really think about getting involved with a farmers' market," Paul told me. "Foodies are natural craft beer people."
"How's that working for you?" I asked.
"Really well," he said. "People are really interested in the beer."
"You gotta have some good locally crafted beer to go with all that locally crafted food," I said.