While researching Irish beers and Irish pubs prior to St Patrick's Day, I started to think of this holiday not as just a day but a season. Then I noticed that in the beer company advertising for St Patrick's Day that the corporations too appear to have adopted this notion of the week prior to the day itself as the time to start focusing on Irish beverages.
On Long Island it's not only the week before March 17th, but the week after that the Irish Saint is celebrated with parades and pints of beer. The day I left Long Island (March 12th) for a brewpub tour of Baltimore and Pennsylvania there was St Patrick's Day parade running through my town. Two weeks later (March 26th), when I returned there was another St Patrick's Day parade, this one running through the town of Patchogue, home to Blue Point Brewery and the Brickhouse Brewery.
My plan was to meet a friend at the Brickhouse for a quiet Sunday afternoon pint. The Sunday afternoon "happy hour" at the Brickhouse is a good opportunity to sample the fine craft brewed beers there at discount prices, but yesterday there was no such thing as a quiet Sunday afternoon pint. When I arrived at the Brickhouse, the St Patrick's Day parade was just winding up and guess where the post-parade festivities were being held---that's right, at the Brickhouse.
I managed to squeeze in just ahead of the Patchogue Fire Department's drum and pipe corps. I had to shout my order of Crop Circle Ale to the bar tender over the deafening hammering of ten drummers pounding away inside the pub.
I managed to find my friend in the crowd and we escaped the madhouse and finished our pints of Crop Circle on the sidewalk in front of the Brickhouse so that we could hear each other speak. Fortunately, the Patchogue police were turning a blind eye to open containers on account of the parade I presume.
For our second pint, we went over to the Half Penny Pub in Sayville, New York (220 N. Main St, Sayville, NY 11782; 631-567-1948). The Half Penny Pub is an Irish Pub, but they were far enough away from the parade route that we figured it wouldn't be totally nuts inside. We were right. We had the place to ourselves, aside from a couple sipping Irish Coffee.
The Half Penny Pub is a good place to go for Blue Point. They always have the Toasted Lager. They have a second Blue Point tap that rotates. The first time I went to the Half Penny they had the excellently smooth Blue Point Oatmeal Stout. Yesterday, they had the Blue Point Blueberry Ale. (According to Ale Street News, Blue Point will start bottling their Blueberry Ale soon.)
In addition to Blue Point, the Half Penny Pub has a number of other taps devoted to serving up the major players. I didn't count, but there were at least 15 taps. They have a decent selection of bottled beer. The bar maid told us that the new Heineken light beer was a big seller.
Usually, the Half Penny Pub has a menu of pub fare available, but yesterday the cook was having car trouble, so instead of corned beef with our Blue Point, we had a bowl of popcorn that they bar maid kindly procured for us. On Tuesday nights, you can get dollar burgers (these are regular sized burgers according to the bar maid). And the place is usually hopping after 8 pm if you like crowds.