Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fire Island: A Little Background on the “Other New York”

Just off the southern shore of Long Island is a place where people are welcoming, laid-back and casual. You never have to second guess people because they say what they mean, and when someone stops and asks you how you are doing, they’re not looking for a one word response. Maybe it’s the vast wooded areas populated by thousands of deer, maybe it’s the cool sound of the waves at night that you can hear from almost any point on the Island, and maybe its just the people themselves, but something’s different out on Fire Island, and it’s this same tranquility that Fire Island Beer Company tries to put into every beer.

Although the atmosphere of Fire Islandis miles apart from the work-a-day world of Manhattan, it’s really just a short trip from one island to the other. Visitors can take any one of three ferries from Long Island, for a quick, twenty-minute trip toFire Island. You won’t find cars out here, but don’t stress, most of the Island is only a quarter mile wide, with thirty-two miles of beautiful, unspoiled white-sand beaches just a walk away. In fact, “The Shack,” the small market and burger place where the original Fire Island Beer Company brew was conceived, is just off this beach. So it’s not surprising that hungry surfers, tourists, fisherman, and locals alike often mix together there to enjoy a frosty brew and burger while dipping their toes in the Atlantic.

Walking Fire Island is like a trip to the distant past, with majestic dunes and wooded areas boasting a wide variety of wildlife. Under the protection of the National Park Service, a forty-acre forest runs the length of the Island, inhabited by red foxes and white tailed-deer. The prominence and beauty of this deer is celebrated in the imagery on the label of Fire Island Beer Company’s Lighthouse Ale.

The other iconic image in the background of Fire Island Beer Company’s Lighthouse Aleis, of course, the historic Fire Island Lighthouse, located on thesouthern shore of Fire Island. A brick structure standing 168 feet tall with 182 winding steps, the Fire Island Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on Long Island. During the last century this lighthouse served as an important landmark for transatlantic ships heading toward the New York Harbor, and for many European Immigrants this was the first thing they saw when coming to America.

Nowadays the lighthouse is no longer in use, but there’s still that unique and intangible “something” that guides people from all over to the unique beauty of Fire Island. It’s with this inspiration, and the memories of lazy days on the beaches, hikes through shaded glades, and good conversation with friends at The Shack, that we brew every bottle of Fire Island Lighthouse Ale. There’s something different out here, and it’s this difference that’s the flavor of each of our beers.

Fire Island Beer Company Lighthouse Ale: “Craft Beer from The Other New York.”™

An interactive satellite view of the Fire Island Lighthouse:

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pig Roast to Support Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Join the Chance House (http://www.chancehouse.com/ ) for a pig roast this July 4th on Kismet, Fire Island to support Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA.org). The Chance House will cover the cost of the pig and food, and kegs of beer will be donated this year by the Fire Island Beer Company (http://www.fireislandbeer.com/).

Attendees to this event are asked to give a $10 voluntary donation, 100% of which will go
directly to IAVA. Through small donations like this, the IAVA is able to help ensure that returning soldiers are properly provided for with the services they deserve. We hope that you’ll agree that this is an appropriate way to thank our soldiers for their service and dedication on our nation’s Independence Day. For more information on all of the great work that the IAVA does, please visit: http://www.iava.org/

The Chance House pig roast begins at 5:30 on Saturday, July 4 on Kismet, Fire Island. There will also be vegetarian rice and beans and grilled yucca for non-meat eaters.

For more information, please visit http://www.chancehouse.com/

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

NBC's "New Favorite Thing: Fire Island Lighthouse Ale"!

NBC New York's review of Fire Island Beer Company's Lighthouse Ale calls the beer "delicious" and their "new favorite thing," stating that if their "hunch is correct, [it] becomes the official beer of summer 2009"!

To read the full article,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Art of Craft Beers

They say that making a craft beer takes a certain kind of artistry, blending the subtle sweetness of malts with the bitter balance of hops. Add to this a diversity of brewing techniques, and you get a true work of art in a bottle, ready for consumption from the discerning connoisseur (and people that just plain like beer!). But while sipping a frosty craft beer like Fire Island Beer Company’s Lighthouse Ale, have you ever taken the time to look at the artwork on the bottle?

In a very special show entitled “Design, Drink and Be Merry: The Craft Brew Art Movement,” selected craft breweries will have the opportunity to showcase the imaginative and creative artwork that goes into their visual identity at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. Joining the show this year is the artwork from Fire Island Beer Company’s Lighthouse Ale. This design features the signature Fire Island Lighthouse in the background with a deer somewhat whimsically drifting along the foreground in a boat. The lighthouse depicted on the label is the well known structure standing at the tip of southern end of Fire Island, which in days gone by, welcomed immigrant ships as they came within reach of America. The deer was chosen as a logical ambassador of Fire Island Beer’s Lighthouse Ale due to their sizable population throughout the island’s natural landscape. And the boat? Well, why not? Can’t deer ride in boats?

A sampling of several other craft brewers participating this year event includes visual art from the Erie Brewing Company, with historical imagery set in Western Pennsylvania and Canada, the Atwater Block Brewery, featuring depictions of Nordic motifs and devilettes, and the East End Brewing Company, with a madcap design of a cowboy resembling a recent Republican president.

Each of these designs will be reprinted in large frames, so attendees of the show won’t have to worry about squinting at a tiny label on a bottle of beer. However, if you would like to check out the artwork in its native state, never fear, because beer from Fire Island Beer Company and each of the other featured craft brewers will be offered at a beer tasting event during the showing.

Photo by Michael Mastroianni

This year’s Design, Drink and Be Merry exhibition will be held on Saturday, June 27th at 5 p.m. at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, Pennsylvania. Tickets can be purchased for $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For more information, please call 610.374.4600 or visit the event website at: http://www.designdrinkandbemerry.com/ .

What is a “Craft Beer”?

Fire Island Lighthouse Ale is a “craft beer,” but what exactly does that mean?

According to the Brewers Association a craft beer is traditionally a malted beverage produced by a brewery with an annual production of less than 2 million barrels. To differentiate between smaller labels own by larger beer manufacturers, less than 25% of the craft brewery can be owned or controlled by an industry member who isn’t a craft brewer. The relatively small output of craft breweries means that they can spend more time and attention to the flavor and unique quality of their brews.

However, don’t be fooled by their relatively small size, because they still brew a lot of beer! In 2008 alone the craft brewing industry produced nearly 8.6 million barrels of craft beer. That’s over 2.1 billion pints for thirsty beer fans!

And even in the current economy, the craft brewing industry is not showing any signs of slowing down, growing by 10.1% in 2008. In fact, a wide variety of craft beers currently occupy the marketplace, ranging from lighter offerings like Fire Island Lighthouse Ale to darker beers like porters.

Craft breweries have long been known for their attention to detail in formulating just the right blend of flavors for innovative new tastes unmatched by many larger domestic breweries. Fire Island Lighthouse Ale, Fire Island Beer Company’s flagship offering, has a soft carbonation and a light caramel finish for a smooth, clean taste, and the toasty round body of a classic American Ale to give it real substance. These flavors were carefully formulated over years of summer taste tests at “The Shack,” a small general store located on Fire Island. It’s this same attention in craft beers like Fire Island that’s often lacking in larger breweries today.

People frequently mistake “home brews” with “craft brews.” While many craft brews have their roots in home brewing, the production and distribution of craft beers is much larger in scope. Fire Island Lighthouse Ale actually started as a small scale homebrew created by brothers Tom and Bert and their cousin Jeff. However, like many good beers, once the word was out about this tasty brew, they expanded their production and distribution to share their beer with other craft beer lovers across New York and beyond.

In addition to making great beer, craft brewers have a reputation for being active participants in their communities. For instance, Fire Island Beer has sponsored fundraisers for Columbia University Soccer, and the environmental group EcoFabulous. Because of community involvement like this and their smaller personal approach to beer production, craft breweries are frequently seen as a more positive and sustainable business model for the brewing industry.

Which really brings us to one of the core values of craft brews: giving people a quality beer with flavor and innovation beer fans everywhere really want. So if you haven’t already checked out a craft brew like Fire Island Lighthouse Ale, you really owe it to yourself to venture out from the boring big three major breweries and try something new. Because real beer fans know: big beer flavor often comes from small microbreweries.

Craft Brews on the Rise Despite Economy

The economy may be down but craft beer sales are experiencing a major upswing, growing by nearly 10.1% in 2008.

The reason?

Well, it’s all a question of value. When you have less money you start to really evaluate what you’re getting in a product. Over the years consumers have been swamped with the same watery tasting lagers that are either flavorless, or skunky and bitter. People want something new and original, something with a full body and a clean, rich flavor they can savor and really talk about. Craft beers like Fire Island Beer Company’s Lighthouse Ale do this in spades. Fire Island Beer Company and its craft beer compatriots care about the consumer and work hard to develop the perfect balance of hops, malts, and accompanying flavors to make each sip a symphony for the palate.

Fire Island Beer Company’s formulas were developed through years and years of taste testing and reformulating down at “The Shack,” a small summer shop selling burgers and beer. Like everything on Fire Island, The Shack was always a laid back place where everybody could relax, kick back, and enjoy what eventually became the tasty brew known as Fire Island Lighthouse Beer. Following in the footsteps of quality craft beers, Fire Island Beer Company wasn’t conceived with money or product placement in mind. Instead, it was just two brothers and a cousin motivated by a passion for good brews, and a desire to make something as laid back, and just plain fun as Fire Island. But somewhere in-between bringing keg after homebrewed keg to parties, and having friends and family request the beer even more than mom’s famous triple chocolate cheesecake (you have to try it!), the Fire Island Beer Company founders started to think that they might have something.

And they did.

But that’s how it works with any really good product. The consumer drives the sales. And isn’t that the way it should be? Music lovers have known for years that some of the most independent artists are on independent labels, so why shouldn’t beer lovers have a variety of choices from small microbrews?

After all, smaller companies have more attention to detail and make better beer. And now that people really watching their money and choosing quality products with more added value, beer drinkers everywhere are letting their voices be heard.

So the next time you think about choosing some watered down draft that is sure to be more filling but completely unsatisfying, do your mouth a favor and choose a quality craft beer like Fire Island Company’s Lighthouse Ale.

Fire Island Beer: it’s the kind of beer you want to have a beer with, and the kind of value that your bankbook will love.