May 11, 2021
Vaccinated, and it feels so good…Finally, Nofowineaux is able to go out for tastings and, even better, entertain friends. Dear friends we hadn’t seen since a year ago February came to stay over, now that we are all fully vaxxed. You can do a lot on Zoom, but you can’t hug! The weather was bright and sunny, if a bit windy and chilly for May, so we decided to drive out to Greenport to stroll around town before getting back in the car to go to the big Greenport Harbor tasting room in Peconic. The plan, which we successfully implemented, was to do a tasting there and then head to Braun’s to pick up the steamed lobsters we had ordered for dinner.
The town of Greenport has some new stores and restaurants, some empty store fronts—but fewer than we feared—and plenty of old favorites. We hadn’t walked around town since the pandemic started, so we felt as though we were finally exiting a long, dark tunnel. Now if everyone else gets vaccinated, we might actually return to life as we knew it pre-Covid.
One of our friends is a beer aficionado, and though she also likes and appreciates wine, many of the wineries are still requiring reservations, so we decided to go for a beer tasting. What makes Greenport Harbor a great place for return visits is their ever-changing roster of beers and ales. As before, you stand at the bar and write out your list of five preferred tastes, which are then poured into medium-sized glasses (plenty to share) which are set into holes in a carved wooden whale so you can take them to your table. Our designated driver brought over his chosen soda—Boylan ginger ale, which he said was great—and ordered one of their massive pretzels. They heat them up to order, so you get a little buzzer which goes off when your food is ready. (They hold your credit card until you return the whale and glasses, at which time they charge you for what you’ve had.)
By then, it had warmed up and the wind had died down, so we carried our tastes to a sunny table on the capacious lawn. Other—socially distanced tables—had family groups, including children and dogs. Everyone seemed very happy to be there, as were we. My friend and I have slightly different preferences when it comes to beers, so we ordered mostly different tastes, easy to do when the menu features about 14 beers.
- Haus Pilsner
Get it, house pilsner? Very cute. I started here, a good place to start. This was a light, refreshing pilsner, a perfect after-gardening quaff. My friend said she could see being served this in a traditional German biergarten.
- Otherside IPA
This was my friend’s first choice. She is fond of citrusy IPAs. I like them if they’re not too hoppy. This is a fairly typical IPA, with tastes of grapefruit and lemon.
- Belgian Pale Ale
I do like ales, and this transported me back to our visit to Belgium, where it seemed every little sidewalk café had its own beers on tap, usually a light and a dark. I liked the yeasty flavor of this, with touches of anise or licorice and clove. At the end, I rated this most interesting taste.
- Naturally Juiced
Juicy! My friend’s second taste, we decided this was even more grapefruity than the Otherside, with notes of mango, and a bit sweeter.
- Velvet Sea
Whoever named this beer chose an apt moniker. This is a smooth, velvety, almost buttery golden ale, very likable and easy to drink. It sort of reminded us of a chardonnay.
- Facing East
The menu calls this a New England IPA, but my friend thought it might be more like a West Coast one. Again, it is grapefruity, but softer than the others, without any tropical fruit notes.
- Second Round Knockout
I’m going to assume the name is a reference to this IPA’s abv (alcohol by volume) of 8%, although that’s not the highest abv on the menu. Our designated driver had taken a sip or two of the beers we were tasting, and he said of this one that it was “bitter and harsh.” My friend simply said, “I love it.” Refreshingly tart, say I, and not obnoxiously grapefruity. We both got this one, the only overlap amongst our selections.
- Double Duck Mexican Hot Chocolate
Time for dessert! This Imperial Porter is like one of those really good dark chocolate bars, with a hint of cinnamon flavor, spice, and vanilla. I wouldn’t want to drink it with food, but to sip in a pub…sure! Yummy, and not cloyingly sweet, it is actually made with cocoa nibs.
- Double Duck Coffee
This is another meal-ending or sipping porter, with distinct aromas and flavors of coffee with cream and sugar. We decided we preferred the Hot Chocolate flavor, but liked both porters. Hey, combine one of the IPAs with this and you have breakfast!
Reasons to visit: Huge facility, though I have seen it completely filled, with a nice big outdoor area. Good menu of foods, in addition to the big pretzels. Basically, all the beers. I’ve never had a beer of theirs I actually disliked, and it you like IPAs they have a particularly good collection of them. I prefer ales and stouts and porters, which they also have. I often buy their Black Duck Porter in the supermarket. Also, at a time when more and more places are barring dogs, you can bring your pooch to the outside area here.