I’m back in New York! We’ve taken a hard jump right into summer, it seems we’ve skipped right over spring, but I’m wearing shorts, and that’s ok by me. My pale, white body is craving some Vitamin D that I don’t receive in the form of gummies that Holly and I bought at Target. (Although I will still keep taking them because they’re basically candy.)
We’re going to go back in time to just about 5 years ago.
Holly and I had just gotten married, and had moved out to Long Island. At this point, my knowledge of craft beer was still pretty limited. I knew how to describe the flavor, and how it made me feel, but if I had the selection of beer available now (again, to my still semi-limited knowledge), five years ago, I think I might have been completely overwhelmed. So, I think Holly and I met Matthew and Lauri Spitz at just the right time.
Look at these two friendlies! And check out that SHAG tattoo!
I worked with Matt at “Fruitz R Us” (that’s not the actual name), and we became fast friends because A. He’s awesome. B. I’m ok too, I guess. C. We both love beer. D. Shoeberry Jam. E. Check out that sweet moustache. At this point, Matt had been homebrewing for a long time, and knew waaaaaaaaay (look at all those A’s!) more about Craft Beer than I did. We started hanging out outside of work, and that’s how Holly and I got to meet Matt’s wife, Lauri.
We quickly became friends, and they were the reason Holly and I signed up for LIBME, or, The Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts. LIBME is a group that meets monthly at different restaurants and breweries on Long Island to socialize and talk about beer. They are also a member of the American Homebrewers Association, and participate in homebrewing competitions throughout Long Island. We joined as Charter Members, which gave us discounts at local bottle shops and restaurants, and we attended multiple meetings and met some amazing people.
A LIBME meeting at Long Ireland Brewing Company where Holly won a pint glass and Matt creeped on her like a big, moustachioed, handsome creep!
Along with Matt and Lauri, and among many great folks, (Tim Sal and Joshua Hawkins, I’m talking about you!) we met Phil Ebel, fellow Disney Nerd, formerly of Great South Bay Brewery, and now Beer Ranger at New Belgium Brewing (which just began distributing to New York! Go grab some!), and his lovely wife Katie. We also found out at the first meeting we attended that my family friends Lee Ann and Ed Hahne were also members! Ed passed away, tragically, nearly two years ago. Some of my fondest memories of him were, when I was younger, when he used to bring six packs of his homebrewed beer to my parents’ house for parties (he was a music teacher with my Mom), and also, being able to spend time with him and Lee Ann at our LIBME gatherings to talk about beer, and music. If we hadn’t joined LIBME, we may not have reconnected with him, but I’m so glad we did, and so thankful for those memories. I miss that dude, a lot! (Matt and Lauri made an amazing beer in his memory, which you’ll see later in this post)
LIBME was like a giant, extended family, that reached all over Long Island. The beer community on Long Island is so strong, and everyone is supportive of one another. As I mentioned earlier, Matt and Lauri had been homebrewing for several years, and were able to start their amazing brewery, Moustache Brewing Co., in part because of a Kickstarter they ran, called “We’re Growing a Moustache!” that raised just over $31,000 to help them realize a dream they’d been… Well, dreaming, for so many beers… I mean, years (since 2005, when they brewed their very first beer!).
Before the brewery opened, we would spend time with Matt and Lauri, both at LIBME meetings and elsewhere. One of my favorite evenings was a bottle share that we had at Andrew and Katherine’s (two more amazing LIBME members) house. It was epic. That night, I got to try Sam Adams Utopias for the first time.
Some delicious selections at this particular bottle share… Including Sam Adams Utopias (27% ABV) and Brewmeister Armageddon (65% ABV).
Lauri modeling one of the highest ABV beers ever made.
Lauri’s Instagram Post from January, 2013 of Holly chugging a bottle of The Bruery Rugbrod and me making a normal face…
Hanging out with Matt and Lauri offered Holly and I so many amazing opportunities to taste some of Moustache’s many delicious libations in their early stages. I had the opportunity to spend the day with Matt in his father’s backyard while he brewed Moustache Everyman’s Porter, a 4.5%, black as night, Porter, with intense coffee and chocolate, both on the nose and palate, something you can drink in the dead of winter by the fire, or in the intense, Long Island, summer heat. Go to Riverhead, drink this beer. It’s unreal.
A crushable Everyman’s Porter, straight from the source.
I believe it was around this time that they were also brewing their Mojito Pale Ale, which tastes just as insanely delicious as it sounds. Brewed with fresh lime zest (HAND ZESTED!!) and mint (HAND… MINTED?), it’s a lime citrus forward Pale Ale with refreshing mint, that will also ward off Scurvy. I promise. Give this to all of your pirate friends. They’ll thank ya later. (Also, if you have pirate friends, send them my way. I want pirate friends.)
In April of 2014, we were able to attend the Kickstarter Backers preview at the new Moustache Brewing Company in Riverhead. It was so special to see the outpouring of love from Matt and Lauri’s friends and family as they poured their beers, sort of officially, for the first time. These two had been working their butts off for as long as I’d known them to get their business, their love, their baby, up and running.
Kickstarter Backers Board at Moustache Brewing Company in Riverhead, NY!
A few days later, we were at their official Grand Opening, where Matt shaved off his bushy winter beard, AKA his Rally Beard (after which they have named a once-a-year Rally Beard IIPA) revealing the eponymous Moustache, and beginning a tradition that has been replicated at both their first and second anniversary parties!
Authentic barber’s chair for the shaving of the Rally Beard at the Grand Opening of Moustache Brewing Company, April 2014.
Revealing that glorious, glorious Moustache that everyone knows and loves. And Matty’s sweet cheeks!
Since they’ve opened two years ago, people have been asking for their amazing brews across Long Island, in New York City, and even stretching into Upstate New York. They’ve already gotten larger fermenters so they can make more beer for your face. They’ve released some special, barrel aged beers, like Snügg, an Old Ale aged in French Oak Bordeaux barrels, that is inspired by Glögg, a spiced, mulled wine, and most recently, a Bourbon Barrel-aged Blueberry and Ginger Tripel, that will be released next Saturday, June 4th. (I’ve had the non-barrel-aged version of this beer, and it tastes like a Blueberry scone, it’s unbelievable.)
Look at these gorgeous barrels…
“But I was just looking for the bung hole!” -Is something I probably said about 100 times.
They’ve also made beer for charity. Buffalo Theory, a Double IPA, was made in memory of our friend Ed Hahne, was brewed with hops from his garden, and all proceeds from the beer were donated to the charity in his name at Stony Brook University. They also participated in the Craft Cares IPA, with breweries from all over Long Island, which was given out in exchange for two non-perishable cans of food, for Long Island Craft Beer Week.
They took a blank canvas inside of a warehouse and designed an amazing tasting room.
Gorgeous bar at Moustache Brewing Company.
Decorated for the Holidays!
Holly and our dear friends Pete and Kelsey Shelly on Opening Day, 2014!
I wanted to write a post about Matt and Lauri, because they have worked so hard, and are so passionate, they have helped shape me into the sort-of knowledgable beer geek I am today. It wasn’t an easy road for them (you can ask them), but they’re doing amazing things for the community. Their dedication to their art is inspiring, and people are chomping at the bit for their beer to be in restaurants and bars all over New York. So look out for these guys, because they’re going to be all over the place before you know it.
For now, head over to their gorgeous brewery and tasting room in Riverhead, and follow them on Facebook here to see what’s on tap! (I suggest the Franco ‘Murica, a pale ale brewed with French Saison yeast!)
Until next time, Cheers!