Riverhead has become something of a mecca for craft beer, with at least five brewing companies as I write this: Crooked Ladder, Long Beard, Long Ireland, North Fork, and the subject of today’s blog, Moustache Brewing Company. I haven’t been to Long Beard and North Fork yet, and it’s been awhile since I’ve been to the others. Part of the problem is that they tend to keep limited hours, opening late in the afternoon and not opening during the week.
However, in the spirit of Oktoberfest, we decided to brave the crowds of cars headed east on this partly sunny Saturday and check out Moustache, which we hadn’t visited since January 2016. Then, the tasting room was an alcove between huge tanks of brewing beer, with a short bar and limited table space. Now they have opened an actual tasting room, with a long bar and communal tables, located on the same hard-to-find industrial back street of Riverhead. Thank goodness for Google maps, or we’d still be wandering around.
We were quickly greeted by one of the two bearded men behind the bar (there’s also a woman, who does not have a beard), prompting me to ask if a moustache was a prerequisite for employment. Nope. He cheerily informed us that a tasting consisted of four five-ounce pours, took and held our credit card, and gave us two blue tickets for our second round of drinks. What was this tasting going to cost us? There was nary a sign. What would a glass or growler cost? No idea. They should post a price list. At the end our bill was $9.01 for our shared tasting. Why the one cent? With some embarrassment he confessed that they had tried to make the price something that would include tax and come out even, and had miscalculated.
Meanwhile, we studied the menu, trying to decide what to get, and looked around the fairly full room. It was quite noisy. As we left we noted a limo and a multi-cycle waiting outside, so maybe part of the noise was because we had happened on two parties. By the way, they allow dogs, children, and outside food. According to the website they sell North Fork potato chips, but I saw nothing about that at the bar.
Our server told us that their signature beers were the porter and the brown ale, so we decided to start with those. There was no indication, either in print or from our server, in what order to drink the beers, even when we asked.
- Everyman’s Porter 4.5% ABV (alcohol by volume)
This dark brown quaff has a lovely aroma of grains. It is light for a porter and easy to drink, with a pleasant bitterness but no depth. I could see sipping this in a pub along with an order of steak and kidney pie, hold the kidneys.
- Milk & Honey 6%
A slightly lighter brown than the porter, this tastes quite different. It has a faintly vegetal aroma and the taste has a touch of sweetness and what my husband describes as “cold metallic.” Nice carbonation. This would be fine to drink on its own, or with a hot dog with spicy mustard.
- Sailor Mouth 6.5%
There are several IPAs on the menu, so we asked for descriptions of them. I tend not to like extremely hoppy IPAs, thus we settled on this one. As I recall, two years ago when we asked for the origin of the name, Lauri Spitz, the co-owner with her husband Matthew, told us that it was named for her and her, shall we say, command of the language. In any case, this is a good summer beer. It smells of Christmas trees and citrus, and the taste is also somewhat piney and not very fruity, though we also detect tastes of pineapple and grapefruit. It’s not really a beer you’d want to sip on its own, but it would go great with barbequed pulled pork.
- Slow Claps 4.3%
Again, there were a couple of pale ales on the menu, so we asked for help in choosing this one. It is the closest to a regular American beer, the type you might drink while eating nachos and watching the Stupor Bowl (as I call it—I watch it for the commercials). It is pleasant and light, but not memorable. We had brought a growler with us in case we wanted to take anything home, but left it in the car. No need to retrieve it.
Reasons to visit: you like craft beers and are not afraid to navigate the back streets of Riverhead; all the beers are definitely easy to drink and pleasant, but, at least based on what we tried, we prefer Greenport Harbor.