The other day I was reading The Disney Food Blog’s wonderful review of the new Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar and Tutto Italia Restaurant in Epcot and noticed something interesting. I’m not much of a wine guy, so I get excited when I see pictures of beer taps. I expected to see the old standbys – Samuel Adams, Yuengling, and Bud, and was excited by the obvious Italian beer choices, La Rossa and Moretti (which are both very tasty). But I got very, very excited when I saw Blue Point Brewing Company’s Toasted Lager at the far right tap.
Many of you have probably never heard of Blue Point Brewing Company, since they only distribute to 11 states along the far Eastern seaboard. However, I’ve lived no further than 20 minutes from the brewery ever since they got started in 1998, so I figured I’d take the time to fill you all in about one of my favorites local craft brewers and their most popular beer.
Blue Point Brewing Company was started in 1998 by Mark Burford and Peter Cotter in Patchogue, Long Island, a small working-class suburban coastal town about 90 minutes from New York City. At first, they couldn’t afford their perfect place, a former ice factory, but the landlord offered to give them the first year’s rent for free, and according to their website, no one was sure why. They’ve clearly come a long way since then, and anyone who has tasted their beers can attest to their recipe for success. Their tagline is “Long Island’s Brewery,” which is fitting since no other brewery on the Island can match Blue Point’s output of 30,000+ barrels brewed annually.
Their most notable brew, Toasted Lager, is a Vienna lager, a traditionally German-style lager similar to Samuel Adams Boston Lager. However, Dos Equis Amber Lager is also a good example of Vienna lager. Toasted Lager is brewed with six different malts in a direct-fire brick kettle, hence the name. It has 5.5% ABV and a frothy head with hints of toasted grain and mild hops. It is very easy to drink with a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness and, to my taste, is less hoppy and bitter than Boston Lager, its biggest competitor. According to Blue Point, Toasted Lager should be paired with grilled meats, Latin American food, bratwurst, ham, clam chowder, hearty seafood, and BBQ. Overall, it is a very drinkable lager with enough accessibility to appeal to mainstream beer drinkers while still remaining small and crafty for the beer nuts.
The fine folks over at Drinking Disney recently posted a nice review of Toasted Lager here. The link to the Beer Advocate entry can be found here. The Beer Advocate pros rated it a 74, while the readers gave it an 81.
Blue Point first expanded into Florida in 2009, and can also be found in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., North Carolina. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out when they began appearing in Walt Disney World.
According to Beers and Ears, Toasted Lager can also be found at Cabana Bar and Beach Club at the Dolphin Resort and the ESPN Club at the Boardwalk Resort.
This past weekend, Estelle and I took a trip to Blue Point’s brewery and tasting room (which we had planned before the DFB article, coincidentally) to sample some of their other fine beers. As you can see, their brewing equipment is rather large.
The bar in the tasting room is a beautiful, hand-made design made from local materials. They also have beautiful growlers.
In the tasting room, each customer is given 3 small samples of any beer on tap. As you can see, Estelle and I picked a wide assortment of tastes and styles, including Sour Cherry Imperial Stout (a cask ale), RastafaRye Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Pale Ale, Winter Lager, Summer Ale, and Old Howling Bastard, a barleywine-style strong ale.
Pints are also available for $4 or $5 each ($9 for cask ales). Here is an Oatmeal Stout and a Blueberry Ale.
The taps are all beautiful and there is a very busy chalkboard behind the bar which names all the beers available for tasting.
I also appreciate their other motto: Think Global, Drink Local.
And of course, my fridge is now well-stocked after our big day. (You’ll notice we also hit another small local brewery, Great South Bay. Maybe their brews will be available in WDW in the future!)
I hope you enjoyed learning about one of my favorite local breweries and one of my all-time favorite beers. I always try to drink local craft beer wherever and whenever I can. Budweiser, Miller and Coors don’t need any more of our money. Support your local breweries and next time you’re in Walt Disney World, make sure you check out Blue Point’s Toasted Lager.