Last weekend I went to Long Island to celebrate my brother’s graduation from SUNY Stonybrook and to generally raise a toast to all the incredible work that he’s done over the four years he’s been there. There was a party in his honor, fireworks that almost caught the house on fire, tons of great beer to be had and even a newly discovered jellyfish sting cure that can be found in any household (don’t worry, its not beer).
But what I wanted to write about was what turned out to be an almost mythically perfect experience at DEKS restaurant in Rocky Point. My brother went to his bar a few weeks before our coming, had a great evening talking to the bartender, and tried a terrific amount of great beer. He called me the next day. “I am taking you to this place. It’s amazing.”
So, when I showed up, we hopped in my brother’s Jeep and made the ridiculously short drive to DEKS. The building itself is the oldest around, the inside is completely wood, warmly lit with candles and some warm light. Their bar is fabulsous looking with tap handles and old bottles of whiskey aging as they sit. This was the type of place to have a great beer adventure, no doubt.
It was one of those moments where you wonder, “Why haven’t I ever been here before?” We decided to eat dinner and I got some seared tuna that was delectiable, and then we were handed the list. A 6 page, laminated, small print, beer list. It was impressive. I hadn’t heard of a lot of the beer on there but our server and one of the co-owners, Dean, was quick with reccomendations, knowledge and suggestions. I am always impressed when servers know their stuff about beer.
Below are my favorite five beers of the evening, a brief review only because it was an epic experience.
Sly Fox 113 IPA – Sly Fox Brewing Company is a family owned brewery out of Pennsisylvania that’s been getting a lot of attention recently. Their IPAs are fairly well known and they have been doing an annual IPA project to get people to taste IPAs made with different types of hops. I’ve been told the 113 is their flagship. The smell is that grassy kind of IPA with a kind of sweetness. The color was dark orange, and the atste had a bite and sting but a smooth finish. I love this IPA. It tasted like it had a really strong alcohol content, I would have guessed about 9%, but I looked it up later to find that it’s only 7%. This is an IPA for true IPA fans.
Sly Fox Incubus – I was impressed with the IPA and I decided to try the Incubus, a tripple which was very wheaty with a terrific warmth. I wanted to drink this all night. Did monks move to Pennsylvania? Because this is a serious trippel, and I haven’t had a non-imported tripple like this yet which had so much wheat and smooth sweetness. It was just great, hands down.
Legacy Hoptimus Prime IPA – Yes, another one that I ordered just because it has the coolest name EVER! This one was a double IPA which was great to try right after the Sly Fox. The smell is very bitter and hits you harder than the Sly Fox. The taste is strong bold and obviously uses some different hops than I’m used to . It isn’t sweet, but it doesn’t hurt you with the bitterness or dry you out like other IPAs can. Order it for the name. Keep it for the taste.
Brooklyn Brewery Grand Cru – This one was described as a Double Wit, and I’m not sure what that would be but this one had a massive foamy head, was opaque in its light cloudiness. The Wheat and citrus smells were sweet and beautiful to smell. This one, like the Incubus, I can’t believe came from this country. It was an amazing wheat that had such blended smoothness it was like drinking cream. I have never seen this beer not on tap – and it isn’t even mentioned on Brooklyn’s website. I’m thinking I might have stumbled upon something special here. Wow.
After the Grand Cru, I got brave, and tried a Rodenbach Flemish Sour (this one is actually Belgian, something I didn’t know at the time though I should have known by the name). I have a soft spot in my palate for lambics and sours, much to the dismay of my beer drinking friends that can’t stand the mustiness or puckered cheeks. So I poured it out and was happy to see that it was dark brown, you couldn’t see through it. It smelled like a tart, barely ripe McIntosh apple, and tastes almost like a cider. I tasted apples, Dean corrected me and told me that it should taste like sour cherries. I stand firm that I was tasting a really tart natural apple, but then again I haven’t eaten many sour cherries in my lifetime, so I might not have a reference there. It is bright and surprisingly easy to drink considering all the punch of the sour flavors.
At the end of the evening I also picked up a copy of the Beer Hall Guide To Long Island which was written by a local writer and blogger. I had no idea that places like DEKS existed right around the corner from me, so I was eager to read about what else was going on on Long Island, and give a nudge to another beer blogger while I’m at it.
DEKS is also special because once a month they do a beer dinner where they specifically pick a meal to highlight a beer and a great time is had by all. They also have cask nights, too, which I would love to go to.
If you’re on Long Island, this is worth the trip to get to from wherever you’re staying. Tell them the Beer Babe sent you 🙂