Not every weekend on the North Fork centers on a huge party or event. Not that we’re saying there’s anything wrong with a big party, but sometimes a quiet gathering is an equally enjoyable way to spend some time with friends.
Take this past weekend as an example. Friday started off with a party:
Lieb Cellars launch party for their Rumor Mill hard apple cider at their Oregon Road property. This is one of their two locations, and is the smaller of the two. Noah’s On The Road prepared several varieties of delicious tacos (fish, duck, pulled pork among them), and in addition to wine tastings and complementary glasses of Rumor Mill, a mixologist using the hard cider as a drink base was mixing several different cocktails.
As the sun set lower in the sky, the band, Swear and Shake, played some great music that allowed conversation. People lounged on outdoor sofas around the fire pits, both as groups of friends and people sharing the moment. Others lay atop blankets sprawled on the lawn, and they watched, listened, drank, and enjoyed.
As it got dark, we made our way to McCall Wines (NYS winery of the year 2013). Here, the feeling is far more rustic: the tasting room is a repurposed barn, tables are set with single pillar candles in hurricane lamps, and the North Fork Food Truck is taking burger orders.
They serve their wines by the glass and bottle, and the North Fork Food Truck (from the famous North Fork Table and Inn) cooked to order burgers from McCall’s own grass fed cattle – many North Fork restaurants purchase their beef here – and with a kind word, you can too.
The guests we saw at this hour were winery and restaurant employees having some quiet time to close out their day. It was cozy and intimate, yet totally relaxed and unpretentious.
Overall, it was a rather quiet Friday evening, a great way to shake off the week and slip into weekend mode. We started with what felt like a private celebration, and ended the evening with quiet relaxation. Both events went a long way to set a tone for the weekend, to put us in a mood, and demonstrated that while a great big party is always fun to attend, sometimes there are better things to do.
On Saturday, you may remember the rain. If you don’t, perhaps you were out of state. We chose to stay indoors and ventured to Long Ireland Brewing Company in Riverhead for a tasting. As a brewery, they are a different experience from the wineries, and one that should be not be overlooked.
At Long Ireland, they were preparing for their Oktoberfest release, which promised to be quite an exciting event. Rather than closing at regular time Saturday, they were just getting started! In addition to a movie screening, they were preparing traditional Oktoberfest fare, including bratwurst, and filling up a commemorative 20-ounce stein with their newly released Oktoberfest beer – so new you couldn’t taste it until they handed you your stein. The men and women operating the taps in the tasting room are also the people making the brew so they are extremely knowledgeable about what they pour into your glass. One of several beers on tap is their Wet Hopped Pale Ale. The “wet” refers to the fact that the hops were fresh and all from local farms. Apparently, wet hops are highly sought after because they need to be grown nearby and used immediately after harvest.
It’s been a busy autumn so far, with near-perfect weather. There are some events coming up that you should keep in mind, including Noah’s Winemaker dinners, daily specials at Little Creek Oysters in Greenport, and the 7 Days of Bistro 72 in Riverhead.