Beer for Purim: A Local, and Jewish, Suds Tasting in Sag Harbor

The crew from Greenport Harbor Brewing Company will be sampling suds for Purim.

Among the most exciting developments in the East End food community is an emerging beer-making and beer-drinking culture that has inspired big acreage in hops and a new generation of beer bars. This culture is even spreading into religious settings as Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor will be hold a local beer tasting this Wednesday, March 7, in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim.

As we reported last summer, no fewer than three East End farms added substantial acreage in hops last year. The expanding fields were commissioned by the Southampton Publick House and Greenport Harbor Beer Company to meet the demands of a blooming beer-drinking culture. All the way down the beer chain are bars like the Good Life in Massapequa and restaurants like Legend’s in New Suffolk, whose thoughtful food stands up to its awesome selection of beers on tap, including many hooked up to New York–made kegs.

But it was the innovative thinking of Temple Adas Israel’s relatively new rabbi, Leon Morris, that lead to this Wednesday’s beer tasting. As reported in the Sag Harbor Express, next week Jews celebrate the spring festival of Purim, which Rabbi Morris called “Mardi Gras for Jews.” “On a very basic level,” Morris told the Express, “it’s a topsy-turvy carnivale-esque holiday filled with laughter, parody, sweets, gifts and masquerade.” Many people think of Purim as a sweets-focused holiday, but it turns out another central component is alcohol drinking–sort of like sweets for adults. “Purim is traditionally celebrated by drinking to celebrate the deliverance of the Jews in days of Mordecai and Esther,” Morris said. “In fact, in the Talmud it says that one drinks until he or she doesn’t know the difference between ‘Blessed be Mordecai’ and ‘Cursed be Haman’ (the villain of the Purim story). We thought a contemporary and local twist on this would be a local beer-tasting.”

The temple will hold a Megillah reading and Purim celebration at 5 p.m., which is open to families. The beer tasting will follow at 8 p.m. Location and additional information can be found here.