Within a red-vibrant barn at 62 South Erie Avenue, Vaughn Cutillo, Eric Moss and Joseph Sullivan established Montauk Brewing Company in June, following three-plus years of recipe-crafting and test batches. The 1,200-square-foot building, constructed by Cutillo’s father in 1996, was once Montauk Woodwork, a showroom for custom kitchens. Cutillo remains owner, but display faucets are now beer-dispensing tap handles, and custom cabinetry and countertops, a copper-plated bar.
“My dad had no idea he was building a brewery when he started his woodworking business,” says Cutillo, a Montauk native. “With a big showroom in the front, it was a perfect fit. Property can be expensive, too, so we really lucked out.”
Cutillo, Sullivan and Moss attended East Hampton High School before separating for college. While at University of Colorado at Boulder, Moss, amid the state’s burgeoning beer scene, began home-brewing small batches with a roommate.
He was immediately hooked. “We were surrounded by quality beer at college,” says Moss, who cites Avery Brewing Company and Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, both Boulder-based, as college-era favorites. “So it was something that just fell into place.”
After graduation, the trio worked as lifeguards and installed solar panels, but post-school discussions often involved only one topic: beer. Though admittedly unfamiliar with brewing, Cutillo and Sullivan bought manuals and a kit and began making beer weekly, amassing a portfolio of 50-plus recipes produced by Moss. Driftwood Ale, an amber-hued English special bitter balancing toasty malts and a subtle hop presence, was one of them. “Eric called us right away and said, ‘This is it. This is going to be the flagship for our brewery,’ ” Cutillo recalls. “A lot of breweries usually start with an IPA, but we wanted to do something else and be creative.” Referred to by the brewery as “Montauk’s Beer,” Driftwood Ale is Montauk Brewing Company’s first release.
On June 30 the ale was poured at the opening of Montauk Brewing Company’s tasting room, which also functions as a gallery for local artists. It is currently produced at Butternuts Ales & Lagers in Garrattsville, New York; however, a framed blueprint for a custom-designed, 15-barrel brewhouse by Diversified Metal Engineering that also hangs on the tasting room’s wall suggests another brewery site on the horizon. While a full-time production schedule in Montauk is forthcoming, the trio will continue nano-experimenting, making half-barrel batches at the brewery. A hefeweizen and porter are scheduled future releases.
“We hope to be making all of our beer in Montauk next year,” says Cutillo. “We just wanted to get the word out and get it in people’s hands. We can’t wait for what’s next.”