Tags Posts tagged with "Po’Boy Brewery"

Po’Boy Brewery

by -
0 641
Bob Rodriguez and Wesam Hassanin, front left and right, the owners of Po'Boy Brewery in Port Jeff Station, started a drive to deliver bags of goods to Pax Christi. Photo by David Luces

Wesam Hassanin, bar manager at Po’Boy Brewery in Port Jefferson Station, had an idea to bring community members together for a good cause. 

“I wanted people to come out for something positive,” she said. 

Volunteers at the Po’Boy Brewery in Port Jeff Station pack boxes of food and other supplies for Pax Christi Hospitality Center in Port Jefferson, which has numerous services for the homeless. Photo by David Luces

The process began at the end of 2019, when Hassanin began spreading the word of what she had planned on social media and to local business owners. Her project was to create 100 blessing bags for the homeless. Over the past two months, Hassanin and others purchased a number of essential items to pack in the bags. 

“I didn’t expect this, I think I posted once or twice about it on social media and we literally had everything we needed for the bags probably within three weeks,” she said. “I can’t believe the amount of responses we got.”

On Feb. 16, close to 30 people came out to assemble and pack bags at the brewery and send them to Pax Christi Hospitality Center in Port Jefferson. Among those who came out to help were customers, family members, friends and fellow business owners. 

“I wanted to help local men and women in need, I reached out to [Pax Christi] and they said they could ‘definitely’ use the blessing bags,” she said. 

Rebecca Kassay, who runs the Fox and Owl Inn in Port Jefferson, praised Hassanin for her efforts to bring people together and help make a difference in the community. 

“It’s pretty incredible to see so many people in the community come together — it makes you want to do more of this,” she said. “I didn’t know what to expect, if two or three people tried to do the same effort, it would have taken all day. With the amount of people we had, it took 45 minutes.”  

Kassay stressed the importance of extending a helping hand to others. 

“I want to be someone as a resident, a business owner, who says what can I do to help these problems,” she said. “If I make these causes [in the community], I want to be a part of it.” 

The owner of the inn said this event motivated her to do more. 

Volunteers at Po’Boy Brewery helped donate 100 “Blessing Bags” to Pax Christi. Photo by David Luces

“I volunteer at Hope House, so this inspires me to reach out to them more often,”
Kassay said. 

Bob Rodriquez, owner of the brewery and Hassanin’s husband, was proud of her efforts to help the less fortunate. 

“All the kudos goes to her,” he said. “She approached me with the idea and I said, ‘Let’s do it’ … We really have her to thank for setting this up and the homeless people [at Pax Christi] will have her to thank for the bags.” 

Hassanin said she is already considering what she can do next to give back. 

“I wanted to do more [bags] but I didn’t want to get over my head, we thought 100 bags was a good number,” she said. “Maybe the next time we do this we’ll do more.”

The bar manager of the brewery said she hopes this will encourage others to pay it forward and give back. 

“It means so much that they all came out to help out, we couldn’t have done it without them, Hassanin said. “I want this to motivate other people to do something similar and wanted to show its possible to do something like this.”

by -
0 718
Bob Rodriguez and his wife Wesam Hassanin. Photo by David Luces

For Bob Rodriquez, owner and brewmaster of Po’Boy Brewery, located at 200 Wilson St., Building E, in Port Jefferson Station, it’s all about making his customers feel like family and keeping them on their toes with the constant variety of beer and cider options. 

Rodriguez shows how brewing is done. Photo by David Luces

Rodriquez said he had a dream to open up a brewery of his own for quite some time, first beginning home brewing as a hobby in his garage. As he got better at the craft, he began entering his own creations into competitions and racked up a number of awards along the way. 

For the past two years, Rodriquez has amassed a dedicated group of customers.

“It is a life changer, it definitely took over our lives,” he said. 

What makes Po’Boy stand out from other breweries is that it releases a new cider weekly and a new beer every two weeks. 

“It’s fun for me, I get to create new recipes and people come back to see what’s new,” Rodriquez said. 

The owner said everyone, for the most part, finds out about new releases the day of. They send the new menu to a customer email list and share it through social media. Even the bartenders find out the same time the customers do. 

Rodriquez enjoys making new creations. 

“I wake up — OK, I want to make this,” he said. “Let me see if I have the ingredients, if not I’ll get it and then in the next couple of days I make it. I like to keep it a surprise for everyone.” 

Behind the tasting room are three tanks that Rodriquez uses to make his new creations. From there, it goes to the breweries cold room which is the final step before it gets put on tap for customers to enjoy. 

“Not to mention the ‘sick’ beers and ciders — you can’t go wrong with that.”

— Bob Rodriguez

While big companies may use a full automated system and more man power, Rodriquez does it all by himself. 

“It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of physical labor — you sweat,” he said. 

Wesam Hassanin, Rodriquez’s wife and bar manager at the brewery, said most places you go to they’ll have their mainstays, and only once in a while they will add another option. 

“We have a lot of regulars, they come in often, so we want to keep it fun for them,” she said. “It’s all [Rodriguez’s] ideas, he’s like a mad scientist,” she said. 

While the business has taken off for the couple, as of now they only operate the brewery from Wednesday through Sunday. Both of them have jobs working at Stony Brook Hospital. Rodriguez has been a nurse practitioner for the past 25 years while his wife works as a senior administrator in the surgery department. 

“I said I’d go part-time when I hit 25 years and that has made it a little easier — opening up this place was much more difficult to do than getting my doctorate in nursing,” Rodriquez said jokingly.

Since Po’Boy opened in January 2017, the menu has grown from eight to 16 beers and ciders on tap. Last December, they began distributing to local businesses including Prohibition Kitchen among others. 

“What I really love about it is the people that come here, the atmosphere and the comradery is really awesome,” Keegan Johnson, a bar regular from Setauket said. “Not to mention the ‘sick’ beers and ciders — you can’t go wrong with that.”

Johnson praised Rodriguez’s craftsmanship. 

“I appreciate the craft — you see someone that really enjoys what they are doing,” he said. “You can tell he loves what he does, he loves making people happy.”

Po’Boy Brewery has created a large following in a short amount of time. Photo by David Luces

Po’Boy has been recognized islandwide as it was one of News 12’s fan-picked winners in its Brewery Battle poll. Regulars come from all over Long Island, and even beyond.

Yolanda Ramos, of Brooklyn, said she and friends make the drive down to Port Jeff just to come to Po’Boy. 

“We all walk in strangers and we walk out making so many new friends,” she said.  “It’s just a beautiful place.”

Ramos said she started enjoying ciders because of Rodriguez. 

“I was never a cider person until I came here,” she said. 

Johnson said Rodriquez takes it to another level and dubs him “the chemist.” 

“He understands what people like,” he said. 

Rodriquez is proud of what he able to cultivate over the past two years. 

“This is something they can identify with: This is Port Jeff Station, this is Po’Boy,” he said. “They feel like they are a part of this.”