Around the Island

Shelter Island Brewery expands reach with canned beer headed for twin forks

They call it Belly Warmer Beer and it’s the Shelter Island Craft Brewery’s new winter offering for those in search of a hearty drink.

Owner Jim Hull describes it “a dark copper, smooth mouthful of warm grains with malt and bitters.”

It’s a cold weather delight, Mr. Hull said. At the same time, he said it’s a “great all-weather” choice.

Mr. Hull is known for making unusual beers, often with locally available ingredients. He had started brewing beers at home long before he ever imagined opening a brewery. He had been an ironworker — one of 3,600 who helped to build the original World Trade Center — and later became involved in the jewelry business in Manhattan’s diamond district.

He and his late partner, Clarissa Williams, had conceived the idea of a brewery after they relocated to Shelter Island. Before she died in 2016, Ms. Williams made him promise to follow through with the plans. Today, he has found happiness with Melissa Paller who works at the brewery with him.

Belly Warmer Beer is what’s on tap this winter at the Shelter Island Craft Brewery. (Credit: Melissa Paller)

True to his New York State Farm Brewery License, he more than meets the requirement that at least 20% of ingredients come from within the state. Besides using local hops and New York State malts, he infuses his brews with in-season local fruits and herbs.

Liquid Sunshine, which was on tap last spring, will reappear this season, he said.

But he’s also received orders from a number of North and South fork restaurants and grocery stores to carry his canned brews this year.

True to his entrepreneurial spirit, it’s a whole new expansion of his business, he said.

It may be the first Shelter Island produced product to be made available to a wider public, he said.