While New York City breweries tend to get the most attention from the city’s powerful media outlets, beer drinkers in the know look to Long Island to discover the region’s most exciting new crop of producers.

After a decade-plus of repping Long Island alone, Blue Point Brewing Company and Southampton Publick House are now joined by a vibrant community of upstarts—11 have opened since 2008, and four more are expected to start pouring in 2013—that are pushing creativity and establishing the two-county stretch as a destination for drinkers seeking high-quality liquids.

While each brewery on the island has a unique story, from farm-inspired ales brewed in a residential garage, to a self-distributing duo rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, all are connected by the commitment to provide the local area with top-notch suds.

Here, we take a look at the eight essential Long Island breweries that are driving the scene. Some distributes their wares to NYC bars, but others will require a trek to the source if you want a taste—trust us, it’s worth it.

Written by Niko Krommydas (@krommydas)