Code beer! Physician opens Somerset Brewing Company in West Hempstead


Long Islanders can now page Dr. Manny Fajardo for 350 cc of beer. Stat!

This summer, Dr. Fajardo, a NYC physician, swung open the doors at his Somerset Brewing Company at 94C Cherry Valley Ave. in West Hempstead.

He and his team had been building out the space for the past 2 and 1/2 years.

The Garden City native first took to brewing on the outdoor patio of his Upper East Side apartment about 10 years ago. Four years later, he moved his workspace into his brother Michael Fajardo’s garage, where his hobby matured.

“I think about four years ago, I was like ‘Wow, we’re brewing some really good stuff,'” said Dr. Fajardo, who works per diem for New York-Presbyterian Hospital, specializing in acute COVID-19 care.

“And then we started giving kegs to friends at parties and then giving single beers away, and everyone said we should bottle it and sell it,” he continued. “We started selling kegs at parties, making a little name for ourselves in Nassau County and Garden City. And it kind of took off from there.”

The Somerset Brewing Company has been open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer. Now, in anticipation of Thursday night football, the brewery will operate Thursdays from 3-10 p.m.

Patrons can look forward to a variety food trucks rolling up to the tap room, from Jamaican to Italian cuisines and from tacos to barbecue pulled pork. Live entertainment is on tap too. Dr. Fajardo’s uncle, Jack Licitra, a popular Bayport music instructor who has opened for the Allman Brothers Band, produced more than a dozen albums and played in various blues projects, was the first musician to perform in the beer garden this past Saturday.

10 beers on tap

Since he opened on June 24, Dr. Fajardo has introduced patrons to several important people in his life. All 10 of his beers on tap are tributes to people who made a lasting impression on him, including loved ones, friends and even their dogs, as is the case with the Harmon, a hazy summer kolsch, and the Millie, a single dry hopped IPA.

The Surgical Precision, a crisp and refreshing single dry hopped IPA, is named in honor of his father Dr. Manuel Fajardo.

“When my dad immigrated to this country when he was about 30 years old, he was a trained general surgeon from the Philippines,” Dr. Fajardo said. “When he came over here, he did his residency in North Carolina and he specialized in trauma surgery. He had an office in Forest Hills … where for 30 years he specialized in breast cancer oncology.”

Named after his first dog, the Memphis, a fest beer somewhere between an Octoberfest and an amber ale, is Dr. Fajardo’s favorite.

“A lot of these beers, I try to break it down really scientifically. I started off with a lot of these beers a long time ago,” he said. “Memphis (was) about 10 years ago. “

The Perceus, a double dry hopped IPA, is named after a COVID-19 patient.

“During the pandemic … one day, I unfortunately lost seven or eight people,” he said. “One of them was this guy named Percy. He was a 32-year-old man, just had a 1-year-old baby, and I lost him.”