L.I. Beer Beat | by B.J. Gamboa

A blonde, a brunette and a redhead walk into a bar. No, wait.

A priest a rabbi and a politician. That’s not right either.

I’ve got it!

An anesthesiologist, a chiropractor, a PhD in nursing and a cardiac Nurse Practitioner walk into a brewery.

And they start making beer.

So what, exactly, makes someone switch from healer to brewer?

Why forsake a financially stable profession that carries societal respect and trade it for a highly competitive field rife with uncertainty?

In fact, your local brewers aren’t always the bearded, beer-bellied behemoths often depicted on travel shows or in magazines. Craft beer appeals to a large swath of society and can draw brewmasters from unlikely ranks.

The kettles call and even those ensconced in the hallowed halls of medicine are not immune. 

Long Island is home to several such converts.

Read on and have another beer. It’s good for you. Trust me.

I’m also a healthcare professional.

Dr. Richard Sobotka, anesthesiologist

Original founder/co-owner, Great South Bay Brewing Company

Healthcare career: A board certified anesthesiologist for 13 years, Dr. Sobotka is still actively practicing with Northwell Health Anesthesia Group.

Brewing Career: 10 years.

Why a brewery?

“I home brewed with dad in my teens and have always dreamed of owning a brewery. I wanted to take this passionate hobby to the next level and the stability of being an anesthesiologist allowed me to fulfill this goal.”

Favorite styles (to drink):

Belgian Strong Ales, Belgian Saisons and IPAs.

Favorite styles (to brew):

“Belgian styles are more challenging [and] nailing a perfect-tasting saison is a heavenly reward.”

Favorite GSB beers:

Muscat Love — a Belgian strong ale that won gold at the Great American Beer Fest in 2015.

Jetty Ale — a honey cream ale that won GABF gold in 2016, silver in 2017 and World Cup Bronze in 2018.


As a nod to his medical career, Sobotka had fielded a saison called “Conscious Sedaison.”

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