Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Beer Inspiration in our Backyard – Cape Cod

The last couple of posts have touched on the fact that I am starting to seriously think about starting some kind of professional brewery. While I may have been slacking on brewing and writing, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy lately.

The biggest thing that has happened is that I started working Saturdays at the Modern Homebrew Emporium in Cambridge. My main job is to help customers and share my ‘expertise’ in brewing. Most of the customers on Saturday came in with their recipe knowing exactly what they were looking for, but I was able to help one customer buy their first starter kit and recipe kit. I look forward to making some extra money, meeting more people in the beer community, and having fun talking about  beer.

I had a prior commitment to pour for Newburyport Brewing Company on Cape Cod the first Saturday the shop wanted me to work. I worked for a couple hours at the shop in Cambridge, before driving to Centerville, MA. As I crawled down Mass. Ave I kept watching my estimated time of arrival become later and later.

The last time I visited the Cape was for a wedding. I was excited to have a chance to try beers on the Cape that don’t make their way up on the North Shore. While I was pouring at Cape Cod Package, I was able to sample beers from Cape Cod Beer and Naukabout Beer Co. I found both of their beer very easy to drink. Cape Cod is a vacation spot. When you’re on a boat or at the beach you don’t need a beer that hits you over the head. Next time I’m on the cape hopefully it will be a purely pleasure trip, and I can make time to stop by Cape Cod Beer and Naukabout Beer’s new tasting room in Mashapee that’s opening in the spring of 2017.

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The nearest brewery was Devil’s Purse Brewing Co. in Dennis. I arrived about a half an hour before closing and grabbed a couple of sample pours. As I took a photo of the brewhouse from the tasting area, co-owner Mike Segerson invited me back and showed me around. We talked about beer, did a side-by-side with a couple of Newburyport and Devil’s Purse beers, and he shared some of his rarer beers including an oyster stout and a raw Nordic-style saison brewed with Juniper branches and fermented with every yeast at the brewery in a barrel. Knowing I had a long ride home, Mike even gave me a couple of cans of Mountain Dew for the ride home. My only regret was not grabbing a crowler of their IPA.

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There was still one stop I wanted to make before heading home, the outermost brewery on Cape Cod: Hog Island Beer Co. in Orleans. In addition to my need to drive home responsibly, I was also absolutely starving having not eaten since breakfast. The brewery shares a building with the Jailhouse Tavern. It was pitch black when I arrived and I unwittingly walked into the tavern and sat at the bar. Seeing some Hog Island beer on tap and desperate to eat, I ordered the Hog Island Stout.

After my meal I asked the bartender where the brewery was. The brewery is actually in the back of the building, but is easily accessible via a path from the back of the restaurant. As I walked into the brewery there was live music, a pool table, and overall a more casual atmosphere. I enjoyed a sample flight and took a crowler of the Moon Snail Pale Ale to take home.

Brewing on Cape Cod is not easy. Many of the residents and business are seasonal in nature. There are no sewer lines on the cape which makes disposing of waste water more expensive than it is in other places. Luckily for vacationers and year-round residents there is plenty of quality beer brewed on the cape.

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