See what’s brewing at these local breweries!

Cape Cod Life  /  September/October 2019 / ,

Writer: Matt Tormey

See what’s brewing at these local breweries!


Cape Cod Life  /  September/October 2019 / ,

Writer: Matt Tormey

What’s Brewing?

The beer scene on the Cape is thriving
and these local breweries are the reason.

Cape Cod’s summers are best enjoyed relaxing on a hot day at the beach with a cold and refreshing beer in hand. A myriad of local, high-quality concoctions await the thirsty traveler or resident. Many of the Cape’s best breweries are relative newcomers, but they are quickly becoming some of the most popular establishments across New England, and rapidly, Cape Cod is turning into a premier destination for those seeking to experience uniquely brewed beers. 

Cape Cod’s cyclical tourism season has made opening small enterprises, such as these breweries, which profit the most in the summer months, a difficult task. Each of the breweries detailed in the following pages opened as a very small scale operation driven by a single person or pair of friends passionate about their craft, and many remain that way. Brewers are in many ways artists—architects of something new—with each batch brewed being a distinct and unprecedented creation. Opening and building a brewery, like any business, is a slow process with no guarantee of success, yet many Cape Cod brewers are brewing delightful batches that achieve immense popularity. 

The brewing community on Cape Cod is truly close-knit, with neighbors hoping to see their neighbors succeed. As well, every establishment has worked to help their locale in some way or another. Whether it be fundraising or education or spreading awareness, the breweries provide resources where they can and have earned their place as welcome neighbors and valued community members here on the Cape. 

To celebrate this newfound burgeoning industry, 2019 marks the Eighth Annual Cape Cod Brew Fest and the event is set to be the largest yet. Over 100 brewers will be present with over 300 beers choices for patrons to sample. The event will be held on Saturday, September 21st at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds. The event is 21+ only and requires a ticket which can be purchased online or at the gate. Prices start at $55 for customers who wish to partake. 

Buzzard’s Bay Brewing

Ancient by comparison, Westport’s Buzzard’s Bay Brewing was established in 1997. The summer of 2019 saw the construction of a taproom in the nearby Buzzard’s Bay area of Bourne which will serve the Westport products. Unfortunately, the taproom’s opening date has been pushed back and is undetermined at this time. The continued wait only means anticipation is mounting further for the addition of the Upper Cape taproom. At the Westport location, customers can get drinks along with food trucks and food from local restaurants. 

One of Buzzard’s Bay Brewing’s most popular brews is the Golden Flounder. The Golden Flounder is brewed with American barley and white wheat malts then hopped with a ‘citrusy cascade.’ White grapefruit and white flower add a pleasing aroma and character to the brew. 

In addition to working with over a dozen local non-profits, Buzzard’s Bay Brewing has started their own: The Hop(e) Fund. Established in 2007, the fund has worked to build a school in Kenya as well as provided childhood education and education on natural resource management and farmland preservation in the region. 


Naukabout Beer

Another Upper Cape brewery, Mashpee’s Naukabout Beer is celebrating over a year in operation after opening last May. The brewery’s scenic lakeside location and recently expanded beer garden make it a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a beer. The IPA-centric tap list includes a total of fifteen different New England beers. All beers are brewed in a small batch, in a hop-forward IPA-style. Live music performances and several food truck partners are often on hand to round out the experience.  

In honor of Germany’s famous brewing celebration, Oktoberfest, the brewery holds a three-day event in the same spirit, “Nauktoberfest.” Held during Labor Day weekend, Nauktoberfest features a myriad of games as well as limited-time beers. The Naukabout name comes from a saying a co-founders father would tell his sons after a full day’s work, “Get out of your wok-a-bouts,” he would say, “and change into your nauk-a-bouts to get outside for some fun!” The after-work fun with family and friends is the central idea behind the breweries many beers—and board games! Among the most anticipated new drink this year is the Hazy Fest Lager. This beer is a New England styled IPA take on the classic Oktoberfest Lager.

Naukabout is a proud supporter of Massachusetts Vest-A-Dog. The organization’s primary mission is to help provide bullet-resistant vests to the commonwealth’s police dogs.


Bad Martha

Martha’s Vineyard’s Bad Martha recently expanded operations to the mainland this summer. The new year-round location in East Falmouth offers an alternative to its seasonal brewery in Edgartown. The new brewery is larger than the original and includes a small kitchen which offers patrons some light fare including flatbreads and pizza to accompany the drinks. Bad Martha’s has an often changing tap list which usually features around ten different beers. 

Joshua Flanders, Bad Martha’s General Manager, cites “Shark Bite!,” a Jalapeño Cucumber Lager as his favorite, and many customers agree. The creation of “Shark Bite!” begins with an aged light American Lager followed by the addition of locally grown jalapeños and cucumbers. The refreshing cucumber taste is the first to greet you followed by slight heat from the jalapeños. The two opposite flavors complement each other swimmingly—pun intended. Shark Bite! Is a very limited seasonal beer offered around August (the growing season of jalapeños and cucumbers). 

Bad Martha’s has donated to the Island Food Pantry every year since their inception, with last year’s amounting to $7,500. Flanders says the East Falmouth location will make similar charitable donations to a Cape Cod-based non-profit but has yet to make a final decision. 


Barnstable Brewing Company

The Hyannis-based Barnstable Brewing is one of the older names in Cape Cod brewing, but the taproom is a fairly recent addition opening in 2017. Featuring around 20 beers, Barnstable Brewing has one of the Cape’s more extensive tap lists. It comes as no surprise then that the brewery also has one of the most diverse tap lists. Alongside the beers with international stylings are more recognizable American favorites. Drafts such as Russian imperial stouts are served alongside a banana milkshake IPA. On the weekends, food trucks can be found on the premise. 

The brewery’s owner Pete Connor’s expertise was honed by Sam Adams Brewing after winning a contest held by the beer giant. Pete’s son Mark, has similarly impressive credentials. Mark, while at school in Germany, became a certified Brew Master. 

Barnstable Brewing’s newest release is their blueberry ale. The light fruit ale is crafted with frozen Maine blueberries and American Northwest hops. The drink exudes berry and floral aromas in addition to its crisp and refreshing taste.


Provincetown Brewing Company

A stand-out even among the unique breweries of Cape Cod, Provincetown Brewing Company is a recent addition to the Outer Cape brewing scene. Provincetown’s new brewery has made headlines since it was first recognized in Fall of 2018 for its heavy political activist stance. The brewery has opened this August to a great deal of public support. Provincetown Brewing Company, which occupies the location formerly held by a much-loved food market will serve breakfast and lunch before switching atmospheres to a brewery in the evening. 

The brewery opened with a tap list comprised of two beers but is quickly adding a third. The Bearded Mistress is one of the brewery’s popular offerings. A traditional India Pale Ale, it is brewed with wheat pilsner and flaked out malt. The beer has a medium bitter coming from Mosaic and Hallertau Citra Blanc hops. To top it off the beer has a heavy floral and juicy finish. 

At the breweries announcement last fall, the two co-founders gave a donation of $2,500 to the town’s LGBTQ+ welcome & resource center, The Shack. The co-founders state that they will be committed to helping out a variety of causes but will keep a focus on LGBTQ+ issues. 


Devil’s Purse Brewing Company

South Dennis’ Devil’s Purse Brewing Company does beer differently than the Cape’s other breweries. A number of the Mid-Cape’s brewery’s offerings have international flair from English-style pale ale to German Kolsch. Since opening in 2015, Devil’s Purse has had drinks with flavors from many other parts of the world including Belgium and New Zealand. As well, the brewery creates beers that are simply distinct from other New England offerings. While Devil’s Purse does have distribution networks across New England some beers are only available at the brewery. Open year-round, the brewery boasts three ‘core’ beers and dozens that frequently rotate on the tap list. Devils Purse holds numerous events every week, so be sure to check their website to stay up-to-date. 

The brewery’s Inter-tidal Oyster Stout includes oysters from local growers. Essence of oysters, including shells, are boiled into the beer contributing to the great flavor. Another favorite is the Handline Kolsch. The Devil’s Purse take on the German-style Kolsch is mildly hopped with vanguard. The drink is completed with a dry finish and is accompanied by pleasing aromas reminiscent of lemon zest and cut grass. 

A rising problem on Cape Cod and across the nation is the tick-borne Lyme Disease. An upcoming promotional event will have $1 per pint donated to combating the disease. As well, Devil’s Purse has made numerous donations to a variety of local fundraisers. 


Hog Island Beer Company

The Massachusetts’ Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission lists Orleans’ Hog Island Beer Company as the oldest operating pub brewery on Cape Cod. The Lower Cape brewery opened in the summer of 2016. Hog Island has an extensive menu comprised of buffalo wings, lobster rolls and more to complement its beers. With a European atmosphere and West Coast infusions Hog Island has something for everyone. Games and abundant picnic tables populate the adjacent outdoor space, while the inside offers a stage for musical performances. Hog Island was founded by two friends who held a contest to find a third brewer. The Orleans’ brewery looked south and added a Chatham resident. The brewery bills itself as the ‘outermost brewery’ on Cape Cod. Soon, the brewery hopes to begin offering tours of its facility.  

Hog Island’s Outermost IPA is the brewery’s flagship brew. The bicoastal drink brings together the flavors of the East and West coasts. Hopped with Citra Hops, the beer provides a refreshing and tropical taste. 

Hog Island hosts the yearly Roots & Blues Festival. The mid-September celebration brings some of the genre’s biggest names to Orleans. The festival raises money for Friends of Nauset Beach, a non-profit that works to preserve the beach.  


Route 6a Brewing

Nestled right off of the Cape’s most important artery, Sagamore’s Route 6A Brewing is best described as a nano-brewery. Started by four friends in the Fall of 2017, this small and family-friendly craft beer brewery took over the site of the former Flynn’s Restaurant. The brewery currently has nine different beers to choose from, including four core brews. Each batch is brewed in a very small quantity. The small batch size also lends itself to experimentation, to try production of a variety of styles. For the consumer, this microscopic scale guarantees the utmost freshness of the product. The brewery is adding a food truck to provide meals in addition to the brews. Route 6A Brewing has worked with several local organizations and has had a presence at a number of community events. 

The brewery favorite is simply named “Summer.” Summer is a Belgian Wit, a pale and cloudy ale brewed with a high quantity of wheat. An alternative take on the drink is also available: the Summer Raspberry, produced with 13 pounds of raspberries, adds a slight aroma in addition to the fruity flavor. Unlike the original, Summer Raspberry is available in cans. 


Shoal Hope Ciderworks

Shoal Hope Ciderworks, named for Captain Bartholomew Gosnold’s short-lived geography error, is the first Cape Cod cidery and Provincetown’s original craft beverage producer, producing 100% of its ciders in P-Town for distribution throughout Massachusetts. Not much of a beer drinker and allergic to the sulfites in wine, the cidery’s founder, Rob Brosofsky fell in love with hard ciders. The cidery currently produces seven unique ciders, of which four are available at any given time. Shoal Hope also now has a hosted taproom located at Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis. 

Shoal Hope recently released its newest variety, Watermelon Dreams. Made with pure apple juice and all-natural watermelons, this cider, like all of Shoal Hope’s ciders, has a flavorful, dry finish. Also in the works, in collaboration with Chatham Kelp, is a kelp-infused drink, and Brosofsky is testing cans to serve restaurants that prefer cans to bottles on patios and pool decks along with stores that service beachgoers and boaters. 

Brofosky was a participant in the Pan-Mass Challenge which led him to Provincetown well before opening a ciderworks. Although no longer a participant, Brofosky remains a strong supporter of the event. The cidery has made a good name for itself in Provincetown and across the Cape as an active community member supporting a myriad of local events and organizations ranging from Provincetown’s TedX and Women’s Week events to the Cape Symphony.


Cape Cod Beer

Nearly a hundred different beers have comprised the core or seasonal stock of Cape Cod Beer founded in 2004. However, the brewery does not stop at beer, recipes for items as diverse as cheese dip, cocktails and cookies all using Cape Cod Beer products, can be found on their website and a selection of handmade products from local vendors can be found on location. The brewery is also home to the Cape Cod Lager and Ale Makers Homebrew Club, and the brewery’s beer garden is sometimes home to a farmer’s market as well as a wide variety of outdoor games. The brewery also hosts Riverway Lobster House Thursdays through Saturdays during the summer and offers tours Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m.

Since 2017 Cape Cod Beer has offered different monthly cask ales. Cask ales, also known as real ales, differ from their keg-brewed counterparts in several ways. In addition to a completely different fermentation process, the finished product is also unfiltered and unpasteurized, resulting in only a minuscule shelf-life.

Cape Cod Beer is introducing Clean Water Wednesdays, scheduling one day each month from August to November for an educational talk about the importance of clean water and its impact on Cape Cod. The event is free to attend and will be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with each of the four talks focusing on the subject from a different angle. The event will have it’s own 20 ounce pint glass for sale with $1 of every glass sale donated to the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition. 

Cape Cod Beer is introducing Clean Water Wednesdays, scheduling one day each month from August to November for an educational talk about the importance of clean water and its impact on Cape Cod. The event is free to attend and will be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with each of the four talks focusing on the subject from a different angle. The event will have it’s own 20 ounce pint glass for sale with $1 of every glass sale donated to the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition. 


Cisco Brewers

Well-known on Nantucket, the island’s Cisco Brewers is a mandatory stop for any beer enthusiast. Founded in 1995, the brewery has since founded Nantucket Vineyard and Triple Eight Distillery to offer a wide variety of alcoholic beverages to every consumer. In 2018, the brewery was purchased by the much larger and publicly traded craft brewing company, Craft Brew Alliance. Despite the new corporate ownership, Cisco’s five partners continue to run the brand. Cisco has grown to be able to distribute beer across a dozen states but now has a nation-wide reach with CBA’s backing.  

The rhyming, English style Whale’s Tale Pale Ale is Cisco’s flagship creation. The name is a nod to the island’s storied whaling history. The amber-colored drink has a frothy head with a slight floral hops and a hint of malt taste present. 

In August 2019, Cisco Brewers held a pop-up event in Boston’s Seaport District (where their new pop-up location can also be found) which benefited Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial Fund, honoring Massachusetts service members lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. 


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