Eat, Drink and be Merry!
As local brews and concoctions gain in popularity across the country, the Cape doesn’t miss a beat in making a splash in our libation landscape.
There is something about the crispness of the fall weather that beckons to a fresh, frosty glass of thoughtfully, well-made beer. Maybe it is the history of Oktoberfest, maybe it is the tones of amber and cinnamon and nutmeg that glow within a cold glass dripping with anticipation, something about gathering with friends for a pint as the fall leaves slowly drift to the ground says autumn is here.
But today’s brews are not yesterday’s suds. Instead the creativity, care and curation brew masters bring to every batch and variety, validates the application of the word “craft” as it is used to describe the industry.
The efforts of locals who are opening breweries and tasting rooms are being met with an equivalent response from the public. Beers, ales and ciders are not the only elixirs attracting crowds and interest. The Cape has seen a surge in the wine and spirits that are produced and branded locally. All in all, the excuse to gather with friends, families and new acquaintances is becoming a popular activity from the bridge to tip.
In the following pages, settle in, maybe grab an adult beverage and get to know some of the options that are offered locally. Chances are you might find something new to tickle your fancy. Almost surely you will discover places where the passion for high-quality, refreshing beverages set the stage for memorable moments together.
Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery
As you drive down Falmouth Highway, it’s impossible to miss the sign that reads “Bad Martha” with a mischievous mermaid calling you toward the Farmer’s Brewery, luring you in with a siren song. The East Falmouth expansion of Martha’s Vineyard’s Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery officially opened in the fall of 2019. “The idea was to build off of the success of our Edgartown location,” explains General Manager Joshua Flanders. “A location on the mainland, was key because as you can imagine, distributing from an island is very challenging.”
The vision was to create another taproom similar to the one in Edgartown, but with a larger footprint. “We took the same design of our tasting barn in Edgartown and hired the same Amish crew to build this enlarged-post-and-beam barn,” explains owner and founder Jonathan Blum. The back of the building is home to the brewing facility, where the majority of their production takes place.
The brewery offers free samples of their award winning and seasonal beers, like the new Octoberfest and Pumpkin Ale. You can purchase any of their rotating 16 varieties by the glass, a flight paddle, or growlers and crowlers that are all available seven days a week.
Master Brewer Brian Link is the man behind the magic, most recently creating the new Mischievous Mermaid IPA which introduces a brand-new style of beer: Cape Cod Style IPA. Link explains, “We’re adding a distinctive twist to the New England IPA. We use ingredients from the Cape such as local sea salt and hand-picked wild grape leaves harvested on the Vineyard, which make it unique from other New England IPAs.”
Interestingly enough, the team found they had customers coming in to ask if they had anything other than beer–an unusual request for a brewery. In an effort to cater to their customers who were not beer fans, but still wanted to experience the unique atmosphere, Blum reveals, “This past summer we started introducing hard seltzer.” Using all local fruits, buying from at least a dozen local farms in an effort to support local businesses, they created their hard seltzers. “It’s been a huge hit,” shares Blum. The only brewery on the Cape with their own state-of-the-art canning line, the team at Bad Martha decided they’re going to start canning their seltzers–which will now be available for purchase at both locations.
Bad Martha’s mission “Get Bad. Do Good” has been to create excellent beers while being a socially responsible company that puts community first. Buying as many local ingredients as possible from surrounding farms and makers, they donate a portion of profits to hunger-relief charities, and give spent grains to local farmers.
“The East Falmouth location has been a pretty natural expansion,” says Flanders. “What really surprised us all was how well our pizza did.” With the larger kitchen in place, the brewery was able to get approved for pizzas and their countertop brick ovens. “I spent three years working on a pizza recipe,” shares Blum. “Our pizzas are almost as popular as our beer; we have won 12 awards with our beer since 2014 and we haven’t won any awards yet with our pizza, but I hope someday we will,” laughs Blum.
Outside open lawn areas and a Mellow Meadow Wildflower Beer Garden with a walking trail that winds through the wildflowers attracts an enthusiastic public. Picnic tables and two large whimsical, sculptures created by West Tisbury artist Thomas Maley make it ideal for families and dog owners.
Inside the brewery, you’ll find a unique space with soaring beamed ceilings, and as you venture outside the expansive pergola is covered in hanging flowers and greenery from Mahoney’s. The large outdoor fire pit is at the heart of the patio space, as additional outdoor heaters are perfect for taking advantage of cool autumn nights. There’s live music with local bands, trivia nights and fun games. “We really wanted to recreate the same beautiful setting you get in Edgartown at our Falmouth location,” explains Blum. “We try to create a fun organic environment, where it is family, friends, and lots of kids–a place where anyone from their 20s to their 80s can enjoy.”
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