It’s official, Offshore Ale Company is offering beer brewing tours daily from 2 – 3 p.m. and on Saturday from 12 – 3:30 p.m. Stop on by or call to make a reservation, and spend a little time learning about what goes into making delicious beer, made right here on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard.
What’s in a Tour
There is a maximum of 8 people per tour, which is a nice, intimate size. There are two options for a tour. For $5 you get a tour of the brewing process, and get to do a little exploring of second floor. This tour last about 20 minutes.
For $10, you get the tour and a tasting of four of Offshore’s signature beers which might include the East Chop Lighthouse Ale, the Menemsha Creek Pale Ale, the Beach Road Brown Ale, and the Lazy Frog IPA (India Pale Ale). This tour lasts a bit longer, about 30 to 45 minutes. You’ll also get a certificate for a free pint of beer. So, if you do the math, the $10 tour is the way to go.
On the tour, you’ll head up to the second floor and learn all about the process of brewing beer. You’ll get to see the different grains that go into making the beer. Did you know that a local fav, the Hop Goddess, requires different types of grain?
You’ll check out the hopper where the grain begins its journey, and then the mash tun, the first tank, where the malted grain gets mixed with hot water to start. This causes the enzymes in the grain to convert from starch to sugar. I was lucky enough to be there when Neil, the head brewer, was working with the mash tun.
Then the sweet liquid, called wort, is transferred into the second tank called the kettle, where they boil it and add hops. This is where you smell that aroma that is associated with brewing beer, which I kind of enjoy.
After no less than an hour, the liquid is moved to the fermenting tank, and yeast is added. In about 2 weeks, we have fresh beer! We’re talking ales of course, since lagers take a lot longer to ferment.
In case you were wondering, the fermenting tanks are the big silver containers you can see clearly from the dining area.
If you opt for the $10 tour, at the end you’ll sample four Offshore Ale beers at the tasting table, and learn how they are similar and different. This is a must for any beer enthusiast!
A Brewer Apprentice
Jay Bergantim, the Assistant Brewer, will be giving most of the tours. Don’t let his tough exterior fool you, he is just about one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. How did Jay become the Assistant to acclaimed beer brewer Neil Atkins?
Well, Jay started working at Offshore in 2009 as a buser. He graduated to server pretty quickly, and while working, realized he had a keen interest in the beer Neil was making. So, he began volunteering his time to help brew.
For a whole year, Jay volunteered to work with Neil and make the beer he so enjoyed. Now, Jay is officially the Assistant Brewer, and his passion for the beer he and Neil produce can be felt when you go through a tour with him.
Be sure to book your brew tour soon, as the reservation book is filling up, call 508-693-2626 and enjoy the local beer. You might want to block out a good chunk of time, since not only are the beers good, but so is the food.
Hm-mm, fried oysters, Duck Pizza, the Pub Salad, Fish and Chips, hand-cut fries. I could go on and on. Chances are you’ll end up staying. Don’t forget to take home a six pack or a couple 22 oz bombers or a growler filled with your favorite brew.
Even though I’ve worked at Offshore as a server for a number of years, I never get tired of the beer, the food, or the service of course! In case you were wondering, my favorite beer is the Hop Goddess, followed by the Lazy Frog IPA, and then in the Summer I enjoy the Hefeweizen. There’s nothing better than a well crafted, fresh beer, and we are lucky to have some of the best. As they say, “It’s Better at Offshore”.
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