Sea foam is no longer the most significant type of suds to wash up on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard — the craft brewing bonanza has made its way across Vineyard Sound and the results are delicious. We’re still on the upswing, so the availability of Martha’s Vineyard craft beer is growing each year. Right now, you’ll find two established breweries on Martha’s Vineyard, two that are a stone’s throw away on the shores of Cape Cod and Nantucket and one more that is the brainchild of Martha’s Vineyard island dwellers.
Bad Martha Beer Co., Edgartown
With their farmer’s brewery and tasting room at Donaroma’s Nursery here in Edgartown, Bad Martha Beer has been making craft brews right on our home turf since the summer of 2014. Stroll through the luscious gardens between May and October to sample as many as 10 varieties at any given time, each brewed with wild Vineyard grape leaves for an extra dose of island authenticity.
Bad Martha’s selection rotates constantly, but the flagship Martha’s Vineyard Ale is here to stay. This smooth, bronze-colored ale with hints of the stronger flavors found in the Island IPA and the Vineyard Honey Ale makes a very approachable first step into the world of Martha’s Vineyard brewing.
Outside of the tasting room, which has growlers available to take out, you’ll find Bad Martha’s beer on tap at Chesca’s Restaurant in the center of Edgartown. If your stomach is well-adjusted to the high seas, you can even rendezvous with Bad Martha on the ferry from Woods Hole.
Offshore Ale Co., Oak Bluffs
Offshore Ale Co. touts a long list of Best of the Vineyard awards from Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, including Best Year-Round Restaurant and Best Bar/Pub. Chalk it up to dedication and consistency — this Martha’s Vineyard brewery has been operating seven days a week year-round since 1997.
Here, seasonal craft brews pair nicely with an upscale pub menu that’s as friendly to families as it is to beer enthusiasts. The Parmesan truffle fries make an excellent addition to any order, bringing new flavors to classic cut potatoes. Your evening at Offshore Ale Co. comes with an extra feelgood component, too: when you order certain beers like the East Chop Lighthouse Ale and the Menemsha Creek Pale Ale, you’re throwing a life saver to the Coast Guard Foundation Enlisted Grant Fund with a percentage of your tab.
Wash Ashore Beer Company
The brainchild of Islanders John Clift and Joe Monteiro (who later teamed with Chad & Michelle Verdi), Wash Ashore Beer Company produces organic beer that embodies the experience of island living! And although it is not brewed on the island (they currently brew at The Guild in Pawtucket, RI), you will find the hop-forward beer at many local restaurants, including 19 Raw Oyster Bar and Loft and Pizza di Napoli. Plus, as the official beer of Seastreak Ferry, you can get the party started early!
Cisco Brewers, Nantucket
Our island neighbor to the southeast hosts an impressive three-in-one outfit: Cisco Brewers actually started as a winery, Nantucket Vineyard, which has also sprung Triple Eight Distillery more recently. You can uncover the finer points of all three legs of the operation on an hourlong tour whose entry fee includes generous samples and a souvenir tasting glass. If you can, get your hands on a corked bottle from the Island Reserve line — these relatively high-ABV specialty brews are a highlight.
If a visit to Nantucket doesn’t fit into your itinerary, you can find craft beer from Cisco Brewers right here on Martha’s Vineyard at Edgartown Meat and Fish Market.
Cape Cod Beer, Hyannis
Plans to get to the Vineyard via the summer ferry out of Hyannis require a stop at Cape Cod Beer. They offer brewery tours once daily at 11am and the tasting room is open all day. Playful brews like the Beach Blonde are available in 16oz cans for your cooler-packing convenience. The seasonal connoisseur can keep an eye on the Cape Cod Beer Calendar, a handy guide to what’s brewing when and where to get it.
Thirsty yet? If you’re ready to belly up and sample what these Martha’s Vineyard breweries have to offer, it’s time to start thinking about places to stay once the evening’s keg is kicked. Vineyard Square Hotel & Suites is located right at the center of it all, with Edgartown lodging options ranging from cozy guest rooms to luxury suites. Here’s to frosty mugs and fresh pints on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard.