Offshore Ale Co. celebrated the annual release of the Hopps Farm Road Pale Ale on tap at its Oak Bluffs brewery and alehouse on Tuesday, Sept. 23. While Eric Johnson and Jeremy Berlin played their Tuesday-night live jazz set, customers enjoyed food specials paired with the Pale Ale. “This much-anticipated beer draws a local following,” said Jessie Holtham, restaurant and retail operations manager at Offshore.
The Hopps Farm Road Pale Ale is brewed annually each fall with locally grown hops, primarily from the West Tisbury road of its namesake. “Regular customers Alan Northcott and Ken Rusczyk began a hobby of growing hops on their Island properties five years ago,” Ms. Holtham said. “They offered their hops to Offshore Ale Co. who graciously accepted.” A core group of volunteers — mostly friends of Mr. Northcott, Mr. Rusczyk, and Offshore staff — carry out the harvesting each year. The hops are grown on tall trellises and poles. When the poles are brought down, the hop vines are slipped off and onto a large table where the volunteers pluck the hop cones and gather them in baskets.
Offshore has been brewing the Hopps Farm Road with contributions from Island growers for five years now. “It’s a pale ale, but a little light on the malt flavor to really let the fresh hop character come through,” Neil Atkins, head brewer at Offshore, said. This year, he brewed 10 barrels — 310 gallons — of Hopps Farm.
“Moderately spicy foods will pair well with this Pale Ale,” Ms. Holtham said. “And locally grown foods will complement the locally grown hops.” On Tuesday, special pairings included local blackback flounder from Menemsha Fish House and local acorn squash from Norton Farm.