Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery officially opened for the season this past weekend, welcoming hordes of patrons eager to enjoy the glorious weather, some local beer, and lush surroundings.
Bad Martha’s isn’t your typical brewery, and it’s not even your typical beer garden. It’s a genius marriage of the two, featuring the meticulously landscaped Donaroma’s Nursery on the outside and a selection of locally crafted beers on the inside. If you haven’t made it to Bad Martha’s yet, it’s a must. If you haven’t made it yet this year, here are some worthy reasons to return.
The Farmer Brewery doesn’t have a kitchen, but that’s not stopping them from providing delicious food. Last year the menu was pretty light, with bar snacks like nuts and pretzels from Scottish Bakehouse. This year they’ve stepped up their game, and are offering a selection of platters to share. At $11.99, the local veggie crudité platter is a deal, featuring snap peas, cauliflower, carrots, celery, tomatoes, hummus, dips, and more. They’ve also added a charcuterie plate for the meat lovers, and a local cheese platter featuring Eidolon Cheese from Grey Barn and an herbed cheese from Mermaid Farm, for $19.99 and $15.99 respectively.
For 2015, Bad Martha’s has a creative new lineup of freshly made beer enriched by selections from local producers. On tap this summer is their Coffee Brown Ale brewed with Chilmark Coffee, and a Chocolate Stout, the real deal, thanks to the addition of Not Your Sugar Mamas chocolate. There’s the Vineyard Honey Ale, a light German lager with Martha’s Vineyard honey, and the Imperial Oyster Stout, boldly brewed with Katama oysters. Other selections include their flagship Martha’s Vineyard Ale, the pear-infused Vineyard Summer Ale, the tangerine-flavored Island IPA, and their Belgian white beer with orange peel and coriander, a refreshingly crisp wheat beer.
They’ve also unveiled their Old Colony Ale, a high-gravity, bourbon-barrel-aged recipe they concocted with Offshore Ale last fall. The dark and malty beer gets its name from the old railroad that used to connect Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, and it really delivers on the bourbon, so you’ll want to sip slowly. Master brewer and general manager Jim Carleton said that the bourbon barrels used for aging will be repurposed as tables at the brewery. Jim is also looking forward to another collaboration with Offshore, and this year they’ll plan to brew it at Bad Martha’s, given that Old Colony Ale got its start at Offshore.
Later in the summer, Bad Martha’s will also introduce the award-winning Beach Plum Ale, made with local plums (some coming from the front yard of co-founder Jonathan Blum). In November, Bad Martha won five medals at the 18th annual Great International Beer & Cider Competition (which saw over 250 beers), including a bronze medal for Beach Plum Ale.
Here’s a fun fact about all of their beer: Every Bad Martha beer is brewed with a real Martha’s Vineyard grape leaf to impart the spirit of the Island in each brew.
Along with new beers, the Farmer’s Brewery implemented a new cask system, allowing them a rotating selection of 10 draft beers, with a new cask on every week. They’ve also expanded their merchandise offerings, with more women’s clothing and new designs. Also new this year will be live music from local musicians every Friday and Saturday throughout the season. This Friday, May 29, and most Fridays through the summer, you can find David Soltz performing live acoustic music on the patio.
For increased entertainment you’ll also find another game of bean bag toss, and we’ve heard there are tournament plans in development. Another new venture: bike and brew tours with Offshore Ale, every Thursday from May 28 to August 27 from 2 to 5 pm. Enjoy a beautiful bike tour of the two breweries for $50 per rider, 8 riders maximum per tour. To reserve your spot, call 508-627-5928 or visit wheelhappybicycles.com.
Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery, 270 Upper Main Street, Edgartown. Now open 7 days a week, noon to 9 pm. For additional information, call 508-939-4415.