On Tap: A dark, sweet opening

Offshore Ale brewer Matthew Steinberg: Photo by Susan Safford
Offshore Ale brewer Matthew Steinberg draws a glass of Islandator, his newest lager, at the Oak Bluffs alehouse. Photo by Susan Safford

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - March 2, 2006

Brewer Matthew Steinberg looked relaxed last Friday evening as customers at Offshore Ale sampled his latest brew, Islandator, a dark German lager. He could tell from the happy crowd that people liked the new brew.

Behind the bar new owner Phil McAndrews worked the taps with Sam Cleland. The kitchen staff was busy plating up orders of $1 oysters and ten-cent Buffalo wings. Music flowed from Wes Nagy's piano as the Offshore booths began to fill up.

Mr. Steinberg said, "I made it for them," his sweeping gesture taking in the entire room. He made it for his regular, off-season customers who keep the Offshore going through the winter and are sad when tables are hard to find in July.

The lager took a full 18 weeks to make. Two to six weeks is the norm for other beers, and Mr. Steinberg used all German ingredients. The seven and one-half percent alcohol level makes this lager a heavy hitter, but its rich caramel flavor and sweet taste make it delicious.

"This is my art," said Mr. Steinberg, explaining that brewers are part artist, part chemist. He writes poetry and is also a musician, added Treather Gassman, Mr. Steinberg's fiancée. He is also very much a businessman in his role as brand manager for the Offshore. There are expansion plans for their products that already enjoy a loyal offshore customer base in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Hopefully customers will be able to buy Offshore Ale as far south as Pennsylvania in the near future.

The possibilities are limited only by the imaginations of the Offshore Ale staff, and there is no shortage of imagination here.

Offshore Ale Co., Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs. Hours: lunch Wednesday through Sunday, noon; dinner Monday and Tuesday, 5 pm. New event, Blue Monday with Pauly Size, open blues jam, Monday, 9 pm. 508-693-2626.