Vineyard-born, Maine-brewed: Wash Ashore Beer launches in Edgartown

Martha's Vineyard's newest brew, the "Buddha" Pale Ale. —Photo by Marnely Murray

On a sunny spring day last week, tucked inside a private home in Edgartown, two iced kegs of Wash Ashore Beer Co.’s “Buddha” Pale Ale lay in wait for their grand debut, ready to take over the town one sip at a time. Partners in crime John Clift, Joseph Monteiro, and Chad and Michelle Verdi brought together their love of good beer and Martha’s Vineyard to create a brew unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. You’ll be able to taste it soon at your local Island restaurants and retailers.

Whenever a business has multiple partners, it’s up to them to delegate based on personality traits. Chad Verdi leads the business with his determination and organization, while his wife Michelle’s passion for beer creates the momentum and energy needed to keep going. When John Clift and Joe Monteiro met the couple, they hit it off instantly, and added their own talents to the equation.

The final piece fell into place when they located a brewer, Jon Cadoux, founder and brewer of the popular Peak Organic Brewery Co.  Peak is located in Maine, thus the slogan “Vineyard-born, Maine-brewed.” A brewer since the ’90s, Mr. Cadoux focuses his energies on sourcing ingredients from local organic farms. He says it best himself: “You don’t need to sacrifice flavor for sustainability. Pure ingredients actually make the beer more delicious.” You can taste that in Wash Ashore’s first brew, the “Buddha” Pale Ale.

The “Buddha” has an aroma that blends passionfruit, grapefruit, and candied orange peel for a citrusy-tart invite into the beer. As you first taste, you get a bright, crisp green-apple taste with a hint of citrus. This gives way to a subtle but present hops, and ends with a lingering finish of grapefruit with a touch of rind, a slight bitterness that balances out the entire tasting experience. That taste is elevated by its use of prime ingredients. “We wanted to work with only the highest-quality organic ingredients in the market, striving to achieve an aromatic, hop-forward balanced beer,” Mr. Clift said.

At a tasting event, Islanders voiced their praise for the new brew. Here’s what they had to say:

“I think it’s a fantastic beer, very well balanced, great aroma, and a perfect drink for beer drinkers and non–beer drinkers alike.” —Justin Melnick, executive chef of the Terrace at the Charlotte Inn

“With Joe and John’s passion for beer, I had no doubt it was going to be an incredible beer, but after the first sip, it exceeded every expectation!” —Jamie LeBlond, food and beverage manager at the Harbor View Hotel

“It has a great hoppy citrus pop on the nose, and a real crisp, almost ESB [English-style pale ale] bitterness with a solid medium finish. I think if I had this beer in one hand and an oyster in the other, you’d be hard-pressed to get my attention.” —Tim Starzyk, general manager of the Port Supply

“Oddly enough, I’m not a beer lover, but something about this beer made me one! Smooth, crisp, and very approachable, it won’t take much convincing with my friends that this will be the drink of the summer on Norton Point!” —Emily Weedon, Island Creek events coordinator

“Very smooth, drinkable beer. Slightly sour with orange peels and grapefruit notes. Has a longer finish than I normally like, but overall I think it’s a very tasty beer.” —Jeremy Davis, executive chef of the Port Hunter

Follow Wash Ashore on Instagram ( to find out where you’ll be able to taste the beer this season.