February 25, 2022
Yes, they grow their own hops and barley on their farm in Jamesport, and they are quite proud of it, too. The farm connection is also evident in the actual tasting room building, which was originally a potato barn. You can read all about the construction in big posters on one wall of the tasting room, which provided a welcome distraction for the small visitors we had with us.
Once again, we thought carefully about where to take these visitors, who are lovers of wine, beer, cider, and cocktails—which makes finding a place to go easy—and the parents of two young girls—which complicates matters, though in a good way. We decided on Jamesport for several reasons: it is a short drive from our home; it is a large facility where the girls would be able to be up out of their seats; it is informal, so no one would object to small fry (though the tasting room does not welcome under-21s on weekends); and our guests had never been there. Also, we ourselves had only been there once, not long after they opened, and we were interested to see how they were doing.
As it turned out, this was a good choice in every way. We pushed two of the little picnic tables in the tasting room together, so the girls could sit comfortably and read their books, and we enjoyed tasting the brews. (We bought soda and chips for the little ones.) The tasting room is big, with a stage for live performance on one side, picnic tables, a bar with bar stools, and a little shop area selling t-shirts and such. The menu has fourteen brews on offer, which I guess may change seasonally, so there was plenty of variety. The four adults shared two flights, of four beers each, so we may go back and try the ones we missed. A flight, by the way, is $25, and includes not just the four tastes, but also a pint of any brew in a glass you get to keep.
On this rainy, chilly day, there were only a few other people in the tasting room, though we were told that they’ve been getting good crowds on the weekends, when they have live music. They have plenty of room outside, with a huge beer garden space, and a very large parking lot, which I wish they would pave, as it was quite muddy.
At the end, we bought a growler of Wined Out to take home, which proved to be the perfect accompaniment to the tacos we bought at Mattitaco. (I particularly recommend the BLT–bacon, lobster taco–the Korean BBQ, the Chicken Tinga, and the mushroom and cheese quesadilla.) My growler, by the way, was from Greenport Harbor, for which I apologized to Joe, the friendly and informative server. “That’s okay,” he replied with a smile, “we’re all friends out here.”
- Nite Lite 4.3% ABV (Alcohol by volume—a number which can vary widely for brews)
“Light lager” is the description of this brew, and light it is—only a step up from Bud light. It is a hot-summer-day-after-mowing-the-lawn beer, almost watery, with slight citrus and bread notes.
- Prancing Pony 5%
As Lord of the Rings fans, we of course had to try this, even though it is a blackberry wheat beer, and I generally dislike wheat beers and berry-based beers. However, I find this quite potable, not sweet, crisp, with just a touch of blackberry flavor— “enough to make a Hobbit smile,” says the menu. We agree it would be a good accompaniment to Thai food.
- Weekend at Bernie’s 5.4%
I like the sweet aroma of this blond ale. It drinks like a classic blond ale, tasty, with a long finish. Good for sipping by the pool 😉
- Waves of Grain Amber 6%
We all like the distinct, malty, toasty taste of this amber/red ale, with just a nice amount of hops.
- Wined Out Fresh Hop 6.5%.
This is my favorite so far, an IPA that is not overly grapefruity. It is made from fresh hops, and is quite refreshing. We discuss that it would go well with, for example, a vinegary pulled pork, and decide it will be perfect to take home for the Mattitaco take-out we have planned for dinner. Which it is.
- Wicked Little Sister 7.2%
There are two little sisters at our table, and one approves in theory while the other approves in actuality of this IPA. It is pleasantly bitter, with plenty of grapefruit and other citrus tastes. In fact, our visitors like it so much, they buy a four-pack of cans to take home.
- Gentleman Joe Porter 6.8%
We save the dark beers for last, since drinking them first would make it hard to taste the lighter brews. I generally like dark beers, and this one has a promising aroma of coffee and chocolate. However, I find it has too much coffee flavor for me. I joke that if you have a glass of Wicked Little Sister and another of this, you’ll have breakfast—grapefruit juice and coffee.
- The Kurgan 10%
I should have asked why name this Scotch ale for a character from “The Highlander,” other than the movie is about Scots. The menu describes it as “the Scottish version of an English-style barley wine.” I say it is almost too easy to drink, with some sweetness and caramel flavor. It is really delicious, and I could definitely see sipping it in a cozy pub.
Now it is time to return our trays of tastes, in exchange for which we each get a pint of our choice. I decide on Wined Out, and our guests opt for Waves of Grain. At the end, Joe very kindly rinses out our glasses and wraps them in paper towels for us to take home.
Reasons to visit: good brewery, with choices for all tastes in beer; big facility, especially in the warm weather; farm to table; dogs allowed; they will have a food truck starting in March, but no outside food is allowed; wines and sodas available; Weekend at Bernie’s, Waves of Grain, Wined Out, Wicked Little Sister, The Kurgan, and, if you like wheat berry beer, the Prancing Pony.