Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Offshore Ale Company – Visit Recap


During our trip to Martha’s Vineyard this past weekend we stopped by Offshore Ale company, the island’s only brew pub. Before taking a tour we sat down for some lunch. I tried a pint of East Chop Lighthouse, a blonde ale and Amity Island Extra Pale. I’ve been drinking a lot of blondes this season and I would say this one is on the slightly hoppy side of the style. I liked it. The Extra Pale was OK, but nothing worth writing home about. As far as food, I had a garden salad with avocado and vinaigrette and it was killer-good. My wife ordered a garlic/olive/onion pizza, which ended up being delicious…once we actually got it. Our server promised no cheese and it initially arrived covered in Parmesan. By the time it came back out, sans cheese, my lunch was long-devoured and we missed the 1:00pm tour.

All was quickly forgotten, as assistant brewer Jay took time out to take Melissa and I on a brief private tour. He answered questions, shot the breeze about craft beer trends and also shared a tasting of the brewery’s two newest beers: Menemsha Creek Pale Ale and Hop Goddess. I’ll be reviewing both separately here on LIBA, but I’ll give you a little spoiler: I really liked the Menemsha Creek.

Jay needed to give some other folks a tour, but head brewer Neil stopped in to take over hosting us. He treated me to a glass of Sour Madness, a really well done Flanders red ale. Neil spent a while also chatting with me before sending me along with a couple bottles of beer.

Many thanks go to Jay and Neil for taking time out of their busy days to spent a good amount of time with me!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the brief picture recap below.


Far from the Tree Cider Company Visit

Owners Al and Denise
Owners Al and Denise

This past weekend my wife and I made a trip up to Salem, MA to visit the Far from the Tree cider company. The cidery is a mere 8 months old and it’s already making a splash in the industry. The trip was fantastic; great cider, better people. Both Melissa and I highly recommend trying out what they have to offer.

The History
Al and Denise started Far from the Tree after returning from traveling Europe. Al had recently received his degree in wine making, and the two were weighing opportunities to start their own business. Options initially included opening a winery in the Finger Lakes region, but then came the idea for starting a cider company.

The Cider
The cider is different from much of the American craft cider out there in that it is a dry English style. If you’re looking for a super sweet, fake apple flavor you’re looking in the wrong place. Further separating itself from the pack, the cidery ages all of their product in Jim Beam bourbon barrels. Finally, a touch of maple syrup is added prior to bottling. Currently, the fruit used consists solely of Cortland apples.

Currently “FFTT” has two ciders on the market: Roots and Sprig.

Sprig is made with mint and cascade hops and is the first cider I’ve ever had that I would drink more than a bottle of. It was dry, crisp and only mildly smelled and tasted of mint. It wasn’t sweet at all, whatsoever, although I couldn’t taste the hops specifically either.

Roots is comparatively more sweet, but still dry relative to other ciders on the market. It was bubbly and provided a nice fruit flavor.

Oh, and here’s a tip straight from Al: this cider gets better with age! Don’t hesitate to buy some and cellar it.

The Operation
Far from the Tree is run out of a non-nondescript 100-year old warehouse in Salem. When Al and Denise leased the space last November, there was a lot of work to do. With some TLC, the space is now beginning to take shape. Apples are pressed at a local third-party, and the juice is shipped to the warehouse for barreling in the 95 fifty-gallon barrels.

The Future
Reception in the North Shore area has been positive so far. Al and Denise admit that much of the work lies in getting the brand name out and then educating the customer about their unique product. In the coming weeks, once the proper permits have been granted, a tasting room will open up. Al has all kinds of ideas for new ciders: saisons-style cider, blueberry and vanilla bean infused cider, cider aged in new oak and more.

Ultimately the couple wants the company to be successful enough so that they can continue doing what they love: making unique and delicious cider!