Monday, August 29, 2011

Brewery Tour Stop #5: Just Beer Brewing

Want to buy beer without having to get your lazy butt out of your car? Head to Just Beer Brewing in the farm hills of Westport MA.

I’m convinced “Just Beer” is tied for the title of world’s flattest brewery name alongside Danish brewery “Beer Here”. OK, I guess it’s uniquely simple and honest [golf clap]. As I discovered they make quality beer, I overlook the name.

Just Beer used to be Buzzards Bay Brewing. The Buzzards Bay brand was discontinued in the fall of 2009, and Just Beer was born. The facility is the same, and they still contract brew for a few notable brands including Nantucket’s own Cisco Brewers, and Offshore Ale from Martha’s Vineyard.

In addition to contract brewing for the aforementioned brands, the facility is also used by the popular husband-and-wife duo, Pretty Things Beer and Ale project. Dan and Martha (the Pretty Things team) set up here on occasion to brew their beer themselves, as opposed to having the Just Beer folks follow their recipe.

My wife and I grabbed her parents and made the trek to Westport to kill a gloomy Saturday afternoon. The driveway and entrance to the Just Beer farm is picturesque (apologies for the gloomy picture). They grow hay here to supplement their income. In fact, the amount of hay gown here ultimately helps the brewery obtain a negative carbon footprint – something they’re proud of. Their environmental efforts don’t stop there. They plan as many of their “boil" sessions as possible for one day to minimize energy consumption. And their leftover “mash” (from the “mashing” process) is sent to another local farm to feed cows.

Walking inside, you immediately enter a room where you can taste and buy beer. Three beers for tasting were on tap: “Golden Flounder”, “Dave & Ray lager”, and “Harry’s IPA.”

Golden Flounder was a low-ABV (4.6%) brew with a wheat malt bill. I call any beer at 4.5% ABV or lower, “sessionable”. This one was close enough and sure seemed inoffensive. Very light, but smooth. It would sure please many.

The Dave & Ray lager is their newest beer. If I had a blind sample of this, I’d guess it was their stab at an Octoberfest/marzen given its color and slightly sweet malt body. (They didn’t necessarily say it wasn’t a marzen.) As a bonus, the brew had a faint farmhouse funk at the end, which I loved.

Harry’s IPA, also known as “Case of the IPA”, had the highest ABV out of the three we tried – 6.0%. However, that’s the minimum expected ABV for an IPA. What’s lovely about this brew is that its big hop punch gave you the impression it contained more alcohol. It was a bit bitter, but very flavorful with resiny, leafy hops. A man behind me claimed, “waaay too much hops in there for me!” Not for me, though.

My favorite of the 3 was the lager, which we purchased a growler of. It paired nicely with fried chicken and sweet potato fries later that evening.

It was surprisingly busy there for a day that was rainy and altogether uninviting to leave home. Although their website claims they don’t offer tours, a gentleman asked for one. The girl behind the counter kindly offered to provide one to everyone in the room. She filled a small pitcher of Golden Flounder and took us all into the facility, kindly refilling our tasting cups during her talk.

After the tour I sneaked a sample of something else called “Undrinkable”.  It was not on tap, but in a 750 ml bottle that someone opened to share with someone else. Dark malts mixed with a Belgian-like sourness and a fizzy mouthfeel. Not undrinkable to me, but to others it may be. Pair it with a funky cheese and I’m sure it’s enjoyable.

On our way out the door, we also bought a 22oz. bottle of their pale ale called Moby D for only $2.50. It wasn’t available for tasting, but given the price and the quality of the brews I did taste, I couldn’t pass it up.

Our visit concluded at this point, but let me reiterate one thing I mentioned earlier. Yes, you can buy beer here without getting out of your car. It’s a beer drive-through! Open during the summer, you can purchase a case (or more) from their drive-up service. Pull up around back, honk your horn, and tell the man what you want. (You don't have to get out of your car, but if you're a decent person, you may help the man fit the beer into your trunk.) Depending on whether you want a mix pack or single-style case, all you need to fork over is $15 - $20 per case. I heard someone got three cases here for a special $35 price. Great deal! 

So get off your lazy butt and support local, fresh beer - possibly without having to get out of your car.

98 Horseneck Rd
Westport, MA
(508) 636-2288

Thursday and Friday, 1:00 – 5:00PM: Bottle sale only
Saturdays, 11:00AM – 6:00PM: Tastings and growlers 
(Growler fills only on Saturday.)

No comments:

Post a Comment