Cape Cod’s Outermost Brewpub Opens This Summer
UPDATE, Friday, June 17: Hog Island Beer Company is now open.
With a trio of easy-drinking flagships, Hog Island Beer Company is poised to be Cape Cod’s only brewpub when it opens this summer.
The 15-barrel brewery and beer hall is currently under construction in Orleans, located behind the Jailhouse Tavern. The new venture, with the tagline “the outermost brewery on Cape Cod,” comes from Jailhouse Tavern owners Mike McNamara and Mark Powers, and it’s taking over the restaurant’s banquet facility.
“[We] have been renting out the space for community events and private parties, but it kind of wasn’t us,” McNamara says. The brewery fits in with the new energy they have breathed into the Jailhouse since they purchased the 30-year-old tavern about three years ago, he says.
Hog Island will be a separate establishment, connected to the Jailhouse through the kitchen area. It will have two bars, including one for beer samples, and beer hall-style communal seating. In total, it will seat 149 guests, and it will also have a patio overlooking the lawn, which the owners beautified last year. Wide doors will connect the indoor and outdoor spaces, McNamara says.
Hog Island is named for an uninhabited parcel in Pleasant Bay. “It looks out over South [Orleans] Beach. It’s really a special spot,” McNamara says, noting that local legend pinpoints buried treasure there, courtesy of the infamous Captain William Kidd. “Not only is the name cool, but the local tie-in is a nice fit.”
Jailhouse chef Thomas Glidden will oversee Hog Island’s menu, comprised of beer-friendly food like pizzas and Bavarian pretzels, McNamara says. In addition to the house brews, Hog Island will offer liquor and wine, as well as a handful of other Massachusetts-brewed beers.
The Hog Island team has brought on John Kanaga as head brewer. A lawyer by trade, Kanaga is an Orleans native, and has been developing beer recipes with McNamara and Powers for the past year. The team plans to launch with an IPA, a stout, and a wheat beer, McNamara says, eventually developing seasonal beers and one-offs, too.
“We ultimately want to expand, and those are three nice variations that we can work with,” he says. “We want to have beers that appeal to all beer drinkers. In a resort community, you have a lot of people who are going to be coming up who haven’t necessarily had craft beers.”
Hog Island’s brewing equipment arrived last week, after a journey of just more than 20 miles east on Route 6. The three-vessel brewhouse and three fermenters come from Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis, which is expanding its production to a 30-barrel system, the Cape Cod Times reported. Cape Cod Beer founder Todd Marcus formerly brewed at Hyport Brewing Company, which operated a brewpub before it shuttered in the mid-2000s.
“The thing we wanted to make sure we could do, which is why it made sense to do it here, was to have food and great beer,” McNamara says. “That, coupled with the fact we can also have wine and spirits as well, will be a nice well-rounded recipe [for our business].”
It also sets them apart from Cape Cod’s other two breweries. In addition to Cape Cod Beer, Hog Island joins on Cape is Devil’s Purse, which opened in a South Dennis industrial park last summer. Unlike its predecessors, which are licensed as farm breweries, Hog Island’s pub brewery license prohibits it from self-distributing to retail accounts.
When it launches just after Memorial Day, Hog Island Beer Co. will offer growler fills of their house brews. But distribution isn’t out of the question; before owning restaurants, McNamara spent his career in wine, beer, and liquor sales and distribution. “[Working with a distributor is] our plan going forward, but right now, it’s important we show people who we are, and that we don’t get too big too fast.”
Hog Island Beer Co., 28 West Rd., Orleans; Hog Island Beer Co. on Facebook.