Craft beer is expanding down the Cape.
Pete Murner, Mark Germani, and Brook Conley, founders of the Naukabout music festival, launched a beer company by the same name in 2012. Music and beer go together, but it’s not often a concert event leads directly to the founding of a brewery. In this case, the festival was the impetus for a beer brand tied to that Cape Cod state of mind.
”Seven years ago we had this crazy idea to try and put a music festival on the Cape,” said Murner. “At the five-year mark, we said, ‘Why don’t we launch a beer?’ It kind of made sense. The Cape is a pretty unique place. It’s a tight-knit community, and there’s a lot of pride.”
Naukabout joins another Cape brewing company, Hyannis’s Cape Cod Beer, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The name Naukabout comes from Conley’s father, who, after a long day at work, used to tell his sons to change out of their “work-a-bout” shoes and into their “nauk-a-bouts,” an accented version of the term “knockabouts.” The name is a play on the leisure-time activities associated with trips over the Bourne and Sagamore.
“When you were a kid every day was knockabout day,” said Murner. “There was no responsibility. As you got older, those moments were harder to come by.”
Murner makes his respect for Cape Cod Beer clear, but he thinks there is room for another brewery on the peninsula. Naukabout currently contract-brews at Connecticut’s Thomas Hooker Brewing, but Murner is scouting out towns on the Cape to build a brick-and-mortar facility, which he hopes to nail down a location for early next year.
Currently, Naukabout brews three beers:
An American Pale Ale, White Cap IPA, and Lighthouse Ale. All three beers are “approachable,” according to Murner, including the IPA, which weighs in at 6.25 percent alcohol by volume and 47 international bitterness units. The IPA pours a bright orange into a pint glass. I get tons of citrus from this beer, balanced by a cereal backbone.
For now, the music festival, usually held at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds, is on hiatus as the Naukabout crew works on securing a new spot for the brewery. Murner and company are narrowing down their list of locations, looking for a place not only to brew beer, but for visitors and locals alike to consider a destination.
“We want to pair our beer with activities, horseshoes, boating,” said Murner. “Even if you’re sitting in your chair in the dead of winter thinking about boating.”
He’Brew Jewbelation Reborn 17
Shmaltz Brewing Company doesn’t hide the shtick.
The Clifton Park, N.Y. brewery, which also owns the He’Brew Beer brand, plays to a Jewish audience. The company’s website features references to David and Goliath, while an e-mail submission form urges users to “Join the Tribe.” The company’s founder, Jeremy Cowans, wrote a 332-page book called “Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah,” describing Shmaltz’s rise from an idea to a brewery that now distributes in close to 40 states.
Boston Beer Company acquired another Shmaltz brand, Coney Island Lagers, last August, but Cowans and crew haven’t lost their creative touch. To celebrate the construction of their new brewery, He’Brew released Jewbelation Reborn 17, an anniversary beer designed to celebrate the move from 17 years of contract-brewing to the opening of the company’s first on-premise brewery in Clifton Park.
The number 17 plays more than a passing role here, weaving its way into the official description of the beer.
“17 syllables structure a Haiku,” the label reads. “Shakespeare penned 17 comedies. In ‘The Simpsons’ episode ‘Duffness,’ Homer sings ‘When I was 17’ about buying his first beer with a fake ID.”
It’s a little much, but nothing about the company’s marketing has ever been delicate. In this case, the indelicate nature of the description matches the actual beer. Jewbelation Reborn 17 is brewed with 17 hops, 17 malts, and weighs in at 17 percent alcohol by volume. There’s obviously a gimmicky nature to this beer, but the end product is decent, a super-strong beer that maintains its status as an interesting sipper. It’s an attack on the senses, an amalgamation of flaked cocoa and figs and sap and orange rind. There’s nothing delicate about this beer, which may be best served in 2-ounce pours on special occasions.