Hog Island Beer Co.

By / Photography By Michelle Koch | August 25, 2016
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Cornhole and brewskis are a popular combination on a fine afternoon at “the outermost brewery on the Cape”.

Frenzied players hover at the foosball table, twenty-somethings ping pong away, toddlers tippy-toe on the lawn, couples debate pizza options, grandparents nuzzle grandbabies, and kids beeline for the fish pond, all while many cradle a glass of locally crafted Hog Island Beer.

Three choices now—a Stout, an IPA and a Wheat; double that when Pale Ale, Irish Red and Brown come on board. House-made root beer for junior rumrunners is already on deck.

This, the fourth year of Mike McNamara and Mark Powers’ joint ownership of The Old Jailhouse Tavern in Orleans, signals the launch of their new venture, Hog Island Beer Co. Initially, the duo owned Finbars, a self-service restaurant near the Orleans rotary. The pair experienced that small eatery as having many of the demands of a larger venue. When the Jailhouse became available, they sold Finbars, and bit at the challenge to expand.

The pair sized up its kitchen, tore down a glass-enclosed eating area, restyled the interior, and squared up their staff. McNamara says, “If you’re missing one person, from dishwasher to chef, no matter what the level, it affects the whole night. Our crew will run through brick walls for us. That’s the secret: good people.”

Then they focused on the quality of their kitchen’s offerings. “Now we’ve got a contemporary menu with some really creative specials,” says McNamara.

“There’s a lot of space here, and in this huge back room we were not really hosting a lot of functions,” says McNamara, pointing to the former carport. “We were drawn to that spot as ideal for a brewery.”

With the Bank of Cape Cod’s support, they created a handsome wing with banks of grand floor-to-ceiling windows to house the humongous metal brewery equipment. Then local friend John Kanaga came on board to help with the actual beer making.

A doublewide custom garage-style door rolls overhead, opening the wall to the outdoors and a large pergola patio with tables and comfy chairs scattered on a large green. Folks linger about, sprawl across the grass or gather to play cornhole. “We wanted a safe environment where kids could run around,” says McNamara, “yet be contained.”

The two owners, both longtime surfers, sought a moniker with a local connection and a beach vibe, so they named the brewery after the real Hog Island, which lies just off Orleans’ shores. Supposedly it’s the X on the map where the legendary Captain Kidd dumped treasure.

Together they designed a brew-tasting bar for one side of the interior, adding a second bar on the other for food and wines and spirits, both with artsy concrete countertops they crafted themselves. One of the more unusual games they installed, most often found in taverns of the last century, is a shuffleboard table. A separate dedicated brewery kitchen turns out a still-evolving menu of whimsical munchies like lobster corn fritters and locally grown veggie or BBQ pulled pork pizza with soft warm pretzels for the kiddos. Insider tours detailing the grain-to-brew process, where you get behind the lines and saddle up to their monstrous beer making machines, start soon.

Entertainers perform often, in season, every night. If the weather’s fit and the performance acoustic, the tunes stay outside, but if it’s foot-stomping and a’rockin’, (with a kind nod to their neighbors) Hog Island corrals the party inside. You can grab handsome logo apparel here too: baseball caps, T’s and hoodies, plus 32-ounce cans or 64-ounce glass growlers to go, both filled and sealed to order with your pick of the brews.

Hog Island Beer Co. It’s possibly the first industrial chic man cave surf bar game room with high chairs.

Hog Island Beer Co.
28 West Road, Orleans
508-255-2337 /

Mike McNamara and Mark Powers owners of Hog Island Beer Co., which is brewed at The Old Jailhouse Tavern in Orleans.
Article from Edible Cape Cod at http://ediblecapecod.ediblecommunities.com/drink/hog-island-beer-co
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