Opa-Opa Brewing Co.

31 Jan

After we left BBC we hauled bacon over to Opa-Opa in Williamsburg, MA, also home to the Brewmasters Tavern.  They have another location in Southampton, but this is their primary, larger facility. This was one of the coolest brewery visits I’ve made, simply because of the view!  Well, I also got a pretty detailed edumacation on hops here as well! (This is important because I’m ,well, uh… The HOPS Honey…. Yeah…)

So, what I learned here about hops relates to the difference between the terms: ‘dry hopping’ and ‘wet hop’.  See, I thought that they were two opposite things, and that a particular beer was either ‘dry’ or ‘wet’ hopped.  Seems like a logical assumption, right?  Nope, not quite my friends…

In the process of brewing beer, you have two main types/uses of hops:

1 – Bittering Hops: these are used at the beginning of the boil.

2 – Aroma Hops: these are added at the end (or sometimes the middle) of the boil to add, well, aroma & flavor.

When you hear someone talk about ‘dry hopping’, they’re referring to the use of aroma hops.  The vast majority of hops are dried prior to use in the brewing process, hence the ‘dry’ reference.

The particular hops that are used during dry hopping CAN be ‘wet hops’, which just means that they are fresh… as in, they’ve probably been picked that morning & driven directly to the brewery without being dried.

Hope that helps to clarify for any of y’all who were unaware… ‘cause I was super glad to get the explanation! (heck, I also hope that I got it ‘right’… brewers out there please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!!!)

The other thing that has to be said about the tour itself was that we got to go UP in the brewery, which was so cool because we actually were able to get a birds-eye view of the operations!  And… we got to bring a complimentary beer along with us for the tour… truly, these guys kick ass!  Matt & I both opted for their double-IPA during the tour, while Heather sampled their Raspberry Wheat!

The view of the brewery from up on the catwalk!


Heather & Matt chatting with our tourguide

See the catwalk above? We were up, up, up there!

After the tour, we went into the bar & Matt & I decided to split two samplers so that we could taste a wider selection of their beers… of which, there are MANY!  Here’s what we tasted…

  • Kix: omg, tastes sweaty! Lol  It’s light & starchy
  • Lager: mmm… smells ‘bready’ – VERY nice, light, crisp beer – very drinkable!
  • Belgian White – Heather liked this one… little banana & clove, but light & a tiny bit starchy
  • Honesty – this has a good light hop smell and is a really nice light hoppy beer… the malt/bitter balance on this is great!
  • Raspberry Wheat – nice light-on-the-fruit beer… would be great for 4th of July picnicking!
  • American Wheat: not a very strong flavor overall, but a nice starchiness at the end
  • Red Rock Light: VERY nice, light amber!!!
  • Red Rock: stronger malt smell and a little more bitter – definitely much darker than the Light, but I prefer the light…
  • Double Red: Do I taste twizzlers??  It’s malty/syrupy and just… strong.  Kinda numbed the back of my throat.  Out of the ambers, I definitely liked the Red Rock Light best!
  • Adonis:  Matt tried this one first & his comment was “it tastes like water”… he was totally right. Bummer.
  • Blackberry: Ok, I was excited to try this one but it fell WAY short… it smelled awful to begin with, almost like rubber, or an eraser… and the taste? Yowsah, it was pretty bad… almost tasted like sulfur!  Such a shame…
  • Double IPA: nice earthy flavor – not TOO strong for a double IPA, but definitely substantial!  Nice little bit of citrus in the smell too! This was, by far, Matt’s & my favorite!

They do have a restaurant at Opa-Opa, & given the intense sampling that Matt & I were doing, we thought it might be a good idea to get some snackies… Matt was ready to cheat on Heather with his dish… a sausage, peppers & onion creation that was apparently borderline orgasmic… Heather and I are both huge cheese-heads so we got their gorgonzola garlic bread… crusty, garlicy French bread with gorgonzola cheese melted on top…. Droooooool!!!

The last thing I have to say about Opa-Opa, is that the name/logo combo totally cracks me up… Opa is a greek word that basically means ‘celebrate’, and I’m sure you’re familiar with it if you saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding… ok, so I get it… the guys who started the brewery are Greek & so they wanted to pay tribute to their background and to the idea of celebration which does often go hand-in-hand with alcohol… but their logo?!?  It’s a cowboy on horseback, swinging a lasso!  Totally straight out of the wild west!  I asked our tourguide about why they might have chosen that logo & he wasn’t sure… but I’d love to find out!  Anyone know if there were lotsa cowboys in Greece back in the day???

Meanwhile… from Opa-Opa we headed on to Northampton Brewery… come back to find out how that visit went!


One Response to “Opa-Opa Brewing Co.”

  1. Angie Stemp April 9, 2011 at 8:32 AM #

    I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed your day at The Brewmaster’s. To clear up your confusion over the cowboy theme for Opa Opa, no, sadly, there aren’t many cowboys in Greece. John Wayne, and all of his movies are, however, HUGE in Greece. When the owners Tony and Themis emigrated to America they expected to get off of the plane and be greeted by legions of cowboys since that is how Americans were depicted to them throughout their childhood. You can imagine their great dismay to discover that they landed in Massachusetts not Texas.

    So when the brothers decided to start their brewery they brought a bit of John Wayne to the Northeast. That is the true and authentic story of the Greek Cowboy who adorns the Opa Opa bottles.

    -Angie Stemp, General Manager

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