Nantucket Island, MA
Style: Belgian White (Witbier)
I first visited Cisco Brewery about 15 years ago, on my first foray to the island of Nantucket. It was a great little place, typical of the new microbrewery craze, with a selection of “light, red and dark beer,” and built in an old barn and distributed in growlers and bombers to tourists and locals alike on the island. We walked to the place, sat outside and quaffed a few pints before waddling back to our rented house. I even secured a sweatshirt on my visit, which became a favorite for several years.
Flash forward a few years and the place has evolved, having weathered the challenges of an island brewery where everything from ingredients to customers must be shipped in. The enterprise now includes a restaurant, vineyard and distillery to compliment the original barley pop selection of my visit. The beer selection has widened a bit as well, noticeably beyond the standard ales of yesteryear – in fact, their seasonal lineup is huge – and distribution runs into a dozen states.
Today, I sampled Grey Lady Ale, named for the often foggy island upon which it is brewed. This is described as a Belgian-style Wit, although it is definitely an Americanized version thereof. Deep straw in color, it pours with a thin head and the first sip reveals a noticeable herbal hoppy nose, perhaps indicating dry hopping. Light and spicy, there is only a faint whiff of the expected fruitiness. Instead, this is more of a spicy little pale ale with a little estery twist.
To borrow their original slogan from my old sweatshirt, “it’s nice beer if you can find it.”