Farm-to-table dining may be all the rage these days, but farm-to-table drinking still has a ways to go.
With baby steps, John Hikade and his sons, Tim and Luke, are making their own contributions to the localvore drinking world.
They’ve already got the dining thing down. In 2011, the Hikades — who also run the restaurant Arborvine — started DeepWater Brewing Co., a solar-powered, three-barrel microbrewery out back of their Blue Hill establishment.
Along with the brewing operation, they opened a pub-style dining room with a pared down menu and plenty of beer to wash the pub fare down.
And just recently, the Hikades officially cut the ribbon on a new, post-and-beam showroom they’ve been constructing in that structure.
That barn was first built across the street from the Arborvine property over 200 years ago. With a solar panel across the roof, the 18th century building now looks more like the future.
Outside of the barn, meanwhile, is a trellis up which 10 hop plants are starting to climb. Eventually, the elder Hikade said, he hopes the shrubs will multiply and overtake the trellis.
As Germans do when they make traditional beer gardens, the next step would be erecting another one and letting patrons swill their beers beneath the resulting canopy.
More importantly, those hops would get dried and plugged back into the brewing process, Hikade said. Hops are a plant that once functioned as a preservative but now provides a flowery, bitter flavor in India Pale Ales and other beers. Currently, the young brewers get theirs from growers in the Pacific Northwest.
Most of their grains aren’t local either, since the Western United States simply boasts more farmland, but one comes from Aroostook County, Hikade said.
Four of DeepWater’s beers are featured in the brewpub every night. The options are an IPA, a pale ale, a Bavarian wheat, a Vienna lager, a brown ale, an American amber ale and a porter. All are available by the pint or as part of a four-glass sampler.
Those on the run can get just-released 22-ounce bottles of the Bends Pale Ale — a 6.1 percent batch — or pay $20 for a half-gallon jug. Called a growler, those jugs can be refilled at a later date for only $12.
Tours and samplings of the brewery and showroom are beginning this month. At the time of publication, Hikade didn’t yet know the hours for the tours, but said they’d happen three or four days of the week, usually before the brewpub opened.
Part of the drinking experience is, of course, the hearty, salty food that accompanies it. In that, the DeepWater eatery is no exception.
“I did my tour in the corporate world,” the chef said during a quick break from his Wednesday night cooking duties.
Eventually, though, he embraced the non-cookie cutter appeal of family-owned establishments such as Arborvine, where he also works as chef garde manager.
Among the more unusual food offerings at DeepWater are the fish curry and the handcut duck fat fries — which LeBreton double fries. More standard bar food also enters the mix: fish and chips, steak tips, chicken tacos, appetizers.
If the beers don’t fill you, the desserts will. In late June, the options were blueberry pie, a brownie sundae, mocha fudge cheesecake and key lime tart.
And according to bartender Jerome Lawther, the restaurant boasts “the most comfortable bar chairs you will ever sit in.”
Said Lawther, “You can quote me on that.”
DeepWater Brewing Co.
Where: 33 Tenney Hill Road, Blue Hill
Hours: 5 p.m. to closing, Wednesday-Sunday
Contact: 374-2441, www.arborvine.com