If You Build It, They Will Drink: Boston-Area Breweries Making Moves in 2016
If you’re a Boston-area beer fan, 2016 can’t come soon enough. A handful of newcomers are planning to enter the scene in Everett, Somerville, Medford, and Cambridge, while some of the area’s most lauded breweries (including Trillium and Idle Hands Craft Ales) will be opening new taprooms or expanding existing ones.
Below is a somewhat-chronological list of what to expect on the Boston-area beer scene in the coming months. Keep in mind, as Night Shift brewing cofounder Michael Oxton said, “Projects like this always take twice and long as you think they’re going to,” and like Bone Up Brewing’s cofounder Jared Kiraly noted, “We’re moving at the speed of government.”
But as the days get shorter and the nights get colder, take comfort in the knowledge that you could be enjoying dozens of local brews on brand-new patios and in bright, airy taprooms by the time your office reinstates Summer Fridays.
Bone Up Brewing Company
A startup from husband-and-wife brewers Jared and Liz “Jimbo” Kiraly is on its way to Norman Street in Everett, just down the road from Night Shift Brewing and Short Path Distillery. Called Bone Up Brewing, the couple has kept fans in the loop with a cheeky, active company blog. Late last month, they shared that contractors have started putting paint to wall. Reached this week, Jared Kiraly said 10 inspections stand in the way of tastings and growler fills at the three-barrel brewery. (A taproom is eventually in the cards, too.)
“We’re pretty optimistic that we’ll be in production by the end of the year,” he said. “But none of this is up to us.”
Bone Up promises classic American styles brewed with Belgian techniques. When it opens its doors later this year, the brewery plans to have a couple of one-off brews on offer. “We’re not going to start with our flagships; we’ve got a couple other things prepared,” Kiraly said. He’s currently sourcing ingredients from around the state in hopes of brewing an all-Massachusetts session IPA, and other early offerings will likely include a 7-percent IPA called Honey & Hops, and a black ale called FAO, he said.
Winter Hill Brewing
By early next year, Somerville’s Winter Hill neighborhood will have an artisan coffeeshop and a small craft brewpub to call its own—literally. Originally called Indignant, Winter Hill Brewing is now fully entrenched in the full-scale buildout of 328 Broadway. (The brewery changed its name over the summer to avoid market confusion with a midwestern craft beer.) Co-owner and head brewer Jeff Rowe said the caffeine concept could open as early as December, while the booze will likely start flowing in January.
Winter Hill launched a $40,000 crowdfunding campaign last month, mainly to help cover contractor fees, Rowe said. His partner, Bert Holdredge, brings front-of-house expertise to the brewery as well as carpentry skills. He’s currently building a 40-foot bar with antique barnwood, and is also framing an outdoor patio. Other things—plumbing, HVAC, electrical—required professional assistance, and it all needed doing. The linear, nearly-2,700-square foot space on Broadway was a shell when Rowe signed the lease.
“The infrastructure of this building is kind of the antithesis of a brewery. There’s really nothing here; we’re building it from scratch, but I love the building and I couldn’t pass it up,” he said.
He acknowledges $40K is high; GoFundMe doesn’t establish and end date for fundraising projects, and it allows campaigns to collect what they have raised whether they meet their stated goals or not. “Even if we don’t get the $40,000, it’s not going to stop us from opening. It’s more of a means to not have to get further money from an investor or bank,” Rowe said.
Expect a full line of espresso drinks and coffee when Winter Hill Brewing’s café debuts; the six draft beer lines will include an IPA, a cream ale, and, “Now that we’re opening in winter, we’ll probably have an imperial stout,” Rowe said.
Medford Brewing Company
Medford Brewing Company introduced itself to beer geeks over the summer with a fledgling web presence and a feature in the Dig, and now it, too, is seeking monetary assistance to get started. The $12,000 GoFundMe drive will help launch Stage 1 of Medford Brewing’s plan: to establish its brand by contract-brewing locally. Cofounder and CEO Nick Bolitho said he has a verbal agreement with a Massachusetts facility to start contract brewing, but he has yet to sign a lease so he declined to divulge the locale. Building out its own premises isn’t the priority right now, but that will be Stage 2.
Bolitho and cofounder, brewer Max Heinegg, have said they aim to produce “craft beer with universal appeal,” and the first recipe, an American pale ale, “has been through some rigorous testing and fine tuning, so if all goes well, we’ll have a product available in stores by January,” Bolitho said.
Night Shift Brewing
Night Shift opened a taproom at its Santilli Highway brewery last year, and the growing company is currently creating more space for guests to imbibe. Eater Boston reported Night Shift was taking over 1,500 square feet of storage space to add another bar and more bathrooms. Co-owner Michael Oxton said the addition will provide overflow space on busy nights, and will also be available for private event rentals. When it debuts, the expanded taproom will also feature a legitimate stage area so Night Shift can better host live performances.
“It’ll be more centered around the idea of hosting a private event if you wanted to and have a band,” Oxton said. “It will really just allow us to give users more enhanced, different options for our taproom.”
While the contractors have given the team an “ambitious” timeline, Oxton would only commit to “early 2016” as the best estimate for when the addition will open to the public.
Salem will have a European-style beer garden when the weather warms up: Session brewery Notch is building its own home in that city’s downtown, to debut in spring 2016. The 5,000-square foot space will create a taproom as well as a production area that will supplement Notch’s current brewing contracts, and there will also be a 1,000-square foot outdoor patio, the Boston Globe reported over the summer when founder Chris Lohring signed his Salem lease.
Lohring shared yesterday that demolition on the space is done—mostly. The 1910 building has 14-foot ceilings, more than adequate headroom for the brewery’s tanks and the taproom’s overall feel. But during the wrecking process, the crew discovered another four feet of space before the building’s roof, so Lohring is currently mulling over whether use that extra space, which he says could be “stunning,” with riveted steel trusses and wooden joists.
The original construction update was about six months, though Lohring said demolition too “slightly longer than anticipated.” He promises regular blog updates in the coming months.
Lamplighter Brewing Company
An autobody shop on Broadway in mid-Cambridge is getting a new life as Lamplighter Brewing Company. The trio behind the venture signed a lease in July, and they shared that construction officially began this week. The equipment for Lamplighter’s 20-barrel brewhouse is slated to arrive February 1, and the company is eyeing a May 2016 debut.