Here’s a Peek at Idle Hands Craft Ales’ Malden Taproom
UPDATE, June 30: Idle Hands will open its new Malden taproom on Thursday, July 7. This week, owner Chris Tkach and company are selling naming rights to the 14, new bar stools. Next Thursday, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m., and the taproom will keep pouring until 10 p.m.
Idle Hands Craft Ales was unceremoniously expelled from its Everett home last summer to make way for a Wynn Resorts Casino, but it’s is on track to open a bigger and better brewery in Malden early this summer, co-owner and brewer Chris Tkach says.
Located about four minutes by foot from the Malden Center MBTA station, the new brewery is more than three times the size than the Everett space was.
“It’s also a lot more open and inviting than our old location,” Tkach says.”This place solves every single problem that we had in Everett. It’s got parking, it’s T-accessible, it’s our own, stand-alone space so we don’t have neighbors to worry about this, and I always joke about this, but it’s got bathrooms. Anybody who’s ever visited us will be excited to hear it.”
It’s not really a joke. The former “postage stamp-sized tasting room” was not really a place to spend an afternoon of sampling beer, despite six draft lines rotating through Idle Hands and former partner Enlightenment Ales’ diverse brews. Lack of bathrooms aside, it was a cramped, industrial space that Tkach and his wife and partner, Grace Tkach, always intended to move beyond.
The Everett location only offered samples, but in Malden, as you can see in the rendering Tkach shared last week, there will be a beer hall-style taproom with seating for 50, where guests can sit down for full pints of Idle Hands ales. (The city of Malden has granted its approval, though he awaits the state’s OK, Tkach says.) They’re installing 12 draft lines, though Tkach imagines they will open with fewer choices at first, he says.
The brewhouse, visible beyond the bar, is an upgrade, too, thanks to a new, 15-barrel system slated to arrive this week. To start, Idle Hands will have four, 15-barrel fermentors, plus two original, 10-barrel tanks, which the company is currently using to brew at Night Shift. He and brewer Brett Bauer previously had a 5-barrel system, which they sold to finance the new brewery’s buildout, Tkach says.
“Once we start getting some cash flow back into the business, we’ll look at buying 30-barrel tanks. We built the space out with the expectation that we’re going to be adding tanks in the next year or two years,” he says. So, production will triple when the new brewery goes online, and eventually, Idle Hands could be producing nine times more than it was capable of in Everett.
Expect the return of favorites, like the German-style pilsner Adelais, lager Klara, and the helles Heidi; and Belgians like the pale ale Patriarch and Triplication. The beers Tkach and Bauer made during Idle Hands’ temporary residency at Night Shift, like Snake Eyes, were experimental, he says, and they will probably not resurface.
But Idle Hands will delve into hoppier styles, as well as saisons with brettanomyces yeast. Those were hallmarks of Enlightenment Ales, a brand founded by former Idle Hands brewer Ben Howe, which ceased production this fall when Howe took his talents to Danish brewery Ebeltoft Gårdbryggeri.
“I made a conscious decision to keep our styles separate to prevent brand confusion,” Tkach says. “We will now start brewing some of those styles we wanted to brew, but didn’t, because of that relationship.”
Idle Hands won’t have a kitchen, but partnerships with nearby restaurants, including Mystic Station, could bring in options like sandwiches or pizza-by-the-slice, Tkach says. Food trucks will come by, too, and guests will be welcome to bring their own food. The beer hall and retail space will be open daily.
“My concept for the taproom is to create a community vibe to it. You’re going to be friendly with your neighbors,” Tkach says.
Idle Hands Craft Ales, coming to 89 Commercial St., Malden in spring 2016; idlehandscraftales.com.