Jack’s Abby Will Debut the Springdale Barrel Room This Winter

The Framingham brewing company is launching a totally new brand for sour beers, ales, and other experiments.

Barrels at Jack's Abby

Barrels at Jack’s Abby. / Photo provided

Jack’s Abby has shared more details on its Framingham expansion: the Springdale Barrel Room will open this winter.

The new brewery and taproom will focus on barrel-aged beers, as the name suggests, including becoming home to cofounders Jack, Sam, and Eric Hendler’s growing sour beer program, a passion project the brothers launched under the Jack’s Abby label in 2013. With more than 30,000 square feet dedicated to barrel storage, the new facility is poised to become New England’s largest barrel-aging program, according to today’s press release.

“It’s going to be like a different brewery,” Jack Hendler told MetroWest Daily News.

That includes delving into ales, which lager-focused Jack’s Abby has never produced. Expect to see wood-treated beers, sours, and various cask offerings, as well as IPAs, Belgian-style saisons, “and other experiments that fit outside of its parent brewery’s portfolio of craft lagers,” a press release announced today.

The new venture is named for Hendler family’s first foray into industrialism, the Springdale Ice Company, founded decades ago by the brewers’ grandfather. The new startup has a completely separate business model and plan from Jack’s Abby, and it will have its own staff.

Springdale Barrel Room

Logo provided

Located right next door to Jack’s Abby’s current home, Springdale is about the same size, at 63,000 square feet. In addition to the second-floor barrel room, Springdale will have a 5,000-square foot taproom and retail area overlooking the barrels. The first floor is reserved for warehouse space. At this point, distribution beyond the brewery isn’t in Springdale’s business plan.

The taproom will have 12, rotating taps, as well as packaged beers, though you won’t see any Jack’s Abby brews, just the new kid on the block. The hall has room for 100 guests, and there will be yard games like cornhole and ping pong, as well as arcade games. The new facility will eventually host “live blending,” giving drinkers a first-hand look at the creative process behind developing these uncommon beers.

“This is more of a niche,” Jack Hendler told the Daily News, referring to the Springdale brand. “This will give us an opportunity to do really small batches of beer.”

But it’s a niche the Hendlers believe will catch on. A smoked brewery, a la Schlenkerla, is another pipe dream, but it’s “absolutely a terrible idea economically,” Sam Hendler previously told Boston. With smoked beers, “You’d probably need a national distribution footprint so you can get the volume you need to stay in business, and we have no interest in building a national distribution footprint right now.”

But barrel-aging is becoming more mainstream, thanks in no small part to Jack’s Abby. The Framingham brewery currently has 1,000 wine and spirits barrels for aging and storing beers, all of which will be moved next door. Springdale will open with those barrels plus five foeders, large, wooden vats typically seen in the wine world, which are gaining popularity among sour beer brewers like Crooked Stave and Night Shift. By the end of 2017, Springdale hopes to have 3,000 barrels and a dozen foeders.

Springdale will be Massachusetts’ second barrel-focused brewery. Barrel House Z opened in Weymouth last month with an ever-changing repertoire of aged brews by Harpoon’s original brewmaster, Russ Heissner, and a network of collaborators.

Framingham is already a veritable beer destination, though Springdale will cement its status as an exciting brewery town. Jack’s Abby, which started there in 2011, expanded into an industrial area across town last fall, which made room for Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing to open this summer. That small startup is the first solo venture from veteran brewer Matthew Steinberg (High Horse).

Love beer, but not sure you’re geeky enough to enjoy exclusively barrel-aged offerings? Do not fear.

“We want to showcase complex, old-world-inspired beers in an unfussy, casual environment that is, above all, fun,” said Springdale general manager Joe Connolly.

100 Clinton St., Framingham, 508-872-0900, jacksabby.com.