Castle Island Plans a Seasonal Beer Garden in Boston
Underground at Ink Block will have Candlepin, Keeper, and more beer on draft from May-October.
UPDATE, Monday, July 9, 2 p.m.: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, everybody, but Castle Island’s plans for a beer garden under I-93 have officially stalled out. “Due to circumstances beyond our control,” Castle Island shared earlier today on social media, “our beer garden will not open at Underground at Ink Block this summer.” The Norwood-based company was unable to secure all the requisite approvals to operate, per a Castle Island spokesperson.
“We appreciate the strong support and interest that we’ve received from both the South End and South Boston communities,” the social media post continued. “We’re working on a backup location as we speak and will be sharing developments in the coming weeks!”
Boston has reached out for additional details about plans going forward this year. Stay tuned for more.
Castle Island Brewing Co. is headquartered in Norwood, but this summer, it will have a bar just three miles from its namesake South Boston landmark. In May, Castle Island will open a seasonal beer garden at Underground at Ink Block.
“We’ve always wanted to give Castle Island a home closer to the city, but an urban outpost has never been within reach until now,” says brewery founder Adam Romanow.
Located at 90 Traveler St., underneath I-93 and adjacent to the South End and Southie, the beer garden will take over 5,000 square feet of the urban parkland that opened last summer. The unique, eight-acre park stretches from Albany Street to the Fort Point Channel, with murals and other art installations, a dog park, and bicycle and walking paths.
Dubbed Castle Island at Underground, it will have 20 tap lines flowing with about eight different styles of beer on a given day, plus a couple house wine selections, says Castle Island’s marketing manager Janine Pohorely. The brewery invested in the same kind of draft trailer that Trillium used at its Greenway beer garden last summer, she adds. Expect regular availability of core beers like Candlepin hoppy session ale, Keeper IPA, Hi-Def double IPA, and the newly year-round Lager.
Castle Island recently installed five new, 60-barrel fermenters at its Norwood facility, which allows for a 50 percent production increase this year. That includes new small-batch beers, like the Righteous series of fruited, kettle-soured brews, which will be featured at Underground, along with other limited-release and seasonal beers.
“The Underground is the perfect opportunity… to extend the brand to build visibility and show [Boston-]area residents the awesome things we’re doing at Castle Island,” Romanow says, adding, “It fills a need for something I’ve always wanted to see in Boston: more exciting, unique attractions in amazing, unexpected locations.”
The beer garden will be open-air, but covered by the highway overpass, with capacity for about 400 people. There will be long tables and benches, plus weather-resistant soft furniture and lawn games for a loungey vibe, Pohorely says. Castle Island is hoping to bring in food trucks and other pop-up food vendors at least two days per week.
“We’re also looking to incorporate some pop-up shops to bring in some smaller, local Boston [retail] brands, and give them a space more that’s interactive if they don’t have a brick-and-mortar,” Pohorely adds.
The site will likely host other special events throughout the season, as well. Another community-focused move: The brewery is in talks with a local charity about plans to donate a portion of beer garden proceeds.
Castle Island has signed a five-year deal with National Development, the commercial real estate firm behind the park, and nearby Ink Block apartments and restaurants. This first season begins Friday, May 11, and continues through mid-October. Castle Island at Underground will be open Thursday and Friday 3-10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Coming to 90 Traveler St., Boston, May 2018, 31 Astor Ave., Norwood, 781-951-2029, castleislandbeer.com.