From Acton to Boston to Cambridge to the Cape, eastern Massachusetts is about to become even more beer-saturated. Some of the new and coming-soon breweries come from industry vets, while others are the dream of homebrewers gone pro. If you live in the area or are planning a trip, consider this your brewery map.
Barrel House Z: The 9,750 square-foot brewery opening in early 2016 in Weymouth on the state’s South Shore is designed to be a collaborative, small-batch incubator focused on barrel-aged beers. The first batches of beer will likely be released in early to mid 2016, with tours to begin in mid 2016 and a taproom to open later in the year. Barrel House Z will work with up-and-coming brewers to create a rotating line of barrel-aged beers. Founder Russ Heisner was Harpoon’s first brewer from 1986 to 1992, and both Harpoon and Bully Boy Distillers are minority owners in the business; Bully Boy will supply Barrel House Z’s barrels.
Bent Water Brewing Co.: Lynn-based Bent Water Brewing is in the process of building out its taproom, which it hopes to open in late January (though you may see cans of its IPA and pale ale in stores before then). Two former homebrewers are behind the project, with plans to put both accessible beers like the pale ale and IPA in addition to some more out-there beers (co-founder John Erik mentions a successful test batch of a wood-aged blackberry and chamomile imperial stout). The brewery also houses two concrete fermenters (most are steel), which he thinks are some of the only concrete beer fermenters east of the Mississippi River.
Bone Up Brewing Co.: This 3-barrel brewery hopes to be up and running in Everett by February 2016, producing four year-round beers as well as rotating seasonals and one-offs. In addition to its taproom, Bone Up plans to distribute some of its draft-only beers to Boston-area restaurants and bars, with potential for a canning or bottling line further down the road. Husband-and-wife team and co-owners Jared and Liz Kiraly aim to brew American styles with some Belgian influences including a Key lime white ale and a robust porter called Shut Up, Kelly!.
Castle Island Brewing Co.: Open to the public since early December, this Norwood-based brewery will also begin distributing some of its cans to the Boston area later this week. For starters, look for Candlepin, a hoppy session ale, and Keeper, an East Coast-style IPA on draft and in cans, with two additional cans available only at the brewery’s 1200-square-foot tasting room: TBD, a hoppy American stout (yes, TBD is its official name) and Hearthside, a porter brewed with vanilla, cinnamon and coffee. Within six months to a year, Castle Island may begin distribution across the state, but plans to stick within a 30-mile radius of Boston for the first half of the year.
Devil’s Purse Brewing Co.: If you’ve sunbathed on the beaches of Cape Cod in the summer, you’re familiar with devil’s purses, which are sea skates’ black, pillow-shaped egg cases that wash up on shore. It’s a fitting name for the South Dennis-based brewery, which opened in May on the Cape. Its beers are European-and-American hybrids, and include a kolsch, an ESB, an IPA and the brewery’s first packaged beer: Skywave Provisional, a saison fermented with two strains of Brettanomyces. In addition to that core, look for draft-only pilot batches available at the brewery’s taproom, as well as seasonal releases. If you’re interested in visiting the brewery during the area’s colder months, check Devil’s Purse’s website or Facebook page for hours.
Gentile Brewing Co.: This Beverly-based brewery and taproom, helmed by former Ipswitch Ale Brewery brewer Paul Gentile and his wife, hopes to be serving beer as early as mid-January. Staying relatively small and locally focused is the goal, with just three two-barrel fermenters currently installed. Gentile says he prefers simple beers, so he’ll begin by brewing four year-round draft offerings including a blonde ale, an IPA, a porter and a stout. Some of his kegs will also tap at Beverly and Salem restaurants, but the 48-person-capacity taproom will be the focus. Check the website for hours before you visit, though; Gentile plans to be open only Friday evenings and weekend days.
Lamplighter Brewing Co.: For years, Cambridge Brewing Co. was the only brewery in its hometown; that will change this winter (hopefully brewing will begin in early March) when 20-barrel Lamplighter opens just four blocks away in downtown Cambridge. The brewery, co-founded by former microbiologist AC Jones and hospitality industry vet Cayla Marvill, recently scooped up its head brewer, Tyler Fitzpatrick, formerly of Wormtown, Mystic and Cape Cod breweries. It hopes to focus on funky beers, including plenty of an all-Bret fermented IPA and a sour or Brett-fermented amber. The brewery will be canning at first, with a taproom slated for an early May opening.
Trillium Brewing Co.‘s Canton facility: Venerable Boston brewery Trillium recently expanded with a 16,000-square-foot space in Canton that serves as its primary production brewery and houses two tasting rooms. Two-ounce samples are complimentary; then pick up bottles or growlers to go. The new space is open six days a week, but if you want to avoid crowds, try visiting Mondays through Wednesdays or later on Thursday evenings.
True West: Maybe you’ve heard of these folks out of Dover, New Hampshire called 7th Settlement Brewery (they won a spiffy gold medal at GABF for their American brown ale). True West is a literal brother restaurant and brewery to 7th Settlement (True West co-founder Pete Henry’s brother, Josh, co-owns 7th Settlement), and is slated for a January opening in Acton, Massachusetts. The breweries are similar in some ways: Both brew classic American styles, both have restaurants heavily focused on seasonal, farm-to-table fare. But True West plans to lean slightly more Belgian than its northern sibling, and also plans to offer a CSB (community supported brewing) mug program that entitles the drinker access to exclusive events, free beer and more.
Winter Hill Brewing Co.: The coming-soon brewery formerly known as Indignant is now called Winter Hill, and you can play a part in its realization by donating to the brewery’s GoFundMe campaign. That will help open the doors to the Somerville-based brewery, equipped with a five-barrel brewing system and a modest kitchen turning out coffee by day and beers and small plates by night. Head brewer and co-owner Jeff Rowe previously brewed at Harpoon and Cape Cod breweries, and plans to brew styles that run the gamut from hoppy to barrel-aged to sour to Belgian.
So, did we miss your favorite new or coming-soon eastern Massachusetts brewery? (There are a lot out there, after all.) If so, show them some love in the comments and we’ll put them on our radar.