Starting a craft brewery – especially in the hop-heavy confines of Massachusetts – is anything but a sure bet. But you know what they say: with great risk comes great reward. And beer.
Because we’re always on the lookout for the next great thing, we took a look at some of the best new breweries in Massachusetts – and a few that are a bit more established and seem poised for a growth spurt. This is by no means an exhaustive catalog, just those we’ve been hearing about most lately. If you’ve got additions, tweet them at me: @alexeweaver
Up & Coming
Bone Up Brewing – Everett – Opening date TBD – Founded by husband and wife team Jared and Liz Kiraly, Bone Up will be cranking out American styles brewed with hints of old-school Belgian techniques. Construction continues on the space, but expect growlers and an onsite tap room open nights and weekends. Follow them on Twitter: @BoneUpBrewing
Lamplighter Brewing – Cambridge – Opening spring 2016 – This space is currently an auto mechanic shop, but the team – AC Jones, Tyler Fitzpatrick and Cayla Marvil – seem pretty jazzed about progress so far. Construction begins Nov. 2 and their custom equipment is scheduled to arrive in Feb. 1. They plan to have a keg and can program distributed to local bars and restaurants. Expect more on their flagship beers to drop here soon. Follow them on Twitter: @LamplighterBrew
Winter Hill Brewing – Somerville – Opening date TBD – Formerly Indignant, WHB was forced to change names due to some industry jockeying, but co-owner/head brewer Jeff Rowe and co. are thrilled to have a dedicated space and a new name. Now they’ve got a crowdfunding campaign they’re hoping will get them over the edge and into production. Follow them on Twitter: @WinterHillBrew
Castle Island Brewing Co. – Manufactured in Norwood – Opening early December – Currently building out a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, CIBC will launch with two two beers: Keeper, their flagship IPA, and Candlepin, a hoppy session ale. “We’ll slot in seasonals and rotating beers soon, and will be offering tours, samples, and retail at the brewery Thursdays-Saturdays,” founder and president Adam Romanow told me. Follow them on Twitter: @cibrewing
Bent Water Brewing – Lynn – Opening early 2016 – Lynn needs its first brewery, and Bent Water intends to be it. Founder Aaron Reames studied molecular genetics at Ohio University, and plans to approach his craft on a chemical level. Expect flagship beers including an extra pale IPA and a more standard IPA. The beers will be brewed in concrete tanks, expected to arrive by mid-November.
Honest Weight Artisan Beer – Orange – Opening ” … soon” – Founded by best friends Jay Sullivan and Sean Nolan, Honest Weight aims to bring fresh, quality beer to the North Quabbin region of Mass. Malt and yeast deliveries have been made, though all we’ve seen so far in terms of an opening date is, ” … soon.” Follow them on Twitter: @HWArtisanBeer
Barrel House Z– South Shore – Sometime in 2016 – “BHZ is dedicated to small batch, barrel-aged brewing, with beer created collaboratively by Russ and promising brewers.” Russ is Russ Heissner, a former brew master at Harpoon. Follow them on Twitter: @BarrelHouseZ
Medford Brewing Company – Medford – TBD – Founders Nick Bolitho and Max Heinegg want to brew beer hop heads and normal people can agree on. They just need a space to actually brew first. They do have a pretty kickass logo, though. Follow them on Twitter: @BrewingMedford
Harvard Cider Co. – Harvard – Launched in 2015 – Aiming to reinvent “America’s original beverage in the place it was born,” Harvard Cider Co. just soft-launched at The General Store in Harvard and sold out in less than two hours. Follow them on Twitter: @HarvardCiderCo
Brick & Feather Brewery – Turner Falls – Opened mid-October – Opened just two weeks ago, Brick & Feather Brewery is humming with several beers on tap, including To Betty, a Belgian Farmhouse beer, and Positively 11th Street, their dry-hopped American Pale Ale. Follow them on Twitter: @brickandfeather
Open & Growing
Building 8 Brewing – Northampton – Began brewing in August – Distinct on this list in that it’s actually open, Building 8 is gaining momentum with its 16-ounce cans, including a delicious-looking IPA. Night Shift Brewing’s Rob Burns tells me it’s on the up and up – I look forward to trying it.
Medusa Brewing Company – Hudson – Another brewery that turned to a crowdfunding site to cross the finish line, Medusa has been open since March and looks to be gaining steam in the industry. On the tap list are several IPA variations, a cream ale and something called an English Dark Mild. Also, soft-baked pretzels. Follow them on Twitter: @MedusaBrewing
Devil’s Purse Brewing Co. – South Dennis – First batch brewed Feb. 27 – Lots of their offerings are “American styles heavily influenced by their older European cousins” – like the Handline Kolsch, Surfman’s Check ESB and the Darkened Ship Stout. Follow them on Twitter: @DevilsPurseBeer
Down the Road Brewery – Everett – March 2015 – DTR is in the market with four beers: Pale Ale 4.5% abv, Kolsch 4.5% abv, Saison 8.5% abv and Nut Brown Ale 4.5% abv. They’re also dropping a double IPA this week. Currently contracting, they’re building out a space in Everett. Follow them on Twitter: @DTRBrewery
What new breweries are on your radar? Hit me up on Twitter at @alexweaver and maybe they’ll make the cut.