Somerville’s Assembly Row is getting serious about its food and drink offerings in 2017: Not only will a Trader Joe’s, Mike’s Pastry and Sabroso Taqueria open there this year, but a popular onsite taproom and beer garden is expanding its footprint in a big way.

Somerville Brewing Company, which produces the Slumbrew line of craft beers, is adding a second location to the retail cluster, announcing today they’ll be opening the American Fresh Brewhouse at 490 Foley St., across from the MBTA station. The new venture is slated to open this spring and will be in addition to the popular American Fresh Beer Garden located at 301 Canal St.

“People naturally want to share their passion for high quality, fresh beer while socializing with friends over a great meal at the local brewery. This is the basis for our entire philosophy in the beer business – make good liquids, make good friends,” says Caitlin Jewell, co-founder and CMO for Somerville Brewing. “We believe beer is a catalyst for communities to develop lasting social interactions, and so we provide a place for everything to come together: great beer, delightful cuisine and good times with friends.”

As if the beer garden wasn’t enough of a draw, the new Brewhouse will make Assembly Row even more of a destination for craft beer lovers. For starters, there be a small brewery at the heart of the 3,600-square-foot space, offering Slumbrew’s signature cast of sought-after beers – Flagraiser IPA, Happy Sol, Porter Square Porter and Trekker Trippel. But, Jewell tells me, visitors to the 125-seat, 20-draft-line taproom can also expect “experimental beers brewed right on site at Assembly Row.”

What’s more, the Brewhouse will take its food seriously, too, featuring a full kitchen, two chefs and culinary staff keeping food and beer pairings top of mind. “This is an evolution of the idea of ‘brewpub.’ To be relevant to what customers desire, we are more than just a place for a pale ale, burger and fries because we serve an audience that wants to try new flavors as well. Craft beer enthusiasts are very sophisticated so we strive to constantly satisfy their flavor curiosities.” says general manager Tim Florentino.

An expansion of this magnitude shouldn’t be brushed off as inevitable amid the current fervor surrounding craft beer; just the opposite, in fact – it’s a testament to Somerville Brewing Co.’s ability to capture the interest and taste buds of visitors to Assembly Row to the extent that there’s an appetite for even more of what they’re offering. And now that major staples like Trader Joe’s are moving in, it seems like foot traffic only stands to increase in the area.

In the end, though, its success will trade on the consumers’ desire to drink the freshest beer straight from the source.

“Our mantra with American Fresh Brewhouse is to focus on Fresh. For most of our beer, from hoppy IPA’s to porters, and even our fan-favorite Happy Sol blood orange hefeweizen, it’s always better when customers consume the finished product within days or weeks of when it’s made for the best flavor,” says Jeff Leiter, co-founder, president and head of brewing. “With American Fresh Brewhouse, we plan to expand our company laterally so more people can enjoy our beer as close to its packaging date as possible, and in an atmosphere that reflects the spirit of its production.”

Images provided.