As I was planning my Massachusetts trip to visit my mother, I couldn’t help but to also turn the journey into a beercation to explore as many unique and artfully crafted breweries that the state has to offer during my time there. Many recommendations flooded in to me from my local craft beer friends and those on Twitter. Plus, I already had a wishlist of “must stops” like Night Shift Brewing Co., Tree House Brewing Co., Trillium Brewing, etc. But as fate would have it, I stumbled across a young, hip, quirky brewery while doing some research online: Aeronaut Brewing Co. in Somerville, MA. And, I’m so glad I did. It just so happens that their one year anniversary fell exactly when I would be in Massachusetts. Not only were they having a whirlwind of celebrations all week long but they were also releasing limited edition can designs (shown above) filled with A Year with Dr. Nandu – A most pleasant and tasty IPA that’s chalk full of Mosaic and Centennial hops. Think juicy citrus up front with a grassy punch in the finish. So good!
GOOD DESIGN MATTERS
I have to be honest. I had no idea what to expect from this brewery. I was just so completely drawn to the can artwork that they had been posting about on Twitter and Facebook. I mean, #GoodDesignMatters. It really does. Because of the can designs done by artist, Raúl Gonzalez III, I quickly added this brewery to my beercation itinerary. What I didn’t know until talking with co-owner, Ben Holmes, is that the designs were inspired by their customer’s artwork that they collect every day at the taproom. When you purchase a beer, you get a blank slate coaster that has just the brewery logo icon in the center. Here is where you can let your creative juices flow as you draw, paint, color, whatever on that canvas. Every coaster is then saved and displayed in the brewery.
What a great idea! I love to doodle and I especially love using Sharpies. Unfortunately, I was ill-prepared and didn’t have anything other than a ball point pen to draw. I really wished I had brought my watercolor paints! That’s when the bartender whipped out a collection of markers, pens and pencils so I could draw til my heart’s content. Check it out:
THE BREWERY EXPERIENCE
Every square inch of the building, which includes a brewery, taproom and “food hub”, inspires creativity and experimentation. The space was designed to let people express themselves while they enjoy some great craft beer. From a funky silver piano to lawn chairs suspended overhead from the ceiling. They even have a movie screen hanging from the ceiling for “Projector Parties”. Artwork fills the walls. Every where you look, you discover something different and interesting. And, it’s not uncommon for creative folks to be sitting in the brewery with their laptops and sketch books making something amazing. Or for someone to hop on the piano and play a tune. Just my kind of place!
Let’s not forget the beers. I didn’t get to try every brew on the tap list but I did sample Saison of the Western Ghats (mild spice and peach notes) and Orangutan Pilot (big juicy citrus flavors). I was very pleased with the quality of each. If only I had time to try more of their well-crafted beers while I was visiting. I did make sure I came home with a four-pack of the limited edition cans so I could enjoy Aeronaut Brewing Co. beyond my trip.
I foresee great success for this start up brewery that was formed by two MIT PhD grads + one Yale PhD grad + a computer scientist. This is where the story shifts from creativity to science and experimentation. During our brewery tour, we learned how beer was created. Not just the process but what happens on a molecular level during each stage of the process. I’ve gone on a gazillion brewery tours and this one was by far the most educational. We learned how the brewers harvest their own unique yeast strain that they developed and how they continue to cultivate it. Local ingredients are used whenever possible and are sometimes part of the experimentation process as they run small test batches to determine how each element affects the taste of the beer.
You can watch the brewing process when sitting at the tap room since the whole space is an open concept floor plan. It’s exciting to see the “beer scientists” do their thing while you’re sipping on some brews.
If you get hungry while visiting Aeronaut Brewing Co., you’re in luck! They have what is called the Food Hub which connects onto the taproom. It’s a spacious area that houses many different food vendors. What’s unique about this concept is that it’s actually an incubator where a handful of startup food companies can get their feet wet, experiment with recipes and ingredients all while growing their business before going out on their own. It also provides an ever changing selection of eats for brewery visitors.
So if you’re in the Somerville, MA area, this wonderfully brilliant, up-and-coming brewery is a must-stop. Be sure to check out their Facebook page or website for hours and special event info. And, maybe. Just maybe. You will get to see the Fish Car at the entrance when you stop by.
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