Somethin’s Brewin’

  • Visit North Central

From pale pilsners to sturdy winter lagers, locally-brewed beers have found an appreciative home in Johnny Appleseed Country.

These brews are so local that many even bear names evoking images of this central New England region. Take, for example, Wachusett Brewing Company’s “Green Monsta” IPA — the name alone sends your imagination off to Fenway Park and dreams of Red Sox championship games.

Or how about a “Wicked Big Stout” from the tap at the Gardner Ale House? If you’re from New England, you know this is a “wicked” good beverage.

The region’s penchant for local brewing has really taken off in the two decades since college friends Ned, Kevin and Quinny launched Wachusett Brewing in Westminster, with equipment they designed and built by hand. Today, their popular brewery tour (30 – 45 minutes on a weekend, or the 10-minute short tour during the week) offers a peek behind the scenes, a bit of beer history, and, of course, a tasting at the end. The available beers change with the seasons, from a refreshing Summer Ale to an intriguing Imperial Pumpkin during harvest season.

The Gardner Ale House on Parker Street, meanwhile, combines hand-crafted beers with an extensive restaurant menu and live entertainment. From their Nightcrawler Black IPA to an Irish-style Rockin Red and Downtown Smoky Brown, the beers at this popular Gardner brewpub are as colorful as New England in the fall.

And the brewing interest doesn’t stop at these doorways! Lots of local folks have joined the fun — and you can judge the level of their success at events like the People’s Choice Homebrew Competition at the Gardner Deer Club on March 9, or the Nashua River Brewers Festival at Fitchburg’s Riverfront Park on June 29 (see calendar listings for details).

Getting thirsty? Lift a glass to the folks who pour their hearts into bringing you a taste of the region!