Many years ago, we gave my father a home brewing kit. I’m talking so many years ago that I don’t even remember whether he even used it. But the takeaway is that my father has had an affinity for local craft beers for quite some time (and it appears he’s passed that on to me).
That’s why I was intrigued by the concept at Hopsters – a brewpub in Newton, MA, that allows you to brew your own beer.
And that’s why we bought a brewing session for my dad as his birthday present this year.
Our day at Hopsters began in the early afternoon when we met our brewer, Tom. A credit to the Hopsters crew, Tom was very friendly and knowledgeable. He answered every and any question we had, and my dad had many. Tom explained every step of the process to us and let Dad take on most every task – Tom did some of the more technical or complicated things like flushing tubes or pouring extract.
You start by flipping through the recipe book to pick what you want to brew. Dad chose a Mocha Cream Stout to brew. We thought that would be a good choice heading into fall and winter. Vanilla ice cream beer floats at Thanksgiving was a suggestion met, rightly, with universal approval.
The brewing process took a couple hours. Throughout this time we enjoyed some of Hopsters own house brews on tap, though they also featured a small selection of other locals like Jack’s Abby and CBC. Of the house brews, I tried the session IPA, Wet Hop Ale and Saison de Grenadiers. The saison was brewed with pomegranate and was delicious!
During a boil period that lasts about 45 minutes, we tried out Hopsters’ food menu, which isn’t expansive but was quite delicious. We had a pub cheese appetizer plate that was dang good, and my BBQ pulled pork sandwich was worth every penny.
When you’re finished, the beer goes into a keg to ferment for a couple weeks. You need to make an appointment to come back to Hopsters for bottling, usually two or three weeks after your first visit. You can even create your own label for the bottles. We’re trying to come up with something that speaks to dad’s love of beer and… golf.
Dad loved his afternoon at Hopsters. It’s a great twist on the brewpub concept. The people there were extremely nice and knew what they were doing. There’s a great selection of beers for you to try or to make, and Tom the brewer told me customizing the recipes is totally doable. It can be a little pricey, but brewing in a group will increase the fun and decrease the price. Considering you get three cases of beer with your own custom label and a day of fun and food, it’s all good.