Idle Hands Craft Ales– Boston’s First (and Finest) “Nanobrewery”
Do you know the difference between a “nanobrewery” and a “microbrewery’? Well, it has everything to do with size.
The smallest commercial brewery in the Commonwealth is Idle Hands Craft Ales. It was founded and is run by husband and wife Christopher and Grace Tkach and also has the distinction of being Boston’s first “nanobrewery” which refers to the fact that they make very limited amounts of ale, While most microbreweries might make as much as 15 barrels of beer at a time, Idle Hands make about 1.5 barrels at at time. You heard right, one and a half barrels which is about 20 cases and that means they have a limited distribution as a truly local Boston beer. If you are outside of the Boston area, you are out of luck. They are slowly growing and will increase production accordingly, and they just hired their first employee!
Located in Everett, the Idle Hands Brewery is open to the public on Thursdays from 5 – 8pm and Saturdays from 12 – 4 pm for “Growler Hours”, tours, tastings and they also have other merchandise to sell. Their ales, all Belgian inspired, are intentionally designed for food pairings. They are perfectly fine on their own for drinking alone, but the complex and subtle flavors are intended to enhance food tastes.
They’ve divided their offerings into two categories: The Usual Suspects and Special Releases. Some of the Usual Suspects include: Blanche de Grâce which is an “unmalted wheat and spiced with citrus peel and coriander”. Cognition described as “Brown with garnet highlights…soft, bready malt backbone…hints of dark fruit (raisin & date) and…faint banana and cinnamon aromas” Pandora is a Belgian Pale Ale/IPA has a “ soft round malt profile to create flavors of citrus & grapefruit, light toast and hints of white pepper and allspice”. Dubbel Dimples is a “rich malt with hints of cherry, apricot and raisins “ and Triplication is based on the traditional Belgian style Abbey Tripel and is a “complex mélange of banana, peach and pear notes”.
Special Releases include: Absence of Light is a Belgian Stout that “fills the palate with hints of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit”, Amber you Harlot! is a name that arouses interest, It is a “spiced belgian amber”. Spices include Tangerine Zest, Coriander, Cinnamon, and then there’s the Innocence of Amber a Belgian Amber Ale with “ hints of caramel….and a touch of bubblegum and spice.” It certainly sounds more innocent.
The wonderful thing about being such a small handcraft brewery is the added freedom to experiment and tweak flavors of all their brews. Christopher —a Certified Beer Judge through the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), has the taste and experience to create an endless variety of amazing ales. Idle Hands, like all local breweries, has to rely on mostly imported grains—they simply aren’t grown in New England and besides, Canada is practically local to New England, but they source locally for all the other ingredients that are currently available, but, hey, their Belgian inspired ales are brewed with local water, made, bottled, distributed, sold and consumed exclusively in the Boston area….how much more local can you get?
Idle Hands Craft Ales will be joining the 2nd Annual Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest on Saturday, June 15th at the Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Avenue in Somerville, Massachusetts. Stop by and say hello to Christopher and Grace and try some of their wonderful ales.
This post was written by Stewart Wise of Goosefat: A Somerville-Cambridge Cook’s Repertoire, go check him out!