Idle Hands Craft Ales, Everett, Massachusetts

After our visit to Night Shift Brewing, we went to Idle Hands Craft Ales, also located in Everett, Massachusetts. The breweries used to be located next door to each other, at the location Idle Hands is currently in.


When we arrived, we saw many of the same faces we had seen at Night Shift- everyone was out to try some good beer!
IMG_1419Idle Hands Craft Ales is the Boston area’s first Nanobrewery- meaning they produce a very limited amount of beer. When they began in 2011, they were brewing only 1 1/2 barrels at a time. They now have a 5 barrel system, Due to Idle Hands being a nanobrewery, they are a little but more difficult to find than other breweries’ beers- but they have a great list (organized by town) of where you can find the beers in the greater Boston area.
Idle Hands was founded by Christopher Tkach, a New Hampshire native who started homebrewing at age 21. He has been making beers for 15+ years. Christopher has a solid team with him, including his wife, two brewers and a tasting room manager.
Idle Hands is a Belgian inspired brewery. Belgian ale was originally crafted by Monks in the Middle Ages. It is still a popular style, both in Belgium and the US. Idle Hands also creates hybrids, like a Belgian stout. They have also crafted German style beers, like a Pale Weizenboch, coming in the fall. They do a lot of seasonals and like to experiment and make one offs as well.
Our tasting: IMG_1426
Idle Hands:
  • Blanche de Grace: 5.4%
    A Belgian Wit.
    Spices of coriander and citrus
    light, creamy summer beer
  • Triplication- Abbey Style Tripel: 9%
    doesn’t drink like a 9% beer, easier to drink than expected
    good, subtle flavor
    notes of clove, peach, pear and a hint of banana
  • Pandora- Belgian Pale Ale: 6%
    everyone around us was raving about this beer- long before we tried it!
    this beer was more straight forward in style
    notes of citrus fruit, pepper and allspice
  • Patriach- table style beer: 5.8% (but varies)
    crisp and light
    notes of white grapes, apple
    Belgian Single/Patersbier
    Megan really liked this one
  • 23*26′- Hoppy Tripel: 8.2%
    hybrid, Belgians don’t use hops traditionally
    citrusy, grassy Belgian
    Mark really liked this one

Enlightenment Ales merged with Idle Hands in December 2013. Two breweries under one roof is easier to manage. Their beers tend to be more hoppy than Idle Hands.

  • Illumination- Farmhouse IPA: 6.8%
    earthy taste, as expected from a Farmhouse ale
    similar at times to a Saison, but hopped.
    Mark liked this one
  • Enlightenment- Garrison- Hoppy American Table Beer: 2.8%
    Spanish recipe
    sweet green pepper flavor
    Megan appreciated
Want to visit?
Hours of Operation:
Thursdays 3 – 7 pm
Fridays 5 – 8pm
Saturdays 12 – 5 pm
Check their facebook for special events and holiday hours

look for this sign if you go- can be a little hard to find!


Night Shift Brewing, Everett MA

IMG_1400Night Shift Brewing is located in Everett, MA. They have been an official brewery for 2.5 years, and they were obviously home brewing before that. This is a new location for them, they have only been there a few months. The previous space was the size of their new tasting room.


one side of their barrel room

They do a lot of barrel aging with different barrels for the different styles of beer. Aging in the barrels gives the beer a different flavor. They reuse all of their yeast, recycling and remixing it so it is all the same. They still use the original recipe for one of their first beers, Trifecta. Their beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized, that’s what they use the brite tank for. They did 750 barrels last year, and they will significantly increase this year in the new space.


signs as you enter the taproom

When we arrived, midday on a Saturday, it was a bit crowded (usually a good sign!), and a little loud, but lots of bartenders were on and we were served quickly. There was plenty of standing room and several different seating areas. It looked like a tour bus had arrived shortly before us. The tasting room reminded us of SoMe Brewing in ME, because it was designed as a place to come and hang out and drink some beers. There was matching décor, a big bar, tables, plenty of room, it was just a cool atmosphere to be in. It was more like a typical bar and not just a tasting room, which is what they were going for.  On the tables were giant bowls off pretzels- yum!


bowl of pretzels on one of the picnic tables they have inside



the fun lights they have


wall of beers! aka whats on tap


They offer a variety of beers to be enjoyed as part of a flight, in a 4oz pour, or a 12oz pour. Some have a limited availability, and are available either only by the bottle or only on tap. Beers you can take home are available in a 32oz or 64oz growler or a 750ml bottle.


our tasting



Juicy pale ale, citrus flavor but not sour. Mark used the word tangy. Notes of ripe peach as well


Mud – Art Series #24

Session rye ipa, not super hoppy, decent flavor, pretty easy drinking.

Night Shift “Art” is a series of experimental, test-batch beers and beer-blends that are thoughtful expressions of our current creative process. Some might become larger production batches, some will fade into the night. The goal is unique, artistic beer experimentation.


Viva Habanero

Nice after burn, intense at first but tames down quickly. They describe it:

Brewed with rye malts that bring their own natural spice, this invigorating cerveza gets its zesty kick and peppery flavor from habanero peppers that we add after fermentation. Agave nectar, produced in Mexico, helps to sweeten and lighten the body, while our Belgian house yeast strain tempers the beer’s fiery disposition.



Juicy/ fruity, good grapefruit flavor, not overpowering or sour, farmhouse saison


Stop, Collaborate, & Glisten8.9% – sparkling golden ale fermented in wine barrels with sauvignon blanc grape must and a blend of wild yeast strains

Our first thought was it was carbonated differently, reminded me of something but couldn’t quite figure out the sauvignon blanc flavor, but knew it was familiar.


When we were finishing our tasting,  they came around to all the tables to let us know there was a tour starting. We quickly finished our beers (don’t worry- we went back and had more later) and joined the tour…  


view of the brewhouse


tanks in the brewhouse


empty kegs in the brewhouse, waiting to be filled


box of Muselets used to help close the bottles


bottling station


bottles, bottles and more bottles


growlers ready to be filled


more beer being barrel aged


the current brewery set up- another expansion soon!


Here is an excerpt from their website (this and more is gone over during the tour):

While refining our brewing skills, we also organized weekly beer tastings in an attempt to sample every style, brand, and region possible. As time progressed and palates developed, our appreciation for beers, both our own and on the market, began to shift. We realized that while the making of a truly great beer is by no means common or easy, it is possible.

As importantly, however, was our growing opinion that a beer’s greatness was often very closely linked to its memorability. The market seemed flooded with a collection of very similar beers in very typical beer styles.  When something unique AND great came along, we took notice, and we remembered it.

In our test kitchen, we applied these lessons learned. Because no one judged our beers but us, we experimented like mad scientists with unorthodox brewing ingredients, weird recipes and funky yeasts, attempting to create nearly every beer style imaginable. Years of testing and tweaking led to some especially horrible stuff, but also to some memorable, innovative, truly great beers. When everyone started demanding more Night Shift beer, we realized: brewing had become much more than a nighttime hobby.

The beers that we now offer to the Greater Boston community are the very best of all those years of fine-tuning – wholly unique brews with complex, interesting flavors. Everything is brewed, fermented, and bottled in-house at our Everett, MA microbrewery, where we spend most of our night AND day shifts. We continue to learn as we grow and brew more, and are loving the entire journey (even if it means very little sleep).


We would have to agree with them. After having visited over 65 breweries, wineries, and distilleries, the interesting beers are the ones that stand out. It’s even better when it is a little bit different, but really well done. Everyone now makes an IPA, and though some are better than others, eventually they all blend together. When you drink a Viva Habanero rye ale brewed with agave nectar and aged on habanero peppers, that tends to stand out. This is a nice place, we would love it if they were closer to us so we could visit more often, and try out whatever new beers were on tap. It’s a cool place to go and hang out and have some good beers with friends, while supporting a local brewery. They also offer BYOF, bring you own food, they have lists of local places you can order from and large picnic tables inside to sit at.


Mark enjoying a beer after the tour, in the barrel room


Want to Visit?

The Night Shift Taproom is open 7 days a week (except for certain holidays). Regular open hours are:

  • Monday-Friday, 3-9pm
  • Saturday, 12-8pm
  • Sunday, 12-5pm

outside! yayyy beer!