Framingham Beer Works, Framingham, MA

In the early Fall, we visited Framingham Beer Works in Framingham, MA. The Beer Works franchise has 7 different locations. Each location brews their own beer, while Lowell Beer Works does the bottling for all locations.

 

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The Beer Works franchise seems to focus on seasonal beers. We have tried to visit during the different seasons so we can try as many of their beers as possible, at different locations of course.

 

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We went for lunch with Megan’s sister Sam and her boyfriend Dustin.

 

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Fall Flight

Curly’s Irish Stout
Good, pretty standard stout, a hint of roastyness, from the roasted malts they use.

 

Hay-ryder
Megan said it had an ok first taste, but the aftertaste was a little funny…

 

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Oktoberfest
A very malt forward beer, decent taste, fairly light in body and not much bitterness. Megan thought it was too strong, too malty.

 

Pumpkin
Decent pumpkin beer, best beer so far. They did the brown sugar rim, which definitely added some flavor to the beer.

 

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Sam and Dustin had just been to a Beerworks the week before, they liked the Pumpkin beer so they both ordered a pint of it.

 

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Hop Flight

Lil Tasty IPL
Not the best IPL we have had, but a pretty decent attempt. More on the bitter hop spectrum for flavor.

 

Deliberation Session IPA
Fairly light, again more of a bitter hop spectrum, not that bitter, but it was a session ipa so the bitterness is the major taste that stood out.

 

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Cantander IPA
Much better IPA, has more of a tropical fruity hop flavor, not very bitter at all, Mark’s favorite beer this visit.

 

Black Sheep IPA
Bitter, with a smoky or burnt flavor that Mark didn’t like that much. Megan thought it had more of a toffee flavor.

 

Mark wanted to try another beer, so he decided to go for the:

Chapagne Du Nord – Berliner Weiss
A sour, tart taste. That’s all it really was though, just sour with nothing much else behind it.

 

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We ordered nachos as an appetizer and it was pretty good.

 

We all ordered burgers for lunch as well, and they were pretty good. We ate them too fast to take a picture!

 

Our visit this fall was not that impressive, compared to former visits. The beers were just ok, nothing we were very impressed with. When we visited Boston Beer Works, Fenway Park location, the food and service were good and the beers were pretty good. Our best visit was when we went to Lowell Beer Works a year and a half ago, over the summer. Good food, good service, good summer beers.

Is there a Beer Works near you?

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John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House, Framingham

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entrance from the large parking lot (strip mall side)

“Where good people gather for great brews

For twenty years, John Harvard’s has brewed and served great craft beers alongside hearty meals at several permanent and seasonal destinations throughout the Northeast.

In 1992, John Harvard’s brewery was opened in Cambridge, drawing on the story and fabled recipes from Harvard and Shakespeare and pushing forward the tradition of craft beer as the center of life and community. We’re proud to serve in the storied legacy of John Harvard, the scholar and brewer; and invite you to continue new chapters in good company right here.”

We recently went to the Framingham location of John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House. The largest of their breweries by capacity, John Harvard’s Framingham offers up to 10 beers on tap in a family-friendly setting. If you are going here, it is located in the back left corner of the strip mall, we had a little trouble finding it, that’s why we are letting you know. It is a large restaurant with a long bar where you can see all the barrel’s brewing the beer.

They have locations in Harvard Square, Framingham MA, Providence RI, Lake Grove NY, Holiday Valley Resort NY, and Jiminy Peak in Hancock MA. From looking at their website it looks like each location has a head brewer who makes the decisions about what styles of beer to make.IMG_1804

We visited John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House for dinner with Jason and Maureen, after Jason had gone with us to Jack’s Abby and Angry Ham’s (a mini brewery/bar crawl if you will).

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delicious bread and oil

We started with two samplers, with the ladies picking four and the guys picking the other four.

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Maureen & Megan’s sampler

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Jason & Mark’s sampler

Strawberry
Good balance, not too fruity but still good strawberry flavor. Mark thought the strawberry was a little light or subtle. Megan thought it was much sweeter the 2nd time.

 

American Gold
Good light beer, similar to Bud heavy but with a little something extra, maybe a little sweeter.

 

Cool as a Cucumber Ale
Megan did not like it, even though she eats a cucumber every. single. day. Maureen thought it was ok, but probably wouldn’t get it again. Jason didn’t taste the cucumber, thought it was sweet and lemony. Mark thought it sweet then tart. The menu had the quote from ‘The Other Guys’, remarkably refreshing, and we expected it but didn’t really get it.

 

Super Secret Pale Ale|
Good beer, slightly lighter than some other pale’s we’ve had, and a little sweet.

 

Raisin Hell (Barrel Aged)
Megan and Maureen didn’t like this either. One that we all weren’t quite sure why Megan choose it (she doesn’t like raisins)… Maureen likes raisins though. Megan thought it tasted too much like the barrel it was in. Mark liked it, it was heavy, he got the cabernet taste, reminded us of barley wine.

 

Framingham Rogue
Megan liked the malt base with added spices. Mark and Jason both liked it.

 

Chile Con Cacao Porter
Maureen didn’t like it, too heavy and flavorful. Megan expected it to be spicer, tasted the serrano, cayenne and chipotle. Mark liked it, good balance, not too spicey, not too heavy.

 

Hop Chronic
Good flavor, Mark and Jason both liked it. Not just hoppy and not too plain. A little sweet, maybe a ‘subtle caramel sweet flavor’. Best beer so far, said Mark and Jason.

 

We appreciate that they tried making some unique beers. Some just weren’t our style, but instead of playing it safe it seems like they were experimenting and trying to have fun with their beers, which ranked them high.

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brew tanks behind the bar

Our dinners:

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Grilled Cheese with House Salad

 

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Quesadilla

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Pastrami

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Texas Burge

Really good, what Mark was expecting

 

 

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Jason & Maureen

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Megan & Mark

 

On Tap Now

Kolsch, Half Wit, Cool as a Cucumber, Super Secret Pale Ale, Half in the Bagels, Octoberfest, Harvest Spice, California Daze, Raisin Hell (Barrel Aged), Rio Negro Coffee Stout

 

Want to visit? Hours vary by location

 

Jack’s Abby Brewing, Framingham, Massachusetts

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We have been to Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham several times, and picked up their beer in Massachusetts’s packies even more. We went back recently to visit their brand new facility at 100 Clinton Street in Framingham, MA with Mark’s brother Jason and sister Michelle.

 

Jack’s Abby opened in 2011. They are an all lager brewery, which is very unique, and means they use only lager yeast. This is a slow fermentation process, much longer than making ales, and they ferment cold. It is a longer process but you have more control over flavoring. Sugars and yeast cell counts are measured throughout the fermentation process. There is a 4 to 5 week turnaround for 1 beer, where ale’s typically take 2 to 3 weeks.

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On the first tour we went on we learned a lot about the brewery:

  • the three Hendler brothers own the brewery- Jack, Eric and Sam
  • the brewery is named after one of the owners, Jack, and his wife Abby, as a nod to Abby and to the traditions of European monks who created their beers in their abbeys
  • Jack studied brewing in Chicago as well as in Munich, Germany

 

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They purchased a new bottling machine in the Fall 2013. They bottle approximately half and keg about half of the beer they make. 75% of what they make is consumed within the greater metro west area of Boston. They just started canning at the new brewery as well, in 12oz cans as well as 16oz cans for 4 packs.

 

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Mass Rising – DIPL – 8%
Mark and Jason both buy this beer semi regularly. It is a double india pale lager, or DIPL. It is pretty hoppy, somewhat bitter but a well balanced and smooth ipl.

 

Baby Hammer – black lager with lactose – 6%
A brewery only release, very tasty, a really smooth beer, probably a combo of the lager base and the addition of the lactose.

 

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Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10%
A good, smooth baltic porter for 10%. Still a strong, dark beer, but well balanced and flavorful.

 

Sour Time – wheat lager soured in wine barrels – 4.8%
You get sour and wheat flavors from this, just ok but not a stellar sour, according to Mark.

 

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Hibiscus Blood Orange Leisure Time – wheat lager 4.8%
A brewery only release, Megan described it as joy and sunshine, not very descriptive, we know. Mark was hoping it would be a little bit better, not enough blood orange fruit flavor.

 

Calyptra – session IPL – 4.9%
Pretty good overall IPL, not lacking in flavor for a session lager. They are releasing 12 oz cans of this soon.

 

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Excess – DIPL – 7.2%
Really good, smooth for a double. Really good hop flavor and overall balance.

 

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Lashes – red ipl – 6.8%
Michelle got a pint of this beer, which she enjoyed.

 

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One of the reasons we wanted to visit the new facility is that they have a new beer hall and they serve food.

 

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We got 2 pretzels for apps that were very tasty (that’s just one in the picture).

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Potato and Bacon pizza, pretty good.

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BBQ Pork Pizza, this was very good as well, interesting combo with the
pineapple and serrano chili, and BBQ pork.

When we visited it was only around 4:00, so we weren’t quite ready for dinner, we just got a few pizza’s. They were good. Their menu is not that big, and they don’t have everyday bar food, no burgers or sandwiches on the regular menu.

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They have plenty of room for all their new, and old, barrel aged beers. See those really
big barrels in the bottom picture? Must be something tasty in their!

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They have a much, much larger tasting area, or beer hall, now. It seems like it might not be quite large enough for the popularity they have achieved. We tried to visit a month ago, at around 7:00 on a Saturday. Couldn’t find parking or even get in the building it was so crowded.

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Even at 4:00 or 5:00 on a Saturday this is how crowded it was. Luckily we got a seat at one of the longer picnic tables. Unfortunately, they operate the beer hall as seat yourself, which probably adds to the crazyness on busy nights. It looks like they need more room already.

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Cool, reclaimed wood they use as ceiling panels with up lighting. They look
cooler in person, the picture doesn’t do it justice.

We were glad to see they do have a separate bar area, when you first enter, for beers to go, bottles, cans, growlers and swag.

The first time we visited Jack’s Abby Brewing was with Mark’s brother Jason as well. The guys had decided it was time to do a mini brewery and bar crawl through Framingham… Our visits included: Jack’s Abby, Angry Ham’s (featured on Bar Rescue), and John Harvard’s Brewhouse- Framingham.

 

Old sign, and their old logo.

 

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Old logo at the old brewery, hand painted by Jack’s wife, Abby

 

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They also cask condition a lot of beers in Bourbon barrels as well as red and white wine barrels.

 

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samplers before the tour- fun holder too!

 

Cocoa-Nut Barrel Aged Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10% – IBU 55
Coconut smell, heavy coconut flavor with the bourbon flavor, not as much cocoa as expected. Mark thought the bourbon really played up the coconut, Megan wished there was a bit more cocoa

Jabby Brau – Session lager – 4.5% – IBU 20
No longer available?
Everyone liked it, Mark thought it had a touch of fruit.

Hoponius Union – Wicked Hoppy Lager – 6.7% – IBU 65
Year Round
Really good mix of hops and lager. One of their flagship beers, one of Jason and Mark’s favorite. We buy this often, and didn’t bother tasting it in the most recent visit because we knew we were both buying some.

 

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Jason’s sampler, after the tour

 

Leisure – Wheat Lager – 4.8% – IBU 15
available Year Round
Mark and Jason both thought it was a good summer beer. It’s what Megan likes, light and drinkable, citrusy.

 

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Berliner – Megan’s favorite

 

Berliner – Sour Wheat Lager – 3.5%
What Megan expected from a wheat sour, very good with a nice pucker.

Barrel Aged Cherry Berliner – Dark Sour Lager – 5.5%
Although it was barrel aged, the bourbon taste surprised Megan. It did have a god balance of sour and cherries. Mark liked this better than the regular Berliner.

 

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Mark’s sampler, after the tour

 

Framingham Lager – 4.5%
Light, easy drinking, nothing too special, Jason agrees.

Barrel Aged Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10% – IBU 55
Very strong taste, maybe a hint of brown sugar. Strong bourbon taste as well.

PB&J Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10% – IBU 55
Not as strong as the BA Framinghammer. Nutty with a little sweetness at the end. Made Mark smile when he had it, could get the PB & J taste, Jason thought it was more chocolate almond.

 

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Megan’s sampler, after the tour

 

Hopstitution – Extra Pale Lager
Good taste, hops up front, smooth lager base. Mark and Jason both liked it.

Session Rye IPL – 3.8% – IBU 40
Jason liked it, so he shared it, everyone liked it. Definitely had a lighter, rye taste to it.

 

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the offerings during our first visit…

  

 

 

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Yay lagers!

 

We had fun here, and we all found beer we liked, at the old brewery and the new one.

 

 

They also now distribute all over Mass, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Eastern Pennsylvania and into New York as well. Not in New Hampshire or Maine, too bad for us.

Want to visit?

New Beer Hall Hours
Tuesday – Thursday: 11:30 am – 9 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sunday 1:30 am – 9 pm

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love this sign!