As any morning bus rider, cyclist, or commuter will tell you, it’s hard to get a solid cup of coffee in the morning along the the hilly stretch of Broadway that cuts through Winter Hill near Foss Park.
There’s a lone Dunkin Donuts, but that’s about it. And for a while it appeared that the residential area was about to be infected with yet another Starbucks franchise, which was eyeballing the vacant space at 328 Broadway, formerly a cell phone shop among a host of other come-and-go operations. That is, until the landlords decided to go another route and give first-time brewpub owners Bert Holdredge and Jeff Rowe a shot at their dream of bringing a local small-scale brewery to life. As luck would have it, they just so happen to be bringing some great coffee with them.
Once the 60-seat brewpub gets up and running this fall (they’re aiming for November), they’re going to be using the space as a morning grab-and-go cafe, exclusively featuring Somerville’s Counter Culture Coffee out of Union Square. And if you’re thinking combining killer coffee with local craft beer production seems like a logical move, you’re not alone.
“Once we’re on our feet, we can know our full potential in-house and what we can toy around with [for beers],” says co-founder Jeff Rowe, a professional brewer and punk rocker with a decade of brewing under his belt, most of which was spent at Harpoon in Boston. Rowe says their flagship brew will be an IPA (“It’s kind of a no brainer,” he says) along with drinkable cream ales, and even an American strong ale brewed with molasses. “Because we’re a brewpub, we can be a bit more encompassing. We’ll have two to three stable in-house beers all the time, and two or three always rotating. Our goal is to keep it small; you’re not going to walk in and see 20 taps. Want it to have that old-school, small, attainable vibe to a brewpub where it’s not about dominance or how many taps you can put in one room, but more about five really high-quality beers.” One that also serves as a go-to coffee shop in the morning.
“We want to get people on their way to work and then on the way back,” jokes co-founder and general manager Bert Holdredge, an award-winning homebrewer and seasoned bartender (see: Publick House in Brookline).
And that will be fairly easy for both Somervillians and those journeying from other parts around the Hub. Rowe and Holdredge will be installing bike racks out front near the 40-seat outdoor patio, and they’re working with their friends at Somervelo to possibly help establish the brewery as the final stop for their regular group rides. Besides that, there will be the rarity of parking, and an MBTA bus stop is right outside their front door. And so far, the locals are already looking forward to the new addition.
“I live around the corner; the demo is awesome,” says Rowe. “Our neighbors have been super friendly, [and] it helps validate your vision when you have locals coming up saying, ‘Please open.’”
Rowe says Winter Hill Brewery will be a five-barrel house, all of which will be brewed on premises, but they won’t even be kegging beer or doing distribution for the most part. “Down the road we may do light distribution, but our goal is to not be in liquor stores,” he says. “We’re limiting our footprint, and keeping [Somerville] as a home base. More than anything else, we’d rather just have you come to us.”
WINTER HILL BREWING. OPENING IN NOVEMBER. 328 BROADWAY, SOMERVILLE. WINTERHILLBREWING.COM