Since soft-opening in June, Aeronaut Brewing Company, Somerville’s first commercial brewery founded by MIT and Yale University grads Ronn Friedlander, Daniel Rassi, Steve Reilly, and Ben Holmes, has functioned as a prototype of sorts, allowing guests to visit and test out the space to see how it functions around what they need, and allowing the team to adjust different aspects based on ideal uses.
Housed in the former site of the Ames Safety Envelope Company, the massive 12,000-square-foot warehouse is an entirely unique venture, extending beyond just being a brewery. Call it being in a state of planned perpetual flux. With an eight-barrel brewing system and full tasting room, the brewery in fact only occupies a third of the overall space. The other part has two functions, with one side operating as the newly opened public beer hall, and the other serving as “an incubator for young companies,” according to Holmes, co-founder and computational biology PhD student at MIT.
The owners intend to keep the beer hall “eternally under construction,” according to Holmes. There’s a low-ceilinged industrial space with great-looking and totally inefficient Edison light bulbs festooned from the rafters, and an accessible area with 75 German-style communal tables near a hand-built jockey box bar rigged with faucets where willing guinea pigs can belly up and sample one (or several) of Aeronaut’s experimental brews.
“We like to brew ingredient-inspired beers, taste it, and share it, then recreate and tweak it by seeing what people respond to,” says Holmes, noting that he and his fellow grad student brewers recently released their first collaboration brew in conjunction with other young, like-minded startups sharing the space unused by the brewery itself. You’ll want to note the coffee, cacao, and blackberry infusion of Aeronaut Lyrebird Porter, as it’s made with roasted coffee beans from Arlington’s Barismo coffee, smoked cacao nibs from Somerville Chocolate, the bean-to-bar chocolate maker and community supported agriculture (CSA), and blackberries sourced from a local farm by farmer’s-market-meets-grocery-delivery service Something Gud.
“[Aeronaut] is a space where people can come and spend time and immerse themselves in atmosphere,” says Holmes, explaining the concept that sparked the idea for creating a beer hall. “It’s a Somerville gathering place. Coming into it we didn’t predict this, but I think that the folks in our neighborhood have been looking for a cozy, mellow, and huge place to congregate for a long time.”
Aeronaut Brewing Company’s brewery and taproom, as well as the Food Hub and new beer hall, is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 5pm until 11pm, with expanded hours on the way.
Sooner rather than later, let’s hope.
AERONAUT BREWING COMPANY. 14 TYLER ST., SOMERVILLE. 617-718-0602