Brewery of the Month:
Jack's Abby Craft Lagers
This month's featured brewery is Jack's Abby Craft Lagers out of Frammingham, MA. We would like to thank co-owner/co-founder Sam Hendler for taking the time to talk to us about the brewery and their delicious lagers!
When did you open: Summer 2011
Where do you distribute?: We distribute in all of New England, New York, and a little bit in Pennsylvania. We might expand into New Jersey, but we have no plans to expand much beyond that.
Why did you open Jacks Abby and what is the history of the brewery?: I opened up the brewery alongside my brothers Jack and Eric. Jack had been brewing professionally for 7 years. He was a brewer at Boston beerworks and had been to school in both Chicago and Munich for brewing. Our family has a long history of opening up family businesses and we wanted to follow in that tradition, so we decided to open a brewery! So when we opened, Jack was the brewer, I sold it, and Eric did the office work and accounting.
What was the Massachusetts craft beer scene like when you first opened?: It was a different time. In 2011, craft beer was only just starting to get ramped up in our area, but it was also they heyday of Sam Adams and Harpoon (and they were great leaders to have)- but they were the main craft brewers widely available in those days from Massachusetts. There wasn't a ton else widely available.
How has the Massachusetts craft beer scene changed since you opened?: The market has exploded and there are many other breweries that are widely available, such as Night Shift, Lord Hobo, Newburyport, Castle Island etc. To a certain extent all these new craft breweries represent competition, but at the same time we are all preaching the good word of craft beer, and we have our niche as a lager brewery. We all have a responsibility to build craft up together.
Do you have a philosophy behind the beers you brew?: Beautiful, simple lagers is where we excel. It doesn’t have to be the fanciest or flashiest beer to everyone. There is beauty in simplicity.
Why did you decide to focus on primarily on lagers?: So like I said, we are a lager-only brewery. We did it because my brother, Jack went to brewing school in Munich, Germany and fell in love with awesome lagers there. When we opened back in 2011, there were a lot of awesome breweries, but not many were brewing lagers. We found our niche and stuck to it!
What are your core beers?: House Lager, Post-shift Pilsner, Smoke and Dagger, Hoponius Union, and Blood Orange Wheat. House Lager took a bronze medal in the Great American Beer Festival this past year in the Munich-style Helles category!
Do you have any plans for fun/cool beers in the future: We are currently working on our kellerbier lineup. We just did a rye kellerbier and a maibock. Next year there will be a much larger focus on unfiltered and hazy German Lagers.
Talk about the Springdale Barrel Room: Springdale is driven by a desire to expand the barrel program. We have previously done a few very limited runs under the Jack’s Abby brand. But we needed more space and there were inherent risks with running a wild program in the same building as clean lagers. So the whole point of Springdale is to brew beers that generally focus on barrel aging but also other styles didn’t necessarily fit under the Jacks Abby “lager umbrella”. Springdale will always have something new coming out. We will be coming out with a line of cocktail-inspired sours called “Not Stirred” in the next year.
What can we expect from Jacks Abby in the future? (expansions, new beer styles, events, etc.): I can tell you that we are always going to be trying out new things. As far as events go, we will be having an Oktoberfest-style party at the Malted Barley Providence on October 19th. There will be a stein-holding competition and a variety of delicious German-style lagers. It’ll be a great time!