Brewery Visit: Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers
In a world of craft beer drinkers seemingly consumed with those IPAs – whether it be West Coast style in all their piney bitterness, Midwest sweet malt bombs or New England style hazy, smooth juiciness, there are some breweries that don’t brew IPAs at all. What?! No IPAs? Some would shudder to think it! But it’s true. Such places DO exist. Some focus on brewing only farmhouse or wild ales. Some get their kicks crafting belgian ales. While others have fallen in love with the lagers. Lagers? “Aren’t they those boring, flavorless macro beers like Budweiser, Coors and Miller?” you might ask. Yeah. Those brands produce bohemian style lagers. Lagers come in a variety of colors and flavors: helles, pilsner, vienna, bock. dunkel, marzen, doppelbock, and schwarzbier. In the craft beer industry, we’re seeing a revival of the beautiful and classic German and Czech style lagers. And, many breweries across America are putting their own spin on the traditional, humble lager – breaking the mold.
Enter: Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers located in Framingham, Massachusetts. Their name says it all. Jack’s is about the lagers and ONLY the lagers. And, while some of Jack’s Abby beers are traditional in flavor, they are also pushing boundaries of the traditional German brewing techniques to craft unique, award-winning lagered beers.
“We want to bring lager back—with quality, locally sourced ingredients and mindful brewing practices—we want to make lagers the beer lover’s first choice once again. Drink Lager.”
Since the Hendler brothers (Jack, Eric & Sam) opened the brewery in 2011, it has expanded several times increasing capacity with their 60 bbl brewhouse. They currently distribute to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Upstate New York and Pennsylvania. Way before there was buzz that the hot new craft beer trend would be in lagers, Jack’s was trailblazing and doing so successfully. Just check out the slew of awards already bestowed upon the brewery.AWARDS
When you visit the taproom at Jack’s Abby (called the ‘Beer Hall’), you’ll find 20 different lagers to choose from. It’s a bit overwhelming, to be honest. But overwhelming in a good way. Like deer in the headlights, you’ll just look up and stare at the beer menu. Good thing they have a sheet of their rotating brews on tap that you can snag and step aside to study!
You’re able to select from 3 different beer glass sizes: Samples (to make your own flight), half pours and full pours. We loved the option to consume small amounts. After all, we were hitting a couple breweries that day of our Massachusetts beercation. We opted to each get a flight of different brews.
With so many options, you might want to study the online taplist before hitting up the brewery.TAPLIST
Per usual, we tend to gravitate towards hoppy, tart, funky and just plain weird flavored beer. And, there was plenty of interesting things to pick from on the taplist that fell in that wheelhouse of tastes.
Jack’s even have a few taps dedicated to their sister brewery Springdale which focuses on barrel aged ales and some IPAs. In fact, Springdale is in the same building but with a separate entrance. So do make sure you go over to visit that space. The day we visited, it wasn’t open but we were pleased with the tap takeover beers we tried in the Jack’s Abby taproom. Very pleased.
Oh. And, there’s the option to get bottles, cans and growlers of beer to take home with you. Explore some varieties you didn’t get to try during your visit or get more of your favorites to enjoy later. You can get those items along with merch such as shirts, hats, soap and glassware in their beer hall store.
Note: Not all of the selections on draft are available for takeout (growler fills, bottles and cans). Here’s the list of what is available.TO GO BEER
But let’s not hurry you out the door! There’s lots to explore at Jack’s and it’s a great place to just hang and enjoy the company of friends and family.
We grabbed a seat at one of the community tables in the beer hall to order our beer flights and some food from our server.
It was time to carb up a bit as our brewery visit day was just starting. With a wood-fired oven IN the dining space, we knew their pizza game had to be serious. So we started with the wild mushroom pie that had leeks, gruyère cheese, garlic cream, tarragon and truffle oil. AMAZING! Just look at it. Completely fantastic.
Mushrooms not your thing? There’s 11 different pizzas to choose from. Or if you want to get creative, you can build your own pie by ingredient. Here are your options – just try not to drool:
- Meats: Bacon, Pepperoni, House Sausage, Clams, Braised Pork, Prosciutto, House Meatballs, Tasso Ham, Garlic Confit (duck)
- Veggies: Broccoli Rabe, Sautéed Onions, Potato, Arugula, Roasted Red Peppers, Serrano Chili, Wild Mushrooms, Pineapple, Leeks
- Cheeses: Goat Cheese, Ricotta, Fresh Mozzarella
Jack’s Abby food menu extends far beyond pizza. There really is something for everyone. We recommend the house meatballs with tomatoes and mozzarella, mussels steamed in lager and garlic, four cheese baked mac ‘n cheese, open-faced turkey sandwich with smokey bacon and cheddar as well as the braised pork shank with mashed potatoes and veggies. But here. You look over the well appointed menu for yourself.FOOD MENU
FREE Brewery Tours on Sundays
Get a behind the scenes look at how the beer you drank is made or you can tour prior to you settling in the beer hall with your brews and food. Your guide will take you through the spaces where the brewing and lagering process happens. Up to 15 people allowed per tour so you might want to book your tour online if you are in a large group and want to try and go all together.BOOK TOUR ONLINE
PRO-TIP: Make sure you bring or wear closed toed shoes for the tour. This is a working facility. Safety first! Your Jack’s Abby tour guide will provide protective eyewear for you.
- 67,000 sq ft space (including the brewery production area)
- 5,000 sq ft tasting room and restaurant with 175 seats
- Capable of producing up to 100,000 barrels of beer per year
- Won Best Brewery in the 2016 Best of Boston awards
- Won 11 awards at the Great International Beer Festival since opening in 2011
- Participating in the Inaugural Pilsner Festival called Pils & Love on July 15, 2017 hosted by Oxbow in Portland, ME where the best of the best international pilsner makers will be gathered to serve up their brews. The list is quite impressive!
- Outdoor seating has been added
- Within 10 minutes of the MBTA commuter rail station on Waverly St.
- Tons of parking is available. Sweet! This can sometimes be a luxury when visiting breweries in Massachusetts!
More Massachusetts Beercation Info: