When I wrote a blog post in April that Framingham overall was becoming a craft beer destination, little did I know that six months later I'd be writing another post that downtown Framingham specifically was becoming a craft beer destination of its own.
Sour and barrel-aged beers are two of the hottest segments of the growing craft beer market, niches that Jack's Abby has been in, but will now put much more emphasis on. That downtown Framingham will be home to such a cutting-edge venture is astounding.
But here we are, and after I was enchanted over the summer with the debut of Exhibit 'A' Brewing, Jack's Abby Craft Lagers launched an October surprise of its own this week, announcing that they will be opening a subsidiary at their Clinton Street property by winter that will focus on barrel-aged ales.
The new venture, Springdale Barrel Room, will be adjacent to the current brewery and beer hall, and will have a tap room with seating for a hundred people, and offer games like ping pong and corn hole, and retail space on the ground floor, and over 30,000 square feet of warehouse space on the second floor, housing thousands of wooden beer barrels, aging brews ranging from sour ales to IPAs and saisons.
But back to Exhibit 'A' Brewing. In several visits I've been mightily impressed by both the quality and diversity of the beers, and the enthusiasm and hospitality of owner Matt Steinberg as he works the room, effusively chatting up his customers. The energy and positive vibe in the tap room as locals and visitors gather to try the latest brews and buy some to take home is infectious.
With the opening of Springdale Barrel Room within a few months, downtown Framingham, with three craft beer outlets, will reach critical mass as a destination for folks who relish these brews. People are already talking about organizing pub crawls. With all three establishments within easy walking distance, it's a sure-fire way to increase the foot traffic in downtown.
The brewery is making good on its promise to become a supportive member of the community, already having hosted a fund raiser for pediatric cancer and a fund raising exercise class. And to bring another fun urban touch, they had a Jamaican food truck parked out front one day as a dining option for their customers.
And with several new, large apartment complexes being proposed for downtown to target young professionals also attracted by the proximity to the commuter rail to Boston, the area is poised to become even more of a vibrant scene for Framingham and indeed all of MetroWest.