Somerville's New Beer: Slumbrew
The new Somerville Brewing Company will launch its line of beers, which have a provocative name, at a party tonight in Union Square.
There's a new beer in town. Three new beers, actually.
At a launch party being held tonight at The Independent in Union Square, the brand-new Somerville Brewing Company, based on Broadway outside Teele Square, will introduce a brand of craft beers called Slumbrew. More on the name later.
The Somerville Brewing Company is the creation of Caitlin Jewell and Jeff Leiter, Somerville residents who started home brewing more than 10 years ago and slowly turned their hobby into a profession.
They took a leap into the world of professional beer making when, in 2009, they converted their garage into a 350-square-foot "nano" brewery, which, based on the photos, would make most home brewers insanely jealous.
Filled with scaled-down professional equipment, the nano brewery allowed them to develop and test small batches of recipes suitable for commercial-scale brewing. In fact, Leiter and Jewell (Leiter is the one who develops recipes and does most of the brewing) tested recipes for larger breweries in their space, said Jewell.
Eventually they decided to create Slumbrew.
The new Slumbrew beers—Flagraiser IPA; Happy Sol, a year-round hefeweizen; and Porter Square Porter—come in 22-ounce bottles and on tap, and they use as many local ingredients as possible.
For instance, the Porter Square Porter is conditioned with coca nibs from Taza Chocolate. It has chocolate, coffee, roasted and nutty flavors, according to Slumbrew's website.
The Flagraiser IPA, a tribute to George Washington's raising of the Grand Union Flag atop Prospect Hill, is seriously hoppy, the website says. The Happy Sol hefeweizen is brewed with Massachusetts wildflower honey and fermented with juice from over 1000 blood oranges.
As for the labels, the Flagraiser IPA label features Prospect Hill Monument, a starry sky and a row of Somerville apartment buildings. The Porter Square Porter label shows the giant red kinetic sculptures that tower above the Porter Square MBTA stop.
It's all very local, and the beers are developed here in Somerville. However, Leiter does the actual commercial brewing of Slumbrew at the Mercury Brewing facilities in Ipswich.
What's in a name?
The name, Slumbrew, is a reference to Somerville's notorious nickname, Slummerville, and is somewhat provocative, Jewell admits.
Some people, she said, find it offensive, but she said it's not meant to be taken that way.
"For us, the brand name Slumbrew is a tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic reference to a bygone era," says Slumbrew's website.
According to a press release, "The name is a snarky throwback to the term 'Slummerville' because, as with the relationship between craft beer and large macro beers of the last century, the modern city of Somerville is nothing like its former days."
"We obviously have the best of intentions," said Jewell.
Where to get Slumbrew
In addition to being served tonight at The Independent, Slumbrew beers are on tap at Foundry on Elm in Davis Square, said Jewell, and they'll soon be delivered to Ball Square Fine Wines & Liquors, Downtown Wine & Spirits and other locations in the region. They're also available at Liquor World in Porter Square, she said.