Jack’s Abby Focuses on the Rare Breed of Craft Lagers

Jack’s Abby Focuses on the Rare Breed of Craft Lagers
Jack’s Abby Brewing
81 Morton Street | Framingham, MA 01702
(508) 872-0900
jacksabbybrewing.com

Jack’s Abby Brewing was founded by brothers Jack, Eric, and Sam Hendler in January 2011 in Framingham, Massachusetts. They learned from watching their father, grandfather, and uncle run the successful Saxony Ice Company, leaving the brothers with a desire to create their own small business.

Jack was a homebrewer during college and went on to earn a diploma in brewing technology in 2007 from Siebel Institute of Chicago and Doemans Academy of Munich. He worked as the head brewer of a local brew pub for six years and is currently a member of the Master Brewers Association. Today as brewer at Jack’s Abby, his beers are earning awards and recognition.

Eric, the Chief Beer Whisperer, handles social media, marketing, and IT. Sam, VP of Sales, focuses on sales and business development for the brewery.

JAB-Eric-Jack-Sam

Eric, Jack and Sam

The Hendlers also have their own farm where they grow ingredients used in Jack’s Abby brews from the hops used in the Wet Hop Lager to the pumpkins and squash used in the Pumpkin Crop Lager. They also have a small garden next to the brewery where hops and brewing spices are grown.

The name “Jack’s Abby Brewing” combines Jack’s name with his wife’s name, Abby. It is also a nod to the European monks who brewed beer in abbeys, emphasising the use of local ingredients, a tradition that inspires the Hendler brothers.

Unlike most other American craft breweries, Jack’s Abby focuses on brewing distinctive lagers using locally grown ingredients, traditional German brewing standards, and American innovation. Most breweries choose not to make lagers because the lagering process takes about three times as long. All Jack’s Abby lagers are unfiltered and preservative-free.

Cool birthday gifts

The brewery has seven 40 barrel fermenters, one 40 barrel brite beer tank, and a hopback. The facility offers tours, and there is also tasting room and gift shop on site. Beers can be purchased at the tasting room in pint, half-pint and 4 ounce tasting glasses. Flights of 4 ounce samples are also available.

Interior

Fermenters
Medals

The last time I visited Jack’s Abby was in November 2012. The first thing I noticed when I walked through the door this past May was the expansion of the brewing area. The windows into the brewery showed massive fermenters that were not there during my last visit.

Along the wall were plaques and hanging medals, showing the recognitions Jack’s Abby brews have received over the last few years.

Another change was the movement of the tasting bar to the opposite wall. A chalkboard wall showed what brews were upcoming (including Framinghammer barrel aged with peanut butter and jelly!) and another chalkboard listed all of the beers available on tap and to take home in growlers and/or bottles.

Jack’s Abby brews three beers year round.

  • Jabby Brau – 4.5% lager that starts hoppy by finishes malty; “session lager” brewed with locally grown soft red winter wheat from Massachusetts.
  • Hoponius Union – 6.7% ABV lager combines lager fermentation and west coast IPA hops; a traditional IPA with a twist; brewed with locally grown dehulled spelt.
  • Smoke & Dagger – 5.8% ABV schwarzbier and smoked porter in one; brewed with traditional Beechwood smoked malt, chocolate malt, and locally grown unmalted barley.

Year-Round

Jack’s Abby also brews a variety of seasonal beers. Here are the ones that were on tap during my visit.

  • Mass Rising – 8% ABV ridiculously delicious beer that redefines the word “lager”; brewed with increasing amounts of American hops during the kettle, hopback and dry hopping processes.
  • Leisure Time Lager – 4.8% ABV lager brewed with locally grown wheat and spices including lemongrass, coriander, orange peel and chamomile.
  • Hopstitution – an Extra Pale Lager that uses small quantities of specialty hops.
  • Smoked Märzen – Rauchbier meets Octoberfest;  Munich malts, along with malts dried over flaming beechwood, create the flavors of the unique brew.
  • Maibock Hurts Like Helles – 6.5% ABV Maibock/Helles Bock with an intense malty aroma and flavor, a light noble hop character, and a smooth sweet finish.
  • Session Rye IPL – 3.8% ABV India Pale Lager brewed with Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Crystal hops and a touch of rye malt.
  • Cascadian Schwarzbier – 6.8% ABV black lager brewed with Magnum, Cascade, Columbus, Centennial and Cluster hops for a piney, resinous, light citrusy flavor and aroma balanced by a full roasty malt body.
  • S’mores and Dagger – a specialty release.
  • Barrel Aged Cherry Berliner Braun – 5.5% ABV darker and stronger version of a Berliner Weisse; aged in bourbon barrels with tart cherries.

Taps

Several of the beers listed above were available in bottles. A few beers were available only in bottles.

  • Numb Swagger – black lager aged with szechuan peppers; winner of the 2013 Battle of the Barrels.
  • Saxonator – 9% ABV Dunkles Dopplebock with a raisiny, dark fruit, roasted and chewy malt character; lagered for two months.
  • Barrel Aged Saxonator – 9% ABV Dunkles Dopplebock aged in barrels.
  • Baby Maker – 14% ABV Lager Wine aged for nine months in bourbon barrels previously used for Framinghammer.

I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every beer I’ve ever had from Jack’s Abby. Their beers are delicious, unique, well-made, and demonstrate what a lager is truly capable of being. Jack’s Abby is a “must stop” on my list every time we visit Boston.

Flight-B1

On June 18, Jack’s Abby released Framingham Lager to celebrate their third anniversary. This special release is in appreciation of all their supporters from the town of Framingham. A portion of the proceeds from this traditional American style lager will go to the Framingham Downtown Renaissance, a nonprofit corporation committed to facilitating the development of Downtown Framingham.

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