Limited Opening for Crowlers To-Go Starts This Week

Lots of stuff going on at BHZ!

Week of July 11th: We offered BHZ email subscribers a chance to get their hands on our first release: Sunny & 79º. The result? LOTS of 32 oz. crowlers sold. Never fear, we’ve got more and you’ll be able to come & get 'em.

Starting July 19th: BHZ will be ramping up by kicking off crowler-to-go sales three days a week.

Come see us at 95 Woodrock Road in Weymouth:

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday4pm – 7 pm to purchase Sunny & 79º crowlers

While we can’t invite you in for a tour or tasting (YET) we’re looking forward to the day we can (SOON).

The reason for our gradual approach is two-fold. First: more construction needs to be done. Second: our pour permit is pending. We’re hoping to get both of these things wrapped up by mid-August, so then you can stop by for a beer on tap and/or get a crowler to-go as well.

Mid-August:  We’re hoping construction will be behind us and our pour permit will be up on the wall. With those two items checked off our list, we’ll get our tap room open and a complete line up of Pilot Pours beers – the rotating series of beers from our pilot plant – out for tasting. We’ll also have light snacks to keep hunger at bay and our event planning will kick into gear.

Late August: The bottling line should be here! We’ll get it installed as fast as humanly possible and hope to have bottled beer out to select accounts by early September.

Questions? Let us know!



Coming (Soon) to a Crowler Near You

Beers is being brewed at Barrel House Z.  How's that for great news?

Beer for our Pilot Pour series as well beer that will be available in can/bottles and on draft. Our ABCC license from the great state of Massachusetts arrived the other day. So, yah: We’re brewing!

Soon you’ll be setting your GPS of choice to 95 Woodrock Rd., Weymouth, MA, and before you know it, you’ll be walking through our doors. You won’t get far though, because you will have to stop and admire what we feel is a dang good looking bar area. It’s fair to say that old barrel staves have been taken to a place they’ve never been before. True, the tap room will be a work in progress, but you’re still going to be impressed. Promise. Some great people are doing some very cool stuff. And it shows.

Our first beers from our pilot program, should be ready to open our Pilot Pour series by the end of June as ITB (In the Buff/unaged), followed by 1-month versions available in July. Sunny & 79º (Ginned Pils), RATH (Extra Special Brown Sugar Ale), and RR#23 (Red Rye Ale) are among the offerings.  From there, we’ll have an ongoing rotation of five or six different beers–some barrel-aged, some ITB–in Pilot Pours. Great beers will come, stay a while, and then the next great beers will take their place. Always something new with Pilot Pours.

Our Pilot Pours series will be available only at Barrel House Z. Until our tap room is ready to open, we’ll be selling beer to go in 32 oz. crowlers, which will have labels like the one you see above, wrapped around them.

BHZ beer should be ready for commercial distribution by early August. Sunny & 79º will be first up as is befitting a beer that salutes all things summer. You’ll find an ITB version in cans and on draft. We will also distribute a 1-mos and 3-mos aged version of Sunny & 79º in bottles and on draft.

More news, details, and info as it unfolds.



The Inner Life of a 15,000lb. Chiller

Our chiller, a highly intelligent, stainless steel beast – just arrived from Eugene, Oregon.

In brewing, smarts + muscle is what’s needed to to handle things like fermentation crash and other critical cooling needs: brite tank temperature, tank temp during the fermentation process, wort cooling. We believe brewing is art guided by science. Which means we count on certainty in our process. Our behemoth will definitely keep everything (and one) chill.

Lots of other stuff going on. Here’s a few things we’re up to:

  • Epoxy floor is being installed. The always timeless color of grey has been chosen.
  • Our 2 bbl pilot brewery arrived and will be installed next week. Getting ready to start testing recipes.
  • Fermenters and brite beer tanks will soon assume their spots on the stylish grey floor.
  • Our hydra-headed keg washer will join its brethren on the floor.
  • Cold room (which we purchased from our friends down at Mayflower Brewing) is being dissembled at its former home in Plymouth and reassembled here in Weymouth.

Things continue to take shape and it's great to see the transformation.

Now, the question on everyone’s mind: beer, when will there be beer?

We’re looking to have beer for distribution (growlers most likely) in May. Bottling will follow shortly. It’s important to note that we’re still waiting for our federal TTB license which allows us to file for state approvals. Only then, can we can start pouring.

So, we’re getting closer, much closer. Thanks for following our progress!

P.S. It’s worth noting that the Hingham Community Center is holding a beer tasting fundraiser on 3/31. Some great local breweries are participating. We won’t be pouring, but we took a trip to Harpoon recently and did a test batch of RR#23 (un-aged, or ITB for In The Buff, and 1-month aged). Harpoon agreed to pour for us at the event, so if you want a preview of what’s to come, tickets are available at

Ready To Brew & Distribute Your Own Beer?

Yep, we’re talking about commercial brewing and distribution–and we’re talking to you. Come on, you know you’re ready!

Home brewers, this is Barrel House Z’s first Launch Pad Home Brewers Contest. It will be coordinated by the Metro South Homebrew League (MASH HOLES).  The contest winner–who could very well be you–will:

  • Produce and distribute a limited batch of beer in collaboration with Barrel House Z
  • Attend and enter the beer at the Great American Beer Fest (travel & accommodations included)
  • Host tastings on the South Shore and in Boston
  • Learn the ins/outs of craft beer business, including how to scale up from home to commercial brewing

For information:

Submissions close: 3/1/16

Eligibility: Participants are eligible only if they are members of an AHA registered club. Individuals who do not meet criteria are encouraged to join an existing club. For membership info, contact Jonathan Davis of the Metro South Homebrew League (MASH HOLES)

How the Launch Pad Contest Works

1 – Metro South Homebrew League Competition: Brewers from any AHA registered club can participate in a competition run by the Metro South Homebrew League (MASH HOLES).

2 –A winner will be selected and submitted to Barrel House Z.

Deadlines: All participating clubs must contact Pat McAuley ( by 3/1/16. Further dates and schedule will be sent out to individuals upon approval.

Barrel House Z is proud to partner with  Craft Beer Cellar, MASH HOLES, and Homebrew Emporium.


So You Want to Build a Brewery?

Here’s one way to do it.

Start with a free-standing building. Something under 10,000 square feet. Ceiling with 16 foot clearance works best. Town sewer and water connections are preferable. Speaking of water, there’s no doubt that access to a good, plentiful water supply is essential and will have a noticeable impact on the taste of beer.

We know a place that ticks all those boxes. It’s in Weymouth, MA, just off Washington Street on Woodrock Road. We’re happy to report, however, that this site is no longer available for lease. It’s now home to Barrel House Z and we couldn’t be happier. Admittedly, the space needs a lot of love, but this rough-around-the-edges blank slate is OUR blank slate.

Of course, there’s lots of work to be done. Here’s a look at some of the biggest areas for attention.

Permits: As you can imagine, lots of governmental approval is needed in the beer-making biz. Barrel House Z is in the process of acquiring: Federal permits (TTB), State permits (ABCC), and local building and occupancy permits. More permit applications will follow.

Equipment: To start, Barrel House Z is getting wort from Harpoon’s 10-barrel pilot system. You know the drill:

Brewers make wort using a brewhouse to cook malt, converting the starch into liquid sugar. Hops are added to impart bitterness as well as balance sugar and hop aromas. Yeast transforms the hopped wort into beer while it’s housed in stainless steel fermenters under temperature controlled, sanitary conditions. Barrels make everything better, enhancing beer via aging.

So the wort arrives and then we handle fermentation, barrel aging, bottling, kegging. That said, we’re awaiting delivery on lots of equipment:

Fermentation tanks, Barrels and barrel racks, bright beer tanks, bottling and kegging equipment.  Support utilities equipment: process chillers, water filtration, beer filters, steam boilers, hot water heaters, cleaning equipment, floor drains, cold storage rooms.

Lots of greats suppliers hard at work to make all this happen: JV Northwest, Global Stainless Systems. Prospero Equipment Corporation, and Stout Stainless Tanks and Kettles. Again, this is just the start.

Facility: As noted above, our space needs a lot of love. We’ve put Paul J. Rogan Company (general contractor), Roth & Seelen (architects), and Peak Mechanical Services to work to get our house in order. A few things we’re doing right away include: rehabbing office space, establishing much-needed security systems, updating heating and A/C. Yes, this too is tip of the iceberg.

More updates will follow. Right now, we’ve got some serious work to do.


Art & Science & Zeppelin

Brewers have real, first-hand knowledge of the truth behind the words of Led Zeppelin philosopher-king Robert Plant.

[Cue Zeppelin tune] Good times, bad times you know I’ve had my share …

Beer making has its share of ups and downs. Barrel-aging is no different. Lots of good-time rewards come your way, as you taste flavors like tart dried cherry, wisps of smoky oak, and buttery vanilla.

Bad times? Pitfalls exist, but can be avoided. Culprits include excessive oxidation, yeast autolysis, or rogue contaminants. Many can render a beer undrinkable, never good.

Some things to watch for:

  • Oxidation: Naturally, beer aging in barrels will come into contact with more oxygen, which impacts flavor and shelf stability. Oxidative flavor may provide a sought-after quality attribute (tawny port or sherry wine), but some oxidation by-products are loved by none and never welcome.
  • Yeast autolysis: If a barrel-aged beer “sits” on yeast too long, the yeast cells can “leak” resulting in almost meaty flavors. Autolysis provides flavor complexity, but is best in small doses.
  • Souring: A controversial topic. There’s a fine, subjective line between good sour and bad funk. Souring can happen when lactic acid bacteria or strains of yeast that produce more organic acids than ethanol, are introduced deliberately. When controlled, sour is a matter of taste as determined by the brewer. However, when these bacteria or yeast arrive uninvited, bad times may be knocking.
  • Wood: Oaky goodness is really good, but sometimes there can be too much wood flavor in barrel-aging. If a new barrel carries more than a light char, the beer will acquire too much of the phenolic, astringent character of wood extractives.

Big question: How to stick with the good and skirt the bad?

A brewer’s sense of smell and taste answers part, but not all, of this question. Alone, our senses can only take us so far. Lab data and analysis [Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrophotometer is your friend!] and an obsession with Quality Assurance/Quality Control are essential. I’m thankful on a daily basis to the smart, scientific minds I encountered at UC Davis/Harpoon/BP and I’m still learning.

Brewing–even commercial brewing–is an art. And art and science go together. Science is the backbone that gets & keeps creativity up & running. Good times, go get your share.

The words above were spoken by this author at the latest installment of Startup Stir Founders Forum, an event held last week in Boston. Beacon Hill Partners has been hosting this series of conversations, with last week’s conference including innovative startup founders, business leaders, and Mayor Walsh.

Needless to say, I was honored to get the nod.

I had to give some careful consideration to my presentation, and the words above sum things up well. It’s also fair to say I was influenced by the legendary Carl Casper. Who (you may/may not know) is not a real person, but the main character in Jon Favreau’s movie Chef.

If you haven’t seen movie Chef, you need to see it.

Why? Because it’s a great, big-hearted movie. It’s almost an ode to the best life has to offer: road trip, second chances, creativity, relationships, food, music, and drink. The gist of the story is simple:  Chef Casper reclaims his creative mojo and career via mastery of a deceptively simple sandwich, the Cubano, and a refurbished & revitalized food truck.

No need to fear the spoiler. You just gotta see it. In fact, the movie is always rattling around my head. It was as I prepped for Start Up Stir, and is as we push forward with the plethora of details involved in Barrel House Z.

Here’s where we stand with Barrel House Z: Raising equity to get Barrel House Z capitalized has been ongoing, with things looking great as summer gets the elbow and we settle in for what we hope is long autumn.

With equity raised, lease in negotiation, and bank loans forthcoming, attention turns to beer and brewing. Yes, there are only five major ingredients used to make Barrel House Z beers: malt, hops, yeast, water, and barrel. Simple in theory, however, the art of brewing resides in careful consideration of how to combine each ingredient. Much thought will be given.

The vision of a brewery comes to life not only by the beer style, ingredients, quantities, and how the beer will be served, but also by details such as equipment selection and brewery layout which are impacted further by constraints of budget, available square footage, ceiling heights, utilities, and number of people at work in the brewery. This nitty-gritty stuff is the bedrock of any operation, and not to be taken lightly.

We will be spending the fall focusing on the build out of the new brewery. All eyes are on the potential new location, as we hash out which used vs. new equipment to install, how it will be laid out, and how the brewery will operate. Some talented new folks are joining us, which speeds ideas & progress.

And although a food truck is not in the offing, let it be known: we’re having a blast.

Barrel-Aged Basics & BHZ Location

Here’s to our first blog post! Seems right to start with info on barrel-aged beers and move on to our quest to finalize a location.

Barrel-Aged Basics

Sour Beers. These beers follow the Belgian brewing style. They are based on traditional terroir winemaking techniques, with barrel fermentation followed by aging in barrels, new or used. The formerly used barrels are often of winemaking origin, though they could be spirit barrels or reused beer barrels. Lots of options.

The beers are often fermented with selected “wild” yeasts and bacteria that form communities of fermentation. Some are even allowed to “spontaneously ferment” from whatever fermenting organisms have developed in the local environment, also known as terroir.

Using wild yeasts and bacteria will produce both alcohol and lactic acid (similar to what’s found in cultured yogurt) in contrast to pure, single yeast strains that evolved to almost exclusively produce alcohol. And yes, the lactic acid component helps account for the sour, tangy flavor you’ll find in these beers.

Spirit Barrel-Aged Beers. Here you’ll find beers aged in barrels that previously aged distilled spirits such as rum, whiskey, tequila, cognac, sherry, port, etc.

These beers are typically fermented first in stainless steel, using pure yeast cultures (lactic acid is not desired). Then they are aged in spirit barrels to impart the “fifth ingredient” of the distilled spirit preserved in the wood. The wood and the extent of the char used to make the virgin barrel also contribute considerable flavor components. The longer the beer ages in the spirit barrel, the more pronounced the flavors become.

A good comparison is that of an oak-aged wine which offers notes of wood & toast that an un-aged wine would not possess.

BHZ Brewing
& Our Location

Equipment has been ordered and we are hoping to give the manufacturer our address for delivery soon. A few details are still pending, but it’s fair to say that the location will be South of Boston and in a highly functional, though less than glamorous, spot. We are good with less glamor because we just want to make great beer. As soon as the lease is signed, we’ll announce it here.