“We love Somerville,” says Bert Holdredge, cofounder of Winter Hill Brewing, sitting at a table inside the new cafe/brewpub last week, a day before the official opening.
Holdredge and cofounder Jeff Rowe live nearby, in a Winter Hill neighborhood known for a gang that included Whitey Bulger and a Green Line extension that isn’t. Like much of Greater Boston, it’s a neighborhood that’s changing.
“It seems like the old school has really welcomed the newer places — the Sarmas, the Highland Kitchens,” says Holdredge, speaking of two newer restaurants in the area. “People are pretty proud of those places.”
Enter Winter Hill Brewing. In the morning, the standalone building between the post office and a Citizens Bank will model as a cafe, serving coffee through a partnership with Somerville’s Counter Culture. At night the lights dim and some stools are pushed aside, transforming the long, sleek space into a brewpub. A belly-high bar runs through the center of the room, separating cafe tables from the brewing equipment, which is behind glass.
“Despite the fact that there’s like 100 pizza shops here, people still ask us if we’re going to do pizza,” says Rowe.
They will not do pizza, instead offering baked goods in the mornings and salads and sandwiches when the beer is flowing. Five brews will be on tap at all times, two of which are year-round, with three rotating “either in season or just when we feel like it,” says Rowe.
The two staples are an IPA and a cream ale, the latter of which servers will recommend to macro drinkers.
“If someone comes in and says ‘I don’t drink craft beer. What do I drink here?’ we’re going to have a beer for them, with zero ego about it,” says Rowe, formerly of Cape Cod Beer and Newton’s Hopsters.
Winter Hill is also launching with an imperial stout, a black IPA, and a North American strong ale brewed with molasses and brown sugar.
“We try to keep the beers the way we wanna drink them, which is with frequency,” says Rowe. “I personally like to have four or five beers and not be drunk.”
To that end, walkability was important to the brewers, who have seen more and more breweries open in the suburbs.
“We want people riding their bikes here,” says Rowe.
On finding a space in Somerville, Holdredge adds, “We’re very fortunate.”
Winter Hill Brewing Co. is located at 328 Broadway, Somerville. For hours, go to winterhillbrewing.com.Gary Dzen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen