Scott Houghton and Jeremy Cross, who together founded Maynard’s Battle Road Brewing Company in 2012, have 40 years of combined brewing experience.
Houghton, a Concord native, was Salem Beer Works’ longtime head brewer when he met Cross, who would go on to run Boston Beer Works’ Fenway location. A mutual love of the craft, described by some brewers as a cross between artistry and janitorial work (there’s a lot of cleaning in brewing), has kept both of them in the field.
A lot has happened in beer — including the opening of more than 4,000 breweries in the US — since Houghton made his first batch of homebrew in 1986.
“Anyone who’s been in the business that long would say what’s going on is completely unexpected,” says Houghton. “On one level it’s fantastic, but from a logistical standpoint, it’s also a little frightening.”
Though the concept of Battle Road was conceived about eight years ago, it didn’t lead to the immediate opening of a brewery. Houghton and Cross debuted Battle Road as a brand four years ago, launching with a couple of beers, contract-brewed and available in select bars and restaurants.
“We never gave up,” says Houghton. “We stayed lean and mean.”
Now the beer lineup is up to three, with a brewpub opening planned at Maynard’s Main & Mill development for October or November. Battle Road’s three brews — 1775 Tavern Ale, Barrett’s Farmhouse Ale, and Lexington IPA — are being given a bigger push as the brewery expands distribution across Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The brewers are especially proud of the IPA, which is as new-school as a couple of old-school brewers get.
“A lot has changed in the hop world,” says Cross, who notes the orange zest and lemon flavors in the beer from Centennial, Azacca, and Mosaic hops.
1775 Tavern Ale is made with a Westmalle Trappist yeast, while the saison — which tastes less bitter and herbaceous than some brews of the style — is made without adjuncts like lavender.
“We learned 15 or 20 years ago that the most important factor in making a beer is what the brewer brings to the process,” says Cross.
The new Battle Road Brewery & Brew House— located on a mill pond — will allow a couple of guys with a lot of brewpub experience to flex their muscles.
“I was there last Monday at 8 a.m., and there was an osprey hunting a fish,” says Houghton. “It’s going to be one of the most beautiful locations.”
gary dzenGary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen