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When a regular becomes an employee — and then creates his own beer

Jake Douglass’s hands are certainly not idle. He’s been learning, brewing, and developing his own lager.

Jake Douglass of Idle Hands, with his Just Jake beer.Josh Deering, Idle Hands

Things are going pretty well for Jake Douglass right now, so let’s explain how he got here.

A couple of years ago, Douglass scored an apartment he’d been excited about in Malden. He was working at Old Navy at the time, and when the apartment news dropped, he stopped into the Idle Hands taproom to celebrate. It became something of a habit.

“I’d get out of work super early because I did the morning shift,” says Douglass. “So I’d swing by for a beer after work. So pretty much three, four, five, sometimes seven days a week, I’d swing by for a quick beer afterwards.”


In the movie version of being a regular someplace, everyone starts recognizing you and gets to know your name. That’s pretty much how it turned out in this case.

“He certainly became recognizable in the taproom,” says Idle Hands founder Chris Tkach.

Since Douglass was working two jobs, it eventually came up that maybe one of those jobs should be with Idle Hands. He started working part-time as a bartender, then moved to the production side, operating the canning line and washing kegs. Eventually, he caught on full-time with the brewing operation.

“There’s a decent learning curve,” Douglass says of becoming a brewer. “The science behind it was definitely a big jump for me to learn. But if I find a hobby or a fascination, I just dive headfirst into it and it becomes everything I do.”

There’s a rite of passage at Idle Hands when someone becomes a brewer that results in him or her producing a new beer. Douglass chose a “PBR clone” to celebrate his love of a good macro beer, the kind that in Malden you might drink on your stoop. A clean, light lager, which Douglass describes as “delicate,” was brewed and then aptly named “Just Jake.”


For a few weeks in Idle Hands’ Malden taproom, posters with Douglass’s already recognizable face on them hinted that something was coming.

“The whole naming thing is, I think, something that kind of just grew out of our bartenders and taproom, people having fun with it,” says Tkach.

When he’s not drinking “Just Jake,” Douglass likes to drink Idle Hands’ “Brunhilda,” a Munich dunkel-style beer. “Just Jake” is a taproom-only exclusive that should be available in Idle Hands’ Malden and Burlington locations in the coming weeks.

Gary Dzen can be reached at gary.dzen@globe.com.Follow him @garydzen.