The old Jack’s Abby brewery in Framingham has a new tenant.
Earlier this year, Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company began moving into the space on Morton Street. Exhibit ‘A’ is the brainchild of Matthew Steinberg, a veteran brewer who worked most recently at Amherst’s High Horse Tap House and has also brewed at Mayflower Brewing Co. and Offshore Ale Co.
With Jack’s Abby cleared out to a much larger space in town, Steinberg has been busy making the brewery his own, redoing floors and painting ceilings. He kept the cemented hand prints of Jack’s Abby cofounder Sam Hendler as a nod to the former occupants.
“Originally I was like, oh yeah, it’s gonna be easy,” Steinberg says of moving into a building that used to house a brewery. “But there’s so many things that I didn’t necessarily anticipate. One of the things they did really well was grow.”
Steinberg wants to make clear right away that he has no plans to grow as quickly as Jack’s Abby. Exhibit ‘A’ won’t distribute, at least not at first, though a canning line in house will allow the outfit to self-distribute when the time is right. Steinberg wants the tap room to be a destination, with patrons filling growlers to go or hanging out for a few pints.
“There’s a proven track record of people showing up to this room, which is important for our model,” says Steinberg. “I like it slim and lean. I want to keep our beers as close to home as possible.”
Steinberg likes clean, classic beers — the first beer he’s making is a Kölsch — as well as brews that are “hop forward without being too bitter.” Beers brewed with Brettanomyces and a series of coffee brews in collaboration with Barrington Coffee Roasting Company are also in the works.
“They aren’t your traditional coffee beers,” says Steinberg. “I want a super-light-roast coffee that will work well in a blond beer, for flavors that are more tealike and winelike.”
Exhibit ‘A’ should be brewing sometime in June, and Steinberg plans to brew a few test batches to get the kinks out of the equipment. He says he’ll dump any beers that aren’t up to standard.
Exhibit ‘A’ won’t serve food, but Steinberg says he’ll send hungry patrons to Jack’s Abby, where he eats himself at least twice a week. He is hopeful Exhibit ‘A’ (81 Morton St., Framingham) can be open for business in August.