“How did you hear about us?” William Oliveira, founder of Westborough’s Cold Harbor Brewing Company, wants to know.
It’s a good question.
Cold Harbor opened in September 2015. Thursday through Sunday, patrons come to the tap room for samples, pints, and growler fills. The brewery is at capacity and doesn’t bottle any of its beers, so an on-site visit or a trip to about a dozen Central Mass. and Boston-area restaurants is the only way to try the brews.
Oliveira’s partner at Cold Harbor is Brandon Heisler, the company’s master brewer and a former London resident who has a penchant for brewing classic English styles.
“I think that differentiates us,” says Oliveira. “I don’t know anyone else doing English ales.”
One of those English ales is Truell’s Best, a traditional bitter like the ones served in British pubs. Cold Harbor’s version has notes of green apple, pear, and caramel, and a crisp finish. For Westborough’s 300th anniversary this year, the brewery is combining that beer with an oatmeal stout to produce 1717 Black & Tan. Cold Harbor will release a new beer each quarter to celebrate the town’s anniversary.
It seems you can’t start a brewery in these parts without making an IPA. Cold Harbor makes them in the bitter West Coast style (Novacaine) as well as the hazy, aromatic style that has come to be synonymous with New England (Indian Summer, Sister Summer). The last two — always on tap — burst with pineapple and orange peel, while the first is compellingly resinous.
Cold Harbor is named after a brook that runs through working farms in the area, and Oliveira says he’s committed to using local ingredients. Through partnerships with Davidian Brothers Farm in Northborough and Wind Valley Farm in Oakham, Cold Harbor is able to source heirloom grains to brew with; after the brewing is done, the spent grain is fed to the sheep.
“We always believe that if you can source great ingredients, then put them in the hands of a talented chef, good beer will follow,” says Oliveira.
Starting in May, Cold Harbor customers will be able to enjoy an outdoor beer garden at the brewery on weekends. The brewery is currently open Thursday evenings, as well as Fridays from noon to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
108 Milk St., Suite 6, Westborough, 508-871-0919, www.coldharborbrewing.comGary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen