Through more than three decades of homebrewing, Gary Rogers could nearly always count on one constant: his son Jake by his side, lending a hand.
“He was helping out as I brewed as a toddler underfoot, and I guess he got the bug,” Rogers says now. “He was smelling hops and malt at an early age.”
Jake Rogers eventually went into brewing professionally, helping run operations at Mercury Brewing in Ipswich. And so it made sense that when he wanted to open up his own shop, he turned to the man who instilled in him his love of making beer.
“When he was ready to open his own brewery, he came to me and said, ‘Dad, I only have one condition: You have to do it with me,’ ” says Gary Rogers, who was retired after working in technology sales and marketing. “It took me about a second to say yes.”
The father and son team built a brand new structure on the site of an old car dealership in Ipswich, forming True North Ale Co. They hired Seth Barnum, an award-winning brewer from Oregon’s Breakside Brewery, to be head brewer. Jake Rogers handles operations, while Gary runs marketing and sales. The recipes are largely Barnum’s. True North brewed its first commercial batch on Oct. 13.
The brewery space is big, with 40-foot ceilings and large windows looking from the tap room into the production area. The Rogers installed a 30-barrel brewing system, with room to expand upward with bigger tanks. Gary Rogers says True North wants to eventually be known as the beer of the North Shore.
It’s early, but the beer lineup looks promising. Everyone does IPAs, and True North is doing two: North Shore, a session version of a New England IPA, and North Shore², a double IPA.
“The aroma is just fabulous on the squared,” says Rogers. “It’s a big beer but it doesn’t drink like it.”
Vincianne, a Belgian blonde ale, and Cerveza, a Mexican lager, round out the core lineup. True North has a 5-barrel system for tap room-only releases, the latest of which was a rye chocolate porter. The brewery has a canning line, and currently distributes to about 50 bars and restaurants.
True North Ale Co. is at 116 County Road, Ipswich. Tap room hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday from 2 to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.