If the Romans built a tap room, it would look something like the Springdale Barrel Room in Framingham.
The 30,000 square foot space has the vaulted feel of an airplane hangar. On one side is the actual tap room, with the bar and a near Dave & Busters-level of gaming options, including shuffleboard, cornhole, and Pop-A-Shot. Visitors look out over a short wall onto a sea of barrels housing Springdale brews in various stages of development. It’s one of the largest brewery spaces in New England.
“The feel of the space is certainly intentional,” says general manager Joe Connolly, who cites a practical reason — ample room for housing barrels and experimenting with wild yeast — for why the place is so big. “We’re built for you to spend some time with us.”
No one wants to hang out someplace the beers aren’t good, which isn’t a problem at Springdale. The eclectic tap list features such seemingly incongruous choices as The Groni, a cocktail-inspired blend of three beers aged in vermouth and gin barrels, as well as a barrel filled with orange peel and cranberry, and Good N’ You, a bright, citrusy IPA hopped with Citra and Galaxy.
“Philosophically we believe you should want to drink another beer after you drink one of ours,” says Connolly. “We want our beers to be expressive. Personally we don’t like beers that are so sour for the sake of being sour that you can only have one of them before you have something else. Here you see a beer aged in three or four different barrels.”
There’s also Fresh Boysen, a golden sour lager aged on boysenberries, and Pearly Wit, a witbier with citrus, coriander, and just a hint of tartness. The connective thread holding the entire thing together is the use of the barrels.
“We think it’s such an interesting process,” says Connolly. “Our vision is to bring people into what we’re doing and what aging and blending does to our beers, rather than say, ‘This is barrel-aged.’ ”
Sometime soon, Springdale plans to offer twice-monthly tours walking visitors through the blending process. Customers looking to geek out now can order from one of two barrels racked right on the bar and containing uncarbonated versions of brews still in development.
This week, Springdale is shipping its beer out into the world for the first time. Limited amounts of Springdale brews will soon begin popping up wherever Jack’s Abby products are sold. Springdale Barrel Room is located at 102 Clinton St., Framingham.Gary Dzen can be reached at email@example.com.