Idle Hands Craft Ales founder Chris Tkach has good reason to feel at home in Malden.
Early Boston-area craft beer enthusiasts will remember Idle Hands’ first brewery, a tiny storefront flanking a dusty alley in Everett, a door down from Night Shift’s original (and equally gritty) location. Visitors would sometimes find Tkach washing or filling kegs a couple steps back from the retail counter, in a space that’s a far cry from the roomy, dog-and-kid-friendly tap rooms we’re now accustomed to.
“It felt really disconnected from the city of Everett,” says Tkach. “Once we landed in Malden it was kind of night and day. I feel like we’ve finally found a home.”
Idle Hands didn’t end up in Malden right away — there was a period when the brewery didn’t have a brick-and-mortar space while it sought a new location — but since landing in the city it has found a niche brewing Belgian classics, fresh, vibrant IPAs, and the lagers Tkach himself says are his favorite to drink.
The brewery’s latest lager is Edgeworth, named for the neighborhood out of which Idle Hands operates, and the original home of Converse, which has churned out Chuck Taylors and other iconic footwear since 1908. Idle Hands designed the beer — made with entirely American ingredients — as something a factory worker might drink after getting off his or her shift 70 years ago.
“The hopping is all American, which is nontraditional for pilsners,” says Tkach, adding that the hop notes are subtle, and that he didn’t want to brew a hop-centric American beer.
Idle Hands brewed a pilot batch of Edgeworth (4.8 percent ABV) and solicited feedback from customers (Tkach says the taproom demographics skew local and regular early in the week, and get younger toward the weekend), who came back with a verdict: The beer was good, but the hops weren’t quite right.
“We used smaller amounts of the hops and added some different character malts. It’s really nuanced,” says Tkach, noting flavors of cracker, light lemon, and grapefruit, and stressing the brew’s crisp finish.
Some proceeds from the brew ($1 per pint and $1 per 4-pack) will help fund restoration of the World War I monument in Malden’s Devir Park.
Edgeworth will feature prominently at Idle Hands’ Maifest on May 12, an annual celebration of lagers also highlighting the brewery’s German-inspired Maibock or Helles Bock beer. Idle Hands is located at 89 Commercial St. in Malden.
Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.