The Beer Nut: Harpoon's new beer hall adds a traditional communal touch
The Harpoon Brewery has always been a destination for those who go to Boston for brewery tours and fresh, locally brewed beer.
Now, the oldest brewery in Boston, located at 306 Northern Ave., in the Seaport district, will become even more of a destination with the opening of the Harpoon Brewery and Beer Hall.
"We've always wanted to do a beer hall in the traditional way, where people come in and drink beer at long tables and be able to sit there and talk to each other and be social," said Rich Doyle, one of the founders of Harpoon. "I think it does it in a really nice way. We've spent a lot of time and effort on it."
Co-founder Dan Kenary said, "It's been something we've been thing about because there really is nothing like it out there. We were inspired by the trips to Europe and we loved the communal nature."
The Harpoon Beer Hall, which is located at the brewery, is scheduled to open early next month (the exact date is not available because they're still waiting for the final permits).
The hall is large, and it has seating for about 300 people, mostly all at long wooden tables with benches. There is also bar seating.
The beer hall will also feature 20 Harpoon beers and ciders on tap, as well as Harpoon root beer, ice tea and lemonade.
"One of our mission statements is to create a memorable brewery experience," said Kenary. "I think this really does that."
However, the beer hall will not be a full-service restaurant. The only food they will serve is freshly baked pretzels, made with the spent grain left over from the brewing process. There will also be several different dipping sauces available.
"We're not looking to compete with our customers (restaurants)," said Kenary. "We're more designed to have someone come in and have a couple of beers and a pretzel and then go down the street to some of the great restaurants that are in the area."
The beer hall will have a separate area that seats 60 for private functions. Even though the beer hall itself is not a restaurant, private parties can hire their own caterers to provide food.
Part of what will make it a memorable visit is a series of catwalks that people will be able to walk on above the brewery, so they can see what is going on, no matter how busy it is, Kenary said.
"We can put them above the production so they can grab a beer and take a tour," he said.
The catwalks will also lead to the current tasting area, where people will still be able to try samples of the different Harpoon beers.
There will also be a retail area where people can buy growlers of beer, as well as six-packs and cases, as well as other gear such as T-shirts and glasses, Doyle said.
The beer hall also offers two different views, depending on where you're sitting. One side will give you a view of downtown Boston. On the other side you will be able to watch Harpoon's kegging line and new canning machine in action, Doyle said.
"People who like beer and like beer culture will really like this," said Doyle. "We're really looking forward to people visiting us."
The beer hall will be open seven days a week.
Norman Miller is a MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News staff writer. Email email@example.com or call 508-626-3823. Check out the Beer Nut blog at blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/realbeernut or on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/beernutnorman.