- November 6, 2017
- March 8, 2017
Aeronaut Brewing Co.
Q&A: Jeff Pond of Area Four
Night Shift Brewing
At 8 p.m. on a Friday night there’s already a line to get into Aeronaut Brewing Co., and a live brass band playing TLC’s “No Scrubs” can be heard from outside the door. Fortunately that line moves fast, and thanks to strict capacity codes you’ll have plenty of room to circulate without spilling that saison.
It’s strange: Even if you’ve never been here before, Aeronaut feels familiar. Inspired patrons bust a move or mingle at tables high and low. The quirky decor makes for homey vibes (look up and you’ll spot lawn chairs with balloons hanging from 25-foot-high steel rafters). First-timers shouldn’t shy away from knowledgeable bartenders’ guidance, but the indecisive are free to order a flight with a sampling of four varieties. Can’t find a seat in the front taproom? The spacious backroom has plenty of picnic tables to settle in with your crew and play a game if you’re so inclined.
By this point, it’ll be clear that “laid-back” is the defining characteristic of Aeronaut’s vibe, and that was definitely the goal for Ronn Friedlander, Ben Holmes, and Dan Rassi—three buddies who started it all with a home-brewing project back in late 2013. The trio combined their life savings to fund the dream, finally launching the brewery out of a historic former envelope factory in early summer 2014, part of a wave of craft brewers setting up shop in Somerville for the first time in more than a century. The company has an eye on developing the community, too: Half the space consists of the Food Hub, a bevy of other like-minded businesses (Somerville Chocolate, Gâte Comme des Filles, and Tasting Counter).
While Aeronaut itself lacks a food license, Tasting Counter offers $5 late-night bites on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and catering company Compliments is often on site to serve nosh. But the big focus here, of course, is the brews. The ever-changing tap list consists of 7 to 12 varieties at any given time—check the website to see what’s currently available.
You’ll typically find some form of Dr. Nandu, Aeronaut’s flagship IPA and the first beer the team ever brewed. A Year With Dr. Nandu, which celebrates the beer’s one-year anniversary, balances ultra-fruity Mosaic hops with bitter, floral Centennial hops. Lydia’s Black Heart is a sweet, malt-forward black IPA that goes down dangerously smooth. And the thirst-quenching Hop Hop and Away bursts with notes of juicy tropical and citrus fruits. Our top pick, particularly when warming up on a frigid Boston winter night, is the Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. It’s a surefire hit for coffee lovers, featuring hints of rich cocoa without being overly sweet (and at 8.9 percent ABV, it’s bound to give you a good buzz for your buck). Luckily, if you happen to fall for any of the brews at Aeronaut, you can buy them in cans or growlers to take home.
It’s not just the suds people trek out to Somerville for, though. There’s never a dull moment at Aeronaut, and if you scope the calendar, you’ll find a slew of events on an almost daily basis. There’s the Board Game Bonanza on the second and fourth Mondays of every month and live band karaoke on the first and third, Trivia Tuesdays, BYO folk and bluegrass picnics every Sunday, and a variety of other special happenings—like grown-up story-time, Vinyasa yoga class, and even a lightsaber-building bash. Yeah, you heard us right.