Previously, I’d covered the Everett Beer Trail. Admittedly, that trail is short consisting of just two breweries – Night Shift and Idle Hands – located next to each other in a funky warehouse space off gritty Rt. 99. The Chelsea Beer Trail is even shorter – a single brewery, Mystic, literally in the shadow of the Tobin Bridge. Until recently, Mystic Brewery didn’t have a tasting room. Now that the tasting room has been opened, it was time to visit. I got there just as a tour was about to begin and signed on. The tour costs $6 and includes a souvenir Mystic goblet. It was a great afternoon. Bryan Greenhagen, founder of the brewery, was our emcee for the tour of Mystic’s “fermentorium”. Mystic doesn’t have a brew house but uses the facilities at Pioneer Brewing Co. in Sturbridge for initial brewing. After brewing, the beers are loaded into the brewery’s square fermenters and trucked to Chelsea. Fermentation – with mainly house-cultivated yeasts – and conditioning is then done at the Chelsea site. When I first became acquainted with Mystic at the 2nd Hyper Local Brewfest last June, it was their totally geeky attitude towards “stinking microbes” that intrigued me. (Biographical note – my culinary passion is fermentation, i.e. yeasts.) Bryan talks well and thoroughly covered Mystic’s approach to brewing; his mission – using the precise methods of Belgian brewers but creating unique brews.
After the tour, it was time to hit the tasting room where the flight is free. And what a flight! The line-up changes as new beers come online and older brews are retired. On my visit, there were nine selections from which to choose featuring both the brewery’s current saisons and specialty brews. Of course, I had to try all. The folks manning the taps are both friendly, generous and extremely knowledgeable about the day’s pours. This was a most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
The most popular beer on the day of my visit was “Mary of the Gael”, Mystic’s springtime saison. What attracted me most was the outstanding nose -intensely floral and honeyed. I brought a bottle home.
For information on tours and tasting, visit the website.
Mystic Brewery 174 Williams St. Chelsea MA