Boston, MA– If 2019 is to be celebrated as the Year of the Food Hall in Boston, no one bothered to tell the craft brew industry. With 26 breweries opening up in 2018 alone and another 24 pending, it’s been estimated by the end of the year the greater Boston area will host over 200 breweries. By comparison, the city of Munich—the storied Mecca for hops lovers—can only lay claim to a few dozen (although for the sake of fairness to our German friends, Bavarian purity laws do account for strict limitations. And on behalf of many a 40 ounce sunk in the parking lot of the Channel, I’d like to apologize that our city adopted a German name to market Private Stock malt liquor.)
Over ⅔ of the commercial breweries in the Commonwealth offer tap rooms for patrons, with several more currently filing for public licenses. Earlier this year, Framingham-based Jack’s Abby opened their Track Zero tap room in North Station and has apparently more than filled the gap left by its seven or eight nameless predecessors. Canton-based Trillium Brewing seems to be well on their way to establishing a veritable empire with the announcement of their third location in the Fenway scheduled for the late fall. And now, Jamaica Plain’s relative newcomer Turtle Swamp Brewing wants in on the tap room explosion.
Turtle Swamp is the product of Nicholas Walther and John Lincecum, two homebrewing enthusiasts and JP residents who launched the brewery in 2017. They noted that while Jamaica Plain once housed nearly 30 of Boston’s 31 breweries at the turn of the century, only one was still in production—Boston Beer Company’s flagship Samuel Adams Brewery.
“Good, clean running water is also ideal, historically (and today) for making beer, which is one reason why Jamaica Plain and the lower parts of Mission Hill once had at least 28 breweries,” Walther, a veteran of Harpoon Brewery and Brooklyn’s Chelsea Brewing Company, told the Jamaica Plain Gazette that year. “We felt we are only hearkening back to the historical days of Jamaica Plain as the original home of brewing in New England and America.”
The pair opened up their pop-up beer garden BierHalle in November of last year at the site of the former Roslindale Substation, which once housed the city’s public transit transformers. While BierHalle has been offering Turtle Swamp releases alongside food from local vendors for over six months, the owners plan on filing a petition to seek a zoning change from the city to allow the pop-up to function permanently, according to UniversalHub.
While the site is currently zoned for restaurant use, Turtle Swamp would need to seek a variance from the Roslindale Zoning Board of Approval to allow a permanently operating brewery. The substation formerly housed a seasonal winter beer garden from (not surprisingly) Trillium in December of last year.
Walther and Lincecum plan to hold a community meeting on site at the BierHalle on May 8th to address any public questions or concerns. If Turtle Swamp’s petition is successful, it would be the second brewpub to launch in Roslindale this year. Distraction Brewing Company is scheduled to open around the corner later this month, after a successful Kickstarter campaign which raised over $20,000 to date.
Turtle Swamp Brewing BierHalle is open in the Roslindale Substation, located at 4228 Washington St in Roslindale, Thursday - Friday from 4:00 pm - 11:00 pm, Saturdays from 12:00 pm - 11:00 pm and Sundays from 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm. For more information, visit https://turtleswampbrewing.com/