The space is new, but the beer is not. Idle Hands Craft Ales Opens its bigger, better, and brand new brewing space in Malden today after many months of construction, preparation, and brewing.
"This project has been in the works for so long," founder Chris Tkach told Eater on Wednesday during the brewery’s soft opening at 89 Commercial St. Idle Hands hosted friends and family at the brewery the night before to celebrate the hard work to get to this point, and Tkach said now was the time to decompress before the rest of the work begins — construction may be done, but the task of running the brewery is certainly not.
"Now it’s just a different list," Tkach said.
During construction, Idle Hands did a small amount of tenant brewing at Night Shift in Everett. Both breweries were previously located next to each other on Charlton Street in Everett, but they were forced to change locations due to the impending Wynn casino build.
Since Idle Hands did not have a full brewing schedule, Tkach said there was "certainly a lot of free time for me to pay attention to the buildout" of the Malden space.
The goal was to keep things on track as much as possible and to build a larger, more permanent brewing space than Idle Hands had in Everett, about which Tkach said, "it was very much a grassroots, cobbled together type of brewery." The Malden space was more thought-out and geared to be long-lasting. "There were things that we didn’t skimp on," Tkach said.
There were definitely some struggles, as with any building project, and Idle Hands didn’t get its certificate of occupancy until 40 minutes before opening for friends and family, Tkach said. Still, the trouble was worth it for the expansive space, which features seating for 60, a full bar, and functioning bathrooms (an improvement over the old bathroom situation), not to mention a 15-barrel brewing system, which Tkach estimates gives Idle Hands a 25-percent larger brewing capacity.
Idle Hands is bringing back some of its classic Belgian-style ales and adding some new hoppy beers that Tkach said seem to be driving the industry. The brewery is also getting rid of growlers and moving to the increasingly popular crowler, or 32-ounce can. It will likely begin retail sales of beer within the next couple weeks. Idle Hands brings in food from Mystic Station and will look to partner with food trucks in the future.
Tkach said having a taproom that is their own and created in their own vision makes all the difference. "That was a key thing when we were looking for a new location," he said — having a place to call home that provides the space to present the Idle Hands brand and beer.