It’s been about three weeks since Down the Road opened its doors in Everett. For many, the November opening was overdue: After contract brewing for two-ish years and distributing large shipments of beer across the Boston area, the company had finally set roots somewhere. ‘Bout time.
Knowing expectations were high, the brewery went all out with its debut: an arcade gallery decked out with 12 machines, a sprawling 35-foot bar, and a dedicated parking lot. Down the Road’s space is big — 2,500 square feet big — and its crew is happy to flaunt such.
“The taproom we imagined from the get-go is the taproom we created, which we’re really happy about,” says Alex Weaver, marketing director for Down the Road.
There’s a decent chance, if reading this, that you’ve already spent a quality night or two at the brewery. But Down the Road still has much behind the curtain and much to grow into. The Everett space is a cast, and founder Donovan Bailey’s next move is to finish filling it in.
The first step toward doing that, of course, is by brewing more beer. Down the Road already has around 15 beers on tap, such as Golden City, a New England-style IPA, and Wolfgeist, a dunkel lager. Weaver says that the catalog will continue to grow and feature a variety of styles, including an upcoming hot chocolate porter called the Wicked Wintah.
“We’re not going to be that taproom [where] there are 10 IPAs and one pale ale,” Weaver says. “We’ve got witbiers, browns, and Kölsches; we really run the gamut.”
Before building up that roster, Down the Road’s next big goal is to relocate all of its brewing operations to Everett. Since the brand began as a contract brewery in 2015, it has made the majority of its beer at facilities like Dorchester Brewing Company in Boston and Brewmasters Brewing Services in Williamsburg, which is in Western Massachusetts. Down the Road still brews quite a bit at those spots but anticipates all brewing operations to be under one roof within the next few months.
“In a lot of ways, we kind of came about from the opposite approach that most craft breweries do,” Weaver says. “If you’re starting out now, you have a few recipes you know are great, and you serve your local beer to a community out of a taproom. We’ve cultivated a big base of people and accounts who like the beer, and now we’re anchoring the whole company to a taproom.”
A few upcoming additions, like an in-house canning line and some last-minute equipment to complement the 30-barrel brewhouse, will soon give the brewery all it needs to become self-sustaining. Once everything is settled — hopefully by this winter, Weaver notes — the company will begin offering tours of the brewery to see operations in action. If all goes according to plan, it’ll be a busy environment to ogle at: Weaver says the brewery is on pace to do 4,500 barrels in its first year, and the team has every intention of eventually doubling that.
A local cider producer could also be thrown into that mix. It’s been previously reported by outlets like BostInno that Everett-based Artifact Cider might partner with Down the Road to tap its cider. Weaver was unable to comment on the status of such a partnership at this time, but it’s an exciting prospect to consider.
Not all the action is taking place behind the veil, either. One of Down the Road’s big draws is an arcade gallery of 12 machines, spanning coveted games like Judge Dredd and Star Trek to classics like pinball. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the brewery has a few extra machines stashed away in its offices. Weaver says the team plans to occasionally rotate those games out to keep things fresh and hopes to host a few events and gaming competitions in the coming weeks.
“We’ve already had some people show up, put $20 in the token machine, and spend an afternoon playing,” Weaver says. “The beer is almost a bonus — they came to play pinball.”
Whether the allure is beer, business, or gaming, Down the Road has cultivated a space it hopes will become a local hotspot. But even though the taproom’s doors are open, and many beer drinkers are already sated, the pieces are still coming together. Those additions will inevitably mean more beer, though, which alone is worth keeping tabs on.
This story is part of Beer & Mortar, a series in which Eater Boston contributor Alex Wilking explores the beer scene in Boston and beyond. Stay tuned for new installments twice a month, featuring a mix of old classics and brand new additions.