For years, a run-down schoolhouse in Scituate has served little more purpose than to store equipment and commodities for the town’s residents. School hasn’t been in session there for quite some time; instead, pet food, bales of hay, and even stray hoses for the local fire department have been stocked in the abandoned classroom. But come this fall, the building will begin its next life as the South Shore’s newest brewery and taproom, Untold Brewing.
It’s been quite a work in progress to get to this point, says Untold Brewing co-founder and marketing director Kristin Greene. Construction began last November, but since the schoolhouse was built in 1852, a lot of renovation and reclamation was needed to keep it intact. For Greene, as well as co-founders and brewers Matt Elder and Kyle Hansen, paying homage to the original building and its historical significance to the community was a must. More than a place to set down roots, Scituate is also home for siblings Elder and Greene.
“We grew up here,” Greene says. “Our parents are still here, and I live nearby. We knew we wanted to be on the South Shore of Massachusetts; it just felt like it was meant to be. It really came together when we found the land.”
If all goes well, Untold Brewing will brew its inaugural batches in early September and be ready to hoist pints in a family-friendly taproom by October. A few utilities still need to be installed, and construction is still underway, but the schoolhouse is looking more like a drinking space than the setting for a math lesson.
Once up and running, Untold will be the only brewery in Scituate. In fact, it will be the only area brewery for a number of neighboring towns. And since it’s an easy five-minute walk from the Greenbush MBTA station on the commuter rail, commuters and city dwellers won’t have issues making it out for a beer.
The finished schoolhouse-made-taproom will sport wood benches polished by a local woodworker, long communal tables, and some scattered high-top seating. Many salvaged aspects of the schoolhouse will also be integrated into the final floor plan, such as the school’s original chalkboard, which has been restored to be a blank canvas for kids. With the help of some protective casing, of course.
“It’s so old, our landlord thinks it would probably just crumble if anyone actually wrote on it,” Greene says.
The 875-square-foot schoolhouse is a notable aspect to Untold’s space, but it’s really just a place to drink. All of the brewery’s 15-barrel operation, including fermentors and even the draft system, will reside in a 4,200-square-foot complex nearby. The two buildings will be connected by a breezeway, so drinkers can mosey between them. There will also be a patio area for when the weather allows for outdoor shenanigans.
Untold hopes to crank out seven ales right out of the gate, pulling from recipes Elder and Hansen have polished over the past year. The brewers met while working at Georgetown Brewing in Seattle. Due to that tenure, the two admit that their recipes lean a bit more West Coast than East, but there’s always room to embrace the hazy goodness and terroir that have enveloped the Atlantic brewing scene.
“Matt and I cut our teeth with production brewing out in the Northwest, so that’s where our experience lies,” Hansen says. “That’s something we’re comfortable with, but that’s not to say some of the things we want to try aren’t East Coast. But I think there will always be that kind of Northwest bend in our foundation.”
Beer names for the starting lineup aren’t squared away just yet — Elder says they have a list two miles long brimming with ideas — but Untold is planning to debut with a few IPAs and pale ales, with some seasonal stuff not far behind. The team expects to devote half of the taproom’s 12 lines to their core beers.
“With the other six, [we want] to really play around,” Elder says. “We have some ideas about things we want to try — things we’ve brewed in the past, or we want to spin off — and just have some fun. That’s the best part about brewing.”
Operations at Untold will start as draft-only, but Elder says that the brewery will self-distribute a few of its beers farther down the line. Rather than have an in-house canning line, Untold will call on the services of mobile canning juggernaut Iron Heart to spread its flagships across the South Shore and Boston area. Beers will also be available to go from the taproom in growlers and crowlers, Elder says. There won’t be any in-house grub to go along with those drinks for now, but the team does plan to host food trucks and various pop-ups throughout the year.
Untold’s name comes from a poem by Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Soon, after months of waiting, scheming, and careful restoration, the co-founders are poised to share their story with the South Shore.
“[The schoolhouse] has had multiple uses over the years, but we’re hoping it stays a brewery and taproom for a long time now,” Elder says.
This story is part of Beer & Mortar, a series in which Eater Boston contributor Alex Wilking explores the brewery scene in Boston and beyond. Stay tuned for new installments twice a month, featuring a mix of old classics and brand new additions.