Remnant Brewing’s soon-to-be taproom is a bit chaotic right now. The Somerville space is still very much an active work site, with workers drifting in and out as they take measurements and consult blueprints. Concrete is poured in, and most of the drywall is up, but the brewery — and the forthcoming Bow Market as a whole, where Remnant Brewing will reside — is still very much a skeleton of what’s to come.
The work ahead doesn’t seem to bother Remnant cofounders Joel Prickett and David Kushner as they walk the space, excitedly chatting about tactics with their team while machinery buzzes behind them. Slowly but surely, their brewery and vision is coming together, and it won’t be too much longer before brewing operations begin.
“On a perfect night, someone is grabbing food from the marketplace, having a couple of beers, having an espresso, and heading up[stairs] to the comedy club to watch a show,” Kushner says. “You’ll have access to all of these things.”
Remnant Brewing is just a part of the whole package when it comes to Union Square’s Bow Market, but after all is said and done, it will be the largest business there. At around 3,000 square feet, with another 1,000 outside in a biergarten, Remnant will be able to host around 180 drinkers. And once the seven-barrel brewing system is installed, the team plans to offer around eight house beers on draft at a time.
“Our goal is to really work with the Bow Market community,” Kushner says. “We’re going to be a 100 percent on-site consumption brewery; we have no plans for distribution. We want people to come and experience the brewery and be able to sit by their neighbors.”
The Remnant team brings a breadth of experiences to the table with their brewery, including Kushner’s tenure at John Harvard’s Brewery, cofounder Joel Prickett’s stint at Lord Hobo, and head brewer Charlie Cummings’ time at Mystic Brewery. They’ve been around the block before, and because of that, they’re wary to jump the gun on an opening date just yet. But right now, they believe Remnant is on track to finish construction before anything else in the market, so their plan is to have everything lined up and ready to go.
“Even if we’re completely built out, there’s a chance that the marketplace isn’t ready,” says manager Brittany Lajoie. “We’re not really anticipating that, but if it were to happen, we could still get a temporary [permit] to operate.”
When finished, the brewery will be cut into three primary sections: an entry bar that will also function as a full-service coffee shop, a second bar and taproom area, and an outdoor biergarten. Remnant’s entire brewhouse will be visible from that second bar area, with no windows or barriers separating the action within. In theory, one could arrive in the early afternoon and enjoy a pint while watching (and smelling) the entire brewing team at work.
Remnant won’t have any in-house food, instead encouraging patrons to bring in their own grub, preferably from a Bow Market establishment like Jaju Pierogi or Saus. The team also plans to host a slew of events in the space, including outdoor movie nights and the occasional private party.
The coffee component of Remnant’s space also aims to be open all day (yes, open to close) to serve espressos, cortados, and other Barrington-based coffee products. At a time when many local breweries are championing their dual-concept approach to business, such a partnership seems like the way to go.
The name Remnant is no accident either: The Remnant team is not only pulling upon the history of Union Square for the brewery but from surrounding structures as well. Parts of the brewery’s biergarten will include granite from the Longfellow Bridge and wood from a World War II-era factory in Hingham.
That remnant mantra also translates to the beer. Cummings says his beers will revolve around styles and techniques that were initially “discarded or ignored early in the craft brewing movement.” Those approaches may sound familiar now: barrel-aging, loads of hops, wild yeasts, and all-around hazy beers.
“I want to stick to what I can really do well,” he says. “That means New England-style IPAs, pale ales, sour beers, and session beers. I want to be known as the brewery that puts our best foot forward and really focuses on what we do well, rather than do one of every style.”
Remnant also plans to brew beers using the Solera approach, a process that involves leaving a small amount of beer in a barrel or tank to then splice with a fresh batch of beer. That little bit of old beer left over — conveniently called a “remnant” — is mixed with a fresh batch of beer to add depth and complexity to the finished product. Cummings is still mulling over how exactly he wants to execute this tactic on his beer list, but he says to anticipate an eclectic range of styles.
Unfortunately, drinkers will have to wait until Remnant debuts to sip through that final list. Right now, the team has no plans to pop up or tease beers around town prior to opening. There are also no current plans to offer beer to go in any capacity.
“We want the first experience of our beer to be curated,” Prickett says.
Even though Remnant wants to keep its beer close to the source, a lot of cool potential could surface once the entire market debuts. Would the brewery offer kegs to neighboring Bow Market businesses? Finesse a way to let drinkers mingle from place to place with pint in hand? Both are definitely on the minds of the Remnant Brewing crew as they creep toward the finish line. But for now, they’re focused on making sure everything coalesces smoothly and that their best beer list is ready for day one.
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 each week, featuring profiles of both classic breweries and soon-to-open ones, reports on local beer trends, and more.