As the weather heats up, it’s a busy season for booze news: There’s an endless parade of beer gardens and other outdoor drinking opportunities popping up around Greater Boston, and the cocktail bar scene in and near Boston has been particularly hot in recent weeks. Things are getting interesting a bit farther outside of the city, too. Read on for two brand new spots to check out over Memorial Day weekend — a double taproom/cocktail bar/wine room/restaurant in Burlington and a sake brewery and taproom in Medfield.
75 Middlesex Tpke., Burlington (adjacent to the new lifestyle center space at the Burlington Mall)
The recently opened Common Craft has just about everything: two taprooms, a cocktail bar, a wine room, a kitchen, and a bottle shop. It’s a collaboration among several local booze brands — Salem’s Deacon Giles Distillery, Malden’s Idle Hands Craft Ales, and Brattleboro, Vermont’s Hermit Thrush Brewery, which focuses entirely on sour beers. (The wine room, dubbed Élevage, features a global variety of boutique producers selected by local importer and distributor Vineyard Road.)
What visitors will find:
- The cocktail bar: Meant to have “speakeasy” vibes, the Deacon Giles section of Common Craft offers cozy seating and a cocktail list featuring the distillery’s gin, rums, and vodka. There are classic cocktails, like a Negroni, amaro spritz, and Hemingway daiquiri, and some “fresh from the lab” creations, like the Shai Hulud — rum infused with chai from local coffee roaster Fazenda, plus vanilla, lemon, tamarind, and Aztec chocolate bitters.
- The Idle Hands taproom: The popular Malden brewery draws inspiration from Belgian and German beers and is pouring a lot of its favorite brews at its new Burlington taproom, including the maibock Bluma, the tropical variety of its kettle-aged sour series Kill Your Idles, Abbey-style tripel Triplication, and lots more. Watch for Oktoberfest and other events, special releases, and more. Flights available.
- The Hermit Thrush taproom: sours galore, fermented with wild mixed culture yeast from the brewery’s hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont. Watch for brews like the Windham Flora, a coolship; selections from a series of fruited kettle sours; a gin-barrel sour saison; and more. Flights available.
- The wine room: Élevage features a variety of wines from around the world, selected by Massachusetts-based importer and distributor Vineyard Road, with an eye toward small, artisanal producers. The current featured winery is G.D. Vajra from Barolo, Italy, and there are some selections from elsewhere available as well.
- The kitchen: Available throughout the whole space, Common Craft’s menu includes plenty of booze-friendly snacks and meals like pepperoni meatballs, poutine, burgers, fish tacos, chicken and waffles, and lots more. Some items feature ingredients from Common Craft’s brands. Food’s not an afterthought here: Common Craft founder Larry Leibowitz is also behind popular Salem restaurants Bambolina and Kokeshi.
- The bottle shop: retail beer and wine, as well as souvenirs, from the featured brands, including some exclusive releases specific to this location. This isn’t open yet; watch for it in June.
Common Craft is currently operating from 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. (kitchen closes at 10 p.m.) Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (kitchen closes at 10 p.m.) Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (kitchen closes at 9 p.m.) Sunday. No reservations. Well-behaved dogs are welcome on the patio, which will be home to live music and a variety of other events.
120 N. Meadows Rd., Medfield
From founder Todd Bellomy — previously the brewer and cofounder of Waltham-based sake brand Dovetail Sake, which shut down a few years back — comes a new sake brewery and taproom, the only one of its kind in the region. It opens May 28.
The mission: “to make the best, local, minimally processed, hand-made, delicious sake possible.” As Bellomy has previously said, Farthest Star will create a variety of filtered and cloudy sake styles to serve in the taproom and to distribute, but experimentation and education will also be on the menu, with a variety of events, small-batch releases of lesser-known styles, and more. Longterm goals mentioned in a 2020 crowd-investment campaign also include the production of shochu; brewing sake-influenced beers offsite; creating carbonated, rice-based, non-alcoholic beverages; and more.
To start, though, opening weekend will have a draft-only low-key lineup of a few namazake (unpasteurized) sakes — “unfiltered but delicious!” — and some small-batch experiments, as well as Japanese packaged snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and plenty of Farthest Star merch.
Farthest Star will be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 28, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 29; stay tuned for updates going forward. No dogs.