This weekend I visited Gardner Ale House and met the brewer Dave Richardson. He gave me a tour of the brew pub and allowed me to interview him. Below is a quick recap.
The Gardner Ale House has been open for 7 years. Before that, Dave worked for Redhook. It was there that he learned new brewing techniques and more specifically, learned the benefits of process control.
Gardner is in the western part of Massachusetts and isn’t a particularly large city. Give the location of the brew pub, I naturally asked Dave what business was like. “People thought we were crazy when we decided to open up here,” he said. Business has been great, silencing any skeptics. The Ale House is still the only brewpub in the greater Leominster area, which is part of why the business continues to grow.
Don’t expect to see Gardner Ale House beers in your local store; the brew-pub is maxed out on capacity due to in-house demand to the tune of 550 barrels a year. Furthermore, the cost overhead associated with bottling isn’t something that the Ale House wants to take on, never mind the fact that there isn’t room for a bottling system.
Dave describes himself as a “traditionalist” when it comes to the beer recipes he creates. As such, you won’t find many brews with exotic ingredients.
I had lunch at the brewpub (delicious food, great menu) and tried a couple of beers: Face off Double IPA and the Vienna Lager.
Face Off, a 9.1% Imperial IPA was REALLY good. It was well balanced with malt flavors battling out in my mouth with earthy hoppy flavors. There was a lot of floral and pine flavors.
The Vienna Lager was not my favorite. I was expecting a lot more malt, but instead was getting some strong earthiness. The beer won a gold medal at the 2012 Great International Beer Festival, so maybe this batch was “off”, or maybe my palette is the culprit.
You can read more about all of Gardner Ale House beers on their website.
Many thanks to Dave for hosting me, spending some time with me and for showing me around!