Mystic Brewery announces the addition of Alastair Hewitt
Chelsea, MA — One of Boston’s newest breweries has acquired one of the most decorated home-brewers in New England. Alastair Hewitt, 2008 New England Home-brewer of the Year and winner of the 2009 Master Championship of Amateur Brewing, is joining Mystic Brewery in Chelsea, MA.
Hewitt brings with him over twelve years of home-brewing experience along with 140 home-brewing medals, including six best of show wins.
In talking with both Hewitt and Mystic Co-Founder Bryan Greenhagen, Ph.D., about the decision, the overwhelming sentiments that were continually given are perfect timing and impeccable fit.
“I first met Brian and James at the Boston Wort Processors meeting in January,” said Hewitt. “The brought some samples and discussed their plans. I was very impressed and decided to sign up for the Founder’s Club on the web site. After that, Brian contacted me about further involvement.”
“I had been thinking of doing my own nano-brewery project but, in the end, the numbers didn’t make a lot of sense. One alternative was getting involved with one of the new start-up breweries, so the timing worked out well.”
Talking about the addition of Alastair to the Mystic Brewery team, Greenhagen echoed a similar feeling.
“We started talking to Alastair from a common interest in recipe development. It was clear from the first taste of one of his beers that he was going beyond making good beer and into the realm of virtuosity. He has a rare combination of both technical mastery and a knack for experimentation. And, I knew when I saw him at the BJCP exam that he was serious about good beer.”
In addition to his capacity as co-owner, Alastair will also be tackling the challenges of new recipe creation.
“I’ve been providing some feedback on the current recipes and discussing some other recipe ideas. The flagship Saison is not well suited for draft, so there’s some room for something like a Pale Ale/Bitter. One thing I’ve been working on is a beer similar to DeRanke XX Bitter.”
Regarding the same, Greenhagen talked about how he sees Alastair folding into the mix.
“We are very interested in really honing our recipes and shooting for that something else that sets great beers apart. However, we are spread thin. I want to focus on yeast development and scaling up recipes. James, our founding brewer, is soon to be consumed with production of the first beers. James and I will continue to work on new beers together but Alastair stepping in and assisting with recipe development comes at just about the perfect time.”
The addition of Hewitt brings yet another heavily experienced brewer into the mix, which fits right in with Greenhagen’s organizational philosophy.
“One strong influence on Mystic is AleSmith of San Diego. Like AleSmith, I have wanted a lot of brewing knowledge in-house. Even our graphic designer is an award winning home-brewer. With James, my wife, Emily and myself, we have brewing research knowledge and pro brewing experience but now, with one of the best home-brewers in New England involved, I hope we can really make a contribution to the art of brewing here in metro Boston.”
Finally, Hewitt shared his vision for the brewery throughout its first years in production.
“I think at this stage the main focus is to get the Saison established. Installing a brew house and developing a serving area for the public would be a couple of priorities.”
For more information on the brewery, and their beers, visit http://www.mystic-brewery.com/
About the Mystic team:
James Nicholson: Founding Brewer, James is a professional brewer with experience at Capitol City Brewing Co (Arlington, VA) and internships at Sly Fox Brewing Co. (Pheonixville, PA) and Braurei Maerkel (Freudenberg, Germany). He can be reached for comment at 617.733.0626 or email@example.com.
Alastair Hewitt: Alastair is joining Mystic as a co-owner. He has been home-brewing for 12 years and has won 140 home-brewing medals and is a six time overall best of show winner. He earned New England Home-Brewer of the Year in 2008 for most contest points earned in the region. He has also reached a #1 ranking home-brewer in the US as the overall winner at the 2009 Master Championship of Amateur Brewing. He can be reached for comment at 617 957 4506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryan Greenhagen, PhD.: Founder, Bryan, has been home-brewing for 14 years and researched fermentation methods prior to starting Mystic Brewery. His Ph.D. centered on the biological mechanisms by which agricultural plant species make flavors and aroma. Bryan’s wife and Co-Founder, Emily Greenhagen is also a fermentation researcher.
The Brewery: Mystic Brewery is set up more like a winery than a brewery. We source the best ingredients we can find, rent time at regional breweries to process the ingredients to “wort” and then bring that to Chelsea to make the beer. That’s why we often call our brewery a ‘fermentorium’. This allows us to focus on the the all important, but often under-appreciated, fermentation processes that make not only alcohol but many other factors in the flavor, aroma and overall character of the beer. Overall, we have put all our resources towards fermentation, aging, and proper packaging of the beer. The net result is that this enabling us to concentrate on pre-industrial/Belgian styles of beer.
Mystic packages also packages in the traditional way, using all natural methods to produce carbonation in the bottle via. a second ‘re-fermentation’ in the bottle.
Location: Mystic Brewery is located in the center of metro Boston on Admiral’s Hill in Chelsea, MA.
The Beer: Mystic Brewery’s beer harkens back to time before real distinctions between wine-making and brewing existed. Until the modern era, you simply made whatever you could from the surrounding environment. Until yeast was discovered. ingredients appeared to mystically transform into beer under the right circumstances and in the right seemingly sacred vessels. Our first release, Mystic Saison, is an homage to one of the great remaining examples of this approach, the Belgian Saison.
Photos courtesy of Mystic Brewery