The custom con­crete bar at Slumbrew’s new Boynton Yards American Fresh Brewery and Taproom in Somerville is studded with 192 stars. Each star rep­re­sents one spe­cial person in the “Slumbassador” galaxy who helped Somerville Brewing Company co-owners Caitlin Jewell and Jeff Leiter get their dream of building their own brewery off the ground. Like, lit­er­ally, off the ground. They built the place, from the ground up, with their own hands and the help of nearly two hun­dred other folks over the course of the multi-year project, which trans­formed an empty ware­house into an open, airy, light-filled space in which to brew and serve amazing beers accom­pa­nied by deli­cious local foods.

Ask any beer enthu­siast and they’re bound to have tasted (and loved) some­thing from Slumbrew’s reper­toire. For years, Jeff was an active home brewer who enjoyed exper­i­menting with sea­sonal ingre­di­ents and dif­ferent methods with the same goal in mind: to make beers that he and Caitlin loved to drink. One of their most pop­ular beers, Happy Sol, started out as Caitlin’s annual Valentine’s Day treat, which she had to beg Jeff to pro­duce for public con­sump­tion. Afraid the blood orange hefeweizen wouldn’t appeal to a wide variety of beer drinkers, Jeff could not have been hap­pier to be proven wrong by Happy Sol’s tremen­dous suc­cess. I’ll admit it’s the first pour I asked for when I had a seat at their bar!
The reality of what Slumbrew was and could become was really brought home for Caitlin in one hum­bling moment atop a hill on a hot day in California. They had been instructed to climb this hill by the farmer they were meeting with to pro­cure a steady supply of blood oranges (one batch of Happy Sol requires the juice of 1,000 fruits!). Caitlin and Jeff, with a Slumbaby in tow, exhausted, sticky, and a little cranky, asked which trees were theirs. The farmer indi­cated that all the trees were theirs. As far as the eye could see, every single fruit would end up intheir beer. Pretty cool, right?

The phi­los­ophy of the American Fresh brand is to serve food and beer that are worthy of each other in quality and flavor, and local when­ever pos­sible. This is not your daddy’s brewpub! No burgers, no fries, and hold the side of heart­burn please! Caitlin and Jeff put so much careful con­sid­er­a­tion into their brews, but with the vari­ables involved in dis­trib­uting beer for mass con­sump­tion, including how it is stored and shipped once it leaves their loving hands, they don’t have as much con­trol as they might like to of what their con­sumers end up drinking. Their family-friendly atti­tude, eye for quality, and pas­sion for great food and beer come together to engi­neer a mem­o­rable and thor­oughly enjoy­able expe­ri­ence for their fans. When you’re enjoying a cold one, wouldn’t you rather it be accom­pa­nied by a char­cu­terie board packed with top-notch arti­sanal meats, cheeses, jam and Taza Chocolate, chosen just for you, than an order of restau­rant supply chicken fin­gers straight from the freezer bag? Whenever pos­sible, wouldn’t you prefer a Porter Square Porter braised pork sand­wich with Happy Sol bar­beque sauce to a side of plastic-flavored moz­zarella sticks whose only redeeming quality is that they come with salty mari­nara to cover up the crime against cui­sine they really are? I know I would, and as Caitlin, Jeff, and their team of Slumbassadors are demon­strating at their TWO Somerville loca­tions (Boynton Yards Taproom and Brewery, and their out­door Beer Garden at Assembly Row) lots of others would, too!

While beer for dis­tri­b­u­tion will still be made at Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich, with the addi­tion of the Brewery and Taproom Caitlin and Jeff finally have the one thing their brand has been lacking: a place to stretch its legs, call home, and get com­fort­able. Some of Jeff’s most lov­able brews started at home, in his spare time, when he was relaxed and focused on what he loves: beer and his family. Excited to exper­i­ment with sours, a barrel pro­gram, and a whole new way to inter­face with loyal fans of the brand, it’s safe to say the Slumbrew family is about to get a whole lot bigger, and the best is yet to come.