By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
When Bent Water Brewery announced their intentions to become the first craft brewers in Lynn a few months ago, many people were surprised, some seemed skeptical and still more were just eager to see the brewer start operating.
To those in the latter category, Bent Water is now in operation, the first batch of beer from the new label is in the fermenting tanks and they are still aiming for a mid-to late January opening at the former Lynn Lumber site on Commercial Street.
Bent Water managing partners Aaron Reames, Chris Crawford and Michael Shaughnessy were on site at the fledgling brewery Monday night, where they offered a short tour of their brewery and tasting room, which is still under some construction, and shared news about their progress.
According to Reames, the company’s first batch is in the fermentation tanks now and is undergoing fermenting and conditioning.
“We essentially had the brewery built out in 16 days,” noted Reames. “On November 2 there was nothing but cement floors in this space and last week we had enough built out to start brewing.”
“Our first brew is our introduction beer, it is called Viskiss, it is a pale ale and is intended to introduce our beers to people across the area,” added Shaughnessy. “It is a traditional Pacific Northwest style Pale Ale.”
If all goes according to plan, Bent Water is hoping to be able to open its bar area to the public sometime in mid-January. An actual date hasn’t been set yet, partly because there are still variables in play such as the final permitting by the state and federal governments, as well as local permits that still need to be issued before the brewery can open and serve customers.
That said, the partners and their investors in New York, New Jersey and Atlanta, recognize that last week’s start to brewing operations represents a very large milestone in the establishment of this new brand.
Crawford said the brewery is still planning on a business model that relies on self-distribution and sales, and the brewery includes its own canning machine.
“We plan to start distribution locally, to local area stores, take care of our own backyard, while we grow.”
Though the brewery is functioning and some beer is already in the tanks, there is still a lot to do. Reames and his partners noted that the day to day operations are being handled by Master Brewer John Strom and the company is planning to hire another master brewer to assist Strom. In the meantime, the brewery set-up and build out were handled in part through consultation and the assistance of brewers and consultants from around the country.