For Tim’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, I got him a brewing session at Hopster’s Brew and Boards in Newton. For my Boston craft beer loving friends, this place is a must try.

Hopsters Brew and Boards[Source]

You can choose to brew your own beer, but you can also opt to just hang out and order food and drinks if you’re not feeling the whole brewing thing. They have a ton of craft beers available, and I have a funny feeling Hopster’s will become a go to place for us.

Hopsters Brew and Boards

Here’s a rundown of how the brewing process works:

First, we chose what kind of beer we wanted to brew. The staff provided us with a recipe book that we read through. They have everything from stouts to pale ales to wheats to IPAs. This was a hard choice for Tim and I to make because our taste in beer can be pretty different, but eventually we decided on the Irish red ale. Depending on the type of beer you pick, the pricing comes in at either $150, $200, or $230. This might seem a little pricy, but the price includes your own concierge brew master to help you along the way, all the ingredients you will need, all your bottles, customized labels, and three cases of your own hand crafted beer. When you think about what you would spend on three cases of beer anyways, I don’t think the price is unreasonable since the experience, assistance, and supplies are all included as well.

Next we gathered our ingredients, which were listed on the recipe that they let us take right out of the recipe book. My favorite part about the ingredients was that they are all farm to table bottle. Love that! Tim and I took turns measuring everything out.

Hopsters Brews and Boards

We then got to work with the help of our brew master to combine malt, hops, and specialty grains.

Hopsters Brew and Boards

In the middle of the session, we had to wait for our combined mixture to boil. We hung around our kettle so we could keep an eye on it, but we were able to sit back and order food while we waited. Hopster’s menu highlights include ploughman’s boards (charcuterie meats served with jams, breads, etc.), cheese boards, and flatbreads. They have a few different snack items and sandwiches too.

Hopsters Brews and Boards

I do wish the menu had a few healthier options to offer, but I’m never one to turn down cheese or a flatbread so it wasn’t a huge deal. Tim and I ended up ordering one of the cheese boards while we waited for our wort to boil.

Hopster's Brew and Boards

Here’s us hanging around our brew:

Hopster's Brews and Boards

After about an hour, we cooled the wort to room temperature in the heat exchanger and then added yeast. This started the fermentation process, and Hopster’s housed our brew in an air locked container for a couple of weeks until it was ready for bottling. We hung out for a little longer after we were done adding the yeast, and we ordered another beer and a flatbread. It was a great day!

Hopster's Brew and Boards

Last night we went back for our bottling session. They had our beer ready for us, and when we got there they showed us how to do the bottling process. It was pretty easy, but we had a lot of bottles to go through (3 cases, remember?!). We ordered a beer and a pretzel to enjoy while bottling. I would say the bottling process took about 90 minutes, but it just depends on how fast or slow you decide you want to go.

Hopster's Brews and Boards: Bottling

Again, I recommend that my local readers check this place out or give a gift certificate to a beer lover in your life. I loved the hands on experience, beer selection, and atmosphere, so I think you guys will too. Plus, it makes for a great date day or night that’s different from your typical dinner and a movie.

–Let’s chat–
Have you ever heard of or been to Hopster’s before? Non Boston readers, do you have any places like this around you? Have you ever tried brewing your own beer? What’s your favorite kind of craft beer?

I’m a sucker for hefeweizens!