Get Belgian farmhouse style beers here at this Easthampton brewery

  • Abandoned Building Brewery owner and head brewer Matt Tarlecki pours beer in the tasting room. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Abandoned Building Brewery’s 2,700-square-foot tasting room features a variety of artwork, overturned cable spools that have been transformed into tables. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Abandoned Building Brewery offers Belgian farmhouse style beers, which are unique to this area. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Abandoned Building Brewery offers their brew by the keg. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Abandoned Building Brewery owner and head brewer Matt Tarlecki inside the tasting room. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Published: 7/19/2017 5:05:07 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Inside Abandoned Building Brewery’s 2,700-square-foot tasting room around the back of Easthampton’s “The Brickyard” mill building on Pleasant Street, art covers the walls, chairs circle overturned cable spools transformed into tables, and taps pour fresh brews fermented in stainless steel vats.

“I was trying to look for a space that fit the name,” said owner and head brewer Matt Tarlecki on Monday, seated in the tap room. Tarlecki, originally from Philadelphia, worked as a civil engineer for a few years before moving to the region and becoming a full-time brewer about four years ago. Brewing was a hobby Tarlecki picked up in college.

Abandoned Building Brewery is known for its strong focus on crafting Belgian farmhouse style beers.

“No one else from western Massachusetts focuses on that category of beer. They’re really fun to make because you can get away with things you can’t get away with in hoppy beers,” Tarlecki said.

“We use traditional European ingredients, malts and hops, and traditional yeast. That’s key. You get spicy characteristics, lemon; they’re really interesting beers. They’re not hoppy, not very bitter, and usually have a light color. Generally, in the five to seven alcohol content range. There’s a light, crisp characteristic to them.”

Another interesting beer made at the brewery, which was the first in Easthampton, is the “Hydra” — a pale ale made with rotating, unique hops each batch.

“Every time we brew, we keep the base the same but use a different combination of hops,” Tarlecki explained. This summer’s special is the “Blue Barn,” a seven percent session with “a little more spiciness.”

“We are, you could call us, a production brewery,” he said. Each week, four or five beers are produced consistently throughout the year. “From the production side of things, we want our beer to taste the same every time.”

The brewery, established in 2013, opened its doors a year later in 2014 — at the height of Pioneer Valley’s craft beer movement, which has since exploded in popularity.

“We came in right when the bubble started to grow. In the last four years, a lot more breweries have opened up, especially in the western Massachusetts area. It’s started to flourish as a craft beer destination,” Tarlecki said, noting efforts by a few local nonprofit organizations — including those behind “Western Mass. Beer Week” — to promote the industry for tourists coming into the region.

The micro brewery’s space certainly fits its name — a rustic marriage of foregone industrialization typical to the region and modern comfort, with high timber frame ceilings, brick walls and lounge chairs.

According to the brewery’s website, the building’s previous tenant “was a plastic bag manufacturer who vacated the space and left it in shambles. Giant rolls of plastic, large pieces of equipment, and tons of odds-and-ends were stacked head-high throughout the space.”

Tarlecki himself completed the majority of renovations over about a year or so, including assembling a walk-in cooler, painting, refinishing the original hardwood floors, and installing a 15 barrel brewhouse with two 30 barrel fermenters and a 30 barrel bright tank.

“It’s almost like you’re at home, in a comfortable atmosphere, drinking beer,” Tarlecki said. On the walls hang a “no frills art gallery,” and a taproom policy allows patrons to bring their own food or order takeout. Every Wednesday, a yoga and beer session is held at 6:30 p.m., live music is frequently featured, and every other week is “food truck Friday” in the back parking lot.

Brewing has since been bolstered by two additional tanks, equaling a 30-percent production upgrade, and cold storage space has doubled. The brewery also recently started canning its beers, as opposed to bottles, which are now reserved for barrel-aged brews.

Abandoned Building Brewery’s brews are available for purchase at 4 Seasons Wine and Liquor in Hadley; Amy’s Place in Easthampton; Arizona Pizza Company in Lanesborough; Atkins Farm Country Market in Amherst; Backyard Bar and Grille in West Springfield; Big Y in Northampton and Greenfield; Champney’s Restaurant and Tavern in Deerfield; Connecticut River Liquors in Turners Falls; and Hope and Olive in Greenfield, among other places throughout the region.

Abandoned Building Brewery’s taproom is at 142 Pleasant St., in the back. Tasting room hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit: www.abandonedbuildingbrewery.com.




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