From locally roasted specialty coffee to handcrafted spirits, Hingham is home to serious drink innovation. Here are a few of the new sips you’ll find on tap and in glasses this year.By Kelly Chase | Photography by Kjeld Mahoney
NITRO BREW BY REDEYE COFFEE ROASTERS
At the counter, Bob Weeks, owner of Redeye Coffee Roasters, pulls down a handle releasing nitro brew into a curved glass. The liquid settles like a Guinness with a thin, foamy layer covering the dark coffee below. “One customer just commented that it tastes like coffee ice cream,” says Weeks. The nitro brew is cold-brew coffee with nitrogen, which adds effervescence and a creamy taste.
It took Weeks a few trials to identify the perfect combination of coffees for Redeye Roasters’ nitro brew. Currently, he is using Columbian El Chimbo, a bean with rich chocolate notes. “We always change up our coffee,” he says. “I like to experiment with different coffees and find ones with pleasant notes.” Weeks is used to experimenting. He started Redeye Roasters following a passion back in 2006. After selling first to friends and family, he began selling wholesale to local stores such as the Fruit Centers, Whole Foods Market in Hingham and other specialty retail stores. The dream of a brick-and-mortar location came true when the current waterfront location on Otis Street became available.
The nitro-brew drinking process is like an art form, which is one reason the coffee is only served in-house in a glass. “I kind of wanted to make it special, so it’s served in a special glass,” says Weeks. When you’re able to enjoy a high-quality coffee crafted with care in a harborfront coffee shop that also feels special. “It has always been about the coffee and when I come up with something different, and people sit here and enjoy it and talk about it, that makes me happy.”
Redeye Coffee Roasters
3 Otis St., Hingham
LOOSE LEAF TEA BY MULANJE TEA IMPORTS
In the south of Malawi, Africa, Mulanje is surrounded by mountains and is home to many of the country’s tea estates. In 2015, while visiting his wife Nasha’s family, Hingham native Finn Merrill, saw an opportunity there. “The village is surrounded by tea estates and the area has some of the most fertile soil on the planet,” he says.
Merrill wanted to introduce this high-quality African product to the United States market. He began working with Satemwa Tea Estate, a family operation since 1923. Merrill imports the loose leaf tea into the United States, packages it in Massachusetts and sells to local distributors, including Fruit Centers in Hingham and Milton, as well as online. He has plans to sell tea bags in the future and also expand his operation and work with tea estates in other parts of Africa, including Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa.
Mulanje Tea Imports works with fair trade-certified growers and tea varieties include green, black and white oolong teas. After receiving his MBA from Babson College, Merrill was the entrepreneur-in-residence at Alcoa Corporation, but he recently left that job to pursue Mulanje Tea Imports full time. “I’ve realized I am happiest as an entrepreneur,” he says. “Making the jump was scary but energizing, because it’s on you to make it work. Also, sometimes people aren’t entirely on board with you if you don’t have both feet in, so that’s what I’ve done and we’ve had some decent success so far.”
Mulanje Tea Imports
THERAPY SESSION IPA BY ENTITLED BEER COMPANY
“In the craft industry, everyone wants great quality. People want to have two to three beers and they want them to be great, so that’s been our business strategy to make sure the quality is there first and foremost,” says Entitled Beer Company’s cofounder Jim Hodgdon. “We don’t need to be a huge company—of course, we want to grow—but we want a great product and we really want people to be happy with what they are drinking.”
Entitled has a new brew out this summer, Therapy Session IPA (4.5% ABV). The beer joins the flagship IPA (7.2% ABV), Artie’s Belgian Style Ale (10% ABV) and Wit and Wisdom White Ale (5.2% ABV) on the shelf. “We wanted to create a new beer with less alcohol that still has great flavors,” says Hodgdon. Due to the lower alcohol content in session-style beers, one is said “to be able to have a few in a session.” “This beer is very drinkable,” he adds. “It’s a great summer style.”
Entitled Beer Company is run by Hodgdon, Brian Barry, Chris Jule, Chris Sugrue and Wes Baltzer, all of Eat Well. Inc., which operates Tosca, Caffé Tosca and Stars on Hingham Harbor, and at all three locations Entitled beers are on tap. While the beer company doesn’t have an official tasting room, the brewing takes places inside Dorchester Brewing Company, where it’s brewed on demand. “The beer that you see out for purchase is the freshest beer you’ll get,” Hodgdon says. “We brew when we want to brew, so if you don’t see it in stores, it’s because we’re out.”
Entitled Beer Company
GIN BY BRADFORD DISTILLERY
Bradford Distillery’s operation begins and ends locally. Starting with potatoes grown in Hatfield for the vodka and rosehips picked in Cohasset for the gin, the Hingham-based operation’s distilling process occurs in a warehouse in the Hingham Industrial Park.
Bradford Distillery’s vodka was ranked seventh out of 450 candidates in the San Francisco International Spirits Contest. Bradford’s new gin received a bronze medal from the same competition. Bradford Distillery owner Brad Selland worked with Chris Lincoln of Alma Nove on the gin recipe. “There are plenty of honey-based gins out there, and we thought we should make something different,’” says Selland. “Once roses are in bloom, I’ll go to people’s houses to pick some more.”
Similar to the craft beer movement, distilling operations have seen a recent resurgence. “Microdistilleries are on the rise and as an industry, we are on a higher trajectory than that of the local beer movement,” says Selland, whose operation is one of 30 in the state. “People love to support local (products) and they love to buy things that are made right in their community. There’s a passion that comes from people making their own stuff because they do it for the love of it, not to make money.”
The distillery’s tasting room is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 4-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday Night Flights feature a local bartender creating six different gin and vodka concoctions as well as appetizers. “We use all local people. It’s very much, ‘you help me, I help you,’ here—and it’s a lot of fun,” says Selland.
3 Pond Park Road, Hingham