Microbrewery could be coming to Bow

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 08-29-2023 3:26 PM

When Dan Thomas and his wife, Kelly moved to Bow two years ago, they felt something was missing in town: a place to eat or drink.

Currently, the town’s sole dining option is Chen Yang Li, a Chinese restaurant.

To fill the void and with Thomas’ love for craft beer, the couple decided to open a microbrewery on 516 South Street, adjacent to the Chinese eatery.

“We love the town,” said Thomas. “But the one thing that we wish we had were more places to go which led us to bring in a brewery to Bow.”

If approved, the brewery’s construction is planned in two phases.

The first phase envisions an outdoor beer garden with picnic tables and leisure games like cornhole and horseshoes, with a spring launch planned for next year. Beers would be served from a modified shipping container located on the property.

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Following that, the second phase includes a full brewery experience with a tasting room, wood-fired pizza and pub-style snacks. He hopes to open the brewery in the summer of 2025.

Thomas set his sights on launching in Bow when Hoptimystic Brewery, a microbrewery in Springfield, decided to put their business up for sale after closing last November.

He knew one of the owners, and his love for the brewery’s craft beer, particularly the “Hot Blonde,” added an extra layer of appeal to the venture.

So Thomas decided to take over the establishment to bring their beers back to their customers.

Apart from procuring the company itself, Thomas also secured ownership of their recipes and assets with the intention of shifting everything to Bow, where he wants to carry on the brewery’s legacy.

Bill Waddle, one of the owners, will be brewing for Thomas’ new venture.

“We’re gonna keep the original brand, so it’s gonna stay Hoptimystic,” said Thomas. “We’ll keep the consistency of the quality beer that Hoptimystic is known for.”

While the overall project was well received by the town’s planning board, there were concerns regarding the available parking spaces. Around 20 parking spots were designated in the initial plan. 

At a recent planning board meeting, Don Berube, Jr., chairperson of the planning board said, “When I looked at your plans the biggest concern I have is it doesn’t seem like you have many parking spaces and I’d hope that you’d be busier than 20 spots, especially when you get your employees and handicap spots. We wouldn’t want to see people trying to park on the street and the neighbors talking about it.”

Another concern is the availability and quality of water. 

According to Thomas, the microbrewery will use a five-barrel system, with each barrel holding 31 gallons. This would require at least 155 gallons of water for brewing, plus another 155 gallons for cleaning. Beers will be brewed a few times a week.

The property Thomas acquired for his microbrewery includes both an artesian well and a dug well. Additionally, there is a dilapidated single-family home on the property that he plans to demolish.

“That [water] definitely is a concern for us,” said Thomas as he is still working on figuring out the best source for the brewery. “We are looking at our water needs and what our options are, but it’s certainly a consideration for us.”

This is a concern shared not only by Thomas but also by abutters, according to Karri Makinen, the community development director.

The beers will be brewed in Hoptimystic’s Springfield site until the brewing operations in Bow are set up.

As engineers are preparing a site plan to receive approval from the planning board in the next few months, Thomas said the project has received an encouraging response from the community.

“Some folks are sad to see it [the brewery] leave Springfield, but I think overall, we felt a strong sense of community support so far with what we’ve had to share,” said Thomas.

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