Having taunted me for months with announcements and signage, Idle Hands Craft Ales finally opened their new taproom in Malden, MA on July 7, 2016. After being displaced from their original location by casino developers and finding a temporary home with Night Shift Brewing last year, they once again have a place of their own, offering samples and full pours of their beers and even a little bit of food as well.
Their new home is a renovated commercial lot just outside the downtown area, conveniently located next to a Kappy’s just in case you need even more provisions after leaving the brewery. Stepping inside, you enter a rectangular room where an open floor space has five medium-sized benches stretched out in front of a sizeable bar area. Visible through a window behind the bar is the brewing floor, through which tanks of beer and brewers going about their business as you drink the end result of their efforts. The serving area may not be the largest that I have seen, but it does make excellent use of the space giving it an open yet cozy feeling. A very inviting space in which to have a few drinks.
As for the beer, they had six pouring at the time of my visit and I was able to sample five.Fortunately for me, all of the offerings were of the lower ABV variety so I was able to do my share of enjoying and not have to worry about being out of practice. Starting things off were two baseball themed IPAs, Two Seam and Change Up #1. A 4.5% session IPA,Two Seam poured a coppery amber body and had an enjoyable light fruity bitterness characterized by orange zest and pine. Change Up was a 5.4% IPA and is the first in what will be a line of rotating IPA recipes. It had a bready malt backbone and a moderate piney grapefruit bitterness. I liked both, but would give Change Up the slight edge. For my third beer I sampled a 4.9% Belgian wit called Blanche de Grace. It poured a cloudy pale yellow body and had a nice mellow wheaty taste backed up by subdued peppercorns and a mix of orange and lemon zest. This isn’t always my ideal flavor combination, but I found the subtleness of the taste refreshing. I rounded out my flight with a blonde Belgian ale called Patriarch. Checking in at 4.8%, it offered a light blend of Belgian yeast, pepper, and cloves upfront with a sweet malt finish. It was well made, but taste-wise this one just wasn’t really my thing. I finished out my day with a recommendation from the bartender, a 5.5% kellerbier called Emelyn. Sweet malts abounded in this beer, with hints of toasted malt and a very mild amount of bitterness lurking in the background. This was an excellent beer to end on and would call it my co-favorite of the day along with Change Up.
I definitely enjoyed my first trip to the new taproom. My first impression is that they have the start of a great thing going here and I can’t wait to see how the brewery grows into its new space. Best of all, it’s pretty much right down the street!