My wife and I have hit the phase in our lives where the idea of going out to an overpriced and overcrowded bar in order to ring in the New Year with a bunch of drunken strangers is far from appealing. The last few New Years have been spent sharing some quality beverages in the comfort of our home. Instead of the crowds at night we have started to do a New Years Eve lunch, find a fun spot and have a good afternoon meal with some of the money we saved staying in at night. This New Years we went over to Assembly Row in Somerville, the new hotspot for shopping and dining. As part of this mid-day trip I finally made it to the American Fresh Taproom, the beer garden opened by Somerville Brewing Company aka Slumbrew. The taproom was initially supposed to open in the late summer, but there were a series of issues with special ordered building materials that delayed the opening. It is very accessible between on site parking and the new Assembly Station MBTA stop on the orange line.
The American Fresh Taproom is designed as an open air beer garden, but during the winter months the side flaps come down and it is a heated tent. We were there on a particularly chilly afternoon and were quite comfortable under the tent. They serve a selection of food from charcuterie and snacks to sandwiches. The atmosphere is very casual, that afternoon there were a number of families with younger children enjoying food and drinks as well as a group of people playing Jenga. There were a number of posters in the tent advertising events ranging from afternoon meet-ups for stay at home moms and dads to trivia nights. It is clear that the taproom is meant to be welcoming to all, a great philosophy in a big shopping area that includes family destinations like LEGOLAND.
All of the beers available at American Fresh Taproom are brewed by Slumbrew, from their flagships like Happy Sol and Porter Square Porter to seasonals like Attic and Eaves and Yankee Swap. They also have Assembly Row Ale, a tap-room only selection, which was the beer I chose to try. Assembly Row Ale is a Double IPA that drinks smooth for 9.2% ABV and packs some great hop flavor and bitterness. This beer alone is worth the trip out to the taproom, next visit I may grab a growler and do a full review. This is one of the most unique local taprooms, I love the idea of an open-air beer garden, and Slumbrew really pulled off their vision. I can’t wait to go back this spring/summer when the weather gets warm!