“Do you mind if I take pictures?”
“No, take as many as you want,” Jared responded energetically. “If you aren’t supposed to take a picture of something we’ll let you know after you take it.”
On Wednesday, April 6, I took the trek from Boston College to Everett, MA to get a behind the scenes look at Bone Up Brewing Co., a new craft brewery from husband and wife team Jared and Liz Kiraly. After switching between two Ts and walking along Revere Beach Parkway, I finally made it to Bone Up. The parking lot was flooded and it looked like the snow had interrupted some construction on the loading dock, but after a forceful knock on the outer door I was greeted by Liz. Liz and Jared showed me their softly lit and beautifully constructed taproom. Although narrow, I could imagine the space as a comfortable escape–certainly as on the gloomy day that I had visited.
I followed Liz and Jared beyond the taproom and into the main brewing area. Again, the space was small, and still a work in progress, but the work that had been completed already hinted at the exciting potential. The shiny equipment and newly named fermentors (Lemmy, Glenn, Rev and Buzzo), made Bone Up feel very real.
“Is it just you two working here,” I asked.
“Yupp, just us,” Liz admitted.
“Well we’ve had help from family and friends,” Jared qualified. Both of their fathers had chipped in with constructing the space and moving some of the equipment. I asked about the building and Jared showed me a picture of what the interior used to look like; the transformation is incredible. Liz and Jared explained how when they first examined the space they noticed a knife sticking out of the ceiling. “We tried to throw it out but somehow it turned up again…there must be some weird energy here,” Liz told me, laughing. Mystical cutlery aside, the energy is definitely screaming craft beer and community.
I had asked Liz and Jared if there had been anything specific about Everett that brought them here. “Available space,” Jared joked.
Finding available space was only one part of the puzzle. Bone Up Brewing Co. launched a couple years ago but it had been an idea for Jared for a long time. The process of actually opening a craft brewery is an expensive, time-consuming and arduous one. There are miles of red tape to get through and things can move very slowly. I got the sense that starting a brewery is really just waiting on someone else. Liz and Jared can essentially see the finish line but can’t give a hard date for when they’ll be open for business. The best I could get was a potential “3-4 months,” but even that is a tricky schedule. Nonetheless, the excitement hasn’t waned and Jared and Liz are itching to open.
Jared and Liz are originally from Connecticut but have been calling Boston home for some time. Jared has been homebrewing for about thirteen years, with a stint at Harpoon Brewery. Liz has been joining Jared in homebrewing for about three years but her area of expertise is in graphic art and design; she is responsible for building the brand and creating the awesome artwork. Still, the collaboration between both the brewing and the branding is obvious.
After chatting for a little bit we journeyed down the street to Bone Up’s neighbor for a beer: Night Shift Brewing Co. (Hey! We’ve had their beer on the podcast here and here). I was curious, perhaps a little cautious, about Bone Up being just down the street from Night Shift. The craft beer market, as it grows, becomes pretty competitive, but Liz and Jared didn’t seem too worried.
“We think we can coexist here.” Jared confirmed, “We’re doing things differently enough that it won’t be a problem.”
“And the nice thing about it is: if the line is too long at Night Shift, just grab a drink with us,” Liz added, quite accurately.
Jared even called the street a little alcoholic hub, “There’s a distillery between us and Night Shift! You should check them out.” (I later found out that the distillery is called Short Path and I certainly need to stop by on my next trip to Night Shift and/or Bone Up.)
After clarifying that the three alcohol vendors could happily cohabit the same street, I asked if there were any partnerships or collaborative ideas in the works. After thinking for a beat, Liz and Jared said there wasn’t anything definite, “but they’re definitely happy with us as a neighbor!”
“This is just an idea right now,” Jared said, “but I’d love if we could do some sort of block party with music, food trucks and alcohol.” I excitedly agreed that that would be an awesome event.
“So, where did you come up with Bone Up?” Liz and Jared explained that they had come up with the image of a skull some time ago and had originally settled on a different name, but found that it was being used.
“After some creative brainstorming,” Liz told me, “we came up with Bone Up. It means to really learn about something and we’re all about education and accessibility. We can talk for craft beer for hours!” So, we did!
After talking about Bone Up for some time, Liz and Jared asked about my own craft beer experience. I’m sure they were curious that someone so young had the gall to start a podcast. No, but they were curious about what led me here! So, I described my experience abroad in Amsterdam and how I’ve felt a strong connection to craft beer.
“I’m trying to find my place in the community at large,” I admitted, “and I think starting a podcast is a good place for now.”
“So is this just a hobby or do you think you can turn this into something,” Liz later asked.
“No, I want this to be something,” I answered with a laugh.
Liz and Jared shared some tips about breaking out of the insular, college community I’ve had on the podcast, thus far. They asked me how college students feel about craft beer and I said that there’s plenty of exposure, but not a lot of passion necessarily. Still, the fact that craft beer is essentially ubiquitous is a good sign. They also suggested incorporating more education into episodes. I expressed my difficulties in finding the right balance between craft beer nerds and the layman, a space that Liz and Jared agreed is useful to explore.
Towards the end of the night we started talking about a common ground: music. Jared and Liz, as their fermentors intimated, are big fans of metal and I think they were surprised to hear, as I was dressed in a pink oxford shirt, blue Brooks Brothers crewneck and corduroys, “I used to be really into metal!”
“Used to be?”
“Well, I still listen to it but not nearly as much.” As Liz and Jared began their listing bands and I listed mine, the age gap appeared; but, it faded in our mutual appreciation for metal and beer.
“Can I expect any live shows at Bone Up?”
Liz’s eyes lit up, “I would love to! I don’t think we’d have the space…”
After settling our tabs we wished each other a good night and I thanked them for the chance to chat. Suddenly a podcast that I host in my dorm room seemed like it could be doing something cool. I turned with a smile and realized that I’d have to walk about a mile back to the T stop. “We need a shuttle to get people from the T to here,” Jared had joked earlier. “Yes we do,” I thought as I trudged along Revere Beach Parkway. Still, I was giddy at the chance to have chatted with such cool people and look forward to the opening of Bone Up!