Navigation Brewing Company
122 Western Ave., Lowell
By Vintage V
There’s a lot to like about Lowell, especially it’s fledgling nano brewery, Navigation Brewing Company. Not even two years old and already working on a taproom in their expanded brewery space, cofounders Bob Johnson and PJ Mercier have a good thing going. Astute Lowell beer drinkers have noticed, reliably packing the place during the brewery’s limited hours: Thursdays 4:00 to 9:00, and the first Saturday of each month (noon to 4:00) in conjunction with their Western Ave location’s Open Studios, home to the largest artist community on the Eastern Seaboard. If your schedule permits, check out the studio’s Spring Art Thing event this Saturday, May 7th, then hang out at the brewery and enjoy some of their hand crafted ales.
Johnson, the head brewer, keeps his loyal following satisfied with an impressive array of styles, including unusual limited batch offerings such as an Altbier, a Kottbusser, and a wonderfully smoky Gruit that I enjoyed on International Gruit Day back in February. His 2016 Belgian Ale series, released every few months, will include a session, a Blond, a Dubbel, and a Strong Ale. Pretty impressive for a former home brewer who previously brewed out of a repurposed garage and still holds down a day job.
Ambitious future plans for Navigation include installing half a dozen tap lines for the new tap room (the grand opening is Thursday, May 12), scheduling a regular slate of food trucks for an outdoor beer garden, and partnering with its artist neighbors for everything from glassware and flight paddles to furniture and wall hangings. Active on social media (you can follow Navigation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), Mercier, the brewery’s chief marketer, recently told Howl Magazine, “We want to make Lowell a beer destination.” With their pouring license weeks just away, and a massive Citra hopped double IPA to be released for their 2nd anniversary on May 7th, we think they’re off to a great start.
Photos courtesy of Navigation Brewing.