What’s T-accessible, chock full of beer, launching this week, and 70 degrees all over? If you said “Craft Beer Cellar in Newton,” fire up a chicken dinner because you are CORRECT.
I got a sneak peek at the latest CBC location before Wednesday’s grand opening, and it is a craft lover’s paradise; we’re talking bottle-friendly UV filtered windows, custom-made bourbon barrel shelving, 3,000 square feet of temperature-controlled storage space, a dedicated teaching classroom, and level 1 Cicerone certified staff. We’re also talking nearly 1,000 beers (be still my liver).
Proprietor Brian Shaw gave me a comprehensive tour around the store as he explained why we should all be extremely excited about this new addition to the Boston craft scene. Here are a few of my favorite things:
– CBC Newton can order from a single distributor as often as two times a week, allowing them to buy in small amounts, keeping stocked beer fresh.
– There’s a whole wall of New England beers, with three sections devoted to Massachusetts.
– Second Glass founders/Brian’s pals Tyler Balliet and Morgan First will be helping to curate the 50-60 wines CBCN carries.
– Shelves are arranged by geography and alphabetized for easy browsing, with a nod to Newton’s Jewish community in the form of a kosher beverage section.
– You can purchase neat gifts, such as Hopbox homebrewing kits, glassware, and beer-based hot sauce.
What’s most appealing, though, is Brian’s mission to make experts and novices alike feel welcome. He emphasized that this is a place for beer geeks, not snobs: “My biggest hope is that people walk in and they go ‘Wow, this space is really special.’ I want people that are not new to beer to appreciate the selection, and craft beer newbies to feel welcome when they come in the door. It’s so important for us to have friendly staff, and why we have classrooms – to help educate the public.”
This distinction speaks to the core of Craft Beer Cellar’s philosophy. When co-owners Suzanne Schalow and Kate Baker, whom the staff affectionately refers to as “the girls,” opened the first CBC in 2010, their goals were simple: have fun, deliver great service, and spread the love of small-batch beer. Much like its Belmont cousin, Newton Centre shows every indication of following that path.
The grand opening kicked off in style with tastings from Left Hand, Oskar Blues, and Peak Organic. The hits will keep on coming every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with scheduled samples by Long Trail, Slumbrew, and Mayflower. You can find out who’s showing up when via Facebook, Twitter, the chalkboard above the checkout counter, and the CBC Newton website. If there’s one thing that’ll get me on the green line, it’s a craft store staffed by stellar people who want to pour me beer, so I’ll see you there.