Beer lovers now have a location in Saugus to brew and bottle their own beer — without the hassle of cleaning up afterwards.
“Brew your beer here” is the slogan at Brew Zone, which Wakefield resident Jim Parece opened at 135 Broadway (Route 1 South) last fall.
Customers can choose from nearly 50 Brew Zone beer recipes. Parece has about 20 types of grains, 20 varieties of hops and 15 different yeasts on site.
Another option is for a person or group to bring in their own recipe or request a favorite type of beer. Parece recalled one instance when a customer asked for a German kolsch-style beer and he worked his contacts in the industry to find a suitable recipe.
Once a recipe is selected the staff at Brew Zone helps to prepare the ingredients so they are ready to go into one of the six stainless steel kettles in which the beer is made.
Under the watchful eye of Parece and several part-time employees, aspiring brewmasters add the ingredients at the right time, boil the batch and put in the yeast.
The entire process takes a little more than two hours, Parece explained. The finished product is then stored at Brew Zone for two weeks to allow it to ferment, at which time people come back to bottle the beer to take home to enjoy.
“After two weeks you have a batch that is ready to drink,” Parece said.
As an added bonus Brew Zone does all of the cleanup.
In each batch there is enough beer to fill six cases of 12 22-ounce bottles. The cost for a batch ranges from $185 to $235 depending on the recipe.
Parece encourages people to come down in small groups to split a batch if 72 bottles of beer seems a bit daunting.
First-time visitors need to buy reusable bottles from Brew Zone or bring in their own bottles. Staff will rinse and sanitize the bottles and bottle caps are included in the brewing experience.
Styles of beer available at Brew Zone include ales, browns, lagers, pale ales, pilsners, porters, reds, stouts and wheats.
IPAs are without a doubt the most popular choice at Brew Zone, Parece said. These selections include Sierra North West Pale Ale, Pizza Pale Ale, Dr. Jim’s Pale Ale, Royal Pale Ale, TLC Citrus IPA, Iron Town Pale Ale, Old Piney Double IPA, Brigands IPA, AA’s Ithaca Flower and The Boston Stone.
Brew Zone offers some original recipes and other recipes that are similar to beers on the market. One recipe, the Saugus Stout, is similar to a Guinness. The Nor’Easter Winter Brew is along the lines of a Sam Adams Winter lager.
Parece has seen all sorts of customers stop by Brew Zone. He’s helped groups of 20-somethings as well as families.
“This week we had our first repeat customers, which was nice,” Parece said.
Last Thursday, co-workers at NeuroLogica came down to brew some honey brown ale and a recipe they hoped would be close in taste to the wildly popular Heady Topper double IPA.
Samrat Baweja organized the trip after really liking the porter and IPA that his office cooked up during a visit to Brew Zone in December.
“I loved the beer,” Baweja said. “I think it’s great to have a place like this in the area where you can brew your own beer.”
Fellow NeuroLogica employee Dan Cheever was excited to see how the chosen recipes tasted. He also liked the camaraderie that the brewing experience offered.
“It’s a real team-building exercise for us,” Cheever remarked.
For Parece, who owns a starter/alternator shop in Melrose with his father, opening Brew Zone presented an opportunity to do something different while embracing a lifelong love of beer.
With the closest similar business about 40 miles away, Parece decided to launch Brew Zone so he could share his knowledge of brewing with the public.
In the near future Parece intends to offer customers the chance to make their own wine at Brew Zone. For now, he is trying to spread the word about his business and thus far he has been pleased with the quality of the beer being churned out of his kettles.
“I haven’t had a bad beer yet,” Parece said.
Brew Zone’s hours are Thursday from 5-9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Additional brewing sessions are available by appointment.
For more information on Brew Zone, including special events, call 781-231-2739 or go to https://www.brewzone.net/.