“Salem is and always has been an industrial city” stated Notch Brewery’s founder Chris Lohring during our morning chat. He continues with the confidence only a third generation Salem native can, “People comment on why it can’t have more charm, but it is and always has been industrial.” I started to look around me at the newly designed industrialized space at Notch Brewery and Tap Room and noticed; freshly poured cement floors, science lab grade counter tops, double height ceilings with zero sound absorption (for those ‘beer hall acoustics’), a glass garage door that opens to a river front Biergarten – and just like that I even got it. Me, the protector of all things ‘New England and chahming’, started to see it.
As he was talking images popped in my mind – industrialization, coal mining, forged steel, abstract as a way of life, pragmatic, expert in trade, that’s the energy found in Salem and in Professional Brewer Lohring himself. Not surprisingly, that is also why his beloved session beer ever came to be:
(Session beer), a worker’s beer, where refreshment and taste went hand in hand. It slaked the thirst of laborers while they plowed the fields, mined for coal, fired the blast furnace and forged steel. When water was tainted, session beer saved civilization. It’s 4.5% ABV and lower, difficult to brew and a pleasure to drink. – Notchbrewery.com
Lohring became passionate long ago about making session beer more accessible here in the US. A professional brewer since ’93, Lohring attended the Siebel Institute of Technology’s Professional Brewing school to learn all that chemistry beer making know how (beer making = serious science.) This past summer he finally found a home for his six year tried and tested Notch Beer and it is located at 283R Derby St., (behind Waters and Brown or where you used to park for The Grapevine.)
So nestle right up to a 100-year-old, custom made, pine picnic table and help yourself to a session beer along with a soft pretzel (a casual, communal helpy-selfy atmosphere is encouraged). Lohring just asks one thing, just relax like you would in any other stalwart, German beer hall.
Cheers and Enjoy,
*Note to self – Notch Brewery skee ball league on Wednesdays.