On Tap: Larger Brewers Think Small to Keep Innovation Flowing

The R&D lab where Long Trail brewers perform their experiments is inside a drafty old farmhouse about a five-minute walk from the main brewery in Bridgewater.

It is an unpretentious little facility and the brewers like it that way.

“This is about as free form as it can get,” said Brandon Mayes, a Long Trail brewer. “Any ideas that the guys have, they should be free to pursue.”

The “pilot facility” was a small white room where four stainless steel kettles sat on burners, and bags of grain were stored nearby in the barn. Head brewer Dave Hartmann was standing inside with his colleague, Sam Clemens, who was hand-cranking a mill filled with malted barley.

On this particular Tuesday, Clemens and Hartmann were making two different batches of beer. One was a wheat IPA. The other was a black walnut dunkelweizen.

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