Updated: Sep 17, 2019
When we're traveling, we’ll often meet up with friends, both old & new, that suggest restaurants/breweries that they love. As we were making our way through Worcester, we stopped by our good friends' Scott & Donna (Erb/Dufault Photography) who gave us a couple of leads. One place that was on both our lists, was the newly opened Redemption Rock Brewing Co. - Sweet! Let's mosey on over! This place was bumpin'! Walking up to the brewery, there were people outside soaking up the last drops of summer on Redemption's little rock-lined patio, relaxing in brightly colored Adirondack chairs enjoying a brewski. Ohhh.. bright colors! (we love bright colors) And who doesn't? One look around this space and immediately, the guests feel happy to be here—and how could you not? The whole space makes you feel like you're in an art gallery. The building itself used to be a Coca-Cola manufacturing plant, giving that industrial feel to the space; high exposed ceilings with air ducts & wires snaking throughout, garage bay doors, large windows, and concrete floors. When the brewery moved in they added their artistic flair, with brightly tiled walls, painted brick walls, and possibly the most eye-catching mural I've seen, filling an entire wall. The whole space is divided into two large rooms. The main room is where you'll first enter, with the bar straight ahead, and their little merchandise store right on the left. Considering that they just opened at the beginning of the year, Redemption Rock pretty much had their own little boutique. Tons of cool logoed t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, glasses, gadgets and much more. The other room (with the mural) I can only describe as an indoor picnic knoll, complete with picnic tables, giant lawn games, large screen projector, and astroturf. Yes, astroturf. This is the first brewery I've seen with an indoor lawn, and it's the coolest thing ever. The space as a whole is simply mesmerizing, the artistic atmosphere was right up our alley (hehe...) There was even a local artist painting in the space (phill.in.lebanc). He had a whole set up with lights, different sized brushes, and tubes of acrylic paint all lined up. While he worked, you could look through his other work, and even buy a print of your own. With a beer in one hand, a paintbrush in the other, what better way to work? To a couple of artists like ourselves, it was nice to see that Redemption Rock helped promote fine artists. Although we work in a digital world, there's nothing better than a true painting made from the heart.
Now, the beers here at Redemption Rock are refined, concise and moreover, they give back to the community. Oh, and did I mention the beers are delicious? If we're doing a blog post on a brewery, you can bet the beers are going to be delicious. We went through the list and MAN, these beers are delightfully unique. Their 'Yass, Honey' peach & honey saison (and I don't know about you, but I can't read this beer without saying 'YAAASSS' in my head), was impeccable. I wouldn't classify this beer as 'sweet', it had very simple flavors to it that I, quite enjoyed. And it was the perfect beer for this time of year! The peachy notes came forward on the nose (peach season!) but not without a hint of honey. As I drank, flavors of banana, clove, and wildflower crossed my palette. I closed my eyes and instantly I was frolicking through a meadow. Weird, right? Well, picture yourself on a sunny afternoon in early September. A nice cool breeze rolls through, the sun is warm on your skin, and a symphony of crickets fill the late summer air as you sip on this peachy keen beer—pure paradise. If one sip of beer can transport me to another world, you just know that's a good beer. Now, this beer isn't only powerfully delicious, but it's also supporting a great cause that we both believe in. Yass, Honey is the official beer of Worcester Pride in 2019, that was released the beginning of September! Pretty cool Redemption Rock, pretty cool.
All of the beers we had were unbelievable; their Hefeweizen, Petite Saison, I even love their IPAs, but I need to highlight their Oktoberfest. I'm a sucker for a good, fall drinking Oktoberfest—this one is off the charts! Not to mention, they called it Thackery Binx. Now all you 90s movie fans out there should know where this name comes from—Hocus Pocus (one of my favorite movies of all time, I was even going to name my cat Binx...). Even our friend Scott, pointed out the name and tried to see if he could stump us. Honestly, I don't think I've ever spent a Halloween season, NOT watching Hocus Pocus at least once! So for a couple of millennials like us, that grew up in the 90s (with a bus interior to prove it), we fully appreciated the name. And moreover, Redemption Rock achieved an Oktoberfest that, to me, matched my expectations from being named after my favorite character, in my favorite movie. Now, I don't like a heavy finish on my Oktoberfests. Sometimes I think breweries go a little too full-bodied, like its a porter or something. Traditionally, Oktoberfest begins in the last week of September, a time where there's still plenty of bright sunny days (sometimes it can be downright hot). I don't want a dark heavy Oktoberfest that tastes like it's jumping ahead to winter already (like any true New Englander, you don't want to let go of summer). No, Redemption Rock's Oktoberfest gently introduces fall to your tastebuds. Delicious flavors of toasted fresh bread, right out of the oven, and caramel. What says fall more than a caramel apple? But what Redemption Rock did perfectly was to highlight all the 'heavy spicy flavors' that come with fall, and lightened it up with a nice clean, crisp finish— reminding you, it's not winter yet, so enjoy these last few sips of warm weather while you can.
Now, there's a couple of other aspects about Redemption Rock that needs to be highlighted. Not only do they have amazing beer, but they serve the most unbelievable coffee, including nitro cold brew, and pour over! We met Sean Woods, a very respected chef/bar manager of Deadhorse Hill Restaurant, who said: "they have great coffee, without that stuffy coffee house feeling—the best coffee in Worcester." Redemption Rock serves a wide variety of cafe fares, including drip coffee (light or dark roast) Pour over, french press, nitro, organic hot teas, shandies, kombucha (low ABV), and rotating baked goods from Worcester's Crust Artisan Bakeshop. But one of the most significant aspects of Redemption Rock Brewing is their charitable work. They did something a little outside of the box to help other charities and non-profits... TIPPING! If you 'tip' at Redemption Rock, it doesn't go to the employees. Each month they pick a charity that they donate all the tips they get at the brewery for that month. On their blog they write: "We decided early on in our brewery's planning days that we wanted to do away with tipping because tipping sucks. Tipping is often volatile and arbitrary, and that sucks for both employees who depend on tips to make a living, as well as customers who have to deal with the many factors and pressures that go into making a tipping decision." It's so true! Before starting this blog, all me & Chris did was live off tips. It would be much better if a restaurant would pay their employees a living wage rather than have them rely on the generosity of strangers to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the tipping culture is so ingrained in our society. It's changed from an optional way to thank someone for their service, to an added expected expense that you can't avoid. We love what Redemption Rock is doing here, really changing the game. Especially since tipping is so ingrained in us, even if we know we don't need to tip...it still feels kinda weird not to, right? So what a better way to give back to the community than by throwing down a couple of bucks when you get a beer? Not to mention a better way of living for the consumer and the employee? We love it.
Redemption Rock also plays host to a variety of events and artist performances. Every Monday Redemption hosts board game nights, where you can play one of their 70+ board games, or even bring your own family game night favorite! On Thursdays, they've partnered with Geeks Who Drink, for a trivia night every week. Play in teams and test your knowledge with trivia questions, while competing for prizes. Redemption Rock Brewing Co. is truly shaking things up. Unsatisfied with the old way of how a brewery runs, they've started at something wonderfully innovative. This atmosphere is friendly, trendy and generally an intoxicating environment to be in (and I'm not just talking about the beer). They thought of everything to make a comfortable, fun place for the consumer, that helps give back to their community. They even have separate containers for trash, recycle, and compost! I rarely see that in a brewery. It's just another example of their dedication to making the world a better place, one beer at a time. Coupled with their coffee lineup, snacks, and tremendous beer that transports me to 'my happy place?' , this place has it all. We hope Redemption Rock's business model is the beginning of a trend. One that will breathe new life and sustainability into the craft beer scene, and help make the world that much better. Any time you're in Worcester, check out Redemption Rock and see what they got brewing up next.
Starting this Saturday ( September 21st) is Worcester's very first Craft Beer Week! To start it off right, head to the Worcester Commons for The Great Mass Collab! Be the first to try special collaboration beers brewed by teams of Massachusetts breweries. This spectacular beer show will feature food trucks, yards games and more than 50 local breweries (including Redemption Rocking Brewing Co.). Tickets are $45 for general admission and $10 for designated drivers. General admission includes unlimited beer samples from participating breweries. What's better than a craft beer festival you say? How about a second celebratory Worcester Craft Beer event—on a roof! (Now who doesn't want to party on a garage roof overlooking the city—nobody, that's who). It's right after The Mass Brewers Guild's collab and will be featuring, you guessed it- craft beer! So make sure you head to Worcester's Craft Beer Week Kickoff Rooftop Party, this Saturday the 21st, from 6-10PM, at Union Station Garage Roof, 225 Franklin Street Worcester, MA. Support your local brewery and check it out!
More Pictures of Redemption Rock Brewing Co. below!
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