I’m sure you have experienced this; either you are trying to find a new beer to get out of your stagnant, go-to-beer slump, or you are just trying to “get into beer” and try something. Or if you are anything like my of my non-beer drinking friends, you may wonder where to get a beer that your snobby, yet sophisticated beer drinking friends will drink.
If you are in the Natick/ Wellesley area, 6 Worcester Road Natick , MA 01760 to be exact, Nine East Wine Emporium is definitely your home base for Craft beer! If it’s bitters or sours, darks or pales, seasonal brews or year round favorites, Nine East has it. They carry a wide variety of local crafts as well as imports.
It’s really not your huge chain “Liquor mall,” and at first glance it almost looks like a restaurant. With a name that primarily advertises wine, you might not expect to find beer either. However, if you pass this location, you may pass up a crisp and golden opportunity.
I discovered this wondrous beer haven last year while staying in Natick for an educational assembly. A few of us were heading back to our hotel after a nice dinner out, and we wanted to pick up some beverages to take back to our rooms, and homes. Specifically, I was hunting for Night Shift brews, and my friends and wife all wanted their wine.
After finally finding the place (note: do NOT use your iPhone’s map, it will always
send you in the wrong direction), we walked in and everyone made a beeline to the wine. I, on the other hand, ventured to the right and found what I came for, BEER.
Though not a massive selection, it is a well rounded selection with many to choose from. They have a section for rare items such as sours and even have a section for local Massachusetts brews. Needless to say, I was happy, and yes so was the rest of the group. I ended up picking up two Night Shift beers and two The Tap beers, one of which I was able to share with Chris. Thank you for the introduction Nine East!
Recently I went in to pick up some more local brews and when I came in I was greeted by the Craft Beer Specialist, Nathan Fessler. He was knowledgeable and more than willing to help me find a good selection. I could tell he knew his stuff and was ready to help me with any beer needs. Another great thing about Nine East is its location. They have some brews that are not sold in western Massachusetts, so if you are in the area stop in and peruse their selection. Ask for Nathan, and he will accommodate your request and point out their beer specialties.
As usual, The Barley Men would like to get you well acquainted with this Hidden Hop, but not just from our own experience. No, we want to introduce you to the expertise behind the name and introduce you to the specialist behind the beer. Below is our interview.
TBM: I noticed on your website there are no beers featured, is this because Craft beer is a newer addition?
Nathan: Our website is currently undergoing a long overdue update. Once our website is updated it will feature craft beer.
TBM: What made you want to serve Craft beer?
Nathan: Personally, I love craft beer and I am very passionate about it so I enjoy sharing my passion with other people. The fact that I get paid to do it is really an added bonus.
TBM: If only we got paid for our passions. Right on! So do you have any recommendations on beers to try and/or breweries to visit?
Nathan: Locally if you have not been to Jack’s Abby it is worth a visit plus it is only a few miles from our store. In the Boston Area Trillium Brewing makes amazing farmhouse ales and Night Shift brewing is always doing something interesting and their new tasting room just opened. If you want to make a trip, the Mythical Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro; VT really does have some of the best beers in the world.
TBM: I have to agree. Some of my top favorite beers are from VT. What’s your philosophy craft brewing and do you have any pet peeves?
Nathan: My philosophy in craft beer is to enjoy what you like and not let hype or popular opinion effect how you feel about a beer. Most beer is better when it is drank fresh so I am all about supporting local breweries. Personally I am willing to taste anything, if I don’t like it then that’s that but I understand no two palates are the same. My biggest pet peeve these days is that seasonal beers have started coming out earlier and easier and it is starting to get ridiculous.
TBM: Don’t get me started on Fads in the beer world. What makes your business stand out, regionally, locally, etc?
Nathan: Well very few stores have our level of selection for craft beer, fine wine and spirits without having a large warehouse feel. We also make an effort to serve our customers and make sure even if we do not have something in stock that we do our best to special order to get our customers what they want.
Well honestly, from the bottom of our aged barrels (just slightly bigger than our hearts) Kudos to Nathan and Nine East! Keep local strong, and we applaud your mission in sharing your passion. And thank you for taking the time to talk with us, can’t wait to visit again.
After reading this Hidden Hop review, you’re probably thirsty too. So make your way on down to Nine East, you won’t regret it.
~Nick @thebarleymen ^bmnick