A Little Beer, A Little Weekend Fun

Before I get to the Picks of the Weekend, check out my latest piece over at Local In Season.  I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and talking beer and brewing with Michael Oxton and Mike O’Mara of Night Shift Brewing in Somerville.  They are more than ready for their close up, and – believe me – this beer will be hot stuff very soon.

In the Night Shift Kitchen
Features – Chefs and Restaurants
Written by Jane Ward

What would you call a gathering of 100 twenty-somethings and several kinds of beer held in a bare bones kitchen on the second floor of a Ball Square, Somerville duplex?  If the words “keg party” come to mind, well, guess what?  Wrong answer.  

The better reply would be a strictly focused beer tasting night, one arranged by the young men who are working on founding a brand new Somerville-based brewing company, Night Shift Brewing.  These tastings are all serious business for Robert Burns, Mike O’Mara, and Michael Oxton, the forces behind a fledgling company poised to enter the local microbrew and craft beer scene by early fall.

And however much their completely urban apartment with its rabbit warren collection of rooms and alcoves and narrow hallways looks like home to several busy young men, make no mistake: within the daily chaos is a vibrant test kitchen/laboratory set up to create high quality, expectation-defying beer.

In the Night Shift test kitchen with two of the company’s founding members on a recent Saturday morning, I admit I don’t know too much about the beer brewing process.  Michael and Mike are quick to give me a rundown, taking turns to teach me the basics.  Grains are crushed and made into a porridge with hot water.  This sits to develop the sugars, the liquid becoming what is called the “wort” (the sugar water that will be fermented).  The wort is then boiled with hops to add bitterness, developing beer’s distinctive flavor and aroma.  The resulting liquid is chilled quickly and Belgian brewers’ yeast is added for the fermentation process.  

As the two Michaels talk (Michael Oxton, left, Mike O’Mara, right), I am struck by the contrast of youthful exuberance with… (for the rest of the story, click here)

Now for the weekend picks.  There are so many things going on all over the north shore this weekend.  I had a hard time narrowing down my list.  Here are the highlights:

BOOK AUTHOR NIGHT: MEG MITCHELL MOORE, Jabberwocky Bookshop, Newburyport

On Friday, June 3, come to Jabberwocky bookshop and hear Newburyport author Meg Mitchell Moore speak about her recently published first novel, The Arrivals.. Event starts at 7 pm and is free to the public.  Jabberwocky Bookshop is located at 50 Water Street, The Tannery, Newburyport.  For more information, visit here.


BIODIVERSITY FREE-FOR-ALL, Joppa Flats Education Center, Newburyport

On Saturday, June 4, between 10 am and 3 pm, come to the Mass Audubon’s education center and learn all about “every living thing from loosestrife to ladybugs!”  The planned event highlights the concept of biodiversity, and attendees will be able to participate in all sorts of activities with that aim in mind.  Event is free of charge, all ages are welcome, and no registration is necessary.  Simply show up at the Center on Saturday.  For more information and directions, visit here.


Also on Saturday, the Riverwalk Bead Shop and Gallery in Amesbury hosts a nature photography show and sale from 10 am – 6 pm.  The shop is located at 32 Elm Street in downtown Amesbury.


NEWBURYPORT FARMERS’ MARKET, The Tannery Parking Lot, Newburyport

Week 6.  The Tannery is the place to be early on a Sunday: fresh produce, local goodies, live music, and lots of fun!

Join the vendors and market organizers from 9 am to 1 pm this Sunday, June 4 at the Newburyport Farmers’ Market.  Come for the fresh food and stay for the music of Working for Scale, a seven-person a cappella group from the Greater Boston area, singing “everything from pop songs to dance tunes, to reggae, and gospel.” Stroll the stalls, grab your treats, then settle in to listen to the great music and visit with friends and neighbors.

RICHARD SEELEY WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY, Joppa Flats Education Center, Newburyport

More photography for those of you who can’t get enough.  Stop by the Mass Audubon’s center for the opening reception for Richard Seeley, Gloucester native and wildlife photographer, on Sunday, June 5, from 2:30 – 4 pm.  Seeley will be exhibiting photos of wildlife families and babies taken in national parks and wildlife refuges around the US.  For more information, visit here.


Now for the rest of the gang’s picks:

Check out these ideas from Seth at Lynn Happens, here.