by Charlotte Malakoff.70678_EdibleSouth_I003

Deep in the recesses of a Plymouth cul-de-sac, strange and wonderful things are afoot. Paul Nixon, a newly-commercial microbrewer—make that nanobrewer—is taking advantage of his LACK of scale to ferment delicious products out of mostly Massachusetts ingredients. He is sourcing his malt and hops from as close by as possible—which for the former means the western part of the state, but for the latter means as near as Garretson Farm in Marshfield. He hopes to forge more relationships with local farmers in time, because as his product line and volume grow, he’ll need MORE of everything.

Paul, long a dedicated homebrew geek, has jumped the hoops (alcohol and taxes) and dug the trenches (water and septic) to propel his backyard operation to the next level. He hopes that the new brews he markets under the Independent Fermentation label (IndieFerm, for short) become regular features at the fine establishments catering to folks who want to drink local.

Small is a great way to go. Brewing just 100 barrels of beer a year allows IndieFerm to be nimble, adapting to local tastes as well as launching the occasional wild-yeast and cask-conditioned projects.

A tasting proves that Paul is a respecter of tradition in the very best sense. Since the brewery (ok, barn) is not climate-controlled, he must vary his brewing with the weather, reminding us how those European seasonal styles developed in the first place. By the time you read this, his smoothly malty, dark amber Doppel Alt will be available, followed by a crisp, hop-forward Rye Pale Ale. Summer will usher in a refreshing Saison, fermented with, get this, a yeast culture Nixon grew from blueberries he picked near Plymouth’s College Pond last August. Now that’s terroir!

Available at Cedarville Wine and Spirits and Long Ridge at the Pine Hills in Plymouth, Blanchard’s in Marshfield, Craft Beer Cellar in Weymouth, and Bin Ends in Braintree.

Independent Fermentations

Charlotte Malakoff trained her palate at the Langue d’Or Institute in Bouche-d’Enfer, Belgium.