By Seth Daniel
The Night Shift Brewery in Everett has come back from the World Beer Cup with plenty to hoist their mug about.
The brewery on Santilli Highway took first place in the highly competitive category with its American India Pale Ale (IPA) brew known as ‘Santilli.’
Co-Founder Michael Oxton said there were 275 entries in the category, which is the most competitive category in the bi-annual Cup. He said it was a major coup for the company and for the Everett brewing scene.
“It gives a strong statement for what we’re doing here and also tells the public that we’re not just a bunch of jokers who just graduated from home brewing – even though we kind of are,” he said with a laugh. “It’s really huge. What it does is help legitimize to the public the kind of product we have. We’re really committed to the pursuit of creating a world-class beer.”
Oxton said the Santilli winning such a prestigious award in the industry is a statement to other brewers, as well as the public. Traditionally, IPAs have been brewed on the West Coast in America and are known for their bitter taste.
Oxton explained that in New England – and especially at Night Shift – they have a different take on the IPA, a brew that has become a staple of the craft beer industry.
“It says something about New England IPAs,” he said. “There’s sort of a tradition of this style of IPA that’s not as bitter and fruity and softer and clean and crisp and refreshing. It’s a big contrast from the classic West Coast super-bitter IPA. It’s a great statement for Massachusetts beer that Santilli won. I would say the best IPAs are coming out of New England. When a judge says this is the best in America, that says something.”
He also said it’s a good beer for their company, as it conforms to the styles that judges look for. Many of their other brews, he said, are more unique and don’t fit the mold.
“Santilli is a very good beer for us to win with because we brew it to standard,” he said. It fits with what the judges expect. A lot of others don’t. They won’t be what the judge can say is a distinct style. For example, we brew a coffee porter. That would never work if we entered it in the porter category because it isn’t what the judge is looking for in that style.”
Now, with the hardware coming back from Philadelphia to Everett, Oxton said they are very excited for the future.
He said they have plans to expand their taproom and already have expanded their overall space. They are also excited for the other brewers that have come to the district.
“We couldn’t be happier to be in Everett,” he said. “I really, really like being here on Santilli. We’re very accessible, but still slightly off the beaten path. I think people like it being in an industrial zone that’s not easy to get to. It’s a brewery so it’s good to be where we are. It wouldn’t be the same if we were in a shopping center. This has a different vibe to it. It also gives us an opportunity to be independent because we don’t have to worry about disturbing neighbors.”
He added that the City has also been very receptive to their business.
“Everett has truly embraced us and been so great,” he said. “They get what we’re trying to do and are not creating obstacles that would be putting up roadblocks for us. They’ve been very accommodating…I think the award might bring more people down here that might not otherwise come. When they get here, they’ll see that we have other beers besides Santilli. Then they’ll see that we have other neighbors doing interesting things too.”