Dining » Vol. 65

Purgatory Beer Co. puts Whitinsville on the craft beer map

It began, as such things do, in a garage. Kevin Mulvehill and Brian DiStefano, owners and brewmasters of Purgatory Beer Company, started brewing beer in a garage eight years ago as an excuse to hang out.

“It was fun,” Mulvehill said. They started with IPAs, and the first batches, by their recollection, weren’t very good. With each new brew, the quality improved until it got so good that, DiStefano explained, “Our friends said we could sell this [the beer].” But to sell it, they’d need a bigger garage.

Originally incepted in their minds as a “just suppose” situation, the duo began to take serious steps towards accruing their own space in early 2016. Enter 670 Linwood Ave., Building C, a part of the renovated 19thcentury mill complex along the Mumford River in Whitinsville. The renovation began in February 2016.

“It was basically a garage,” Mulvehill said. “It became possible for us to balance our day jobs, families and a brewery, so we went for it.”

“Plus, you talk about something too much, people expect you to do it,” DiStefano added. “Our friends said we were nuts.”

“We chose to focus on our taproom over purchasing new equipment,” Mulvehill said. “Whatever we could do ourselves, we did.” The finished product is a source of pride for the two.

Purgatory Beer Co.’s taproom is wide and glows as if from another time. Wired between period wrought-iron ceiling frames now painted grey, hundreds of small, Edison-style lightbulbs emit a warm light that plays off the original yellow pine ceiling and polished elm hightop tables that mingle in the center of the room.

“I saw the tree [for the hightops] in the back of this truck and asked if it could be cut into cookies for us to use,” Mulvehill said.

A butternut bartop runs along the dense 1890s stone wall. The yellow pine bar, where the beer is served, sits at the back. Above, the menu, a four-squared windowpane, lists out the drinks on tap. Tucked away in the back left corner live the seven barrels that produce the slew of increasingly popular beers: Dirty Swan IPA, 2-Car Garage DIPA, Murgatroyd Pale Ale, Blackstone River Black IPA and Fiero Coconut Rum Porter.

Since the grand opening in November 2017, Mulvehill and DiStefano have been getting suggestions from patrons and friends on next steps for the business, like televisions in the taproom. Purgatory Beer Co. isn’t about that.

“If you come here, you see people talking to each other,” Mulvehill said. “There’s not enough of that anymore.”

DiStefano chimed in with an anecdote, “We had a guy tell us that he’s made more friends here in the six months we’ve been open than in six years living in the area.”

With blossoming relationships with food trucks, local businesses and an expanding customer base, the brewery is poised to become a local landmark.

“We’re seein’ how it goes,” said Mulvehill. “We’re always working on stuff.”

For more information, visit http://purgatorybeer.com

Ryan Cashman

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