Pasta Loft unveils new in-house brews

MILFORD – If Pasta Loft didn’t have enough going for it with its expansive menu, exceptional pizzas, pleasant outside deck and great local charm, this week they’ve added house brewed craft beers under the banner Loft Brewing Company to their resume in their continued effort to keep up with the times and current trends.

Loft brew master and Pasta Loft bartender Bruce Girouad has been crafting beers on his own for several few years.

“I work on Monday nights and often talk to customers about different beers,” he said. “Terry Connor, the owner, had tried one or two of them and the next time I saw him, he said ‘I can’t stop thinking about your beers. I want you to brew for me.”

Girouad didn’t think much of that conversation, but Connor definitely did. It was slow process to get started but in about a year and a half ago, Girouad said Connor wanted to move forward as other restaurants did the same, creating their brand of brew pubs.

“Terry didn’t want to be stagnant,” Girouad said. “He’s a businessman. And this year, the brewing equipment came in and we started ordering parts. That’s when Jake came in and we started brewing in the spring.”

Jake is Jake Felton, a connoisseur of beer making and brewing. He works as a chef at Bar One across the oval and has been a consultant to local breweries. That’s why he was brought in to consult and share his expertise with the staff at Pasta Loft.

They estimate that they’ll net 90 gallons of beer per brew cycle per batch, which takes about three weeks for completion. And beer is a huge part of what Pasta Loft is about.

“It’s pretty big here,” Girouad said. “Before the craft brew thing, I bartended and talk a lot of beer with the locals. I knew what kind of beers people liked so I got to order the beers for a while. And on Monday when I was bartending, people would ask what I had new on tap.”

Draft craft beer will be a rotation of eight different brews for six to eight weeks, depending on how fast which ones sell.

“Being that it’s a three-week turnaround for brews, and the fact that we have a small brewery, we’ll have some regular craft beers on draft and experiment with new ones,” Felton said.

One Loft beer coming up is a stout, which is presently sitting in a fermenter as the beer goes through the process of, well, becoming beer

“I’m excited about that one,” Felton said. “We’re actually partnering with Union Coffee right across the street. They’re giving me the coffee to make a coffee stout.”

Customers will also be able to order beers to go from Loft Brewing Company’s eight draft offerings.

“They can take beer home two different ways,” Girouad said. “We’ll 16 ounce can four-packs, and then they can order growlers, which our 16 ounce cans that can be filled right at the bar.”

A machine behind the bar caps the cans of brews like any store-bought beer.

Felton entered the Loft fray earlier this year but has been brewing beers since 2014.

“Through word of mouth, Terry asked if I would come in and consult on the beer brewing process,” Felton said. “I just didn’t let them let me leave. The whole thing was kismet.”

The pandemic’s timing provided some downtime for Girouad and Felton to begin brewing so by the time that things started to reopen, Loft Brewing had new brews on the horizon.

“When the restaurant was closed down for three weeks, Terry re-did the entire floor,” Felton continued. “He did a lot of renovations and that gave us time to put in the new beer system and get everything flowing and get everything right.”

With the slow open, the brew masters could make sure they were crafting the best beers possible. And this weekend, guests can expect a new variety of flavors.

“There will be four IPA’s,” said Girouad. “‘A Doomscrolling Peach Session IPA,’ a ‘Second Chance Session IPA,’ a ‘Mad Oh New England IPA’ and a ‘First Foray IPA.’ And then we’ve got an ‘Upper-wear Chocolate Brown Ale,’ which is more like stout-meets-brown ale – it tastes more like coffee. And then we’ve got a ‘Cabrewing Summer Ale,’ which is lemon based, and a ‘Night Water Lemon Blueberry, which has been selling the most today.”

To decide on the first batch, Connor, familiar with Girouad’s home brews, knew in general terms what he was hoping for.

“He knew the lemon blueberry kicked butt,” Girouad said. “He really liked the IPA. He really let me pick the flavors and I just ran things by him.”

Girouad said he didn’t plan on this happening and said while he is thrilled to be doing it, brewing is a lot of work.

“This is fun but it’s much more work than home brewing,” Girouad said. “And I hate cleaning at home and here it’s even worse because it’s bigger, a lot messier and the space is really tight. It’s just a hobby that became an opportunity.”

Besides brewing beer, Girouad is an English teacher by trade so the next few weeks will be very telling.

“We don’t know yet,” he said. “We go back in the fall and I teach in Lexington, Massachusetts so we’ll see. I hope so but it will be with stipulations. But everything is up in the air.”

A month from now, there will be new beers but Felton said because of the size and space for equipment, eight brews will work perfectly.

“We’re getting as much volume as we can and we’re not distributing,” Felton said. “The beers are only available at the Pasta Loft. That will help us keep it ongoing but we don’t want to over stretch ourselves.”

The Loft beers will eventually be seasonal, but Girouad and Felton are excited to introduce the new flavors. They’re already working on a pumpkin beer for the fall.

“There won’t be a Pumpkin Fest,” Girouad pointed out. “But we’ll have the pumpkin beer ready.”