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Beantown Beer + Cheese: Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers


If there’s one thing I love as much as good cheese, it’s good beer—and living in New England, there’s no shortage of either. For my blog series Beantown Beer + Cheese, I asked local brewers about their signature beers and cheese pairing recommendations.


“We wanted to give lagers the attention they deserved,” says Jack Hendler, co-founder of Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, Mass. Hendler had already been brewing independently for five years when he opened the brewery in 2011 with his brothers Sam and Eric.

Their most popular brew, Hoponius Union, is an India Pale Lager, or IPL. “It’s essentially designed like an IPA but uses our traditional lagering process that we implement here at the brewery,” Hendler says. That traditional lagering process involves a lot of work—making the House Lager, for example, involves a multi-step decoction mash technique as well as the German method of spunding [closing off the oxygen to the lager as it ferments, creating natural carbonation] while the beer sits at a cold temperature.

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Today, Jack’s Abby is a big name in lagers. At the brothers’ Framingham beer hall, patrons can enjoy wood-fired pizzas and other entrees with a rotating selection of draft brews. If you’d rather take some bottles to go—and sip them with cheese, of course—Hendler recommends some pairing ideas for his most popular brews:

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Hoponius Union (6.5% ABV): Fairly hoppy and bitter, Hoponius Union calls for an assertive wedge. Hendler recommends a sharp aged cheddar.

Try it with:

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House Lager (5.2% ABV): This helles (golden) lager is malty and slightly sweet, with a gentle hop nose. “It’s almost tough to pair House Lager, because it could go with anything,” says Hendler. A strong blue will benefit from the beer’s sweet notes.

Try it with:

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Smoke & Dagger (5.6% ABV): A black lager, Smoke & Dagger is brewed with a small amount of smoked hops to round out the chocolatey flavor. Hendler suggests matching this complexity with a Gruyère or munster. 

Try it with:

You can sign up to tour the Jack’s Abby brewing facility here, or drop by the beer hall for a bite and some brews.

Jack’s Abby Beer Hall & Kitchen
100 Clinton St.
Framingham, MA 01702

Tue.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Fri.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.
Sun. 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m.

Casey Walker

​Casey Walker is a Boston-based writer, constantly scoping out new recipes and restaurants.

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