Meet Me in Medford | Max Heinegg & Medford Brewing Co.
Updated: Jan 17
Medford was originally known for rum, and now, it’s known for beer! The same IPAs and pilsners you’ve enjoyed at home or at pop-up events around town will soon be served at Medford Brewing Company’s tap room at 30 Harvard Avenue in West Medford!
We spent some time with Medford Brewing Company’s co-founder, Max Heinegg to learn the story behind the story of Medford Brewing, and what Max loves about living in Medford.
What brought you to Medford?
I came to the Boston area 26 years ago when I followed my wife - my girlfriend at the time - when she was a student at Boston University Law School. I attended BU for graduate school to get my Master's in teaching. We lived in Boston, and I had been teaching in Medford – this year marks my 25th year teaching -- and I'd been getting gradually familiar with the area. We moved to Somerville on Professors Row above Boston Ave and lived there for several years, and then 16 years ago, we bought our home, less than a mile from Medford High School.
What do you enjoy about your Medford neighborhood?
We live on Arden Road off Winthrop by the Fells and Oak Grove Cemetery entrance at the top of Playstead Road. Proximity is key: we're 0.3 miles to the high school, about a little over a mile to the brewery, and about three-quarters of a mile to the commuter rail and Bistro Five.
I do a lot of cross-country skiing with my wife in the Fells. Our access point to the Falls is about 700-600 feet from our door. We can walk out, carry our skis, and go in. We also take our kids and skate in the Fells when the vernal pools have frozen. We'll grab our skates and a broom to brush away the snow and play hockey together.
Any other favorite hidden gems in Medford that you and your family frequent?
Walking the Mustang Trail, located behind the Field of Dreams at the High School, is a favorite spot, partially because it's next to the school. Fells Day has become a tradition at the High School, and more and more students are becoming exposed to that area.
We also jog down to the Mystic Lakes area, near the Medford Boat Club. There's a grove of trees just past the beach area where we enjoy watching the swans. It's also an excellent spot for taking a family photo for our annual Christmas card.
Many of our readers know you as co-owner of Medford Brewing. What inspired you to bring a brewery to Medford?
I started home brewing around 15 years ago. I'm a serious home cook with a passion for making different kinds of food, and my interest in home brewing grew from there. We had small children then, and home brewing became both a diversion and an immediate passion. I ended up reading every book on the subject. Then I started competing in homebrew competitions and began winning quite a bit, which led to my joining the Boston Home Brew Club, where I ran the Boston Home Brew competition for a couple of years. I eventually became what's called a Certified Beer Judge. I studied and passed tests to understand everything about how to make beer, how to judge it, and how to make various styles from around the world.
While that was happening, I was doing it for fun and hosting parties to meet the parents of my elementary school-aged kids, and people enjoyed the beer. Later, when my daughters joined Girls Youth Soccer, I became friends with my business partner, Nick Bolitho. Nick suggested we start a beer company. And I originally had no interest in that, but Nick persuaded me, and we started Medford Brewing in 2015.
We started by hiring five different places to brew my recipes to my specs, and then gradually, we auditioned for someone to distribute the beer. We had one distributor, and now we have a much bigger one. Then we asked ourselves, "What's the next step?" and decided that would be to create a community gathering place.
And I think our Odyssey towards opening is probably somewhat well-known, but the pandemic derailed us for a while. But the community support has enabled us to find a location, and folks continue to patronize us when we do pouring events and buy our beer in retail stores as we build out the location at 30 Harvard Avenue.
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The community support is superb. I know that I am personally very excited. What are the plans around entertainment? Maybe some open mic nights or music that we can look forward to?
I wouldn't say we will be a musical venue, but there is talk about the role music can play. Sometimes, you just want to go and talk to your friends, but music can be a draw, especially if it's at the right volume. Probably not planning on having full bands because it might be an irritant to the neighbors, but singer-songwriter stuff is a possibility. It would bring in different people, and also, because of my background as a musician, I have a lot of friends who could perform. I've been playing music and making records since I arrived in Boston, and my last five records are on iTunes and Spotify. You can learn more about that facet of my life at www.maxheinegg.com.
You're also known to many in the community as a teacher in Medford Public Schools. How has that experience been for you as a teacher and a parent of students in our school system?
As a teacher, I've had a very good experience. I've had great colleagues and a lot of support from the administration, allowing me autonomy in writing and modernizing the curriculum.
Working with the kids has been a real pleasure. There's a range of students in Medford Public Schools, and the kids' character is what drives me to stay. There's a diverse immigrant community alongside families who've lived here for generations. Our community's changing demographics and rich traditions make for a very erudite place to teach and for my own children to learn.
The last question we always ask folks is if your best friend told you they were considering a move to Medford, what would you tell them?
What's great about Medford is that it's centrally located, and we have a great mixture of urban and green space. To this day, we still go to Somerville and Davis Square quite a bit, and we are close to Boston, which was important to us in raising a family.
We have had a good experience raising our kids here. My kids can go into Boston by themselves, enjoy the city itself, and access all these different things. It's worked out for us because we wanted the kids to be somewhat cosmopolitan savvy and have a tree in the backyard. So that's worked out quite well for us.
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