Abandoned Building Brewery

Excellence, brewed

What do you do with an abandoned building? If you are Matt Tarlecki, you imagine it becoming a brewery and then you transform it into your vision of what it could be.

For a civil engineer from the Philadelphia area who started home brewing in college as a hobby, the idea of opening a brewery in an old, abandoned mill in Massachusetts seemed like a crazy idea back when Matt would often visit a high school friend who lived in the area. But when friends told him he should start a brewery, he indeed thought it was crazy. After doing some research, he ultimately made the move to Western Massachusetts in 2013.

Starting in March of that year, Matt began transforming a 2,700 square foot space in the old mill building at 142 Pleasant St. in Easthampton aptly named “The Brickyard.” The previous tenant was a plastic bag manufacturer who vacated the space and left it in shambles.

Most of the brewery was designed, constructed, and finished entirely by Matt, which included painting the 16-foot-tall walls and ceiling, assembling the walk-in cooler, refinishing the original hard wood floors, and installing the 15-barrel brewhouse with two 30-barrel fermenters and one 30-barrel bright tank.

He performed limited renovations to maintain the ambiance of the original mill building, and successfully navigated the permitting side of brewing. He was granted a Federal Brewer’s Notice in October of 2013, only after enduring the federal government shutdown in October. The State level Farmer-Brewery License was awarded at the end of November that same year.

In 2019, Matt expanded the brewery taproom space. It’s now one of the largest taprooms in Western Mass. He describes it as a warm, intimate space. On Fridays and Saturdays, there is live music in the taproom, and trivia night is every other Wednesday.

Matt calls the taproom staff “amazing and supportive in what we do,” adding that customers know them well.

That support is evident when the runners in an annual Thanksgiving 5K race gather to have a beer at Abandoned Building, which serves as the pick-up location for the athletes. The brewery is open from 9 a.m. until noon on Thanksgiving.

Abandoned Building Brewery has become a destination not only for its interesting beers, but also for music and good food. Every May through October, from 5 to 9 p.m., the brewery hosts Food Truck Fridays.

Now in its sixth season, Food Truck Fridays attract up to 800 people, who come to try the offerings from four or five local food trucks in a parking lot that is converted into a beer garden.

The food trucks rotate each week, so there is always something new to taste. There is live music, too. Children and pets are welcome.

“It’s about the beer, the food, the music, and the community,” says Matt. “It’s a very relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere.”

For those who like Food Truck Fridays, the brewery started a new partnership this summer with the Vegan Pizza Land food truck, which is in a separate beer garden Thursdays through Sundays.

Whether you're meeting friends, or exploring the neighborhood, be sure to stop in at Abandoned Building Brewery!

Abandoned Building Brewery
142 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA

We can’t write about a brewery without mentioning the beers.

There are the rotating hops beers made with different hops - often based on what customers request, or what new ingredients are out in the world of beers.

Then there are the specialty beers that are released when the brewery tries out new ingredients. For example, there is Zappa Zappa Zappa, an IPA that uses only Zappa hops, named after the musician Frank Zappa in collaboration with the Zappa family.

The Curbside Pilsner was born during the pandemic, and named because picking it up curbside was the only way to get it in those days. It’s now one of the most popular beers and is offered year-round.

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