In 1986 after a chance visit to the Front Street Brewpub in Santa Cruz California, Brother and Sister, Janet and Peter Egelston became excited at the prospect of putting all other goals on hold to pursue a dream of becoming brewpub owners. Janet and Peter opened their second brewpub, the Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1991; in 1994 they opened a microbrewery, also in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Smuttynose Brewing Company.
The Northampton Brewery was conceived as a community center for great food and drink; where families get together for quality time; good friends hang out and catch up; groups meet for pleasure or business; and individuals come in to meet with regulars, or to play a little solitaire. The Brewery staff loves to meet new people and make everyone feel at home. It has become a favorite meeting place for locals and visiting guests.
In 1987 The Northampton Brewery was the second brewpub to open in the region preceded by the Commonwealth Brewing Company in Boston. Presently the Northampton Brewery is the oldest operating brewpub in New England.
The Northampton Brewery is in a restored carriage house circa 1894. The address is Brewster Court, a street named after the Brewster family. It’s a fun coincidence that “Brewster” is the old English term for a female brewer.
The Northampton Brewery has gone through a series of renovations. The first was to convert the carriage house from an office building that contained the Whiting Oil Company into a restaurant and brewery. Building began in early 1987. In August that year, a small pub was opened with a tiny kitchen, inadequate storage and just over a dozen items on the menu.
In 1988 the outdoor beer garden opened on the ground level. It wasn’t much to look at, but it was immensely popular. By 1995 being in a position to expand, an addition was built that included a basement (no more storage problems), a new kitchen, (allowing for an expanded menu) and 150 outdoor seats on a roof-top beer garden with it’s own bar.
In December of 2000, after fourteen years in business together, Janet and Peter Egelston bought each other out of their respective shares of the Northampton and Portsmouth Breweries.
This leaves Janet as sole owner of the Northampton Brewery, and Peter as sole owner of the Portsmouth Brewery and majority owner of Smuttynose Brewing Company. Though no longer business partners, Janet and Peter happily remain sister and brother.
In late 2003, construction of the Sunroom began. The beautiful new sunroom was opened the first week of April 2004. It is used for regular seating but may also be available for large party reservations.
The Northampton Brewery is consistently voted the Pioneer Valley’s best brewpub by the Valley and Springfield Advocate Readers’ Poll.