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Craft Beer and Wine Co. opens taps in Hamburg

The Craft Beer & Wine Co. owner John Lutz treats craft beer like wine, noting that there are so many varietals, there is something for everybody.
HAMBURG — “Craft beer is like wine. There are so many different varieties, and they’re all so different from one another. People are beginning to discover that,” said Craft Beer and Wine Co. owner John Lutz. The owner, who operates a liquor store in North Boston, said he opened his new bar and craft beer store to showcase the wide range of beers on the market, as well as give customers a quiet, comfortable place to enjoy a pint or two.

Lutz started working on the storefront, located in the Armor Plaza at the corner of Armor Duells and South Abbott Road in Hamburg, four months ago, but had been looking for a spot for quiet a bit longer.

“I wanted somewhere that people could sit back and relax and enjoy themselves,” Lutz said, “Not be elbow-to-elbow with the guy next to you, shouting over the noise and going, ‘What?’ ‘What?’ all night long.”

The store sells craft beer in six and 12-packs, wine slushie kits, wine and home brewing supplies. In addition, a custom-made wood bar, high-top tables, Adirondack chairs and a cushioned chair alcove invite customers to sit back and try one of the 12 beers or selection of wines on tap.

Lutz offers beer in flights, 12-ounce and 16-ounce pours, as well as by the Growler. That way, he explained, people can try something new without committing to an entire glass, the prices of which vary by type.

“Sometimes, people want to try something new, but they’re scared off by the price of a glass,” Lutz said. “I want people to try things, to see what’s out there.”

Plans are in the works for chess and checkers sets for the tables, to encourage patrons to linger over a game, conversation and a pint or a flight of craft beer tastes.
Beer enthusiasts can also purchase beer by the bottle and drink it at the bar, for an upcharge. For those who may not be hops-lovers, Lutz also provides a variety of wines, poured from a wine preservation system that allows him to sell it by the glass, while keeping the wine fresh and drinkable for days.

The machine he uses is similar to a keg for beer, using Nitrogen, an inert gas, to keep the wine from going bad. He used to use the dispenser for wine-tastings at his liquor store, but said he thought it would get better use at his new bar. So far, he had gone through six bottles in two days, “So I think it’s worth it,” he said.

“A lot of people, especially women, don’t like beer. So I’ve got wine for them, so they’re not sitting next to their husbands going, ‘Come on, let’s get going,’” Lutz said, with a smile.

The establishment is part retail, part bar and snack stop, with tables and chairs, Adirondack chairs and a cushioned alcove.
Both the taps and wines will change; beer offerings will be switched every time a keg runs out and wines will rotate periodically.

“So every time you come in, there might be something new to try,” Lutz said. “We hope people stop in often!”

Craft Beer and Wine Co. also serves nachos, popcorn, sandwiches and snacks, as well as wine slushies.

“They’re refreshing, and surprisingly low in alcohol,” Lutz said, of the frozen beverages. “They’re a good summer drink.”

All of the wood, including the bar and stock shelving, was custom-made locally, and the top shelf above the bar is decorated with Lutz’s own beer stein collection. Many come from local antique stores, with two straight from Germany.

“They were just collecting dust at my house and I thought they’d look better here,” Lutz said.

In addition to beer and wine, the Hamburg bar and store serves nachos, free popcorn, pickled eggs, sandwiches and wine slushies.
As he heads into his second week of operations, Lutz said he hopes the place will become a community spot, for people to come in, chat and hang out over a beer.

“As I was getting the place ready, a lot of people came by to see what we were up to, when we’d be open,” he said. “And I had people here until close on our first day, so right now, I’m working on letting people now we’re here.”

As time goes on, Lutz hopes to get chess and checkers sets for customers to play, as well as a small sound system to play “elevator music,” while people talk. “Just something for the background,” he said, “Nothing loud or crazy.

“I’d like to see it grow,” he said, of his location. “And of course, we want to sell beer!”
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