Emerson alums open craft beer brewery

By Karenna Umscheid, Staff Writer

Two Emerson alumni combined their love for craft beer and their passion for brewing to open up a brewing company in Hudson, MA. 

Jamie Muldoon and Jake Leblanc both studied broadcast journalism and met through a radio journalism class. They have maintained their friendship since their graduation in 2005, and when they saw a nearby brewery for sale, they decided to join a group of friends with a similar interest in craft brewing to open Clover Road Brewing on Sept. 9, 2022. 

Leblanc explains that he first became interested in craft beer during his time at Emerson when he visited nearby venues that are home to a variety of brews. 

“It wasn’t necessarily something that I knew existed until we went to places named Sunset Cantina and Brighton, which had, like, 300 beers available,” he said in an interview with The Beacon. 

Now, 17 years later, Muldoon and Leblanc capitalized on this interest to open an establishment not too far from their alma mater. While most of the owners do not have a business or professional brewing background, they were up for the challenge of navigating the industry and finding ways to make their company successful.

“I think just owning a brewery and learning the equipment has been a learning curve, but everyone’s done great,” Muldoon said. 

Their hard work paid off with an exceptional opening night, bringing lines out the door. A broken refrigeration system, unfortunately, caused the brewery to close just one day later as all the beer had warmed. 

“We could have gone old school and put the kegs in ice baths and done stuff like that, but the quality of the beer is really important to us and making sure that we give a good experience to our customers,” said Muldoon.

While the broken system was temporary, Muldoon and Leblanc’s commitment to quality beer is certainly not. Clover Road Brewing aims to be a space for fans of all types of beers, from IPAs to Pilsners—and everything in between. 

Muldoon cites the company’s seasonal, flavored small batch brews as a very special aspect of the brewery. 

Photo: Courtesy of Clover Road Brewing Company

“We’re just super excited to provide the classic beers, but also do kind of a twist and unique version of one of them once a month,” she said. 

One of the small batch brews is a jalapeño pilsner, a limited-time brew they’re offering for two weeks. The duo is also planning on infusing their West Coast IPA with pumpkin and cinnamon for the fall season. 

“Every month we’re going to kind of rotate and do these very special limited releases that are super fresh, obviously [including] local ingredients,” said Muldoon. 

Despite its very recent opening, Clover Road Brewing is already hosting events such as a beer and book tasting event on Sunday October 14, as well as live music on Saturdays. In doing so, they hope to establish the company as not just a brewery, but a place of community and friendship. 

“It’s a good place for people to simply gather and be social and be friendly while sipping on delicious beers,” Leblanc said. 

Muldoon explains how the craft beer industry differs from many others, with an emphasis on community rather than competition. 

“We have been so fortunate to have other breweries help us who give us a hand, be very generous, very thoughtful, very supportive, in a way that is just very surprising,” she said.

Clover Road Brewing is located only a few blocks away from another brewery, which Muldoon said has been extremely helpful and welcoming. Leblanc considers the brewery’s welcoming atmosphere “an accomplishment.”

“We’re very proud of being a part of this environment and being able to collaborate with other breweries,” Muldoon said. 

Now that they are starting to have a repeatable process and understand the operations, Clover Road Brewing is looking for more ways to get its beer out to the public. In the future, the brewery hopes to participate in local festivals and public events, generally scaling up its involvement in the community. The brewery is also working on branding, creating a logo and labels for its beers, to expand its distribution. 

“We want to get our beer out there, because we think it’s really good,” Muldoon said.