New Taproom Will Bring Its Brews to Harvard Square

John Harvard"s
Wachusett Brewing Company will replace John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House

Wachusett Brewing Company will open a tab in Harvard Square this fall as it takes up residence at 33 Dunster St. — the former home of John Harvard’s Brewery & Ale House.

A beloved fixture in Harvard Square since 1992, John Harvard’s flagship succumbed in May to a string of closings in the area. Earlier this year, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Sweet Bakery, and Au Bon Pain closed their doors in Harvard Square. Qdoba Mexican Eats was the latest business to fall when it closed its Mass Ave. location last week.

Wachusett Brewing Company is a 25-year-old business that ranks as the second largest production brewery in Massachusetts and one of the top 50 craft brewers in the country, according to its website. Christian McMahan, the president of the Westminster-based company, said in an interview Tuesday that he hopes the new taproom becomes a new “staple” in Harvard Square.

McMahan said Wachusett Brewing Company plans to offer a set of beers exclusive to its Cambridge location in the 15-barrel, on-site brewhouse, where John Harvard’s used to brew small batches of beer until 2016.


“We have a very diversified portfolio ourselves, from beers people know — like Wachusett Blueberry — to our series of New England IPAs to ciders,” McMahan said.

Denise A. Jillson, the executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, said Tuesday despite the “sad” loss of an “iconic” restaurant like John Harvard’s, she looks forward to welcoming Wachusett.

“What will separate them from John Harvard’s in a really exciting way is that they are actually going to be brewing in the location again,” Jillson said.

McMahan said the company looked at over two dozen locations for its newest brewery, but ultimately chose Cambridge for the “diversity” the area offers. He said he is confident the taproom will bring “energy” to the space, as there will also be food, live music, and games for patrons.

“Beer makes its own friends across demographics, genders, ethnicities, ages,” McMahan said.

By December, the Harvard Square location will be the third permanent fixture of Wachusett Brewing Company, McMahan said. Its other locations are in Westminster and Worcester, Mass.

—Staff writer Juliet E. Isselbacher can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @julietissel.