There's something so very Somerville about Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project. It's the quintessential big thing in a small package: infectiously fun and quirky, unpretentious, and like Boston's northern neighbor, it puts out some kick-ass products. (Case in point: marshmallow Fluff is a Somervillian invention.) While the group's host brewery, Buzzard's Bay Brewing, resides in Westport, MA, the grassroots combination of Dann and Martha Paquette, along with their small team, can be found bouncing around the Cambridge side of the Charles.
But back to the beer: whether in the form of Jack D'or's snappy saison americain, Baby Tree's knockout Belgian quad, or 1901 KK's scintillatingly delicious (and historical) black ale, Pretty Things is a staple on tap pulls in our fair city's best bars. Though it feels like those signature big bottles have always been around, it turns out the company is fast approaching its third birthday, which they'll be celebrating at Precinct on December 1.
"We started off really, really small, with no money," says head brewer Dann Paquette, on the phone from Pretty Things headquarters. "We sold the first batch of beer, and the money that came from that funded the next one, and it's sort of been a big snowball since then. Now, we have 800 accounts in Massachusetts, so that's different."
As a result of becoming tenant brewers instead of full-timers, Pretty Things's powerhouse brewskies always seem to exude this homemade, giddy I-can't-believe-we-did-it-again-ness. In a town with two major, top-notch breweries to contend with, the mom-and-pop-style business has made a significant impact on beer drinkers around here — a major feat in a setting where Natty Ice is a top seller each weekend.
"We called it the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, because we assumed it would go out of business, and we didn't want it to seem like a failure," says Paquette. "Or if we wanted to move on, we could just say the project was over.
"But we love where we are right now," he continues. "For us, it's more about the idea of living in the present and having a good time. And, quite frankly, we have so much fun not being in debt."
Pretty Thing's Third Birthday with Viva Viva, No Way Jose, and DJ John Funke is December 1, 8 pm, at Precinct, 70 Union Square, in Somerville.