Worcestory Lesson: Hopping on the brewing bandwagon (the first time)

“As transportation and technology improved, beer became more refined and commercial variants readily available. Signature ales, IPAs, porters and lagers were imported by Geo. F. Hewett in the 1870s. Companies such as M.A. Worcester sold commercially available hops, yeast and malt from its warehouse near Mechanic and Summer streets. It was not, however, until the Bowler brothers arrived in 1883 that the city’s first big brewery was born.” As brewing in the city experiences a renaissance, Worcester history expert David DuBois reflects on the first beer boom.

Worcester Sun, Dec. 7: Randell on what City Council needs to do next, PCBs thoughts + more

Legislative delays, medical safeguards high on legal marijuana to-do list |  “We’ve had discussions about delaying some of the dates to give us more time to fine tune the bill, and in the next few weeks we have to make final decisions on that,” Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Medical Society has shifted its focus from opposing legal pot to pressing for public health safeguards in the regulation of marijuana. Post-Trump, state business confidence index continues climb |  That bullishness, Associated Industries of Massachusetts and economists said, was driven in part by Donald Trump winning the presidency, despite uncertainty around the specific details of his campaign proposals. “The numbers certainly show a post-election bounce,” Sara Johnson, a senior research director at Global Economics, said. Sun commentary

Randell: Let’s spend a little more time on cutting expenses in Worcester |  “Don’t we owe it to those people who put all of this time and effort into the report to make sure some action is taken?

Worcestory Lesson: Strange bedfellows unite to turn Worcester into a modern 1848 city

“The town government had proved itself ill-equipped to police its growing population and provide much-needed services. The temperance movement backed the calls by Worcester’s political elite — led by the Lincoln, Salisbury and Estabrook families — to change the form of government.” An exploding population, shifting societal priorities, and bit of chaos, lead to big changes in the Heart of the Commonwealth. David DuBois weaves the tale.

Worcestory Lesson: Hopping on the brewing bandwagon (the first time)

There’s little doubt that beer is back in Worcester. Between Wormtown Brewery, 3cross Brewing Co., and Flying Dreams Brewing Co., beer lovers have plenty of city offerings to choose from. While locally brewed beer may seem like a modern phenomenon, it is in fact a return to the idea that beer is a local product.

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Except for Prohibition and a period from the 1960s through the early 2000s, Worcester was home to a number of businesses dedicated to beer.


Check out free-to-read Sun spotlights on 3cross and Flying Dreams


Like traditional New England hard cider, beer in early Worcester was brewed in the home or served in a tavern. Stylistically, they skewed toward high-alcohol ales. Sometimes even served warm as a flip; a beverage made with beer plus molasses, sugar or dried pumpkin that was popular in Colonial times.

As transportation and technology improved, beer became more refined and commercial variants readily available. Signature ales, India Pale ales [IPAs], porters and lagers were imported by Geo. F. Hewett in the 1870s. Companies, such as M.A. Worcester, sold commercially available hops, yeast and malt from its warehouse near Mechanic and Summer streets. It was not, however, until the Bowler brothers arrived in 1883 that the city’s first big brewery was born.

1872 entry in the city directory for Geo. F. Hewett, advertising, among other drinks, Guinness’ Dublin Porter.

Courtesy David DuBois

1872 entry in the city directory for Geo. F. Hewett, advertising, among other drinks, Guinness’ Dublin Porter.

John and Alexander Bowler emigrated from Ipswich, England, with their father in 1859. Born into a family of brewers, they entered the family business and launched their namesake brewery in 1883. They offered lager and porter under the Bowler name, but their signature beer was Tadcaster English style ale.


More history from David DuBois: All aboard! The heydey of Worcester trolley service


Worcester Sun, Oct. 9-15: In this issue

Worcestory Lesson, with an eye on the city’s current brewing renaissance, brings us back to the first beer boom. PCBs in schools must be a top priority — our editorial. Hitch on Weld. Sinacola on Healey. Another chapter in Giselle Rivera-Flores’ inspiring journey. And much more in your Oct. 9-15 Worcester Sun.

Worcestory Lesson: Strange bedfellows unite to turn Worcester into a modern 1848 city

For most of its history, Worcester has been a city of immigrants. It began its life as a small agricultural community, and at the time of the first census in 1790 had about 2,000 residents. By the mid 1800s, however, immigration to the city exploded.

One of the first ordinances passed by the new city government was to establish the city seal.

Courtesy Worcester Public Library

One of the first ordinances passed by the new city government was to establish the city seal.

In the five-year period between 1845 and 1850, historians estimate that the city’s Irish population grew by 433 percent. Immigration more than doubled the size of Worcester between the 1840 and 1850 censuses. The influx of new arrivals ushered in a period of rapid growth that continued up through the 1950s.

Tensions between old and new residents often manifested themselves in unanticipated ways. In Worcester’s growing immigrant population the local temperance movement found its raison d’être. Alcohol was strictly controlled in puritanical Massachusetts. New arrivals brought with them different cultural ways around drinking. This combined with local ideals of freedom and liberty to form powerful and sometimes violent action against the state’s stringent laws.

An April 5, 1848 advertisement in the National Aegis for an abolition meeting. Worcester as a hotbed of social causes in the 1800s.

Courtesy Worcester Public Library

An April 5, 1848 advertisement in the National Aegis for an abolition meeting. Worcester as a hotbed of social causes in the 1800s.

Temperance in Worcester was born from equal parts social reform and desire for law and order in a changing city. The town government had proved itself ill-equipped to police its growing population and provide much-needed services. The temperance movement backed the calls by Worcester’s political elite — led by the Lincoln, Salisbury and Estabrook families — to change the form of government.


More Worcestory Lessons:

All aboard! The heyday of Worcester trolley service

Postcard from the author’s collection. Postmarked May 14, 1941.

Courtesy David DuBois

Postcard from the author’s collection. Postmarked May 14, 1941.

A trip down memorial lane, starring the Aud


Worcester Sun, Sept. 4-10: In this issue

Call this our “Back to the Future” edition. Worcestory Lesson and David DuBois make their triumphant return, this time in 1848 and drenched in political intrigue. Plus What if … Worcester flashes forward to 2044, where the school pickup line looks a bit different. Augustine Kanjia’s amazing journey from West African refugee to Worcester success story hits a critical juncture. Chris Sinacola on Worcester parking. Hitch on cellphones in schools. And all your favorites, in your Sept. 4-10 Worcester Sun.

Worcester Sun, Aug. 31: In this issue

Which downtown startup was rubbing elbows with the Obama Administration last week? Only one way to find out. … Speaking of downtown, we have an editorial that cuts to the core. Hitch has the answers. And a couple of recent top clicks hit our Free to Read section. (There’s more, too!) It’s your Wednesday, Aug. 31, Worcester Sun.

Worcestory Lesson: All aboard! The heydey of Worcester trolley service

“As home to trolley manufacturer Osgood Bradley and later Pullman Standard, Worcester played an important role in the history of passenger rail travel in the United States. And over the years, trolleys and trains have captured the imagination of millions.” Indeed, hop on and take a fascinating journey with Worcester history expert David DuBois.