Sitting in a cozy taproom in his best knit viking hat Garth Shaneyfelt isn’t your typical brewer.
"This is my FDA certified hair net," jokes Shaneyfelt.
He went to school for neuroscience, decided he didn’t want to become a doctor or do anymore schooling. In the years following school he began brewing mead at home. He is now the general manager at the Artisan Beverage Cooperative, a worker owned cooperative formed through the merging of Katalyst Kombucha and Green River Ambrosia in 2013.
"We got into it for local and we ended up forming a worker co op because we are interested in staying here having local jobs,” says Shaneyfelt.
In their Greenfield taproom, you won’t find any beer. Instead the offerings are varied and brewed with care like their Kombucha which is a beverage of sweetened tea and a culture fermented and fortified with additional flavors.
"It's lower sugar than standard soda and it's a nice tasty thing to have,” says Shaneyfelt.
Aside from the Kombucha Garth’s passion is mead, or honey wine.
"When we say mead people are like are you a butcher? Meat and it's like no honey wine! And people have heard about it," says Shaneyfelt.
They make several mead varieties, that unlike a beer takes about 6 months to a year to produce.
“It's not just Beowulf and renaissance festival although we do provide the mead to the mutton and mead festival in Montague,” says Shaneyfelt.
Along the taps is a blast from the past called Ginger Libation. Drawing inspiration from the years prior to prohibition this drink packs a punch with 9% ABV.
"Prior to prohibition all ginger beer had alcohol," explains Shaneyfelt, but while it’s called ginger beer you won’t find any hops here. In fact, the beverage is closer to a ginger wine but since it drinks like a beer the Artisan Beverage Cooperative calls it Ginger Libation.
"You're fermenting sugar, pineapple lemon and lime juice and a lot of fresh ground organic ginger which gives it a fresh punch of flavor,” which Shaneyfelt says sits in a fermenting tank for a few weeks.
The offerings have branched off from the traditional ginger flavor, with brews like Blueberry Libation, Spicy Libation and Local Libation-Cranberry.
Their taproom where you can sample flights of each of these beverages is open on Fridays from 4 p.m.- 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 2:00 p.m. to 6 p.m.