Brewing Session Beer way before it was a thing

Launched in 2010, Notch Brewing was the first brewing company in the U.S. to focus exclusively on Session Beer. At the time, we simply wanted to brew the beers we loved to drink, and finding them was a challenge. Session beer has been enjoyed in every great beer brewing nation for centuries, yet in the U.S. it was overlooked. So we set out to brew the world’s classic session styles from England, the Czech Republic, Germany and Belgium, as well as explore how session beer could fit with the U.S.’s hoppy beer infatuation. Seven years later, we have a brewery that was built on the back of session beer. It’s proven one thing, that beer consumers like options, and session beer is a great one. 

Session beer is born of workers beer, where refreshment and taste went hand in hand. It slaked the thirst of laborers while they plowed the fields, mined for coal, fired the blast furnace and forged steel. When water was tainted, session beer saved civilization. It’s 4.5% ABV and lower, difficult to brew and a pleasure to drink. Every great beer brewing nation brews and enjoys session beer, and the US is no exception. 

Brewery & Tap Room 

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Seven years of brewing session beer, and we finally built our Salem brewery in 2016. Here's what you'll find:

Tap Room: Full pours for on-site consumption, quart cans to go, and 16oz cans to go of our Single Series beers (when available). We have 8 to 13 beers on tap at all times, highlighting session beers styles from all over. Communal tables, counter service, light snacks, no TVs (except for the Patriots) and SkeeBall. It's a place to socialize with friends, or meet new ones. 

Biergarten: Open year round! Communal tables on the South River basin in the warm months, heated stand-ups in the cold. Watch the tide come and go from our south facing beer garden. Catch a view our harbor seals, birds of all types and striped bass when they are running (no fishing from the biergarten!). Kubb and Cornhole when it's not busy. Well behaved dogs are encouraged!

Brewery: We hope that our brewery will provide our customers a way to see the unique brewing processes and equipment we will be using - a traditional decoction brew-house, open and closed fermentation, horizontal lagering tanks, German gravity dispense, true British cask-conditioning,and a draft system imported from the Czech Republic – tools, process and equipment that will allow a wide variety of session beer to be produced.

Brewery Tours: Free brewery tours every Saturday at 5:00PM. At other times ask a staff member if a brewer is available for a tour and we will do our best. Private tours can be booked through info@notchbrewing.com.




283 Rear Derby Street
Salem MA 01970

Fri & Sat 12p–11p
SUN 12PM - 7PM



  • Spindrift Sodas
  • Sparkling bottled water


  • 21+ plus only
  • Kids 12 and under OK with parent
  • Dogs welcome in biergarten!
  • Unsupervised dogs or children will be judged by their peers. 



Beers at the Tap Room

Rauchbier - Bamberg Smoked Lager - 4.4% ABV

Rauchbier in German translates to smokebeer, and it is one of the oldest categories of beer in the world. Our Rauchbier is brewed with grain entirely from Weyermann Malting in Bamberg, including a Beechwood smoked barley malt. A single decoction and extended lagering gives this brown lager the traditional care it deserves.

The Standard - Czech Pale Lager - 4.4% ABV (12°P)

Our classic Czech pale lager, brewed with soft water, floor malted Pils malt, and Saaz hops. Double decoction, open fermentation, and extended lager time bring a bit of Plzen to Salem.  

Polotmavy - Czech Amber Lager - 4.4% ABV (12°P)

Our Czech amber lager, the style of Polotmavy has seen a large resurgence in its homeland. Also double decocted, it carries a rich toasted malt character from the Vienna base malt but balanced with a spicy Saaz hop character. 

Tmavy - Czech Dark Lager - 4.0% ABV (12°P)

Our Czech dark lager, Tmavy carries a rich cocoa and coffee character from the Munich and roasted malt but is never sweet or cloying. Also double decocted, it has a depth of flavor not often found in a 4.0% beer..

Left of the Dial - IPA - 4.3% ABV

Celebrating modest ABV of British IPAs, yet with the passion fruit aromas of US hop varieties, Left of the Dial uses British malt, hard water and a new wave hop profile. The base malt is Fawcett Golden Promise, along with a touch of Fawcett caramalt and oat malt. And that “IPA is strong” stuff? All myth. Just ask us.

Hoedown - Dry Hopped Sour Saison - 4.5%

The ultimate workers beer- tart, dry and refreshing. We used Massachusetts grain from Valley Malt and then employed a mix fermentation with multiple strains of lactobacillus and a saison yeast strain in our open fermenter. Lightly dry hopped with El Dorado and then aged in stainless for four months. 

Darklands - British Oatmeal Stout - 3.9% ABV

Creamy, velvety smooth texture with robust roasty, espresso, and toffee flavors. Built for multiple rounds.

Dog & Pony Show - Single hopped Pale Ale (w/ Citra) - 4.0% ABV

Wheat based pale ale with intense fruit and citrus aromatics from Citra hops. The wheat provides texture and mouthfeel that balance well against the forward hop character. Although a wheat based beer, it carries none of the aromatics of a Belgian or German wheat beer - think hazy pale ale instead.

Green Ghost, Single hopped Pale Ale (w/ Grungeist). The new German hop variety Grungeist provides balanced hop flavor and subtle aromas of passion fruit, lemon and peach. 

Guest Brewer Beers (brewed at Notch)!

Our guest brewer series is simple - we allow our friends to brew any beer they desire in our brewery. Their beer, their recipe, their labor, their name on the board. It's not a collaboration, but an opportunity for our friends to try something new and explore new territory. For Notch it's an opportunity to open up our brewery to friends, and allow for guest beers on tap (we can only serve what we make under our brewing license). It's also an excuse for us to hang out together in an otherwise busy industry.

Guest Beer #2: Idle Hands Craft Ales - Wooooo! Weizenbock - 7.5% ABV

Our second guest beer is a go! Several weeks ago we were joined by friends Chris and Brett of Idle Hands Craft Ales to come in and brew whatever they want, with the only exception being that it *not* be Session Beer. 

Wooooo! (yes, with 5 o's) is Idle Hands' interpretation of a pale weizenbock. Clocking in at 7.5%, it has a decidedly malt driven character from the double decoction mash that brings to mind freshly baked sweet bread. The authentic abbey yeast contributes balanced notes of banana, clove and allspice leading to a very complex and delicious beer. Prost!


Beers out in the world


Session Pils - Czech Pale Lager - 4.0% ABV

Notch Session Pils salutes the session pale lagers of the Czech Republic: crisp, herbal, and hoppy. The Czech culture is a beer culture, and their beer of choice is this low gravity pale lager known as Světlé Výčepní. Enjoy it served fresh through our Czech tap system!

Left of the Dial - IPA - 4.3% ABV

Celebrating modest ABV of British IPAs, yet with the passion fruit aromas of US hop varieties, Left of the Dial uses British malt, hard water and a new wave hop profile. The base malt is Fawcett Golden Promise, along with a touch of Fawcett caramalt and oat malt. And that “IPA is strong” stuff? All myth. Just ask us.

Infinite Jest - Hoppy Pale Wheat - 4.3% ABV

An American Pale Wheat Beer brewed with malted wheat, Pils malt, oats and Equinox hops. Although a wheat beer, it pours only slightly hazy and is packed with fruity hop aroma and a delicate but noticeable hop flavor. Don’t expect the banana, clove, orange or coriander flavors and aromas of Germany or Belgium, but do expect infinite fun.

Black Lager - Czech style Černé Pivo - 4.0% ABV

Our cold weather session lager, built for multiple pints when the days get short. Black in color yet modest in ABV, our Black lager has an upfront malt sweetness with notes of roast and chocolate, yet finishes medium dry without cloying sweetness. This is a Czech staple, and one we love to brew each winter. Enjoy!

Turn It On IPA - IPA - 4.3% ABV (Draft only)

Intense tropical fruit and citrus aromatics from El Dorado and Citra hops are combined with our favorite British malts to provide a creamy texture for the high hoping rate. 

Notch Skee Ball Wednesdays!

It's happening, the weekly skee-ball league (NOT REALLY A LEAGUE but a weekly competition) we've been promising. We are starting simple, and will let the league members refine its awesomeness. Here's the starting parameters:

  • Every Wednesday 730 - 9ish PM
  • Keep your team or form new ones every week, newcomers always welcome!
  • 9 strings
  • 9 balls per string
  • Max 9 teams
  • Teams of 3, each team member rolls 3 strings.
  • Top 3 teams win Notch Tap Room gift certificates
  • Individual top score of the night wins Notch schwag
  • First come first entry for the night (all three team members must be in the room)
  • Top three finishing teams secure a spot for the following week
  • Fun will be had by all!


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Meters for Liters Every Wednesday at 6:30pm

Meters for Liters is a weekly 5k run from the brewery. This is not a race, just a chance to get out and earn some cold beer. Brewers Chris and Nate will run with us as well! When we get back to the brewery, there will be plenty of beer and free pretzels for runners!

No sign up is required but you do have the option to "sign in" before the run. Runners will earn custom Notch swag upon completing 50,000 meters! (10 runs).


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