Business is brewing at Sena Farm Brewery in Worthington

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  • Jared Sena stacks cans of Gentle Meadow just filled, but not yet labeled, at Sena Farm Brewery in Worthington on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Jared Sena pulls empty cans to fill during a canning operation at Sena Farm Brewery in Worthington on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • The top goes on a can of beer during a canning operation at Sena Farm Brewery in Worthington on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Pint cans are filled with Gentle Meadow pale ale at Sena Farm Brewery in Worthington on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Jared Sena adjusts his line while canning a batch of Gentle Meadow, an American pale ale, at Sena Farm Brewery in Worthington on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Jared Sena runs his canning line for a batch of Gentle Meadow, an American pale ale, at Sena Farm Brewery in Worthington on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Gentle Meadow, an American pale ale, brewed at Sena Farm Brewery in Worthington. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 1/13/2021 4:59:51 PM

WORTHINGTON — When he was growing up, Jared Sena used to roller skate in one of the rooms of his family’s ski lodge, a barn that over three generations has held auctions, weddings and even potatoes. Now, the Worthington native is all grown up and brewing up more fun in the space, as one of the owners of a craft brewery that bears his family name.

The 36-year-old owns Sena Farm Brewery on Buffington Hill Road with his father, Paul, and his mother Judy, on land that’s been in the family since 1947. The brewery started selling beer in the summer of 2019 to local establishments, and it began selling cans via curbside pickup at the farm in March of 2020. However, the pandemic has had a big impact on the business.

“We’re kind of on a coasting mode,” said Paul Sena, also noting, however, that, “It’s just been a pleasure to see this thing blossom.”

Jared Sena’s venture into the business began in his 20s when he began brewing beer at his Northampton home in-between moving furniture and playing saxophone in a reggae band. Home brewing served as an inspiration, so much so that he chose to leave his Northampton life and take a hands-on job learning the ropes at Harpoon Brewery’s Vermont location. From there, he went on to work at Berkshire Brewing Company for six years, where he advanced to head brewer, before striking out on his own.

Sena Farm Brewery features large stainless steel tanks, wooden barrels, and a warmly lit, yet-to-be-opened taproom. From the farm, blueberries and maple syrup have been used in the brewery’s beers.

The cross-country skiing heritage of the brewery can be found front and center in the taproom in the form of a bar from the shuttered Swift River Inn, a former cross-country skiing area in Cummington, refurbished with wood cut from the Sena Farm property. Paul Sena milled the wood, while Jared Sena and a friend installed it on the bar.

A map of cross-country skiing trails from when the farm was a ski area might also be displayed in the taproom in the future, Jared Sena said.

Paul Sena said that he stopped the farm’s skiing business, which closed down early in the century, because the area stopped getting consistent snow.

“It was really mother nature,” said Sena. “One year we skied one day.”

The old trails can still be skied, however, as they are now on publicly accessible conservation land.

While what is available at the brewery varies, five beers can currently be purchased on Sena Farm’s website: Belphegor Stout, Gentle Meadow Pale Ale, Gurdy, Emberly is Dead, and S’envoler Saison. Jared Sena said that an IPA is currently being brewed.

Sena said that a lot of people from town visit the brewery, as well as others who make the journey from “all over the place.”

“It’s really been kind of eye-opening to see how many people will actually travel to go and get beer,” he said.

Currently, Sena Farm beers can be bought in cans at Daily Operation in Easthampton, Chesterfield General Store and are on tap at The Rabbit Hole in Worthington. Spirited Wines in Lenox also sells the brewery’s beers in cans, although Paul Sena said he sees the future of the brewery as being a destination.

“If you want our beer, you’re going to have to come here to get it,” said Sena.

The brewery also happens to be the highest elevation brewery in the state.

The flagship beer of Sena Farm Brewery is Gentle Meadow. “It sells faster than I can really keep it on hand,” said Jared Sena.

It also happens to be his father’s favorite beer out of the brewery’s offerings. “It’s a nice summer beer,” said Paul Sena.

Jared Sena says he has fun naming the beers. Gurdy, a beer that Sena describes as having a “barnyardy” aroma, is named after a friend’s cow, while Emberly Is Dead is named after a friend’s pig. Sena also used to ski cross country competitively, at one point being the best in New England for his age when he was in fourth grade, and the upcoming IPA will be called Diagonal Stride, a cross-country skiing term.

Jared Sena employs artists to make the art that decorates his brewery’s cans, and he said that his experience going to school for photography and video editing has made him appreciate the hard work involved.

“It’s hard to make any money doing that,” he said. Sena compensates the artists with both money and beer.

While Jared Sena would like to have some hired help at the brewery in the future, he is currently the only employee of the brewery, although his girlfriend sometimes helps out with the canning process. And Sena said that while his parents are always willing to help out, he wants them to keep their distance because of COVID-19.

Jared Sena expressed the hope that outdoor sit down service at the brewery can begin this spring, with both he and his father saying that this may include food.

“My idea is to have a patio up here,” he said.

Sena, who is a bluegrass fiddle player and used to play saxophone in a reggae band, said that he would like have music at the brewery when the pandemic allows. The property has a musical history, as Arlo Gouthrie once played in a field across the road in a benefit concert for the health center in Worthington.

Jared Sena’s grandfather bought the farm in 1947, and both Jared and his father grew up on it.

“I grew up growing potatoes on this farm,” said Paul Sena.

And while the farm is no longer a potato farm, Paul and Judy do tap trees and make maple syrup commercially. The couple also have a hot air balloon business.

Jared said that he and his family bought the brewery’s brewing system from a brewery that went out of business in Nashua, New Hampshire.

“This was a nice retirement project for me,” said Paul Sena.

Jared also said that he likes having the brewery on his childhood property.

“It’s cool being at the home base,” he said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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