hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 1, 2014

There's a new brewmaster in town

Meet the boss of making beer at downtown's popular brewery

The names are changing, but the good taste will remain the same.

The Tap brewery — a landmark in the popular downtown restaurant district — is undergoing a shift in leadership.

Award-winning head brewer Jon Curtis is stepping down, and his assistant, Brian Davis, is taking charge of the beer.

The Tap’s owner said although the man responsible for making sure customers get the taste they expect is leaving, The Tap will retain its strong brewing tradition — featuring a variety of micro brews named after Haverhill people and places.

The head brewer is a key job at The Tap.

“We are a brew pub,” said owner John Fahiman, “which means ... if we don’t make it, we don’t sell it. We also sell a lot of beers to the restaurants and bars around Massachusetts.”

The head brewer’s job, Fahiman said, is to maintain the consistency of the beers. In practice, that job involves much cleaning of equipment.

“You can have a lot of problems with beers if you don’t sanitize the parts,’’ he said. “If you don’t sanitize it perfectly, you’ll get yeasts that grow out of nowhere and make the beer taste funny. It’s very sensitive.”

In his new position, Davis is taking responsibility for a lot of beer.

“We bottle beer here and go out and sell it ourselves,” he said.

The Tap provides bottled beer to about 300 accounts in Massachusetts, Fahiman said.

“We were in Rhode Island a few years ago, but we’ve scaled back,” he explained.

Davis has been with The Tap for years, working under the previous head brewer.

“Jon and I knew each other in high school,’’ Davis said of Curtis. “I started in 2008, as sort of his assistant brewer. When I started, my responsibility was bottling, filling kegs. As years went on, I picked up more responsibility.”

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