3cross Fermentation Cooperative

Brewery, Bar, Beer-to-go

4 Knowlton Ave
Worcester, Massachusetts, 01603
United States | map

Notes: Formerly 3cross Brewing Company
View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 7 | Ratings: 14 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by artrocity:
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artrocity from Massachusetts

4.39/5  rDev +31%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Feb 13, 2018
More User Reviews:
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sbuchert from Massachusetts

3.89/5  rDev +16.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Feb 15, 2017
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Sadmagistrate from Massachusetts

3.38/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 1.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I've been coming to 3-cross off-and-on (mostly on) since it opened. Not a whole lot has changed in that time, for both good and bad.

It's an old arcade which, now, gives the vibe of an empty warehouse (which, well, it sort of is). The warehouse is divided into two distinct spots - the bar and seating on the left and an open space with the visible brewing equipment tucked in the far corner. The decor is solely bicycle - and, if you're into bicycles, they are really awesome. Lot of unique bikes, posters, etc to look at. If you're NOT into bicycles, it'll be hard to feel the vibe and, for lack of a better term, cozy. There are about 7 chairs at the bar (a really cool bar area) and then there are 5 or 6 tables tucked around the side, disconnected from the bar. It's a weird set-up.

There are typically 4 beers on tap. The single-speed is the only "mainstay", though even that changes with different hops each time. I like that he has a build and then experiments off of it; I would like more consistency in the line-up, though. The owner, Dave, does a lot of interesting things with his beers. Some of them are really good - some not so much. That happens with experimentation and that's really awesome! It does kind of suck when you're not into any of the experimental beers and there isn't a stand-by to rely on.

In the past year+ they've added kombucha, and it's normally quite good. The flavors are constantly changing with those, too, and there's usually only 2 or 3 so the same lack of consistency applies here.

The truth is I've wanted to love this brewery since it opened. A craft brewery five minutes from my house! Unfortunately, the beer isn't quite superlative enough to outweigh the general... boredom of going there. It's very bicycle heavy, as noted before, and I'm glad that there is a brewery with that strong of a vibe. It mixes well with the nearby bicycle shop and there are weekly bike rides where they all come back after and drink some beer. If that's not your thing, though, there's little incentive to not grab a growler and head out.

Spring and fall are the best. It's too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. I know it's hard to heat (and cool) a warehouse... but there should be something.

Jan 22, 2017
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WillieThreebiers from Connecticut

3.75/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Big old, largely empty, industrial space with a 10 seat bar in one corner. Had 7 beers on tap, the 2 I tried were ok... (just came from Armsby... a tough juxtaposition) Service was good, but all that empty space make the atmosphere less than inviting.

Feb 21, 2016
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hemiman from Massachusetts

2.45/5  rDev -26.9%
vibe: 1.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 1.75 | selection: 2.75

Jan 06, 2016
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jlindros from Massachusetts

2.81/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.25 | selection: 2.75

OK, so this is review #2, edited a lot. The first review really bashed this place, and I wanted the criticism to really come through as I was very angry at a lot of things. However, the review really came off as personal bashing, and after talking with some people I could see that it was hurtful so I decided to take that one down. This new review will combine some of the criticism of the original review with some of the improvements I saw last week when I went.

So let's start with the brewery space itself. It's a big empty pit with very little of anything other than a bar and empty warehouse feel. A few tables are there, the bar is aptly decorated with the spoke wheels of bicycles and such. I'll have to go back this winter, but the middle of last winter it was not really heated, so the little space heater used didn't do anything, and the beers seemed to get colder as they sat. The bathroom was a bit of a heap, with the ceiling panels banging when the door opened or closed. That being said, I know they are low on money, and a lot of things didn't pan out for them, but seriously please try to make it look more like a bar/brewery than an empty warehouse. Put some beer paraphernalia up (other than the empty bottles behind the bar), or something fun on the walls or floor other than bikes. Yes I get it you're bicycle themed, but for the other beer enthusiasts please add some more beer style things. Also what about a friggen sign?! The first time I went there it took me 30 min to find the damn place as the only sign out front is a tiny sign on the door once you're directly in front of the door.

Next the beer itself. There are definitely some great beers in the mix, but there are plenty that need to be worked on. At first it came off as feeling like they would only make each batch of beer once, and then move on. I feel like someone actually said that, but at least we got that impression. How could a brewery really improve if they always made a new beer and never tried to improve on an existing recipe. However, now it seems that they are making some staple like beers that are tweaked and rebrewed and are getting better. I like to try new beers all the time, but I don't want to be limited to only new beers every time I go in. Early on there were many flaws as well, as I could see with a new brewer, but he had been brewing for years, so there didn't seem like a lot of excuses for many of the flaws I had found, perhaps getting adjusted to the new brewing environment. The latest round of beers that were on tap were a lot better when it comes to flaws, and mostly enjoyable and well executed. So I can see improvements.

Another big issue I have is the new Brett beer every week thing. I don't care what strain you use, unless you're dedicating a new fermentation vessel every week for like 6 months at a time, that's not happening. There are Brett strains that work quicker than others, but to get a good and well done Brett character you need to dedicate time and patience into it. That doesn't seem to have changed a lot since I was there last unfortunately. Any brewer that has been brewing for years, esp with Brett, will tell you that doesn't work, unless you want average or mediocre Brett beer. At least he's trying with Brett though.

Finally I come to the kickstarter campaign. That was the real travesty. I have since come to understand that it wasn't for the money, it was more of an advertising campaign, but it really left me angry and impatient. It took so long to open, way past it's original planned date, poor communication, etc. We paid quite a bit of money for a big party and to try the beers before they opened, but when it came to it, they opened like a month before the party happened, and I expected a bunch of special beers brewed specifically for the party. So what I felt that was the whole point of the kickstarter for us was pretty much lost.

So basically the place itself really needs some work, and I understand a lot of that was due to lack of time and money. My original review may have had a personal bashing feel to it, but there was a lot of criticism that could have been fixed. I feel like some of it was, but a lot was not, esp the appearance. I mean, come on, by now they should at least have a sign out front, or some upbeat decor inside. It still feels like a hole in the wall place built into an abandoned factory. Yet, I def see improvements in the beer and the brewing itself. I will go back from time to time, and if you're in the area and have nothing to do I'd suggest swinging by and trying a couple beers. They can be interesting at least.

So Dave, please take this criticism as it actually is, and not directed at you personally. I feel like you have some improvements to make, but at least you're headed in the right direction. I will come back from time to time to try the new beers, and I really hope you're able to really improve it so that you can keep the brewery alive.

Jul 06, 2015
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justmebro from Massachusetts

4.23/5  rDev +26.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3

Mar 12, 2015
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ericfine50 from Massachusetts

4.64/5  rDev +38.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Feb 11, 2015
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Rideguy64 from Massachusetts

4.68/5  rDev +39.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

New to the Worcester MA area, 3 Cross is a small start up, creating some very good beers. Selection is limited due to there size, but that is not a bad thing. People who work there are great and the vibe seems to be growing. Get there early, because when the keg has kicked, it is gone.

Jan 14, 2015
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mirish72 from Massachusetts

2.97/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3 | service: 3.25 | selection: 2.75

Running a small business is really hard. I read the other reviews posted and I guess I would say while there is some truth to the negative comments, but people also need to take a step back. I have been a few times since they opened and agree that there are things that seem a bit off, but I will continue to go back.

The atmosphere is a bit unfinished and the signage blows, but it is also kind of fun. I can't speak to the bathroom situation and don't care about the lack of snacks. I was there today and the menu mentioned water so I assume you can get it. The place is an urban setting and feels like which is fine by me. On the plus side there tends to be plenty of free parking.

The beers seem to be a work in progress, my feeling is they do a good job on some (pale ales seem to be a strength) and some seem unfinished (the imperial Amber seems more imperial brown to me, but tasty). Not sure what their signature beer is at this point as they seem to change it up every week. Brewing capacity seems to be the real issue as this place is a glorified home brew operation at this stage.

In terms of the vibe, appearance not withstanding, they could stand to play some tunes and organize the growler line a bit more. I don't mind paying $2 to sample as they are a decent size and the growler fills are reasonable. A lot of really great breweries are inconsistent with their samples or don't offer them at all.

I am a big fan of free stickers and the bar is cool. I have seen them clean the growlers before pouring but I don't think they add CO2. I am not a huge fan of their growlers, I wish they went with swing tops or the 32oz fat boys other places use, but not a huge deal.

In terms of the service, I have found the folks that work there to be friendly and attentive. The owner does seem stressed and I have never seen him talking to customers, but I am not hung up on it. I also think they would benefit from being more active on Twitter with updates.

These guys aren't in the same ballpark in terms of quality yet as Treehouse, Trillium or Wormtown, but I don't think people should give up on them yet. I like the fact that they are local and brew in Worcester, maybe someday they can get the Galaga game up and running.

Jan 11, 2015
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rudzud from Massachusetts

1.5/5  rDev -55.2%

Had to whittle this down from 8032 characters.

Been very hesitant to write this. I live so close I really wanted to love it, however, the more I went the more I realized that unless things change it will never be everything that I had hoped. It was a disservice to wait so long to type this, I should have treated it with the harsh honesty that I gave High Horse when they first opened. I never ever thought I would visit a place that left such an unpleasant first impression as that brewpub did. That is until I went to 3cross.

I am very familiar with Cambridge street and finding this brewery was almost laughably difficult with no street sign. There are still signs for the old business, an arcade, with the brewery sign being a small sticker on the mailbox. Something like this may work in the rural parts of Maine (Oxbow when they first opened) it is inexcusable in a city.

There is a larger bar with a place to hang bikes on the wall by the door. Further back some high tables that are ideal for standing at with some rather tall backless stools. People complain about how being so high up feet just hang there as none of the stools have a foot rest. Hopefully no one falls off from trying to get down or up due to the awkward height, leaning back after having one too many, or due to age, and falls onto the concrete floor. I'm venturing a guess that probably wouldn't be good.

The bathrooms. Maybe you need to use one or cup your hands under a faucet for some water (I have yet to see them give a patron any water and I've seen people stumbling out). I'm guessing they came with the building or were bought third hand as I've seen dive bars have better bathrooms. The urinal is stained various shades of brown. Lets not forget about the drop ceiling with a tile or two askew right above the toilet. There is also no vent so when the door opens or closes all the tiles shake. Comically sad.

Went 90 minutes after opening; no sign out front stating they were sold out. Was told by a staff "better luck next time!". Wonderful. No one greets you with a smile (it is quiet, sullen, and awkward; like a funeral for that uncle no one seemed to like but attended regardless). If there is no seat at the bar you awkwardly stand in the back until noticed. No one comes by to see if you want more beer so best of luck!

A tasting of beer is $2 (2oz). Growlerette style growlers and when asked why no swingtops the answer I basically got out of Dave, the brewer, was “he liked how it looked”. Having a flashy package is always better than a bottle that will allow your product to be stable longer.
Two of my growlers were capped once they began to foam and the other was filled to the base of the neck the rest foam. When asked why he left so much air Dave responded "Well thats where the fill line is so you actually made out pretty good on those other growlers with some free beer" smiling. Really? Anyone who has ever handled a growler or been to a brewery and seen a growler knows you fill to the top. The fill line is hardly ever the base of the neck (allowing that much air to come in contact with the beer). Measuring the amount it was close to 150mL short of being the 750mL paid for. Dave did apologize and claim the “manufacturer stated that's where the fill line was so I believed him”. Still, inexcusable being a home brewer and now business owner for him to not understand where a fill line on a growler is! Did I mention at first there was no purging of growlers and growlers were filled directly from the tap and not bottom filled, which while not really a big deal it is when you pour directly down the side and cap off the second you see foam. Oh and there's no heat in the place either (well there are two small office style space heaters by the bar) so dress warmly and in layers. I see no snacks either so if one plans on drinking more than two beers you may want to smuggle in a bag of chips or something to offset the alcohol you'll be drinking because 'hipsters don't eat snacks while drinking'.

So in closing there are so many things wrong or erred with this place that it is staggering. To believe one could release a new brett beer every week (as was initially said) is mind blowingly ignorant. It is one thing to have a quiet unsocial demeanor (that translates to smug arrogance, even when that is his true personality after talking to people who know Dave) and put out amazing beers. No one on the staff seems to be genuinely enthused about the beer, or knowledgeable about it for that matter. I expect people to want to gush about their beer, their product, and go on and on about the details and profile. Instead it comes off as simply being just that, a product for them, with this whole place coming off as more of a cold business than a labor of love and passion. People will forgive many, many flaws of how a place looks or the people act. But when you put out consistently mediocre beers then your horrible flaws stand out ten fold more. Just awful.

Dec 07, 2014
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Mikeluzzjr from Massachusetts

2.25/5  rDev -32.8%

Nov 18, 2014
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bpk59 from Massachusetts

2/5  rDev -40.3%

I really want these guys to succeed - they're super close to my house and honestly, having options for good beer close to you is something I consider to be a Good Thing. But their place is.. well, it's awkward at best. I was second or third in line on their opening day and I've been there most weeks since, and it's only gotten weirder. The beer was good the first week but it's seemed to go downhill since. I figured the space would improve over time but it hasn't. It generally feels unfinished.

The location itself is weird - it's in an old arcade that's been gutted and is mostly now empty. There are no signs on the exterior that I know of which let you know you're at the right place, only a bumper sticker on a mailbox. The brewing equipment is hidden for some reason. The lighting is inadequate. The bar looks nice and is clean. There is no real music system but I think they play tunes from a boombox in the back room.

EDIT don't know how I missed this the first time but yeah, there's no heat in here. Like, seriously, bring your winter gloves and hats, because it's gonna be a cold time.

The staff is certainly not what I'd call friendly and they don't like small-talk. I've tried to engage the brewer a few times about his flavor profiles (hibiscus cranberry dubbel?) at times where he seemed able to talk but he had no interest in talking shop for some reason. Sad, really, for a brewer to not want to talk about his craft.

There is no real organization to speak of here. A weird line forms by patrons not sitting at the bar kind of behind it all the way out to the door because it's totally disorganized. It's like no one really knows what to do when they walk in if the bar seating is full so they queue up and wait to be noticed by a bartender. There's no dedicated growler fill line. There are seats/tables you can sit at if the bar is full but no staff come to your tables to serve you so you have to fight that awkward line/crowd for service. It's really, really odd. Do I bring my glasses back to the bar when done? If I order a growler to go, will they bring it to my table? I dunno, so usually I meet awkwardly with some of the staff somewhere between my table and the bar with whatever it is I requested or am returning to them.

There's no water or snacks available to patrons that I know of. Isn't that illegal?

EDIT: had a growler of the black IPA last night and was sadly reminded of this: the beers actually give me stomach "issues." I'm not being mean or anything, but seriously they mess with my body. I eat super hot foods (ghost peppers, scotch bonnets, etc.) and never really get indigestion. Kind of have an iron stomach. But without fail, the 3cross beers have given me horrible gas. I got nothing on this, but it's true. Quite the phenomenon.

My friend Rudzud said it best - the bathroom looks like the one in the movie "Saw." I'm still laughing about this.

Overall, disappointing and awkward. The place feels rushed and unfinished, much like most of their beer.

I'm probably giving it one more week before I give up here.

Should things improve, I'm certainly willing to revise and update my review.

Nov 03, 2014
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WoostaBia from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +19.4%

Oct 27, 2014
3cross Fermentation Cooperative in Worcester, MA
Brewery rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 52 ratings