Jennifer Russo

The author Dr. Suess once said that “you have to be odd to be number one.”

In other words, in order to be noticed, you need to do something that makes you stand out or sets you apart from the masses. With more and more breweries popping up all around New England, it’s tough to see a difference between them. Some have good beer, some don’t. Lots of them have an open and industrial feel. Many have a menu overloaded with IPAs with few other options. We aren’t complaining about these places, but it’s nice to have something new in town that is just plain different…or “odd” if you will.

Odd by Nature opened in Maine back in 2021 when owner Jay Grey put everything on the line to create his vision of what a brewery should be. He wanted a self-sustainable business where he could offer beers that were a bit experimental and fun, going in a different direction even if it was a risk. Having grown up in Boston, where Maine was a popular vacation getaway, it was important for him to bring the nostalgia element in and think outside the box by incorporating flavors that reminded him of being a kid.

In January of last year, he and his team started looking for a second brewery location after taking a trip to Japan. A good friend of his suggested a space that was open in the Midtown Mall and, for a 1990’s themed brewery, what better place could there be to open? 

“We thought that would be very on brand for us. I spent most of my twenties living in Worcester, I met my girlfriend here, we just had our new son here…we just have a lot of love for this city. Worcester is, I think, figuring itself out just like we all are,” Jay shares.

And so, Odd by Worcester opened its doors in February, and when you walk through them, you can expect to find something incredibly unique. The first thing you notice is how bright and colorful it is, with 90’s details covering every square inch of the space. A huge mural on the wall featuring the Rugrats, Ace Ventura, Ren and Stimpy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sonic the Hedgehog, various comic book characters, and even Carlton Banks doing his signature “Carlton dance” grabs your attention immediately. Then you notice the turf flooring and picnic tables, which were decorated with more in this mural style and done entirely freehand by the same talented artist, Ferdinand Nazario.

One of the biggest takeaways Jay brought back from his trip to Japan was the community feel of everywhere he went. Strangers sit together, they meet each other, and it’s a real community feel. For that reason, picnic tables are meant for everyone to sit at whether they know each other or not. Make some new friends!

Each table has a gaming console and a TV, where guests can play a bunch of different games from that time and laugh at how they thought it was so difficult to get Mario to the end of the last level of world 8, or debate whether or not Doom was the best first-person shooting game ever.

You will notice the brewery’s sign on the front in the style of the old Blockbuster Video logo – but Jay shares that as much as he loves his decorative time warp, he was thinking bigger when it came to what Odd by Worcester would offer.

“I didn’t just want to open something here and put Worcester in the name for the sake of it. I want to make Worcester-style beers. We have a collaboration with Hurricane Betty’s called Sweaty Betty’s and we recently released one called Crush, a mint pilsner reminiscent of a pack of Camel Crush menthols. Woo Juice (A strawberry-banana smoothie style beer) is one of our best sellers and we also have some fun collabs coming out with Tom’s Deli and The Palladium soon. We want to make beer that kind of epitomizes the city of Worcester. We want to poke a little fun and enjoy everything that it is, because it’s not like anywhere else,” he explains.

General Manager Justin Suarez shares that every day, average beer was really not for him.

“I was kind of a late bloomer when it came to drinking any alcohol and I realized pretty quickly that I thought most beers were boring and I wanted something with a little more body and flavor. Craft beer was just starting to boom then, and I became really interested in the brewing process, how flavors could be paired, and trying new things. I worked at Jack’s Abby when they first started, and I was at Medusa for a while and learned a lot. What I love most about what we do here is that we don’t adhere to any confines of what beer should or should not be – we make things weird, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he tells us.

For those who aren’t quite sure if they are ready to jump on the unconventional flavor train, the brewery does offer a crushable light beer called Parking Tickets and a flagship Kolsch, and for friends or kids of beer drinkers who aren’t beer drinkers, there is a Mocktail menu available that the brewery collaborated on with their mall neighbors, Woo Juice.

Odd by Nature recently had a successful 3rd anniversary of their Maine location, commemorated by their third annual Oddity by the Ocean beer festival, featuring 36 breweries, music by Fortunate Youth, Spose and Over the Bridge, and munchies by Food for Thought (a super innovative restaurant, which Jay also owns), BT’s BBQ, Eddies Roadhouse and Highroller Lobster Company. The event welcomed hundreds and has become one of the most popular events in the area.

“We are all a little odd, all a little different, and I really think that’s something that should be celebrated,” says Jay.

“The beers we are making are all about embracing individuality – of ourselves and those who work here, the breweries and businesses we collaborate with, and our customers. It’s really something that has taken on a life of its own, and it’s exciting,” he shares.

The 90’s theme for both locations isn’t a marketing gimmick either. It stems completely from the core of Jay and his team, and who they are. Growing up in that era was a completely unique experience, with movies, music, fashion, television, games, and other quirky things that defined it. Jay admits he had a crush on Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction and is obsessed with collecting Nintendo 3DS games and other retro items, and Justin is a streaming gamer on Twitch. So, it is natural for the look and feel of the place to reflect what they know and love.

Welcoming over 6,000 customers just since they opened in February, Odd by Worcester has quickly become a fan favorite. Be sure to check out Odd by Worcester and be ready for some surprises, like fun beer garnishes, a 90’s themed bathroom key, a ceiling that changes at night, several new brews just released to celebrate their anniversary (including an iced tea-lemonade beer and a watermelon mojito beer, among others) and even a blue beer due to release for Shark Week that is actually made with blue gummy sharks.

Odd by Worcester is located inside the Midtown Mall at 22 Front Street in Worcester and is currently open from 12 PM to 10 PM Thursdays through Mondays and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Learn more about them on their website at and give them a follow on Instagram at @oddbyworcester.