Mystic Brewery founder Bryan Greenhagen gives a tour of the of the company's small facility in Chelsea, MA. He points to the gleaming tubs the company uses to make its Belgian-style farmhouse ales.

"And right now, we're just rinsing the grain, and putting that all over here into the kettle, where we're going to boil it," Greenhagen explains.

Mystic employs six people; just two full-time brewers. This year the company will make 2,600 barrels of beer. Coors, by contrast, will make some 17,000,000 barrels.

"Our flagships are saisons; typically lemony, peppery, a little bit wine-like, typically drier, a little bit more herbal," says Greenhagen. Flavors like that make Greenhagen giddy. After a PhD in plant science, and a stint in a lab, he's pretty excited to be getting into a growing movement of a different kind.

"It doesn't seem to be just beer. It seems to be our food culture in general which was mass produced and continues to be mass produced, but the interest in not mass produced things just continues to grow." Commercial craft brewing grows about 20 percent a year. There are now something like a hundred small breweries just in Massachusetts, twice as many as five years ago, in Everett, Chelsea, Framingham and lots of other cities and towns.

Harpoon Brewery just celebrated an anniversary with a big party attended by the governor. At 30, Harpoon is still considered a craft brewer, and is one of the grand daddies of the industry. Founder and CEO Dan Kenary says the big boys are taking notice. And that's not necessarily a good thing for the little guy.

"We've just seen a ton of outside money come into the industry," Kenary explains. "Big breweries are buying craft breweries, private equity guys are buying everything that they can buy, investment bankers are swarming all over the industry. It's not going to continue, you know that. They had a pretty good gig here when it was just Bud, Millers and Coors and Heineken and Corona. They don't want us around."

Craft beers make up something like 12 percent of the market -- almost triple what it was in 2009. That's not huge, but enough to support a lot of small stores like one in Holliston named "Crafted". "We currently stock a little more than 600 different beers. Close to probably 75 different beers from Massachusetts at the moment," says Crafted owner Ken Onafrey. Onafrey's shop is the size of a big living room, but a living room stuffed with beer. You will not find Coors here-- there are, however, lot of 4-packs for 12 dollars, and some fancy single beers for up to $16. At prices like that, Onafrey echoes the concerno that the market for craft brews may be nearing saturation. 

"The jury is still very much out. They say at this point two breweries open every day in the United Sates, and last year 34 closed. So those numbers speak for themselves," says Onafrey. 

One strategy that's worked in Massachusetts is to keep beer local. "The way the wind is blowing, at least in these parts, is toward a more local brewer. People like to feel a connection with the beer they're drinking," says Onafrey.

Take for example Treehouse. Beer Advocate magazine says the Munson-based brewery makes the best beer in the state. But if you want some, you have to drive out to the brewery -- wait in line -- and pick it up. Make sure to get there early.